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Stone tools nearly 2 million years old – and Michael Cremo is still wrong?

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Homo erectus/Thomas Roche

“A new find has muddied the waters on the origins of Homo erectus,” Nature confides. Hammered them to bits, actually.

Reid Ferring, an anthropologist at the University of North Texas in Denton, and his colleagues excavated the Dmanisi site in the Caucasus Mountains of Georgia. They found stone artefacts — mostly flakes that were dropped as hominins knapped rocks to create tools for butchering animals — lying in sediments almost 1.85 million years old. Until now, anthropologists have thought that H. erectus evolved between 1.78 million and 1.65 million years ago — after the Dmanisi tools would have been made. – Matt Kaplan, Human ancestors in Eurasia earlier than thought”, (6 June 2011)

Maybe Michael Cremo (the Forbidden Archaeology guy) is right. Or nobody is. But some suggest that we won’t get anywhere until the “assured results of modern Darwinism” find their way to the appropriate curio cabinet.

File under: How would we write known human history if we just forgot about evolution theory and told the history? Also: What factors prevented rapid technical advances in the past?

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7 Responses to Stone tools nearly 2 million years old – and Michael Cremo is still wrong?

  1. At first I thought the title was, “Michael Cremo was getting stoned two million years ago”

  2. As to dating from ‘tools’;

    Animals Can Skew Archaeological Dates – October 2010
    Excerpt: Archaeologists date stone age artifacts by the depth of the layer. They may not have paid sufficient attention to one factor that could have shoved them deeper down: animals trampling over them. “Animals push human tools into ground—and back in time, study says,” was a subtitle of a report in National Geographic News. This factor could cause mis-dating of stone tools and other artifacts, “making them seem older than they really are—in some cases, thousands of years older,” experiments have demonstrated.
    The assumption has been, “The deeper the object, the older it is, generally speaking.” A team from Southern Methodist University tested that assumption by placing artifact replicas on the ground in India, having local herdsmen walk their livestock over them, letting the ground dry out, and then excavating the plot like it was a real archaeological site. “To our amazement,” lead author Metin Eren said, “the disturbance was much greater than we had anticipated.”
    The misdating is especially pronounced in wet ground. But it is precisely in wet areas where stone age people most likely settled. What’s more, archaeologists typically date carbonaceous material next to stone artifacts to corroborate the date, unaware that the two types of material may not have been contemporaneous.
    Eren believes that evidence of trampling can be detected by the random orientations of artifacts. In some cases, artifacts might even be pushed upward and yield younger ages. Sorting out what happened could be tricky, though. “Trampling could even create the illusion of ancient sites where none really existed,” Eren said. For example, “you could have artifacts washing into a valley from somewhere else and herds walk over them, pushing the artifacts into the ground.
    Is this a minor matter? Anthropologist Julien Riel-Salvatore of the University of Colorado Denver said, “Pretty much any open-air site located near a water source will potentially be very seriously affected by some of these conclusions.”
    http://www.creationsafaris.com.....#20101006b

    further notes on doubts to just how solid ‘erectus’ is:

    A 2004 book by leading evolutionary biologist Ernst Mayr stated that “The earliest fossils of Homo, Homo rudolfensis and Homo erectus, are separated from Australopithecus (Lucy) by a large, unbridged gap. How can we explain this seeming saltation? Not having any fossils that can serve as missing links, we have to fall back on the time-honored method of historical science, the construction of a historical narrative.”
    Misrepresentations of the Evidence for Human Evolutionary Origins:
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2......html#more

    Hominids, Homonyms, and Homo sapiens – 05/27/2009 – Creation Safaris:
    Excerpt: Homo erectus is particularly controversial, because it is such a broad classification. Tattersall and Schwartz find no clear connection between the Asian, European and African specimens lumped into this class. “In his 1950 review, Ernst Mayr placed all of these forms firmly within the species Homo erectus,” they explained. “Subsequently, Homo erectus became the standard-issue ‘hominid in the middle,’ expanding to include not only the fossils just mentioned, but others of the same general period….”. They discussed the arbitrariness of this classification: “Put together, all these fossils (which span almost 2 myr) make a very heterogeneous assortment indeed; and placing them all together in the same species only makes any conceivable sense in the context of the ecumenical view of Homo erectus as the middle stage of the single hypervariable hominid lineage envisioned by Mayr (on the basis of a much slenderer record). Viewed from the morphological angle, however, the practice of cramming all of this material into a single Old World-wide species is highly questionable. Indeed, the stuffing process has only been rendered possible by a sort of ratchet effect, in which fossils allocated to Homo erectus almost regardless of their morphology have subsequently been cited as proof of just how variable the species can be.” By “ratchet effect,” they appear to mean something like a self-fulfilling prophecy: i.e., “Let’s put everything from this 2-million-year period into one class that we will call Homo erectus.” Someone complains, “But this fossil from Singapore is very different from the others.” The first responds, “That just shows how variable the species Homo erectus can be.”
    http://creationsafaris.com/cre.....#20090527a

