When did Adam live? Part 4 Fossil Record & One Curse in Two
By Glenn R. Morton
This is the last of this series before moving into a historical reading of Genesis 2 and 3. In this post I am going to explain how spotty the fossil record is to answer an objection I have heard to my views. After the first part of this post, I am going to go into what the Bible indicate, or hints at about what species Adam and Eve might have been. I think you will find something novel in the 2nd half of this post.t If you don’t read the whole series of When Did Adam Live? you won’t understand why such an old Adam is required by the data. My next post will be a way to read Genesis 2 and 3 historically.
One of the objections to my view of an ancient Adam and Eve is the small brains of the early hominids. I covered that in a previous post. I covered the fact that our genes show an incredible age, with some being 5 million years old in another post. Thus, if we are to have a real Adam and Eve, we must place them back in the 5-6 million year time frame. But an ancillary objection is that some would grant that H. erectus might be capable of carrying the image of God, but surely not Australopithecus and besides, they say, the oldest H. erectus is from 1.9 Myr ago. H. erectus , it is said, wasn’t alive 5.5 million years ago. But could he have been? This question can only be answered by looking at the fossil record.
The first question is, "Is the earliest H. erectus the very first erectus ever on earth? If it were, then there would likely have been no further erectines in history, since this one got killed. Colin Tudge observes,
" Logic dictates, too, that the oldest known fossils cannot possibly be the oldest representatives of their kind. Fossilization is a rare event, after all; and when animals first appear, they are rare. The earliest fossil bones are therefore likely to date from a time when their erstwhile owners were already common. Logic similarly dictates that if an animal is particularly unlikely to form fossils–as primates seem to be–then paleontologists are particularly unlikely to find the very earliest types. In fact, this logic can be translated into a mathematical formula (see Robert D. Martin, ““Primate Origins: Plugging the Gaps,”” Nature, May 20, 1993, pp 223-234). The fewer fossils there are (relative to the calculated number of extinct species), the older the group is liable to be, relative to the number of fossils found. " 1
So, how far back was the very first H. erectus? To answer that, we must ask how rare fossilization is. Consider what Foote et al,
" The number of living species that have been described is about 1.5 million…If we focus on the paleontologically important groups, present-day diversity is about 180,000 species. …Suppose we assume that the present-day level of diversity was attained immediately at the beginning of the Cambrian Period and has been maintained since then. Then 25 percent of 180,000 species, or 45,000 species became extinct and were replaced by new species every million years. In rough terms, the Phanerozoic is 550 million years log. this leads to an estimate that there have been 180,000+(45,000 X 550) or about 25 million species. Comparing this with the 300,000 described fossil species implies that between 1 percent and 2 percent of species are known as fossils. " 2
Ok, one might say I cherry picked a quote, but this concept of the rarity of fossilization is wide-spread. Prothero goes through the calculation in other ways:
" Let us start with some simple estimates. We have already estimated that there are 1.5 million described species, or as many as 4.5 to 10 million described and undescribed species of organisms alive on Earth today. How many species are known as fossils? It turns out that there are only about 250,000 described species of fossil plants and animals presently known, or only 5% of the total for species living today. " 3
He then goes on to focus on marine invertebrates. Marine invertebrates are the best animals to get fossilized. They can’t run from a landslide of sediment(turbidites) coming to cover them. Such things happen at earthquakes and when sediment accumulates so much that the pile sloughs off some of its mass.
" Let us just focus on nine well-skeltonized phyla of marine invertebrates and see if we come up with better estimates. These nine phyla are the Protista, Archaeocyatha, Porifera, Cnidaria, Bryozoa, Brachiopoda, Mollusca, Echinodermata, and Arthropoda (excluding insects). In these groups, there are about 150,000 living species, but more than 180,000 fossil species. To translate these numbers into completeness estimates, we need to know the turnover rate of species and the number of coexisting species through time. Different values have been used for each of these variables, but the results of the calculations are remarkably similar. Durham estimated that about 2.3% of all the species in these nine phyla were fossilized. Valentine gave estimates that ranged from 4.5% to 13.6%. No matter which method we use, we must conclude that 85% to 97% of all the species in these nine well-skeletonized phyla that have ever lived have never been fossilized. " 4
So, 85% of species living in the best place to be fossilized are not fossilized. What are the implications to hominids living on the African plain? First, it says that there are very likely species of hominids which have never been found and will never be found because they were not fossilized. Secondly, this data says that animals can live for millions of years on earth and leave no trace of their existence whatsoever?
Why do I say they can live millions of years and leave no evidence? Well, the average life time of mammalian species is about 3 million years. 5 If 95% of mammal species that have ever lived were never fossilized, and if their lifespan in the geologic record was 3 million years, then each of these species lived on earth for 3 million years and didn’t leave a trace. Secondly, the 3 million years is an average. Some species live longer and some shorter, so it is easily comprehendable that H. erectus could have lived as far back as 5.5 million years and not left a trace.
