Science in Christian Perspective
From: JASA 17 (June
Accommodations to the findings of human paleantology which suggest a creation of Adam in term of hundreds of thousands of years ago are not the best interpretations of the evidence. There is need to reexamine our presuppositions in light of recent efforts to bridge the bio-cultural gap. The uniqueness of man living today is manifested in his capacity for complex symboling illustrated by speech and resulting in true culture which in a measure reflects the imago dei. The existence of tools in standardized traditions does not necessarily prom the presence of this symboling capacity for speech, for which there is no certain evidence until the appearance of the Upper Paleolithic in the Near East. This is therefore the most likely time, and perhaps place, for the advent of man made in the image of God.
There is currently a tentative acceptance by many in our circles of the position that Adam may very likely have been created anywhere from several hundred thousand to even perhaps as many as two million years ago. A theological "proof text" that is often quoted is the statement of the orthodox Princetonian Benjamin B. Warfield which was written in 1911,
The question of the antiquity of man has of itself no theological significance. It Is to theology, as such, a matter of entire indifference how long man has existed on earth.1
Whether theologian Warfield would have agreed to the use to which this statement has been put fifty years later, I cannot say, but the evidence which is accepted to support a very radical antiquity for Adam has some real limitations which have not been seriously confronted by my friends and colleagues.
Anyone who attempts to harmonize or accommodate the Genesis account of creation, including theological assumptions concerning the nature of man, with the evidence from human paleontology and archaeology must be made aware of some conflicting presuppositions coming from both sides of the fence. In some cases, for example, the creationist has accepted, perhaps unwittingly, the assumptions of the thoroughgoing evolutionary position which places his own interpretation of the fossil facts on a very precarious footing. It is my intention to re-examine this issue, illuminating what I believe to be some difficult problems facing theories which recommend the possibility of a several hundred thousand year old Adam, and to suggest a possible alternative interpretation of the archaeological evidence. I will admit that my alternative does not solve all the problems including the most difficult one; namely, what seems to be the immediate appearance of a Neolithic culture after the expulsion of man from the Garden of Eden. What is suggested in this paper, however, may stimulate a more careful examination of all the evidence.
I presuppose a literal acceptance of the Genesis account as historical and not legendary or mythological with the following qualifications: (1) The account of the creation is obviously only a simple outline for the purpose of teaching us the theological truths concerning the origin of the Earth and its creatures including man. God has not revealed to us all that there is to know but only what was necessary for us to know. A corollary of this principle is that the Bible never has to tell us anything that we can find out for ourselves. The important revelations of the Scripture demonstrate things to man that he could not or would not know by himself. Man was commanded, furthermore, to subdue the earth, and part of the fulfillment of this command certainly is to explore and understand what God has created. (2) Some contemporary, conservative interpretations of the Genesis account are limited and
*James M. Murk is Instructor In Anthropology, Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois. Presented at the 19th annual convention of the American Scientific Affiliation, John Brown University, Siloam Springs, Arkansas, August 27, 1964.
need re-examination. Perhaps even our hermeneutic p6wiples need some revision.
What are some of the things that the Genesis record reveals to us concerning man?
(1) Man was the last subject in the sequence of creation. (Gen. 1:26-31)
(2) Man was made of the earth like the plants and animals. (Gen. 2:7)
(3) Man was also made, however, "in the image of God." (Gen. 1:26,27)
(4) Man was thus a unique creature with dominion over the creation. (Gen. 1:28)
(5) Man had a capacity for communication and fellowship with His Creator. (Gen. 3:8-11)
(6) Man had a superior rational capacity illustrated by speech and in the naming of the animals, and God placed him in a position of superiority and responsibility on Earth. (Gen. 2:19-20)
(7) Man had a moral capacity, in that he could choose the right or wrong way with reference to the purpose for which he had been created. (Gen. 2:15-17; 3:6-7) (8) Man had been created for fellowship with God and to be like God in character and rational capacity, the pursual of which purpose on man's part is called obedience.
