Hugh Ross meets Mungo Man

Glenn R. Morton (grmorton@waymark.net)
Sat, 22 May 1999 17:16:02 -0500

The first version of this has not made it to calvin in 4 hours
accourding to the mail system note. If it ever does, please disregard
it as I messed up on the WLH50. This is the corrected version.

There has been an important result published this week in the Journal of
Human Evolution which has implications for the first time humans sailed
out of sight of land, for the existence of spirituality prior to 60,000
years and thus has implications for Hugh Ross' claim that if
spirituality existed before 60,000 years ago then the Bible is wrong.
(Hugh Ross, "Art and Fabric Shed New Light on Human History," Facts &
Faith, 9:3 (1995)p. 2;Hugh Ross, "Chromosome Study Stuns Evolutionists,"
Facts & Faith, 9:3,(1995) p. 3 The discovery concerns the date of Mungo
man, a robust, form of homo sapiens. The skeleton has just been
re-dated by 3 different methods all giving concordant dates of between
68,000 and 56,000 years BP with the mean being 62,000 years ago. The
three methods were uranium series, electron spin resonance and optically
stimulated luminescence.

The Mungo man was found in the deep interior of the Australian outback
in the Willandra Lakes region. This is a harsh environment and thus
the first settlers of Australia would have had little ability to conquer
such harsh climates. The first settlers came from Indonesia and thus
were accustomed to tropical climates. The NW portion of Australia is
similar in ecology to Indonesia and thus was an inviting home for the
new comers. But to conquer the desert required an entire re-tooling of
culture and the technological equipment of these newcomers. This would
have required some time. Mungo man is found about 2000 miles from the
entry point and that also requires time for the population to travel
that distance.

Because Australia can not be seen from Timor, Indonesia, the closest
island to Australia, these dating results imply that mankind sailed out
of sight of land sometime prior to 62,000 years. Conservative estimates
indicate that it would take at least 5000 years for Aborigines to
inhabit the Lake Willandra area meaning that the earliest time of
occurpation of Australia propbably occurred around 67-68,000 years
ago.This gives mankind quite an ability that long ago. To claim that
hominids prior to this time are merely bipedal hominids (as Hugh Ross
has claimed) seems bizarre. No other placental animal except bats were
able to occupy Australia until Mankind did it around 68,000 years ago.

Mungo man was also ritually buried. He was covered in red ochre. Flood
writes,

"The significance of this ochred burial is that it shows that
such
rituals go back at least as far in Australia as in other parts of the
world such as France, where ochred burials have been found in Grimaldi
Cave at a similar time. In fact, at Mungo red pigment was in use even
earlier, for lumps of ochre and stone artefacts were found deep below
the ashes of a fire lit 32000 years ago[this was the old date now it is
62,000 years--grm]. As the ochre did not occur naturally at Mungo, it
must have been deliberately carried there from some distance away.
Similar lumps of pigment, some of them showing signs of use, have been
found in Pleistocene levels in other widely separated sites, such as
Kenniff Cave in Queensland, Cloggs Cave in Victoria, Miriwun in Western
Australia, and several Arnhem Land rockshelters. Ochre has no
utilitarian functions, such as medicinal use; it is simply a pigment
used (at least in the recent past) to decorate rock walls, artefacts,
dancers' bodies in ceremonies, and corpses during some burial rites.
Its use in burial ritual is the only use documented for other purposes."
~ Josephine Flood, "The Archeology of the Dreamtime, (New Haven: Yale
University Press, 1989), p. 46

He showed evidence of the ritual evulsion of teeth which is part of the
modern aboriginal religions. This is where some teeth are
removed.(Clive Gamble, Timewalkers, (Cambridge: Harvard University
Press, 1994), p. 167)

This, then becomes evidence for the continuous religious practice for
the past 62,000 years.

Concerning the place of man in Australia, Flood writes:
"What is the explanation for the co-existence of these different
groups in the same area of prehistoric Australia? There seem to be
three possibilities. The first is that the two different groups entered
Australia at very different times and later merged or hybridized to form
the modern Aboriginal population. Rhys Jones explains the problem in
terms of gradual inter-breeding. 'I think we are seeing the obvious,
that the Kow Swamp people reflect a relict group of original inhabitants
of Australi, and archaic race of Homo sapiens who first colonised the
continent at least 50 000 years ago. They occupied the well-watered
regions and survived intact for tens of thousands of years. Australia
was then occupied by a second group of modern Homo sapiens, the Mungo
people. They came from south-east Asia and because of their superior
technological powers...they were able to inhabit large areas of the
continent. Eventually the two groups met, and intermarriage between
them led to a new group, from which evolved the modern Aborigine.'" ~
Josephine Flood, "The Archeology of the Dreamtime, (New Haven: Yale
University Press, 1989), p. 68

Schwartz concurs:

"This specimen, cataloged as WLH (*Willandra Lakes Hominid) 50,
was found near Lake Mungo, which is in the Willandra Lakes region in
western New South Wales. Up to 15,000 years ago, these lakes were
filled with fresh water. Now they are dry. The fossil specimen, which
is radiant because it became opalized, consists of a facelenss skull
cap. It may be older than 30,000 years. But Alan has suggested in
conversation that the skull may in fact be much older than that.
"The robustness of the specimen's bone, brow ridge, and
distended occipital region, as well as the degree to which the forehead
slopes backward, are unmistakable. In fact, and especially in profile,
WLH 50 seems to be a perfect match for some of the skulls from java
that had been found at the site of Ngandong, near the Solo River.[this
is Sangiran 17 the skull of a Homo erectus--grm] These Javanese skulls,
now referred to the species Homo erectus instead of Homo soloensis, may
be as old as 200,000 years. Thus, Alan suggests, if there is regional
continuity from the past to modern aborigines via WLH 50, it extends
back perhaps another 160,000 or 170,000 years, to the Ngandong Homo
erectus." ~ Jeffrey H. Schwartz, What the Bones Tell Us, (New York:
Henry Holt, 1993), p. 208

The similarities with even older hominids caused Johanson and Edgar, in
Homo erectus. Which raises questions concerning who was the first being
to inhabit australia, modern man or a descendant of H. erectus or both?
Afterall, H. erectus lived in Indonesia until 33,000 years ago and thus
could have colonized Australia also! (C. C. Swisher III, W. J. Rink. S.
C. Anton, H. P. Schwarcz, G. H. Curtis, A. Suprijo, and Widiasmoro,
"Laterst Homo erectus of Java: Potential Contemporaneity with Homo
sapiens in Southeast Asia," Science, 274(Dec 13, 1996), p. 1870-1874,)
If the latter, then this discovery also has implications for the
possibly hybridization between H. erectus and H. sapiens.

Obviously, this discovery will reignite the debate about regional
continuity vs. replacement among anthropologists. Given the discovery
of paternal inheritance and recombination of mtDNA which pushes Eve back
to circa 400,000 years ago, and the possible Neanderthal/Human hybrid,
the conclusion becomes almost inescapable that archaic humans are
directly related to modern humans and quite possibly have interbread
with us. This applies to H. erectus in SE Asia as well as the European
Neanderthals. Christians should cease trying to kick against the
flood-tide of data that contradicts what we teach apologetically. Change
is required. Continually ignoring data is what we accuse other religions
of doing. We should not be guilty of it ourselves.

-- 
glenn

Foundation, Fall and Flood Adam, Apes and Anthropology http://www.isource.net/~grmorton/dmd.htm