Many well documented species and genera did live on earth for millions of years never leaving a trace. How do we know this? Because we know the time gap between the first and second fossil of many genera. and familes. Remember genera and families have many species within their ranks. When we find, say, that the first example of a Tyrannosaurus species and the second example of a Tyrannosaurus species are separated by 20 myr. 6 it means that possibly hundreds of Tyrannosaurus species lived and died without leaving a trace on earth. If this can happen with a monster like Tyrannosaurus it most assuredly can happen with the hominids.
I am only going to illustrate this further with a few example because if one doesn’t understand the issue from the above, they never will. If the fact that 85% of marine shelled invertebrates were never fossilized and lived their lives never leaving a trace of their existence, and probably only 98% of terrestrial mammals were never fossillized. and lived their lives without leaving a trace, doesn’t make one think it is possible for H. erectus to live 3 million years without leaving a fossil, then nothing will make them think that is possible. Below are some of the examples of gaps between the first and second occurrence of a species of a family and how long the animal lived on earth while leaving no trace of itself.
Dinosaurs lived 15 million years without leaving a fossil–Big Ugly Dinosaurs. The earliest discovered dinosaur dates to 243 MY and the second from 228 Myr. 15 Myr without a known fossil. 7
The earliest bird, Archaeopteryx (147 Myr) precedes the 2nd known fossil of birds(139 Myr) by 8 Myr. I couldn’t find anything to change this gap while researching for this article. 8
The earliest evidence that grass was on earth comes from Myanmar amber and is dated 100 Myr old. The second fossil of grass is dated 55 Myr, so grasses lived on earth for 45 million years without a trace. 9
Tribosphenic mammals, named for their strange teeth, are first found in the middle Jurassic dated about 167 Myr ago. The next trace of this group is from the early Cretaceous, about 143 Mry ago. 10 Again, this group lived on earth for 25 million years, without a trace and people think H. erectus couldn’t live on earth without leaving a trace for a mere 3 million years.
Turtles have big shells and should be easy to find in the fossil record, but the earliest African turtle known dates to 205 Myr and the second African fossil of turtles is from 145 Myr, meaning they lived in Africa for 60 Myr leaving no record of themselves. 11 And H. erectus couldn’t live for 3 million years without a trace? That position sounds quite unreasonable.
I love to eat crawfish, and their fossil history is quite interesting. The earliest fossil of a Crawfish claw is from Antarctica dated 290 Myr. This find is right at the bottom of the Permian Age. From then until 124 Myr ago, there is no actual fossil of crawfish at least that I can find. 166 Myr without a body fossil. But, there are Lower Triassic burrows in Antarctica dated about 245 Myr that provide some evidence that they were still around. That is a 65 Myr without fossil or burrow. Babcock et al say:
" Discovery of an Early Permian claw from Antarctica extends the fossil record of crayfish by ~65 m.y. and demonstrates that decapod crustaceans had radiated into freshwater habitats by late Paleozoic. Burrows in Lower Triassic rocks of Antarctica are among the oldest apparently constructed by crayfish. Their morphology is similar to modern crayfish burrows, and this demonstrates that burrowing behavior was established early in the evolution of this group. The new discoveries show that the earliest Permian crayfish were distributed in high paleolatitudes of southernmost Pangea, where they lived in freshwater lakes fed by glacial meltwater. Modern crayfish habitat, used as a guide to crayfish temperature tolerance, indicates that summer temperatures of streams and lakes near the South Pole that supported the crayfish probably reached 10-20 C during Permian-Triassic interglacial intervals. " 12
The next evidence of crawfish I can find is at 124 myr. Shen Yanbin found a fossil crawfish in NE China.
" Shen Yanbin at the Nanjing Institute of Geology and Paleontology said the oldest fossil crayfish found in China dates to 124 million years ago, while the oldest one found in North America can only be traced back 100 million years. " 13
More burrows are found in Australia at 115 Myr:
" Studying the fossil burrows gives us a glimpse into the ecology of southern Australia about 115 million years ago, when the continent was still attached to Antarctica," says Martin, a senior lecturer in environmental studies at Emory and an honorary research associate at Monash University in Melbourne. " 14
To sum up the history of crawfish they lived for 166 million years without a trace, appeared briefly at 124 myr ago, then disappeared for 9 myr, then appeared briefly. Only after 30 Myr ago is the fossil record of crawfish widespread and consistent.
