A Brief Introduction To The History Of Early Humans
Posts on The Dawn Of Everything: Link
Posts on Pierre Bourdieu and Symbolic Violence: link
Posts trying to cope with the absurd state of political discourse: link
Posts on Freedom and Equality. link
Chapter 3 of The Dawn Of Everything begins with a history of the human species, starting three million years ago. David Graeber and David Wengrow remind us that we have practically no information about most of this period, a few bones or teeth, a piece of shaped flint, a footprint. There were a number of different forms of ancestral and early humans, but we know little or nothing about them, their origins or their way of living. I focus on three points that recur in the book.
1. The new story of human evolution.
The basic story we all know is that Homo Sapiens emerged from a single site in Africa perhaps 500K years ago and gradually spread out over the continent. About 80K years ago H. Sapiens Sapiesn, our species, started to move out of Africa.
Graeber and Wengrow reject that story. They agree that H. Sapiens emerged as a separate species about 500K years ago. This species included a large number of bpdy types, called morphologies. These groups interbred. From time to time, groups were isolated from each other by environmental changes or migration, sometimes for millenia. Then they reconnected, and interbred. The full panoply of physical characteristics of modern humans did not fully emerge until perhaps 100 to 40 ka (thousands of years before the present).
Here are two papers discussing this: link; and link. The first paper is cited by the authors; it’s very readable. The second is harder. It describes current understanding and areas needing further research. There’s a chart showing the spread of humans out of Africa, and a discussion of the possible admixture of Neanderthal and Denisovan populations which are now extinct. This question is unsettled.
These articles and the book describe a few fossils thought to relate to H. Sapiens, but there aren’t all that many. Here’s a Wikipedia entry on major fossils. This paper describes current thinking about the development of Homo sapiens Sapiens (sometimes called modern humans). The abstract and the first part may be of interest. I just skimmed over the rest.
2. Evidence of early human culture.
We have practically no evidence about human culture before about 100 ka ago. We don’t know much about how H. Sapiens evolved, or exactly when we became an identifiable species. But our authors assert that “as soon as we were human we started doing human things.”. P. 83. They think groups of H. Sapiens moved around and became separated from other groups. They assume that each group decided how to organize itself, considering their environment and the state of their technology. They assume that decisions were made consciously, intentionally, with specific goals in mind. This is what they mean by “doing human things”.
They assume that different groups made different decisions. They simply can’t imagine that all over Africa all the groups made the same choices about hierarchy, ritual, gender relations, child-rearing practices, diet, dress, and so on. Then when they came together, permanently or not, they shared their decisions snd newly acquired knowledge and technology; and, they assume, adopted new ideas.
There is agreement on one point. Until about 300 ka ago, humans used hand tools such as hand axes. Then suddenly all across Africa there was a shift to microliths. These are flakes chipped off stones and shaped for tools and weapons. The flakes are attached to wood and bone by glue and threads, instead of being held in the hand. That’s about all we know with reasonable certainty, until about 80 to 100 ka ago
Starting perhaps 100 ka ago we begin to see hints of the culture of our ancestors. We have worked beads and shells, and decorated clothes, some found in burial sites, others in caves. We do not find cemeteries or common grave sites, but there are some “rich burials”, with purposeful arrangements of corpses and grave goods. We also find remnants of comparatively large structures.
However, the authors say that there is little evidence of the kinds of things one would expect in hierarchal societies. There are no permanent monumental structures. The rich burials seem to be young people, or physically deformed people. There is at least one apparently young woman buried with pelvic and stomach plates. These aren’t the robust individuals we’d expect to see in a hierarchal society.
The authors don’t describe any rituals, which might be evidence of a sort of priestly hierarchy. They don’t believe we have enough evidence to support any particular view of social structures. Instead, they suggest there was a wide range of social practices.
3. Seasonal Changes And Gatherings.
The authors think that our ancestors lived in small bands part of the year and gathered together once a year or so. The say indigenous American groups lived this way, in small bands of hunter-foragers part of the year, and in large groups for hunting migrating animals, or to winter over safely. They describe African cultures that lived this way. Ethnographic studies show that the hierarchical structures of these more recent groups was different in the two settings. The authors think this was likely the case with our prehistoric ancestors.
There is evidence of regular gatherings of large numbers of people from at least 40 ka ago. For example, there is evidence that people gathered in the Perigord Region of Southern France near the confluence of the Vezere and the Dordogne Rivers, where it appears that there were large migrations of reindeer. This would be perhaps 25 to 35 ka ago during the last ice age. Fn. 38, p. 542. There are similar sites in Eurasia and Turkey.
