Origins: The Shaman's Cape-Religion among the Neanderthals

Glenn Morton (
Mon, 16 Dec 1996 21:26:55

I ran across this several months ago but had forgotten it and re-discovered it
this week. There is some evidence of ritual among the Neanderthals in which a
Shaman dresses as an animal by wearing the skin of the species involved. James

Shreeve relates:

"But the Neandertals' true humanity revealed itself in the actions of
their souls. At the 50,000-year-old site of Hortus in southern France, two
French archaeologists in 1972 reported the discovery of the articulated bones
of the left paw and tail of a leopard. Their arrangement suggested that the
fragments were once the remnants of a complete leopard hide worn as a
costume."~James R. Shreeve, The Neandertal Enigma, (New York: William Morrow
and Co., 1995), p. 52

The arrangement was as if the individual was wearing a leopard skin cape. This
is attested by several facts. The position of the paw indicate that the bones
of the paw were left in the skin. The fact that a human skeleton was found
without large parts of a leopard skeleton indicates that there was not a lot
of leopard skeleton when the man was buried. There is no reason for leopard
skeletal remains to decay faster than human remains. The teeth of a leopard
are quite hard and resistant to decay and should have survived had they been
there. They weren't. This implies that the only leopard bones in the burial
were the paw and the small bones of the tail. Thus this appears to be a
An animal cape is a symbol often used by shamans in their magic rituals.
Ivars Lissner wrote of the Altaics of Siberia:

"The whole costume, which is worn only on official occasions, is modeled
on the external appearance of a bird, reindeer or roebuck. It is made of deer
or reindeer hide and hung with a large number of leather thongs, not to
mention the diverse magical symbals characteristic of shamanic robes in
general. Uno Harva lists many of these appurtenances: for instance twelve
ermine pelts attached to a strap which hangs down the shaman's back, bells
beneath his armpits, eagle owl's talons, snakes and iron hands on his sleeves,
bear's foot bones on his footwear and iron bear's claws on his gloves and
boots. Shamanic robes sometimes varied between different Altaic tribes."~Ivar
Lissner, _Man, God and Magic_, G.P. Putnam, 1961, p. 272

Bruce Dickson writes:
"According to [Lommel], the shaman's costume is essential to his
performance and this garment is generally an animal disguise. This leads
Lommel to the conclusion that depictions of men disguised as animals are very
probably meant to represent shamans."~D. Bruce Dickson, The Dawn of Belief,
(Tuscon: The University of Arizona Press, 1990), p. 131.

Now, if we have Neanderthal engaging in shamanism, then Neanderthal must be a
spiritual being. If he is a spiritual being, then he is a son of Adam and is
human like us. If Neanderthal is a son of Adam, then Adam lived long, long
ago. Most likely if Adam lived long ago, then so did Noah.

If Neanderthal is human in a spiritual sense, then evolution has occurred.
While the Neanderthals are similar to modern man, there are many differences.

I see only two ways out of this position for the christian who does not want
to believe in evolution. First, one can try to say that the wearing of capes
is a feature we share with the soulish mammals. This is the approach taken
recently by Hugh Ross with the Neanderthal flute. But I have never seen an
animals make animal capes for disguise. And this makes a mockery of what
makes us human--the ability to manufacture non-utilitarian objects.

One can deny that this is a cape, but then one must assume that the man and
leopard were buried together with the leopard on the man's back, and that all
of the leopard's bones (except for the tail and paws) decayed while the human
bones didn't. This seems to stretch credibility.

I would like to point out that those in the Christian apologetical realm who
teach that fossil man is not human are sending our children off to college
ill-equipped to face the facts they might find in a course of study in
anthropology. I know of the same lack of preparation for going into geology
because that is my tale. At the very least we should tell our children the
observational facts and how the evolutionists are going to interpret those
facts. As things stand, most apologists don't know or aren't teaching about
things like the Neanderthal Shaman's cape.

Foundation,Fall and Flood