I have used these gaps, which are different than the gaps young-earther’s speak of, to illustrate that a hominid of relatively large brain size, like that of H. erectus could live for millions of years not leaving a trace. Secondly the abysmal chances of being fossilized at all suggests that it is likely we have never found the parent species of H. erectus because only 1-2% of animals are fossilized. Turned around, we have a 97-98% chance of NOT having H. erectus 's ancestor. I once built a database of fossil vertebrates and then looked for fossils of modern species listed in that database, and it was about 3%. That means 97% of today’s living creatures never left a fossil that we have found. Thus, to claim that H. erectus appeared 2 million years ago and couldn’t have been in existence 5 million years ago is not a solid argument.
Thus, if one wants a larger brained creature to be the species that Adam founded, fine, use the above line of logic.
Johnny-come-Lately, The Curse, Brain-size, Pain and Sweating
Above I have spent some time defending the big brained scenario for what species Adam and Eve were. Some people might prefer that view. Below, I am going to use a Biblical reason for why I believe Adam and Eve had a brain-size about half our present value or smaller… At this point I am shifting to look not at the scientific evidence but at the Biblical evidence. I think one of the interesting possible interpretations of Scripture has been totally overlooked for millennia. Most didn’t have the scientific knowledge to understand what it said, but for the past 100 years we have and no one seems to have seen it. Both the woman’s curse and the man’s curse in Genesis 3 involve a future big brain!
Most liberal Christians (defined as not believing there is any scientific/historical information in Genesis 1-4), place Adam within the past 10,000 years. Such a position for Adam makes an utter laughing stock of everything done and said in Genesis 3. That is, assuming they believe Adam was an individual rather than a population. I call this the Johnny-come-lately Adam because he is really too late in time, even by Biblical evidence. Let’s look at some of the things Johnny- come-lately Adam is too late for.
Sally-come-lately Eve is too late for pain in childbirth to mean anything.
Pain in Childbirth Genesis 3:16:To the woman He said, “I will greatly multiply Your pain in childbirth," (NASB)
If someone cursed me right now with having trouble walking, it would mean nothing. I already HAVE trouble walking from side effects of a drug trial. Or if they cursed my hair to turn gray when it is already gray, or as a friend said, 'it would be the same as if He cursed you with ugliness." LOL, So, big deal.
That must be how Sally-come-lately Eve felt when God told her she would have increased pain in childbirth. Sally-come-lately Eve would say: “Big Deal. Big Guy! Haven’t you heard millennia of screaming women in labor who are cursing what their husbands did to them?” Thus, the curse is no curse at all!
Further Gen 3:20 says Eve was “Mother of all living.” Sally-come-lately Eve certainly couldn’t have been the mother of all the other women alive with her, 10,000 years ago in the Neolithic. Nor could she be the mother of all living until maybe the last century or two. Why? The other day I spoke about Tasmanians being isolated from the rest of humanity from about 12,000 years to 1642 AD. 15 To say Eve was the mother of all living 10,000 years ago would have been a farce, yet that is what the liberal position on Genesis does to it. It makes everything a farce. Let’s go back to looking at the pain in childbirth issue.
Pain in childbirth arises from the size of the baby’s head vs the size of the birth canal. Bipedalism requires that the legs be close enough together so that the person can walk without a waddle. But this causes the pelvic opening to be small. Intelligence requires large brains and thus large cranial sizes. These two conflicting features lead to the tight fit of the infant through the birth canal. Wendy Trevathan wrote a book advocating that the problems relating to human deliveries and produced selective pressures which led to the nearly universal human practice of midwifery. Further, the change from the ape style birth to the human style birth required that the large brained infant be born prematurely and spend much of what would be neonatal time outside the womb, increasing the intelligence of the infant, who has a world of sensory perception while the brain is developing.
" The human pattern of pre-and post-natal brain growth and development is very unusual relative both to other mammals and to other primates. At birth, human babies’ brains are small–only about 30% of their adult size, as opposed to about 50% in other primates–although their gestation time is long for an animal of their body size. Unlike other living species, humans maintain the pre-natal rate of brain growth for approximately a year after birth, resulting in an unusually large brain size relative to body size. " 16
Basically we are born a year too early. Most other primates with small brains, give birth to infants with brains 1/2 of the adult size, but if humans did that, no woman would be able to walk, or, alternatively no child would survive birth. Thus, human infants are born with brains 1/3 the size of the adult and yet still it is a tight fit through the birth canal.
" A modern human baby, with its large skull, negotiates the birth canal by entering with the head oriented transversely. It then rotates 90 degrees into a sagittal position before exiting the canal facing the sacrum, that is, with its back toward the mother’s face. A human mother is therefore in a bad position to assist in delivery, since her infant is exiting ‘down and back,’ away from her helping hands. Furthermore, pulling an emerging human infant up toward the mother’s breast would bend it against the normal flexion of its body and would possibly result in injury. Interestingly, the human delivery pattern is very different from that of nonhuman primates, in which there is no fetal rotation (babies are sagitally oriented throughout birth) and newborns exit the canal face-to-face with their mothers. In this pattern, mother monkeys and apes routinely assist in delivery by reaching down and pulling emerging infants up and toward their chests in a curve that matches the normal flexion of the babies’ bodies. " 17
So monkey and apes can pull their own babies out of the birth canal, human mother’s can’t. they need help in bad situations. How long has this birth pattern been in existence? At least since the time of H. erectus 1.6 million years ago . The famous Lucy (AL 288-1) didn’t have this problem. Ruff comments.
