The fact that LATER specimens of H. erectus have thicker skulls and much larger browridges than EARLIER specimens is one of the great mysteries of this species of hominid. We don’t know why this is because we would expect to find just the opposite! Earlier H. erectus should have a thicker skull and larger browridge than the later ones but in the case of H. erectus it’s just the opposite. In short, later H. erectus has more archaic features than earlier H. erectus and that points NOT to evolution but to DE-EVOLUTION! Further, prior to H. erectus was H. habilis the famous “Handyman” or “Tool Man” who had every small browridge if at all. So if H. erectus was our next step in human evolution and since early H. erectus had little to no browridge then how did later H. erectus end up with a heavy browridge and thick skull? In fact in the later specimens their skull is so thick that it appears they may have engaged frequently in head butting like bighorn rams engage in during their fights for females!
If you think this is the only “mystery” in anthropology consider this fact. Mayan art and architecture were static meaning that it stayed the same with no change, no refinement with the passage of time! I was astounded to learn in one of my first college classes in archaeology that later Maya did not build new temples or pyramids. They simply maintained the old ones sometimes building on top of them so that you had a pyramid within a pyramid. Why didn’t the later Maya build new pyramids? BTW the Maya never claimed they build the pyramids we find in Mesoamerica! Mayan stories simply say that the Maya found them abandoned and MOVED IN! So who built them and why and what happened to the builders?
Here’s another “mystery.” Stone tool development remained crude and unchanged from the time of Australopithecus to Peking Man (Homo erectus). These archaic stone tools are known as “Oldowan Tools” (2.5 mya). It wasn’t until later H. erectus developed Acheulean Stone Tools (developed 1.76 mya and used until around 100 kya) that we see any refinement or change (evolution) in the stone tool making of our ancient human ancestors. Question is why were the archaic Oldowan stone tools used for so long without any progression? And what brought about the rather sudden change we see in the more refined Acheulean stone tools?
If this isn’t enough for you consider that the oldest civilizations seem to be the MOST advanced (evolved) while the later civilizations seem to be the LEAST advanced! This is found to be the case over and over again in India, Mayan culture, Easter Island culture, and just about everywhere else. One would think it would be just the opposite with the later civilizations being the most advanced but such is NOT the case. In case after case the OLDEST artifacts and remains are the grandest and most evolved and the artifacts are the most perfectly made. What followed appears to be nothing more than crude IMITATIONS!
What in the hell happened? How do we explain these “mysteries”? It appears that there was a DE-EVOLUTION at some point involving ancient human ancestors and it also appears that there was a return to SAVAGERY!
Here’s one more of those anthro-mysteries (as I like to call them). Sometimes we find the oldest civilizations in soil layers ABOVE later ones! But the reverse should be the case!! How do we explain this phenomena? Well one explanation is that the reason for this could be great upheavals of the earth’s crust. Earthquakes could certainly do this and I think is the most likely explanation for this weird phenomena but earthquakes don’t explain any of the above cited mysteries.
So what is going on here? How are we to explain this apparent devolution? If “evolution” means “growth and advancement” then what we should see is a progression in physical morphology, stone tool making, and civilization development. That is, IF you perceive of evolution as a straight line of progression! That’s a misconception and misunderstanding of what evolution really is, however, and sadly most people either conceive of evolution as just that.
In the times of Charles Darwin evolution was viewed a a ladder with each rung being a step forward in human evolution. The ladder concept was later modified to be an “evolutionary tree” with a common trunk and many branches. The trunk representative the mysterious common ancestor of humans and the apes. But, now evolution is being modified again to be something like a BUSH! A TWISTED BUSH in fact!! And the latest conception of human evolution is what some call a “network.” And like the twisted bush concept this “network” is also VERY twisted.
Going back to Dr Susan Martinez, PhD whom I’ve referred to many times here she hold the theory that evolution is NOT a straight progression. In fact, she postulates that there is NO EVOLUTION because we did not evolve from anything! Neither did H. erectus, H. habilis, Cro-Magnon man, Australopithecus, Ardipithecus, or any of the rest of our ancient human ancestors! She contends that rather than evolving from one human species to the next what actually happened was that these various species of ancestors CO-EXISTED for various times and INTERBRED with one another producing HUMAN HYBRIDS which is what H. sapiens (US) are today! IF she is correct then her theory has MAJOR implications for the Theory of Human Evolution.
Eventually, the question must be asked and answered, “What in the hell happened?”. What knocked ancient human ancestors backwards? What retarded ancient art and architecture? What stopped progression (evolution)? I’d say that whatever it was had to have been some global and catastrophic event. And what might that event have been? An exploding comet or asteroid certainly could have been the cause especially if large fragments impacted with the earth in numerous places around the globe.
When we look at the fossil record and ancient human ancestors we expect to see progression (evolution) but that is not what we are seeing sometimes. In fact, what we find is the opposite, retardation (de-evolution) and that is interesting to say the least. I don’t hold firmly to the theory of evolution as many of you know because to do so would only be DOGMA to me and I hate dogma in any form. What I hold most to is this:
REAL SCIENCE (including paleoanthropology) follows the evidence
WHEREVER it leads!
If that evidence supports our theory of evolution then great! But, if that evidence does not support it then so be it!! IF we TRULY want to know our origins then we have NO CHOICE but to follow the evidence EVEN if it goes against our most dearly held beliefs or conceptions. In light of all that I’ve mentioned in this post it appears that the evidence does NOT support AN evolution but a DEVOLUTION when it comes to our ancient human ancestors. The million dollar question is what caused that devolution?
I’ll leave you with one more of these “mysteries.” It’s called Calico Hills! The noted paleoanthropologist Louis Leakey left Africa and came to America expecting to find fossil evidence of ancient human ancestors. He went to the Calico Hills in California near Barstow. He found several stone tools which he believed to be genuine artifacts (man-made) not geofacts (nature-made). However, he did not find any skeletal remains of any ancient human ancestors! So who made the Calico Hills artifacts and where are their remains? Sadly, Leakey died before he could uncover the answer to these questions and it was after this that anthropology decided ancient human ancestors existed just about everywhere EXCEPT the Americas! I’ll take a closer look at this in later posts as I think that ASSUMPTION is a big MISTAKE! In fact, based on my own finds I KNOW it is s BIG MISTAKE!!