1. Before I read all this I had this idea that people lived in small bands near each other until they moved out of Africa. A moment’s thought would tell me that’s not a realistic plan. If people stayed in a single group, the mutations from interbreeding would pile up until we died out. The story told by Graeber and Wengrow and the other scientists cited here makes a lot more sense.
For one thing, the annual meetings of the small groups would be good opportunities for finding mates outside the small group, insuring against inbreeding. There is evidence of coordination at these meetings. Some seem to be related to migrations of large animals. It would be easier to hunt these in large groups. There is evidence of semi-permanent construction of large buildings. Both of these suggest that people were planning ahead so there would be food and shelter for the gatherings, and were organized in some way for these complex operations.
For much of the year, people lived through foraging and hunting small game. It would be much easier to do this in small units. A large group would eat everything in a given area more quickly, requiring more travel, and more scouting for food. Getting a larger number of people going is a cat-herding exercise. Larger groups require more coordination than smaller groups.
2. I hadn’t thought much about the fossil record. I knew there are large gaps, but somehow I didn’t notice that having several thousand fossils isn’t much to go on. Looking at the more technical papers, I realized that every story about our evolution comes from speculation based on close examination of a relatively small number of fossils. It really makes you think about this passage from the book:
We should be clear: there’s nothing wrong with myths. Likely as not, the tendency to make up stories about the distant past as a way of reflecting on the nature of our species is itself, like art and poetry, one of those distinctly human traits that began to crystallize in deep prehistory. And no doubt some of these stories – for instance, feminist theories that see distinctly human sociability as originating in collective child-rearing practices – can indeed tell us something important about the paths that converged in modern humanity.8 But such insights can only ever be partial because there was no Garden of Eden, and a single Eve never existed. P. 82-3.
One quibble. I read both papers you link to. Unlike you, I found the paper at the second link to be much more readable than the paper at the first. Regardless, an interesting subject and the links were well worth the time I took to read them.
Ditto . . . I much enjoyed the second link as approachable from my puny perspective. Though the graphics and dissertations in the first link were appreciated.
Well, probably because I got them in backwards. I’ll fix it. I am glad you clicked through and that you enjoyed the papers.
Thanks for the two links. Paleontolgy has always been an interest of mine and I enjoy trying to stay abreast of the news – developments, discoveries, fresh interpretation of the (often) scant fossile record, archologic finds and the like. We post-ice age humans (going back say 9,000 -12,000 years are just a drop in the bucket…
I found a 5,000 to 7,000 year old spear point on my Dad’s farm in Ohio about 30 years ago.
I often have wondered what the dude who lost it looked like.
Always a good read Ed Walker, and on quality par with Marcy Wheeler, but in a totally different light, though heavy credit to Marcy Wheeler for the volume of her substantive posts.
If you are interested in this line of research, do check out the difference between the Denisovans and the Neanderthals, which I believe is in fact at the heart of the “race wars” or Active Measures campaigns to divide to conquer.
The following link is a map based on Denisovan research put together by UCLA and Harvard, https://s3.amazonaws.com/cms.ipressroom.com/173/files/20162/56f9538f6eafb53f2900136f_Denisovan+map/Denisovan+map_55bc5a54-7510-4cdc-8f3d-388296954a92-prv.jpg, which illustrates the largest admixing difference between humans, which really needs to be looked at side-by-side with the map of the neanderthals, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Europe_relief_laea_location_map.jpg, and with the map of human migration based on genes analysis, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human#/media/File:Early_migrations_mercator.svg. Note that the Roman Empire region is more-or-less void of Denisovans, which otherwise cover the Earth.
The executive view of all of the same reads as follows, there were fundamentally five tribes that came out of Africa, and three of them remained, while two of them left for the Middle East. The second of these two branches to the Middle East populated Southeastern Asia down to Australia, where the greatest distribution of Denisovan genes are found and along that path. The people of the Middle East then populated the Far East and then Europe.
The fundamental difference between the late “proto-Roman Empire tribe” or Europeans is that the Denisovans did not admix with this “proto-Roman Empire tribe”, and so the “proto-Roman Empire tribe” or Caucasians are largely thought of an admix of two humanoids, the Heidelbergensis and Neanderthals, whereas all other indigenous groups on Earth (except for the purist three African tribes that stayed in Africa), are an admix of three humanoids, the Heidelbergensis, Neanderthals, and Denisovans. To my understanding as a former molecular biologist and geneticist and medical researcher at Stanford (one floor up from National Genographic’s Spencer Wells and his Y chromosome studies), this forms the basis of the false white nationalism movement, and the general racism of the white tribe against all other colored tribes.
