Tuesday, February 22, 2005

So, it seems that recent analysis of some ancient human remains found in Ethiopia, 40 years ago, reveals that humans essentially anatomically the same as us have been around for close to 200,000 years.

This, however, presents a problem. Humans did not exhibit the behavior of modern homo sapiens until about 40,000 years ago. When the anatomically modern homo sapiens migrated into Europe and encountered the Neanderthals, there was no technological superiority. The two peoples had largely the same kind of tools. It wasn't until much later that humans developed sophisticated tools, and it's quite probable, sophisticated cultures.

Of course, part of the problem may be that we are equating skeletal remains with speciation. There may have been later internal changes to neurological functions that, since they lie in soft tissue, did not leave a fossil trace, and therefore, we cannot detect.

Being anatomically human, it seems, was not enough. Culture had to be born, or created. It's really the central mystery of anthropology.


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