" It has been cogently argued by Tague & Lovejoy (1986), based on the obstetric pelvis of AL 288-1, that birth in Australopithecus afarensis would have occurred with the fetal cranium in a transverse orientation throughout, i.e., without the pelvic rotation characteristic of modern humans, and that secondary altriciality of the infant need not have been present. In contrast, based on the relatively small size of the birth canal of KNM-WT 15000, it has been argued that secondary altriciality must have been present in Homo erectus, i.e., that the infant must have been born in a relatively helpless state. Furthermore, the anthropoid shape of the pelvic inlet/outlet in this male juvenile, even allowing for growth to adulthood and sexual dimorphism in pelvic shape, indicates that a transverse non-rotational birth mechanism would have been highly improbable. " 18
Because of this data, it makes much more sense that Eve have been a small brained hominid because otherwise there is no meaning to the curse of increasing her pain in childbirth. She would have already had it.
Johnny-come-lately Adam is too late for his curse too
Genesis 3:19 says: By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food.
It is fascinating that Adam is cursed with sweat. A Johnny come lately Adam couldn’t be cursed with sweat because he already had the human sweating mechanism. Adam would say, “Big Deal, Big Guy! Have you seen what all humans have to do to earn a living here in the hot Neolithic summers?”
The rest of this section is from an old web page of mine on sweat. It is no longer up:
Dean Falk, one of the world’s leading authorities on hominid brains, advanced a theory in which the hominid brain could not grow any bigger than the cooling system attached to it. The theory originated from a comment by her mechanic. She writes:
" It was an ‘aha’ experience, if ever I’ve had one, and the weirdest combination of events led to it. First, the engine in my 1970 Mercedes needed major surgery. I took it to Walter Anwander (a whiz) in Lafayette, Indiana, who completely rebuilt the engine. One day, while enumerating the wonders beneath the hood (about which I definitely needed schooling), Walter pointed to the radiator and told me ‘the engine can only be as big as that can cool.’ I didn’t think much about it at the time. " 19
The brain, like that engine, can only be as big as the cooling system it has. If the brain overheats, the brain is ruined just like overheating a car engine will ruin it. In the brain the blood acts as the coolant. The brain has several emissary veins which go from the interior of the skull to the skin of the face. These veins are part of the “radiator” system. When a person is cold, blood flows from the cranium outward in these veins. But when a person exercises and becomes overheated, the blood flow reverses and blood flows into the cranium. The reason for this reversal is that the skin of the face (the brow included) acts as a radiator, cooling the blood which then enters the brain to cool that organ. Some of the veins are preserved in the skulls of extinct hominids (and man) in the form of emissary foramina (a foramina is a hole in the skull 20 . Thus a record of the size and number of emissary foramina are preserved in ancient skulls for anthropologists to examine. Falk notes:
" It was beautiful. For the past two million years, the increase in frequencies of emissary foramina kept exact pace with the sharp increase in brain size in Homo. Clearly, the brain and the veins had evolved rapidly and together. I saw that Cabanac’s letter was right and that I had unwittingly charted the evolution of a radiator for the brain in my earlier work on emissary foramina. As Anwander had said about my car, the engine can only be as big as the radiator can cool. Apparently, the same is true for heat-sensitive brains. " 21
But emissary veins are only part of the cooling mechanism in mankind. Sweat is the reason that the facial skin cools and the cooling of the skin cools the blood destined for the brain. What do we know about sweat?
The human sweating system is unique among mammals. Bernard Campbell describes the function of sweat glands:
" The sweat glands fall into two groups: the apocrine and eccrine glands. The apocrine glands secrete the odorous component of sweat and are primarily scent glands that respond to stress or sexual stimulation. Before the development of artificial scents and deodorants, they no doubt played an important role in human society. In modern man these glands occur only in certain areas of the body, in particular in the armpits, the navel, the anal and genital areas, the nipples, and the ears. Surprisingly enough, glands in the armpits of man are more numerous per unit area than in any other animal. There is no doubt that the function of scent in sexual encounter is of the greatest importance even in the higher primates and man. "The eccrine glands, which are the source of sweat itself, have two functions in primates. Their original function was probably to moisten friction surfaces, such as the volar pads of hand and foot to improve the grip, prevent flaking of the horny layer of the skin, and assist tactile sensitivity. Glands serving that function are also found on the hairless surface of the prehensile tail of New World monkeys and on the knuckles of gorilla and chimpanzee hands, which they use in quadrupedal walking. Glands in these positions are under the control of the brain and adrenal bodies, and in modern man an experience of stress may produce sweaty palms.