The reason I specify that the white nationalism or Active Measures movement is false, is that it is literally impossible to breed out, dilute, and/or eliminate white animals, a function of genetic mutations in close to 100 genes, each of which can cause albinism, or white skin, light hair, and light eyes. This in part explains why there are white lobsters, sheep, birds, fish, foxes, wolves, cats, zebras, bugs, et cetera.
The last time I checked the natural rate of human albinism was on the order of 1/5000 to 1/20000 births, which again means that the end of all white people is a false narrative meant to divide and conquer. Caucasians were late on the scene, and so there’s more of everyone else is the short of it.
It is also important to note that genetic studies reveal all humans are African, and any line drawn in the sand that I’m this and you’re that is truly arbitrary. Said differently, each of us needs to embrace our inner African, African heritage, and African culture.
Last, food for thought, and I’m saying this as someone who looks Caucasian (and in the context that in genetics, the term race is considered “deceiving”, because there are over 6000 different genetic ethnicities) — it isn’t that Europeans are more evolved, as in fact they are less evolved than American Indians, but that they are more mutated — which probably explains a thing or two.
Those three tribes that stayed in Africa are from a certain perspective a more pure or less mutated human, but certainly admixed also as Ed specified, and so naturally the opposite narrative was spun, they were put in cages, forced to be exploited as slaves, and now the white invaders who brought them to an Asian America feel entitled to abuse both Africans (the first people) and Asians (the first Americans).
Literally and figuratively, that’s rich.
[What? At any rate there were a lot of excess electrons burned in that long comment; brevity is your friend. / bmaz]
good, informative comment
I would say the science is irrelevant to the racist argument, not the basis for it. Racist fundamentalists are not engaged in a scientific debate. They are abusing the language of science to make a social and political argument, in the manner of Social Darwinism.
I think so too. For a detailed discussion I suggest Stamped From The Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi, which I reviewed here: https://www.emptywheel.net/2017/05/29/stamped-from-the-beginning-by-ibram-kendi/
We are one race ~ the human race (that is still no excuse for individual behavior).
As I understand it,there is no genetic basis for racism, in that there are genetic variants which are more common in certain parts of the world but nobody has ever identified a gene for ‘whiteness’ or ‘blackness’ or ‘redness’ or any such thing. Something as simple as how tall we are involves dozens, maybe hundreds, of genes acting together (and/or antagonistically) with each other). Throw in diet and environment and it all gets very messy and complicated.
Which is to say, race is a social construct. As Ducktree says below, we are all one. I’m not religious but I do think Jesus had a point about us all loving each other. It’s the only way forward if we want to make something out of the opportunities the planet offers us other than eating each other alive.
Which might sound depressing, but I have hope really :-).
Data on skin color from more than a few thousand years ago is non-existent. One data point we do know is from bogs in the British Isles, it is known the early inhabitants were dark brown. Does not go along with the proto-tribal thesis.
Also albinism is a mutation where no melanin is made, caucasions do make melanin, just not as much and it is inducible by UV energy. The “white race” and albinism are unrelated.
I think much of that skin coloration can be explained by the tannins in the peat bogs in which the remains were preserved.
Or darker complexion is the genetic inheritance of Bell Beaker culture, people who migrated from what is now central and eastern Europe.
Or even earlier people.
Regarding immigrants from the Beaker culture, the Guardian article suggests something different:
The second article supports your thesis, but concerns a detailed analysis of a single specimen, compared to the first article, which involved analyses of some 400 remains, about 155 of which were found in Britain.
The Cheddar Gorge remains came from a population that predated the Beaker people by 5000 years. The DNA of the Beaker culture immigrants displaced 90% of the DNA of the preexisting population.
The mention of light-eyed, dark-skinned Mesolithic people mentioned here in relation to linear pottery culture (LBK) people:
Bell Beaker people came not across the European continent from east to west as LBK did (and later Corded Ware culture (CWC) did) but along the west of Europe, from the Mediterranean and Northern Africa along the Iberian peninsula northward. BBC and CWC were contemporaneous and intermixed.
But LBK and CWC both arose from the region from which Scythians came. One might ask what is “fair skin” when their progenitors came from Iran/Turkey/western Asia.
