Re: Fall of evolved man

Glenn Morton (
Thu, 06 Nov 1997 05:48:18 -0600

Hi Karen,

At 09:56 PM 11/5/97 -0600, Karen G. Jensen wrote:

>Neanderthal and most H. erectus are quite human, but Australopithecus? I
>don't think so. Australophicenes seem to have lived concurrently with
>humans, tho. I don't know about H. habilis -- there is so much disagreement
>on how to define it.

I might point out that Australopithecus did show one evidence of the
recognition of a natural piece of art. it is the Makapansgat pebble. It is a
natural pebble which bears the resemblance to two different faces depending
upon how you turn it. It different views resemble a human face and an
Australopithecine face. It was carried back to the rock shelter a distance
of at least 3 km. This is 6 times further than any chimp has been observed
carrying any object other than their offspring. Raymond Dart writes of when
he discovered the Australopithecine face.

"A complete perceptual transformation had taken place. The two little
rounded 'eyes' retained their visual status though their contours looked more
square and adult. The huge 'brain' and ridiculously pinched infantile 'mouth'
that had involuntarily prevented us sapient observers from orientating it
otherwise, were now replaced by a dwarfed, flattened, and indented 'skull-
cap', above a broadly-grinning, robust and typical australopithecine 'face'.
Its broad 'cheeks' and gaping 'mouth' have become so wide that even the total
absence of nostril openings would have been incapable of preventing any
perceptive Australopithecus from recognizing it as anything other than a
caricature of one or another of his extremely flat-faced male or female
relatives in a positively hilarious mood.
"The 'facial proportions' from this new aspect are thus in excellent
general agreement with those that reconstructional efforts have caused each
modern artist, with minor variations, to produce for Australopithecus. This
concordance of itself is sufficient justification of the inference that
conceptual processes of a similar nature caused an australopithecine to
transport the pebble to the cave at Makapansgat. In addition, the curious and
to some extent corroborative fact is that once one admits the possibility that
an Australopithecus had the intellectual ability to detect the presence of a
face on this alien natural stone, then the social responses that capacity
evoked, follow. The pebble would have had no point without an ability on his
associate's part to comprehend and share the emotional reactions, the
puzzlement and amusement, that the discoverer had had. And from this it may
also be deduced that he and his fellows at the australopithecine phase of
human evolution had already reached a humanoid level of self-realisation and
self-awareness."~R.A. Dart, "The Waterworn Australopithecine Pebble of Many
Faces from Makapansgat," South African Journal of Science, 70(June 1974), pp
167-169, p. 168

>Do you really believe in the accuracy of the dates claimed for these
>fossils? Even the KBS tuff -- after all we saw in Nature magazine in the
>1970's on that (re: dating Skull 1470)?

The vertebrate paleontological data from the strata below the Tuff
contradicted the original radioactive date. The pigs found in that strata
were from a younger time than the original radioactive date. It was this
inconsistency between two different dating methods which forced a re-dating
by other methods. this then resolved the discrepancy.

And yes I do believe that the radioactive dates in general are of the right
order of magnitude. But that is a long, long post on radioactivity that I
don't have time to do this morning. Radioactive dating works, contrary to
what many who don't want to believe the radioactive data say.


Foundation, Fall and Flood