(9) Man became estranged from his Creator, however. because of disobedience. (Gen. 3:23-24)
(10) God forsook the intimate fellowship of man whose existence became an abnormal one apart from the necessary presence of God. (Gen. 3:24)
We do not know for certain what Adam's existence was like after he was expelled from God's presence, but it was a hard life eked out by sweat, and its immediate crudeness is symbolized in the animal skin coverings which were given him by God to hide his nakedness. It is not unlikely that to begin with, at least, Adam and Eve foraged for food where they could and lived in the crude economic way so familiar to many primitive peoples of the past and even to a few in the present. No matter how primitive, preliterate, and non-technical the society of man, however, there is no proof that its individual members are qualitatively inferior to literate and more technologically advanced peoples. Adam after the Fall must have been a creature with at least as much potential as our own. In fact, a common belief in the church has been that Adam, having been a perfect human specimen taught by God and having been exposed to His presence before the Fall, was somewhat superior to ourselves, witnessed to, for example, by the great age to which he lived.
The contemporary anthropological view of man's development, however is contrary to this presupposition. It accepts not only the evolution of man's body but also of his mind-his capacity for culture as well as his morphology. Most anthropologists are committed to the belief that culture has its roots in biology, and that the closing of the bio-cultural gap was an evolutionary development.
Since the Darwin Centennial held at the University of Chicago in 1959, several books and articles have appeared seeking to reconstruct man's cultural development concurrent with his morphological evolution.2 This obviously presupposes a qualitative development in man's capacity, and this is considered to coincide roughly with the steady increase in the size of the brain throughout most of the Pleistocene. Though it is admitted that quality of intelligence cannot be certainly determined from an endocranial cast; nevertheless, the quantitative rather than qualitative difference between the brains of modern apes and men suggests that the size of the brain has important significance. This is the major progressive morphological change in the hominids of the Pleistocene from Australopithecus to Neanderthal and Homo sapiens and parallels technological development. No one can exactly explain the connection, but all are aware of the parallel. The development of intelligence, furthermore, is assumed from the archaeological evidence. Henri V. Vallois, Director of the French Institute of Human Paleontology and the Museum of Man in Paris, wrote recently,
The enormous growth of the brain that is manifest from the time of Pithecanthropus is a fact that is well-known and was ,certainly accompanied by a corresponding development of :man's intellectual possibilities.3
A. Irving Hallowell of the University of Pennsylvania also asks some rhetorical questions,
Are we to assume that the early Pleistocene hominids Coon (1954) has labeled "half-brained men" possessed culture In the same sense as Homo sapiens? Is a fully developed human brain structure Irrelevant as a prerequisite for a fully devel oped cultural mode of adaptation? Is a "half brain" as good an instrument as a whole brain for the development and functioning of human speech, music, the graphic and plastic arts, abstract thinking, and religion.4
On the other hand, though we are not sure where to draw the line, it has also been demonstrated from studies of living races that within a certain range brain quantity is not as important as brain quality. Applying this principle to fossil and archaeological evidence, Sherwood L. Washburn, Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, suggests a difference in quality between Classic Neanderthal and Ho7no sapiens, even though the average of the fossil crania of the former slightly exceed the average of the latter. He writes,
The brain seems to have evolved rapidly, doubling in size between man-ape and man. It then appears to have increased much more slowly; there is no substantial change in gross size during the last 100,000 years. One must remember, however, that size alone is a very crude indicator, and that brains of equal size may vary greatly in function, My belief is that although the brain of Homo sapiens is no larger than that of Neanderthal man, the indirect evidence strongly suggests that the first Homo sapiens was a much more Intelligent creature.5
G.H.R. von Koenigswald, Professor of Paleontology at the State University of Utrecht and one of the world's foremost authorities on fossil man, agrees with this position in a very recent writing,
Classic Neanderthal man in Europe is the Man of the Mousterian culture, living in the first part of the Wurni Glaciation under extreme conditions. With the beginning of a warmer Interstadial he suddenly and completely was replaced by Homo sapiens, the Mousterian by the Aurignacian. In the latter, the far wider diversity of tools, the first use of personal adornments and the beginning of art reveal a more intelligent type. That the structure of his brain was superior, has been demonstrated recently by Bonin (1963).6
We are thus faced with the following propositions: (1) The growth of the hominid brain during the Pleistocene most probably indicates increasing intelligence; (2) When a certain point of growth has been reached, however, quality is more important than quantity where the functioning of mind is concerned. Now some anthropologists and biologists with a Christian frame of reference have taken the second principle and extended it to include most, if not all, the fossil hominids of the Pleistocene-Australopithecus 'average cranial capacity, 576 cc.), Pithecanthropus (av. 871 cc.), Sinanthropus (av. 1046 cc.), Ngangong (av. 1100 cc.), and Pre-Neanderthals (av. 1175 CC.)7 This is in contradiction to the evidence, which as we have indicated suggests increasing intelligence.