Exactly. Being ‘white’ has nothing to do with albinism. It is natural selection related to vitamin D needs such that those in less well sunlit climes became lighter. White people don’t lack melanin, they just have less of it in their skin whereas those in warmer clime select for it to provide sun protection.
And do we know what color those peat bog mummies were? They are stained brown by the bogs — what they looked like before death is anyone’s guess. Is there DNA evidence to suggest they were brown?
Bog people are scary!
Here’s a short piece on Denisovans and interbreeding with H. Sapiens Sapiens. https://www.newscientist.com/article/2163910-our-ancestors-mated-with-the-mystery-denisovan-people-twice/
The fact that we share DNA with other species shows that we interbred with them, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that we share any of their characteristics. This is from the second Link above, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0169534718301174:
The amount of Neanderthal genome present in a single individual is small. The web will tell you that 20-40% of the entire Neanderthal genome is still out there in the cells of living people. Those genes are presumably still active and doing pretty much what they did in the original Neanderthal biology.
The relationship between group size and food density in the environment continued through to longer periods such as multi-year droughts with band size decreasing further, with increased dispersion, as food became scarcer, at least AIUI, for pre-colonisation Australian Aboriginals.
Having read the work in its entirety, I have concluded that Ed Walker is far more readable! The prosody is dense and at times recursive – though that, to be sure, is the authors’ point: late human prehistory is anything but linear (ie, “progressive’).
I found myself looking for illumination on geographic, geologic, and linguistic influences but there was not nearly as much on those topics as I had hoped. The modest amounts that were included were revelatory, and sent me down some rabbit holes that turned out to be gold mines.
I’m reading Ed’s reviews on this work with fascination.
Ed is very good!
I am a geneticist and have some related expertise. The problem with paleontology and much evolutionary biology based on it is that it relies much too heavily on morphology. The problem with population genetics models is that they are based on assumptions that are often wrong. Panmixia, for example. The problem with language and culture is that they readily cross kinship groups or larger agglomerations of people.
I’ve done a lot of work with lab mice, of which there are hundreds of inbred lines and thousands of genetically engineered variants. The inbred lines were started from weird, mutant mice that European explorers and traders brought back from all over the world to feed a fashion for “fancy mice” among highborn ladies. Ones that had movement disorders were particularly prized. They were interbred and then re-separated into new combinations, like shuffling a deck of cards and then dealing hands. About 40 years ago, there was a very high profile paper that claimed that the rate of evolution in lab mice was much higher than in other species. They had overlooked the genetic variation introduced by interbreeding mice that had been obtained from genetically isolated populations. These authors, and particularly those of the first cited paper, address the immense challenge of distinguishing alternative population structures for early humans.
Thanks for the interesting & timely article! Herschel Walker and other evolution-doubters would do well to read it.
Walker: “At one time, science said man came from apes, did it not?…If that is true, why are there still apes? Think about it…”
“At one time,” Mr. Walker?
The football equivalent of pugilistic dementia, perhaps. Herschel certainly has forgotten whatever he knew of evolution. He’s also repeating a common ploy used by the anti-science – and racist – fundamentalist right: using word games to dispute science rather than better science. That doesn’t mean he designed the approach, merely that he’s using it.
Someone needs to ask Herschel if he thinks Jesus was a white guy.
Also too, Santa Claus (just ask Megan Kelly ~ or was her name Kelly Megan).
I think if he were a 3rd grader this would be a great question.
As good a story as any other, I suppose. Still stumbling around, though, megalithic structures, state irrigation, and other … oddities. This is one time where I find agnostic appropriate, not cowardice: we simply do not know.
The way we’re treating the thin layer of no longer potentially toxic gasses we live in enveloping the only ball of rock we know of we can live on, we’re not gonna’ know. Maybe some future iteration. Maybe …
So, did humans ever ride dinosaurs? Asking for a certain group of religious zealots.
There were no dinosaurs—those fossils are just another example of Satan’s lies. ;)
Dammit, and here I have been hoping for their Jurassic return.
I thought the fossils were put there by the Magratheans?
I heard they won an award for the Norwegian fjords.
We cannot afjord that. /s/ Joe Manchin
Sorry Punaise, I had to.
Put Joe Manchin in a round room and tell him that if he sits in a corner, he’ll earn another donation from fossil fuel lobbyists. Then count how many times he runs in a circle.
“Slartibartfast” … do I detect some dyslexia in that word?