    Evolution of the Genus Homo – Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences – Tattersall, Schwartz, May 2009
    Excerpt: “Definition of the genus Homo is almost as fraught as the definition of Homo sapiens. We look at the evidence for “early Homo,” finding little morphological basis for extending our genus to any of the 2.5–1.6-myr-old fossil forms assigned to “early Homo” or Homo habilis/rudolfensis.”
    http://arjournals.annualreview.....208.100202

    “But what is the basis for the human evolution thesis put forward by evolutionists? It is the existence of plenty of fossils on which evolutionists are able to build imaginary interpretations. Throughout history, more than 6,000 species of ape have lived, and most of them have become extinct. Today, only 120 species live on the earth. These 6,000 or so species of ape, most of which are extinct, constitute a rich resource for the evolutionists to build imaginary interpretations with.”
    http://www.darwinismrefuted.com/origin_of_man.html

    Man is indeed as unique, as different from all other animals, as had been traditionally claimed by theologians and philosophers. Evolutionist Ernst Mayr

    “Something extraordinary, if totally fortuitous, happened with the birth of our species….Homo sapiens is as distinctive an entity as exists on the face of the Earth, and should be dignified as such instead of being adulterated with every reasonably large-brained hominid fossil that happened to come along.”
    Anthropologist Ian Tattersall
    (curator at the American Museum of Natural History)

    When we consider the remote past, before the origin of the actual species Homo sapiens, we are faced with a fragmentary and disconnected fossil record. Despite the excited and optimistic claims that have been made by some paleontologists, no fossil hominid species can be established as our direct ancestor.
    Richard Lewontin – Harvard Zoologist

    New findings raise questions about who evolved from whom
    Excerpt: The old theory was that the first and oldest species in our family tree, Homo habilis, evolved into Homo erectus, which then became us, Homo sapiens. But those two earlier species lived side-by-side about 1.5 million years ago in parts of Kenya for at least half a million years,,, The two species lived near each other, but probably didn’t interact with each other, each having their own “ecological niche,” Spoor said. Homo habilis was likely more vegetarian and Homo erectus ate some meat, he said. Like chimps and apes, “they’d just avoid each other, they don’t feel comfortable in each other’s company,” he said.
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20178936/

    The changing face of genus Homo – Wood; Collard
    Excerpt: the current criteria for identifying species of Homo are difficult, if not impossible, to operate using paleoanthropological evidence. We discuss alternative, verifiable, criteria, and show that when these new criteria are applied to Homo, two species, Homo habilis and Homo rudolfensis, fail to meet them.
    http://www3.interscience.wiley.....0/abstract

    Human evolution?
    Excerpt: Some scientists have proposed moving this species (habilis) out of Homo and into Australopithecus (ape) due to the morphology of its skeleton being more adapted to living on trees rather than to moving on two legs like H. sapiens.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H.....Genus_Homo

    “Dr. Leakey produced a biased reconstruction (of 1470/ Homo Rudolfensis) based on erroneous preconceived expectations of early human appearance that violated principles of craniofacial development,” Dr. Timothy Bromage
    http://www.geneticarchaeology......lieved.asp

  3. BA77:

    “Archaeologists date stone age artifacts by the depth of the layer. They may not have paid sufficient attention to one factor that could have shoved them deeper down: animals trampling over them. “Animals push human tools into ground—and back in time, study says,” was a subtitle of a report in National Geographic News. This factor could cause mis-dating of stone tools and other artifacts, “making them seem older than they really are—in some cases, thousands of years older,” experiments have demonstrated.”

    I’ve seen this effect and it is accounted for. On the site in question the ‘tools’ were mostly flakes from knapping and I can tell you from personal experience that there is a clear difference between a spray of flakes and those that have been pushed down into deeper layers.

  4. Ellazimm you state;

    ‘there is a clear difference between a spray of flakes and those that have been pushed down into deeper layers.’

    and yet from the article itself states;

    ‘the artefacts are spread through several layers of sediment that span the period between 1.85 million and 1.77 million years ago. The findings are published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences1.