"The second and more recently evolved function of the eccrine glands is the lowering of body temperature through the evaporation of sweat on the surface of the body. The hairy skin of monkeys and apes carries eccrine glands, but they are neither so active nor so numerous as in man. Modern man is equipped with between two and five million active sweat glands, and they play a vital part in cooling the body. The heat loss that results from the evaporation of water from a surface is enormously greater than that which could be expected to occur as a result of simple radiation. The fact that sweat contains salt necessitates a constant supply of the mineral if man is to survive in a tropical climate.
"It has been observed that like almost all mammals, primates sweat very little. Even hunting carnivores, such as dogs, lose heat by other means, such as panting. Sweating has evolved as a most important means of heat loss in man, a fact that is surely correlated with the loss of his body hair. The apparent importance in human evolution of achieving an effective means of heat loss indicates without doubt that early man was subject to intense muscular activity, with the production of much metabolic heat; he could not afford even the smallest variation in body temperature. With such a highly evolved brain, the maintenance of a really constant internal environment was a need of prime importance in human evolution. " 22
With this need to dissipate heat in order to maintain a constant brain temperature, hair becomes a problem. Hair traps the sweat and hinders evaporation. Zihlman and Cohn relate:
" How might early hominids have dissipated the heat load generated internally, as well as externally from the sun? One way is through the skin. The skin of modern humans contrasts with that of other, nonhuman primates in four features: 1) humans have a great density (over two million) of functioning eccrine sweat glands over the entire body surface; 2) loss of the apocrine sweat glands has been associated with hair loss, and has occurred except in the ano-genital and axillary regions; 3) hair follicles are diffuse and hair shafts are noticeably reduced in size; 4) skin pigment ranges from dark to light. "How might these features be interpreted in a functional and evolutionary way? There is the remarkable thermo-regulatory function of eccrine sweat glands. Sweating can deliver two litres of water to the skin surface in two hours and carry off almost 600 calories of heat. Hair tends to trap moisture, so that sweat evaporation is more effective with reduced hair. Interestingly, the number of hair follicles in humans is similar to that in chimpanzees and gorillas, but the much reduced size of hair shafts in humans gives a hairless appearance. " 23
Why do we have hair on our head? Zihlman and Cohninform us:
" Hair retention on the head is probably important in protecting the scalp from the sun’s ultraviolet rays and may assist in stabilizing the temperature of the brain. Human populations are variable in the amount of body hair present, but in all of them the skin surface is hairless enough to permit efficient heat loss from sweating. " 24
Radiatively, hair on the top of the head absorbs the solar heat and re-radiates most of it. An absorbing layer can reduce by half the amount of energy reaching the top of the skull.
When is it likely that mankind needed this cooling mechanism for heat removal? Probably fairly early. For modern men even moderate exertion on the savanna increases the heat production by 100% over the resting levels. Since Homo erectus was as large as we are 25 similar exertions on the plains would yield similar heating. Even the smallest Homo erectus has a brain which is over twice as large as that of the chimpanzee which can get by without sweating. Homo erectus would need to sweat. Since he needed to sweat, then he needed to be relatively hairless as we are.
If he were relatively hairless, then the Homo erectus who lived in Georgia (former USSR) 26 would have been ill-equipped to handle the winter temperatures below zero Fahrenheit which occur from time to time in that area. He would have needed clothing. Because of these considerations, Anthropologists like Brian Fagan were forced to conclude,
" 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. " 27
This is a very human set of behaviors and Homo erectus was found in European Georgia 1.6 million years ago.
Now to tie up the final item, pain in childbirth. Among mammals there are two patterns of brain growth. The first pattern is called altriciality. In this pattern the animal is born helpless and extremely immature. The brains of altricial animals are usually half the size of the adult’s, and double in size by adulthood. Because of this it takes lots of parental effort to raise the young. Animals following this pattern usually have litters and perform this care for multiple offspring at once. Cats, with their blind and helpless kittens are altricial. The other pattern is precocial. In this pattern the offspring are usually born single and from birth are able to get around quite well. Their brains are nearly adult size at birth. The are alert and all their organs are functioning. An example of this pattern is the horse, the wildebeest etc., where the young will run with the herds within minutes.
Now, according to Walker and Shipman 28 , altricial species almost never have bigger brains than precocial species. The reason is that for all mammals save one, the brain grows rapidly during gestation but then grows less rapidly after birth. There is a kink in the graph of brain size vs. time which occurs at birth. Altricial species whose immature state at birth and subsequent slow down in the rate of growth forever remain behind the more maturely born precocial species.