Nope, Douglas knew exactly what he was about. He wanted a name that sounded rude but which the BBC wouldn’t bar him from broadcasting.:-)
I did just yesterday, T Rex, lots of fun.
Thank you for continuing to discuss this. I read it the same month it came out and I’ve thought about it nearly every day since then.
DOEv sits on my table, bookmarked at Wicked Liberty, while i am gobsmacked by current events and modern primitivism. (is that an insult to earlier humans? who are we? supposedly thinking beings….)
I’m gobsmacked too. But I don’t have any useful thoughts on current events in Ukraine or DC beyond the most obvious: a) that rich and powerful people don’t care who dies in their search for domination and control, and b) that young soldiers, mostly men, are willing to die for outcomes that make no difference in their lives.
This is what I can contribute to what I hope will be a better future, so I just keep on.
Many of those young Russian men weren’t willing to die; they were railroaded into this war as conscripts or police who were told they were on an exercise. Many of the young men were also participating as conscripts or regular army because it ensured them access to a basic government-issued apartment they couldn’t otherwise get.
I read this thick book avidly as someone who has some training in the field of biology and genetics and following three years of deep research into human evolution, origins, and ice age adaptations. In the end I concluded the book was wonderfully written, impressively footnoted, and totally ridiculous. It seemed an effort to reframe scattered ancient evidence to support the thesis that earlier humans somehow chose non aggressive, non hierarchical structures, based mainly on the lack of finding big structures and works. What was good about the book was recognizing that Native American governance, much used by the Founders when writing the Constitution based on the Iroquois Confederacy, was sophisticated and elegant, but this was something I was taught over 60 years ago in Massachusetts and not something new. Racists will use anything they can to support their views, scientific or not, but this is true of anti-racists as well. For example, Homo Erectus, the most successful hominid to date in history (1.8 million years ago to maybe as recently as 100,000 years ago) spread all over the world (except possibly the Americas, and even this can be challenged based on Louis Leakey’s declaration about cobbles in California before he died) and for a brief time there was a thesis that the different human “types” arose from Erectus long long ago, with occasional interbreeding among types, such that today’s types or tribes or races came up from a distant ancestor separately. But this led at once to people being afraid such an argument might support racist conclusions, and it was immediately replaced with the view that we all came from one woman in Africa some 120,000 years ago, Lucy. Every year there is new evidence supporting shifts in whatever narrative rules, but what seems clear is that different hominids, when coexistent on the planet, interbred; ie were the same species probably since Erectus rose. It also seems clear – but this is now being challenged – that while ancient homo sapiens was, anatomically, the same as “modern” humans, something changed in the wiring of the brain and system such that new behaviors rose around 100,000 years ago with a huge change say 70,000 years ago. It also seems clear that these ancient humans were good seafarers, way back when, at least 80,000 years ago, meaning they could travel the coast around the great ice, and hence were quite capable of extending their genes everywhere, many times. Finally, the entire period of human development has occurred coincident with the ice age period, two million years of a great ice advance every 100,000 years or so, with many advances and retreats in between, but with the overall earth temperature cooler and harsher than during the warm interglacials, of which we are now 10,000 years into today, meaning, we evolved during nearly constant climate changes far greater than that happening now.
Welcome to emptywheel. In the future please break long stretches of text into smaller paragraphs. 100-300 words comments are optimum for uptake and readability. A single paragraph at 479 words is difficult for readers on mobile devices. Thank you.
Yeargh, second that.
> …wonderfully written, impressively footnoted, and totally ridiculous.
> It seemed an effort to reframe scattered ancient evidence to support
> the thesis that earlier humans somehow chose non aggressive, non
> hierarchical structures, based mainly on the lack of finding big
> structures and works.
I take issue with “totally ridiculous”, and hope to convince you otherwise – it seems to me that you missed their point that the archaeological evidence for hierarchy in cultures is very well-understood, and undeniable when it appears, and not based on conjecture. (This was news to me, but it is apparently something you learn in Archaeology 101, and maybe they took it too much for granted.)
They found that evidence missing in many cases, *and* in fact strong positive evidence of non-hierarchical cultures, for example, the urban structures of Teotihuacan. Another good counter-example to your observation is one that dates from before the introduction of intensive agriculture and hierarchy – you might want to check out what we know now about Gobekli Tepe in Turkey.