    “This is indeed suggestive,,,

    So ellazimm contrary to your claim of a mere ‘spray of flakes’, the flakes are in fact distributed through several layers of sediments. Thus ellazimm, despite your desire to for this to be ‘conclusive evidence’ for your neo-Darwinian beliefs, the fact is that it is merely suggestive evidence that could have a variety of plausible reasons other than the one favored, automatically, by neo-Darwinists. ,,, Ellazimm, and even if this bit of evidence was ‘conclusive’, it is still a ‘historical’ evidence, which lacks ‘direct observation’ that is so critical for modern science, so if you truly want to stay ‘scientific’, and you really want to provide conclusive proof for your primary position, that neo-Darwinian processes, and only neo-Darwinian processes, created all the life on earth, then once again I point you to the fitness test;

    Is Antibiotic Resistance evidence for evolution? – ‘The Fitness Test’ – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/3995248

    i.e. ellazimm, despite the fact that a ‘simple’ bacterium contains this much information,,,,

    ‘The information content of a simple cell has been estimated as around 10^12 bits, comparable to about a hundred million pages of the Encyclopedia Britannica.”
    Carl Sagan, “Life” in Encyclopedia Britannica: Macropaedia (1974 ed.), pp. 893-894

    ,,,, a bacterium cannot even demonstrate a gain of any functional information, WHATSOEVER, above that which is already present,,,

    further note:

    Testing Evolution in the Lab With Biologic Institute’s Ann Gauger – podcast with link to peer-reviewed paper
    Excerpt: Dr. Gauger experimentally tested two-step adaptive paths that should have been within easy reach for bacterial populations. Listen in and learn what Dr. Gauger was surprised to find as she discusses the implications of these experiments for Darwinian evolution. Dr. Gauger’s paper, “Reductive Evolution Can Prevent Populations from Taking Simple Adaptive Paths to High Fitness,”.
    http://intelligentdesign.podom.....4_13-07_00

    Response from Ralph Seelke to David Hillis Regarding Testimony on Bacterial Evolution Before Texas State Board of Education, January 21, 2009
    Excerpt: He has done excellent work showing the capabilities of evolution when it can take one step at a time. I have used a different approach to show the difficulties that evolution encounters when it must take two steps at a time. So while similar, our work has important differences, and Dr. Bull’s research has not contradicted or refuted my own.
    http://www.discovery.org/a/9951

    Genetic Entropy Confirmed (in Lenski’s e-coli) – June 2011
    Excerpt: No increases in adaptation or fitness were observed, and no explanation was offered for how neo-Darwinism could overcome the downward trend in fitness.
    http://crev.info/content/11060....._confirmed

    ,,, thus ellazimm, even if the paper in the OP was as solid as you had wished, the fact is that neo-Darwinists do not have even the slightest of direct laboratory evidence for establishing that neo-Darwinian evolution can accomplish, by itself, all that is, ‘religiously’, ascribed to it;

    further notes:

    “The First Rule of Adaptive Evolution”: Break or blunt any functional coded element whose loss would yield a net fitness gain – Michael Behe – December 2010
    Excerpt: In its most recent issue The Quarterly Review of Biology has published a review by myself of laboratory evolution experiments of microbes going back four decades.,,, The gist of the paper is that so far the overwhelming number of adaptive (that is, helpful) mutations seen in laboratory evolution experiments are either loss or modification of function. Of course we had already known that the great majority of mutations that have a visible effect on an organism are deleterious. Now, surprisingly, it seems that even the great majority of helpful mutations degrade the genome to a greater or lesser extent.,,, I dub it “The First Rule of Adaptive Evolution”: Break or blunt any functional coded element whose loss would yield a net fitness gain.(that is a net ‘fitness gain’ within a ‘stressed’ environment i.e. remove the stress from the environment and the parent strain is always more ‘fit’)
    http://behe.uncommondescent.co.....evolution/

    Michael Behe talks about the preceding paper on this podcast:

    Michael Behe: Challenging Darwin, One Peer-Reviewed Paper at a Time – December 2010
    http://intelligentdesign.podom.....3_46-08_00

    The Capabilities of Chaos and Complexity: David L. Abel – Null Hypothesis For Information Generation – 2009
    To focus the scientific community’s attention on its own tendencies toward overzealous metaphysical imagination bordering on “wish-fulfillment,” we propose the following readily falsifiable null hypothesis, and invite rigorous experimental attempts to falsify it: “Physicodynamics cannot spontaneously traverse The Cybernetic Cut: physicodynamics alone cannot organize itself into formally functional systems requiring algorithmic optimization, computational halting, and circuit integration.” A single exception of non trivial, unaided spontaneous optimization of formal function by truly natural process would falsify this null hypothesis.
    http://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/10/1/247/pdf

    etc.. etc..

  5. They found stone artefacts — mostly flakes that were dropped as hominins knapped rocks to create tools for butchering animals — lying in sediments almost 1.85 million years old.

    Thank God it wasn’t a rabbit.

  6. Mung! :)

  7. There seems to be an issue with carbon 14 dating. I came across this interesting link on my astronomy forum. http://news.stanford.edu/news/.....82310.html

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