What humans seem to have accomplished is the trick of keeping the brain growing at the embryonic rate for one year after birth. Effectively, if humans are a fundamentally precocial species, our gestation is (or should be) 21 months . However, no mother could possibly pass a year old baby’s head through the birth canal. Thus, human babies are born “early” to avoid the death of the mother. Walker and Shipman write:
" Humans are simply born too early in their development, at the time when their heads will still fit through their mothers’ birth canals. As babies’ brains grow, during this extrauterine year of fetal life, so do their bodies. About the time of the infant’s first birthday, the period of fetal brain growth terminates, coinciding with the beginnings of speech and the mastery of erect posture and bipedal walking. " 29
This pattern of growth has huge implications. Every other primate doubles their brain weight from birth to adulthood. But due to the early birth of humans, we triple our brain’s birth rate. Our last 12 month of fetal growth rate of the brain occurs outside the sensorially deprived womb. The vast quantities of sensory input during the first year of life affects the rate and nature of the neural connections. Because of this year of helplessness, parents must provide close physical and emotional support for the infant. Unlike chimp babies who can cling to their mother’s fur, human infants cannot even hang on to mother in spite of having the hand reflex. The mother has no fur because she sweats and she sweats because of a big brain which is why she gives birth to her child early. This early birth then requires the mother to care for the infant and increases the bond between mother and child which partially makes us human.
So, what is the birth pattern in Homo erectus? It is human. Shipman and Walker30 point out that the adult Homo erectus cranial capacity was 950 cc. If they followed the ape-like pattern of doubling their brain size after birth, they would need to be born with a brain size of around 400 cc. Following the discovery of a nearly complete Homo erectus skeleton, the approximate size the erectus birth canal is known. A head with a 400 cc brain is 10 cm too big to fit through the birth canal. Estimates place the maximum fetal brain size able to fit through the erectus birth canal at just 231 cc 31 . Homo erectus had a human pattern of birth and must have endured similar pain in childbirth.
A study of Homo rudolfensis which lived eight hundred thousand years earlier than the 1.6-million-year-old Homo erectus studied by Walker and Shipman above, also had a human birth pattern of trebling its brain size from birth to adulthood. Homo rudolfensis stood about 5 foot 8 inches tall and was quite human in form below the neck 32 . Steven M. Stanley showed that the birth canal of a Homo rudolfensis would only be able to pass a fetal head of about 210 cc. The adult of this species had brain sizes in the range of 760 to 900 cc. This data would strongly imply that pain in childbirth of the type experienced by human mothers extends back at least 2.4 million years to the initial appearance of Homo rudolfensis. 33 The birth pattern means that Homo rudolfensis children would also be born as helpless as any human or erectus baby which would require long periods intensive care. This would lead to an intense period of bonding between mother and child as also occurs among humans. And the enlarged brain would most likely have meant hairlessness among the rudolfensis also. In short, this birth pattern means they had many of our traits which are theologically associated with the Fall.
To close, it would appear that there is a single underlying cause of God’s curse for the man and woman and it is an increase in brain size. This increase also caused the loss of hair requiring clothing when mankind eventually inhabited northern climes. Homo erectus is found in European Georgia 1.6 million years ago. Without fire or clothing, he would have been unlikely to survive the more severe winters in that area.
The fact that Homo erectus and Homo rudolfensis were saddled with the problems given to Adam and Eve after the fall has theological implications for the status of Homo erectus and Homo rudolfensis , the time during which Adam lived as well as who is eligible for salvation. I have long contended that humanity in the theological sense is much older than most Christians are willing to admit. If sweat and increased pain in childbirth and clothing are not signifying of humanity and the Fall, what then does theologically separate us from mere animals?
It is also intriguing to me that the ancient Hebrew writer would choose as a curse for man and woman, two different maledictions which can be caused by a single phenomenon–an increase in brain size. This single cause also would require the loss of hair and the subsequent need for clothing. There is no way that the Hebrew writer could have had the knowledge to purposefully construct this tale. Is this a fortuitous conjunction of statements or is it divine inspiration? I firmly believe God inspired the writer and while he didn’t understand it, we can today.
Johnny-come-lately is too late for Language creation
Genesis 2:19-20 says:
19 Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name.
20The man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him. (NASB)
This verse describes language creation. When I learned Mandarin, I went around China pointing and saying in Chinese, “How do you say that in Chinese?” They would tell me the word and thus I learned Mandarin. In Adam’s case, he was creating the language and God showed him something and asked Adam to give it a name. But regardless of the difference, this is language creation. A Neolithic farmer had no need of all this. Are we really expected to ignore what the Bible says about language here and blithely believe that Adam was a 10,000 years ago, farmer, who already had all the farm animals words down? He would have known the words for cows, sheep pigs etc? Thus, what is this all about in that setting–not much that I can think of. Besides language is much older than 10,000 years ago.
