Re: clothing

Glenn Morton (
Thu, 26 Dec 1996 20:25:14

Paul Arveson wrote:

>Glenn Morton wrote:
>>If you are willing to say that the manufacture of clothing (the evidence for
>>which goes back about 1.5 million years)has nothing to do with the Fall then
>>perhaps you are correct that there is no spiritual significance.
>I missed something again,Glenn.Now you are talking about evidence of clothing
>back to 1.5MYa. What is it? I asked Don Johanson that question one time; he
>didn't think it went nearly that far back.

The evidence is indirect, but it comes in two forms: wear on bone tools and
the location H. erectus lived. It is known from the microscopic analyses of
bone tools that ancient hominids were engaging in the processing of skins from
this time. Swartkrans dates from 1-1.5 million years ago. Johanson, Johanson
and Edgar wrote;

"I'm not suggesting that only Homo among the hominids used any kind of
tool at all. In fact, Swartkrans has strong evidence that the robust
australopithecines used at least one implement specifically adapted for their
diet. Bob Brain has marshaled a convincing case for a single type of bone
tool, based on his study of about sixty bones from the site. Like Dart's
Makapansgat 'tools,' most of these are simply limb-bone-shaft fragments from
various animals and antelope horn cores. All, however, have a smooth, rounded
tip at one end.
"Bob found himself wondering how such a distinctive pattern might form.
The answer dawned on him one day while he was excavating. 'In the softer parts
of the deposit I'd been using an ordinary screwdriver as a digging tool,' he
recalled as we drank tea by the Swartkrans site. 'The end had gotten all worn
and rounded, and that got me thinking that maybe these bones were used for
digging was well.'
"Knowing that the landscape around Swartkrans had changed little since
robust australopithecines roamed it, Bob looked for clues to what they might
have dug up. He noted that certain edible bulbs and tubers were common
beneath rocky scree slopes. Getting to them was the challenge--unless, that
is, you had some kind of tool. Bob climbed a hillside near the cave and began
digging with a wildebeest limb bone that had been chewed apart by a hyena.
Within half an hour, he had extracted an edible lily bulb. After several more
house of digging, the end of the bone bore a distinct resemblance to those
found at Swartkrans. Enlisting his sons to continue to dig up tubers with
different bones. Each time, the same worn, rounded pattern appeared on the
"Some of the fossil bones looked so worn at the tip that they must have
been used for several days. Bob began to wonder if the hominids carried these
digging sticks with them. Then he noticed that the wear scratches on some
specimens were obscured by a glassy polish. A similar sort of polish occurs on
modern bone tools used by hunter gatherers to burnish hides. Bob speculates
that the hominids may have made hide bags to carry tools and tubers, and the
glassy polish formed as the bones rubbed against the leather. A few tiny, awl-
like pieces of bone--the sort of tools that could be used to puncture leather-
-- were also uncovered at Swartkrans."~Donald C. Johanson, Lenora Johanson,
and Blake Edgar, Ancestors, (New York: Villard Books, 1994), p. 163-165

Klein relates:
"The next oldest bone artifacts include 125 flaked, battered,
or polished pieces from Olduvai Beds I and II and a series of long-
bone fragments with polished tips from Swartkrans Member 1 and
Sterkfontein Member 5. At all three sites, the bone implements
certainly or probably date from between 2 mya and 1.5 mya.
Microscopic examination supports the artifactual nature of 41 Olduvai
pieces. Of these, 4 were not tools in the narrow sense but
apparently served as anvils or platforms on which soft substances
such as skin were repeatedly punctured by sharp ended stone
artifacts. The remaining 37 are large, flaked pieces of bone,
including (a) 26 with polish of the kind that forms on experimental
pieces used to cut or smooth soft materials such as hide and (b) 11
with wear that probably formed from contact with a more abrasive
substance such as soil. Experiments show that the polish on the
Swartkrans and Sterkfontein pieces could have been produced by
digging for subterranean plant foods in rocky soil."
"The microscopic and experimental results indicate that the
flaking, battering, or polishing on the Olduvai and thus that
artifactual use of bone began at least 2-1.5 mya. However, it is
important to stress that at each site the bones identified as
artifacts represent only a tiny fraction of the total number of bones
recovered. Even more important, for the most part the bone artifacts
were minimally shaped before use, and truly formal bone implements,
made to a repetitive pattern in advance of use, appear only much
later, in the Eurasian Upper Paleolithic/African Later Stone Age,
beginning between 60,000 and 50,000 years ago."~Richard G. Klein, The
Human Career, (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1989), p.

I know of no animal which works leather for bags, clothing, tents or anything
else. Using tools to work the skins of other animals is a human enterprise.

Secondly, the temperature of some of the places that Homo erectus lived almost
required clothing of some sort. Homo erectus lived in Dmanisi, Georgia
(former USSR) at around 1.6-1.8 million years ago.

(see Roy Larick and Russell L. Ciochon, "The African Emergence and Early Asian
Dispersals of the Genus Homo."American Scientists, 84(Nov/Dec, 1996),
p.548-550 see also, Alan Walker and Pat Shipman, The Wisdom of the Bones, (New
York: Alfred Knopf, 1996), p. 233).

Fagan writes:

"The first Europeans and Asians were small Homo erectus bands, originally
tropical and subtropical hunters, who were adapted to
live within a range of temperatures around 80 degrees F (27 deg. C). This
particular temperature is the critical level at which humans neither cool nor
warm their bodies, neither sweat nor shiver. We can withstand surprisingly
large variations about this temperature, by maintaining an artificial
microclimate around ourselves as near to this temperature as possible. For
Homo erectus to be able to adapt to the more temperate climate of Europe and
Asia,it was necessary not only to tame fire but to have both effective shelter
and clothing to protect against heat loss. Homo erectus probably survived the
winters by maintaining permanent fires, and by storing dried meat and other
foods for use in the lean months."~Brian M. Fagan, The Journey From Eden,
(London: Thames and Hudson, 1990), p. 76

This means that H.erectus was living in a relatively cold place around 1.6
million years ago. Today the average temperature in Georgia during January is
30 degrees F. But it is not the mean temperature which one must survive. It
is the extreme. The average January temperature in Dallas is 45-50 deg. F.
But if I had been forced to live naked outdoors last week when the temperature
was 13 degrees, I probably would have died. Give me a warm fur, and I would
have been miserable but would have lived.

The indirect evidence for clothing at these time periods is fairly good. If
so, then apologists must deal with this data.


Foundation,Fall and Flood