In any case, the authors are very clear that there is, by now, much evidence that there was a *very* wide range of choices made about how to organize large groups of humans in that distant period from 80K years ago up to “recorded history”. This refutes what our poorly-supported dogma says happened – that all of us were hunter gatherers until we invented agriculture, which inevitably led to hierarchy, priests, standing armies, etc, and now we are stuck with them.
The authors are also pretty clear about a goal of the book – that learning about all the new evidence we have about pre-history should help us feel less “stuck” with the stupidities of current human affairs.
You say “It also seems clear that these ancient humans were good seafarers, way back when, at least 80,000 years ago, meaning they could travel the coast around the great ice, and hence were quite capable of extending their genes everywhere, many times.” I kind of think that also.
As far as the Americas go, there are two main theories of populating, one being the Ice Free Route between the Laurentian and Cordillerian Ice Sheets, and the other being the Coastal Route, which evidence for most likely lies under water off the Pacific coast. If the dating evidence for the footprints in New Mexico hold up
at 23,000 years BP then that would currently be the earliest evidence of humans in the Americas. There are a number of other sites like Monte Verde in Chile or Meadowcroft Rock Shelter in Pa that have dates which are older than the Clovis First Model, now considered by many to be outdated. The book “Across Atlantic Ice” posits an Atlantic crossing during the ice age, however no genetic data currently found supports this. Geneticist Jennifer Raff in her book “Origins, a Genetic History of the Americas” theorizes a colonization by Arctic peoples across the top of Canada and then down the east coast of America and a great deal of that would have been by boat. They all try to answer “How and when did they get there”?
So if the 23,000 date holds up that might mean boaters got here a lot earlier than we thought. Australia was most likely populated by modern humans around 55,000 years ago and they had to go over some water. In the scientific paper anthology, Paleoamerican Odyssey (Peopling of the Americas”. Edited by Kelly Graf, the first paper deals with “Occupying New Lands: Global Migrations and Cultural Diversification with Particular Reference to Australia”. A second paper deals with the Yana Complex in Western Beringia now northern Siberia which was populated around 30,000 years ago. And on it goes by a lot of well respected scientists and it all sheds light and speculation and pushes back the earliest possible colonization date even further. But I rather suspect that there are some scientists who go out on a limb and those who don’t and a lot of resistance to new ideas and dates. “The First Americans” by James Adovasio about Meadowcroft Rock Shelter is a good case in point. They went down multiple layers and found multiple artifacts and the dates kept coming back 4000 years before anyone was supposed to be in the Americas. Back then when you walked out of the rock shelter in the morning and looked north you would have seen the mountain of ice and wondered what type of world you lived in.
No Garden of Eden? No Eve?….Heresy!
St. Patrick’s Day is another exemplar of both “science” and “non-science.”
And this comes in the form or format for “Staying Alive.” And when religion is added into this mix, the Universality for Staying Alive is the designated complement to GOD. Thus this “He” is appropriately named and as “Her” is the Indigenously recognized GOD also known as “Staying Alive.”
In closing, I too am expecting that a “Smarty” will provide me with either the scientific or non-scientific “advice” for what I must do today to enjoy St Paddy’s Day.
The last passage reminds me of my own made up story about early humans, that women achieved consciousness thousands of years before men, that this is reflected in the A&E myth (and others) and that the foundation of human culture was warped by the overcompensation of men ashamed that they took so long to catch up.
And no, I don’t expect anyone to take this idea seriously, though it has a certain fit.
LOL. My personal creation:
Our ancestors were living in a cliff dwelling, an abri, in Southern France. A tremendous thunderstorm comes along. Some of the people are huddled in the back of the abri with a Shaman telling them that the gods are angry. The rest are at the front of the abri, watching, pointing, laughing, and shouting that was a good one!
The picture you paint gives me heart. Thanks
Congrats! An excellent mythology indeed.
There is another large body of evidence about our <1000k ancestors which may be better made explicit.
That being the absence in the geologic/archaeologic record of specific artifacts – fireplaces, fired pottery, worked metal, art on rock, the wheel, …
These apparent absences form strong boundaries inside which all sound narratives about these people live.
RIP, Sir Guthrie Featherstone, QC, MP, High Court judge, senior barrister, and one-time Head of Chambers for Horace Rumpole.
The multi-talented Peter Bowles (1936-2022) was a fixture in British film and television for over half a century, especially during the 1970s and ’80s. Other roles known to American viewers would be in, To the Manor Born, with Penelope Keith, and the Irish R.M. It’s been said that old QCs never die, they just lose their briefs.
And here: https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2022/mar/17/peter-bowles-obituary