Our language requires both brain and vocal cord structures so as to allow us to make the sounds we do. One mistake that is often made is that if some fossil species couldn’t make all the sounds we make, therefore they couldn’t have a language at all. That is poppycock, they couldn’t have a language like ours, but it doesn’t rule out all possible languages. Lieberman claimed that Neanderthals couldn’t have had a language because they couldn’t make all our vowel sounds. It is all based upon his reconstruction of the Neanderthal vocal tract, Campbell writes of this issue,
" His reconstructions have been challenged. It has to be admitted that reconstructing voiceboxes from the angle of skulls on vertebral columns, basicranial morphology, and the shape of mandibles is bound to lead to controversy. More recently the hyoid bone, which forms the Adam’s apple, has been studied in detail in the Kebara Neanderthal., There is no significant difference from modern examples, and it is suggested that the larynx beneath the hyoid has also been unchanged for at least the past 60,000 years. "Speech and language require more than a voicebox. Lateralization of the brain is also a necessary but not sufficient requirement, with Broca and Wernicke’s areas controlling speech in the dominant hemisphere. In particular Broca’s area, as Passingham shows, controls the sequencing of the vocal cords and directs them according to context. This adds up to extreme vocal skills. The earliest brain cast showing Broca’s area comes from the 1470 Homo habilis skull from Koobi Fora. Indications of asymmetry, and hence lateralization in the brain, have been traced through preferred handedness in the manufacture of stone tools as well as endocasts of the brain of Homo erectus to 1.5 Myr. " 34
I chose this quote because it talks both about the fact that the Neanderthal hyoid bone (critical to language) is identical to ours and because it talks about the earliest evidence for the language center of the brain–Broca’s area. In all other areas of paleontology if two species descended from a common ancestor have the same trait, it is usually claimed that the parent species had that trait and gave it to the two daughter populations. Neanderthal and modern human vocal tracts contain identically shaped hyoid bones, yet some want to say we can talk but they can’t, and neither can the parent species. We, cats, dogs, bats, dolphins, etc have 5 fingered hands because we are all descended from an animal that had the pentadactyl plan. Same with us and the Neanderthal’s hyoid bone. We both descended from a being with this shaped hyoid bone. It really is too much to think it evolved this way independently in two different lineages.
Given the Bruniquel religious site, deep in a cave, it is pretty clear that Neanderthals had language 176,000 years ago and even the worst case anthropologists believe humans developed language 50,000 years ago at the explosion of blade technology and art in Europe. So, no matter how one cuts the matter, Adam is far to late to be creating a language when he grew up with one.
Secondly, one must ask why the KNM-ER 1470 H. habilis had an enlarged speech center in his brain. What was he doing with it? Some have suggested this guy had language.
" Leakey (1994) supposed that a protolanguage might have been produced by Homo habilis on the grounds that Broca’s area and cerebral asymmetries in modern human brain were found on the skull of Homo habilis 2 million years ago [9,15]. "
" *However, developed brain function including the presence of language areas was just one aspect of physiological requirements for language ability, a larynx structure similar to modern humans is also essential. In fact, a fully descended vocal tract is required to emit vowels [i], [u] and [a], which are the base of modern human language. Until around 300,000 years ago, the curvature of the skull base of Archaic Homo sapiens reached the level of modern people so that the vocal tract could emit a full range of human speech, which met another key requirement for humans to acquire language skills* " **35**
One must have a fully descended vocal tract to have a language like ours, but who says they had to have a language like ours? The Khoi-San use clicks in their language to encode information. People say it is very hard to learn this language. 36 The Jul’hoan language has 48 click consonants and about that many non-click consonants. That many clicks could easily encode lots of information. Mandarin and Vietnamese use tones to encode information. Mandarin has 4 or 5 if you include the neutral of the ma for questions, and Vietnamese has 6-8 different tones. With these tones, the same sound can have different meanings. Ma with an even tone means mother. Ma with a rising tone means hemp. Ma with a down and up tone is horse. Finally Ma with a sharply falling tone is means scold. There are a couple of other ma’s but then context or what is called a measure word makes it clear what is meant. A measure word is like our “A murder of” Crows. “A murder of” is the measure word Yi ding mao is a cat; yi mao ding is a hat. All this to say, there are a variety of ways information can be encoded, and while our speech is marvelous, it isn’t the only possible way of communication.
Further, the speech area of the brain is near the hand control region of the brain and habilis may have had a sign language. Broca’s area is next to the facial motor cotex. Next to it on each side is the tongue and hand motor cortex areas. Some say our language started out as a form of sign language. How else does one explain this:
" Positron emission tomography, or PET, scans of human volunteers show that Broca’s area is involved in various activities, including making hand gestures or thinking of making hand gestures ." 37
To conclude, Johnny-come-lately Adam had no need to create a language because it might have existed.
