From New Scientist:
THE artist – if she or he can be called that – was right-handed and used a shark’s tooth. They had a remarkably steady hand and a strong arm. Half a million years ago, on the banks of a calm river in central Java, they scored a deep zigzag into a clam shell.
We will never know what was going on inside its maker’s head, but the tidy, purposeful line (pictured above right) has opened a new window into the origins of our modern creative mind.
It was found etched into the shell of a fossilised freshwater clam, and is around half a million years old – making the line by far the oldest engraving ever found. The date also means it was made two to three hundred thousand years before our own species evolved, by a more ancient hominin, Homo erectus.
Funny how people who claim there is no design in nature immediately abandon their principles when they see a design their ideology permits them to accept.
A zigzag engraving on a shell from Indonesia is the oldest abstract marking ever found. But what is most surprising about the half-a-million-year-old doodle is its likely creator — the human ancestor Homo erectus.
“This is a truly spectacular find and has the potential to overturn the way we look at early Homo,” says Nick Barton, an archaeologist at the University of Oxford, UK, who was not involved in the discovery, which is described in a paper published online in Nature on 3 December1.
By 40,000 years ago, and probably much earlier, anatomically modern humans — Homo sapiens — were painting on cave walls in places as far apart as Europe and Indonesia. Simpler ochre engravings found in South Africa date to 100,000 years ago. Earlier this year, researchers reported a ‘hashtag’ engraving in a Gibraltar cave once inhabited by Neanderthals. That was the first evidence for drawing in any extinct species.
But until the discovery of the shell engraving, nothing approximating art has been ascribed to Homo erectus.
Of course there is no possibility that they were wrong all along about what a human being even is. And Michael Cremo is still wrong, right?
National Geographic News miffs “Our Homo erectus ancestors may have been smarter and more creative than we thought.” Than who thought? You? Legacy science media? Oh, well, that settled it then, It is a wonder any evidence matters after that.
Does the evidence point to mankind’s fully natural origin ?
Early human religion: A 747 built in the basement with an X-Acto knife
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