RE: ICR acknowledges neaderthal missinformation

From: Glenn Morton (
Date: Sat Nov 25 2000 - 04:24:20 EST

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    -----Original Message-----
    From: []On
    Behalf Of R. Joel Duff
    Sent: Saturday, November 25, 2000 1:18 AM
    Subject: ICR acknowledges neaderthal missinformation

    Two months ago there was some discussion of a current ICR broadcast in which
    one of the guests cited evidence of neaderthal's using instruments from a
    April fools article in Discover Mag. I noticed today that the December
    issue of "Acts and Facts" from ICR contains an admission of the error.
    There is some interesting spinning of situation to make it not sound as good
    as possible.

    Here is the pertinent excerpt from the December 2000 Acts and Facts 28(12)

    [Glenn Morton] While I find it symptomatic of ICRís research standards that
    ICR got caught by this April Foolís joke, I donít think what they are doing
    is spinning. There is a Neanderthal flute found at Divje Babe in Slovenia.
    While it is controversial and is not without its critics, it does seem to me
    that it represents an indication of Neanderthal musical abilities. Beyond
    the flute, Neanderthals made reindeer phalange whistles by the bucket load.

         "It is impossible not to notice abundant Saiga tatarica phalanges with
    holes. For example, there are 41 such phalanges with holes. For example,
    there are 41 such phalanges (55.4% of the total) in the second layer
    (excavations of 1981 and 1982). In most cases crudely pierced holes are
    connected with the dorsal surface near the distal epiphysis of the first and
    second phalange, but are also often located on the articular surface. In
    many cases the phalanges have two or even three holes, mainly tending to the
    distal or proximal ends. It is rare that a hole in situated in the medial
    section. Average dimensions of holes are 3-4 mm; whereas larger ones,
    sometimes up to 10 mm in size, are much rarer. The origin and purpose of
    these holes is not quite clear. The study of phalanges with holes has
    already been going on for more than 150 years, and various explanations have
    been proposed: the obtaining of marrow; use as whistles; and the result of
    biting through by a carnivore while the animal was alive. Other hypotheses
    seem to be fantastic, for example, that they were vessels for poison. It is
    possible that some of the phalanges with holes were really used as whistles.
    R. Wetzel wrote that phalanges with roughly pierced holes from
    Bocksteinschmeide H which he had recognised as 'hunters' pipes' were shown
    by experiment to utter quite strong shrill sounds. One cannot completely
    exclude the hypothesis about marrow procuring, although in many ways it does
    not withstand criticism. New evidence about natural causes has recently been
    adduced. In any case, the abundance of phalanges with holes at Prolom II
    cannot be comprehensively explained by any one of the causes mentioned
    above. Maybe in future investigations of these artefacts at Crimean sites
    (apart from Prolom II they are known in any layers of Zaskalnaya V, VI IX,
    as well as at Prolom I, and elsewhere) will make clear their enigmatic
    origins." ~ Vadim N. Stpanchuk, "Prolom II, A Middle Palaeolithic Cave Site
    in the Eastern Crimea with Non-Utilitarian Bone Artefacts," Proceedings of
    the Prehistoric Society 59, 1993, pp 17-37, p. 33-34.

    And should someone say that these items are not really whistles, they are
    accepted as such by archaeologists, WHEN FOUND IN ASSOCIATION WITH MODERN

         "Also in Moravia are the important Gravettian sites of Predmost, Pavlov
    and Brno. At Pavlov a large number of hut plans have been identified, oval,
    round and five-sided in shape, with some postholes and hearths. The
    associated industry included decorated bone and ivory objects including
    animals and human figures, and a number of phalange whistles; the occupation
    has been radiocarbon dated to c. 25,000 B.P." ~ J.M. Coles and E. S. Higgs,
    The Archaeology of Early Man, (New York: Frederick A. Praeger, 1969), p. 298

    It is only when such items are found with Neanderthals that anthropologists
    question. The same amazing phenomenon has occurred in regard to the Divje
    Babe flute.

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