Johnny-come-lately Adam and Eve too late for Clothing
Because of the big brains, H. erectus , Neanderthals and H. Sapiens living in colder climates had to have clothing millions of years prior to Neolithic Adam and Eve. They were as hairless as we are, and they had bigger brains than we have. The Biblical account indicates that Adam and Eve didn’t know they were naked. Anyone in Neolithic times would have known they were naked. Late Adam and Eve just ignore everything said in the Scripture.
Neanderthals had to have clothing to live in glacial age Europe:
" The life of a Neanderthal band in the intensely cold environments of the Europe of 75,000 years ago can never have been easy. The means to survival were fire, some form of skin clothing and adequate winter shelter, and an ability to store food. It is probably no coincidence that some of the densest Neanderthal populations lay in the sheltered river valleys of the Perigord region in southwest France. " 38
Further, there is good evidence that they sewed close-fitting clothing.
" In the Mousterian horizon of Combe Grenal, Professor Francois Bordes has recovered bone needles, indicating beyond doubt that classic Neanderthal men made tailored fur clothing. The severity of the periglacial climate would not have permitted men to survive unless they were capable of making sophisticated clothing ." 39
Not only that archaeologists have found what certainly appears to be the remains of a Shaman’s cape,
" But the Neandertals’ true humanity revealed itself in the actions of their souls. At the 50,000-year-old site of Hortus in southern France, two French archaeologists in 1972 reported the discovery of the articulated bones of the left paw and tail of a leopard. Their arrangement suggested that the fragments were once the remnants of a complete leopard hide worn as a costume. " 40
A lot of people don’t know the potential evidence that H. erectus was spread far afield from Africa by 1.8-1.4 million years ago. Tattersall reports the following controversial sites for Acheulean tools, which if they are correct, H. erectus was spreading abroad. Tattersall names the following places: 41
'Ubeidiya has yielded Acheulean tools dated to 1.4 Myr.
Longupo found stone tools dated at 1.9 Myr
Riwat Pakistan stone tools 1.6 Myr
Dmanisi mandible 1.8 myr
Since they have found several H. erectus skulls at Dmanisi since Tattersall wrote that, I would argue that the Dmanisi hominids also had to have clothing of some sort. We know that they too were hairless. The January average temperature of that area dips down to about 5 C below 0. A hairless man, like erectus or us, would freeze to death in such temperatures without clothing. Thus, we can say that some form of clothing has existed for 1.6 million years, at least.
Johnny-come-lately views of Adam and Eve simply ignore Genesis 3.
Moral choices, rationality, religion and Johnny-come-lately Adam
Genesis 2:16-17 You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.”
This simple statement says many things about man. It says that he knew enough to make moral choices. It also says he had to have an understanding of logic and consequences–that is, rationality. If Adam is a Neolithic farmer he is too late for the start of that as well. And that means religion. Logic and rationality are required for the production of a stone tool.
" The removal of an individual flake is a simple action requiring only minimal organisational ability. In order to manufacture all but the most rudimentary stone tools, however, flake removals must be related to one another in a fashion yielding the appropriate configuration or pattern. If a stone artefact presents a pattern of flake removals that could only have been organised by means of reversibility and/or conservation, then it must be concluded that the maker possessed operational intelligence. I will show that the later Acheulean artefacts from the Isimila Prehistoric Site present such patterns. " 42
It took a lot of foresight, logic and rational thought, not to mention an aesthetic sence, to create the West Tofts hand-axe, the tool of H. erectus and archaic H. sapiens for about a million years or more. See picture.
“ Even the Lower Palaeolithic hand-axe makers showed interest in fossils. A hand-axe discovered at West Tofts, Norfolk, England has a mollusc shell prominently displayed in the middle of one of its sides. Obviously the maker of this tool had seen the fossil shell that lay embedded in the flint, but, more significantly, he must have worked around the shell in order that, when he had finished flaking the tool, the fossil would be in the centre. This is not the only hand-axe to have such a natural form of in-built decoration. Another, found at Swanscombe, Kent, England, has the fossil of a sea-urchin visible on its surface, and again all the indications are that this was both recognised and valued by the tool-maker. “ 43
Logic and rationality certainly preceded Johnny-come-lately Adam. Moral choices
The late placement of Adam in history, the view preferred by many modern commentators makes an utter mockery of everything said in Genesis 2-3. Nothing said or proclaimed there is true. This should not be the view of people who think that the Scripture contains the way of Salvation. How can such a false book (in their view) really be trusted to tell us the metaphysical truths that we are unable to verify. If so much stuff that we can verify is false, what guarantee do we have that the theology and metaphysics of Scripture is real? This is why a historical reading of Genesis is necessary–it is necessary for the trustworthiness of scripture.
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43.Richard Rudgley, Secrets of the Stone Age, (London: Century, 2000), p. 190-191