Is it reasonable, furthermore, to believe that Adam's descendants, creatures with at least our potential, existed for hundreds of thousands of years with little appreciable improvement in cultural materials? Considering some technologically static societies, such as the Australian aborigine, which have developed little in the last 35,000 years, it may not be entirely unreasonable to believe that Adam's descendants lived for hundreds of thousands of years with exceedingly slow improvements, but it is very difficult to conceive. The late dean of American anthropologists Alfred L. Kroeber had to stretch his imagination to cover this idea even while holding to evolutionary presuppositions. He wrote in his classic work Anthropology concerning the Lower Paleolithic cultures,
And what do we know to have happened In this time? Es. sentially just one thing: the improvements from roughed Chellean core flints to evener, symmetrical Acheulian ones. That is, the technological tradition remained basically unchanged: It stood Still except for some degree of refinement of finish. That Is surely a tremendous lot of cultural stationariness to have lasted so long, in comparison with the changability that characterized later prehistory and all history. No doubt development was Indeed exceeding slow at the beginning; all the evidence points that way. Yet if we accept the most recently alleged chronology, with the Pre~Crag tools as preglacial, then our 75,000 years of Chellean-Acheul!an nondevelopment are stretched into 400,000 which certainly is an added strain on the credibility we have to extort from our imagination. Even wholly beyond our experience to conceive. Perhaps once we get beyond comparable historical experience, we are lost anyhow, as critical minds, and we might as well trust to faith in an authority that claims a lot as in one that claims less. 8
Note that Kroeber was using a very conservative, low estimate of the age and length of the Lower Paleolithic. Most today would begin the Chellean or Abbevillian somewhere between 200,000 and 500,000 years ago and the pebble tool industries of Africa between 500,000 and nearly 2 million years ago. It is very difficult to believe that so little accumulation of culture, so gradual a culture change, would have taken place during the Lower and Middle Paleolithic if these were truly Adam's descendants considering the high estate we usually suppose for even a fallen Adam. To pro pose a theory that these toolmakers were less intelligent hominid creatures and not men made in the image of God may be a more reasonable solution.
Whereas the assumption concerning man's intellectual evolution tends to be ignored by some Christian scientists, there is an important presupposition which is accepted when it ought to be questioned; namely, that the presence of tools made in standardized traditions is an indication of the existence of true man. In an article prepared for Christianity Today, Donald R. Wilson of Calvin College wrote sympathetically,
A basic characteristic of man is his ability for conceptual thought. Theologically, this may be considered an aspect of the 'image of God.' Anthropologically, this ability may be logically deduced by evidence of such cultural practices as tool-making. Men's ability to conceptualize also gives the psychological base for his use of language. It is largely for these reasons that the Australopithecines, represented to us by Zinjanthropus and more popularly known by the nonendearing terms of South African Ape-Men or Man Apes, have recently been considered to be men. 9
This position has also been taken by James 0. Buswell III in his article "A Creationist Interpretation of Prehistoric Man" in Mixter (ed.), Evolution and Christian Thought Today.10
Support for this assumption comes from the recognition that systematic tool-making doubtless presupposes conceptual thinking and the capacity for extrinsic symbolic representation, particularly language." Culture as we know it has a linguistic base; in fact, we cannot conceive of the existence of culture without the presence of language. Language and culture are the evidence of man's uniqueness, that he differs in kind and not in degree from the animals.12 This unique human capacity is one of the clear indications of man's singular place in the creation of God, and may be empirical evidence reflecting something of the imago dei.
It is true that we do not know for certain what remains of the image of God in man, but the ways in which he is essentially different from the rest of the animal creation may give us some clues, if not concerning the "image" itself, at least these may be rudiments of the unique capacity which made it possible.
Man has, first of all, a far broader repertoire of behavior patterns than any other species. This flexibility is due to his dependence upon conditioning and learning rather than upon instincts. His period of growth and immaturity extends for a much longer time than any other life on earth. Habits of behavior including thoughts, actions and feelings, plus the external props or artefacts which enable man to adjust to his external environment are called his culture. This is entirely an extragenetic or suprabiological phenomenon.
This prolonged process of learning is made profitable and is sustained by a unique kind of communication which we call human speech. There is nothing comparable to it or that even aproaches it among all the systems of animal communication. Charles Hockett of Cornell University suggests that of thirteen "design features" in animal-human communication systems at least three, and maybe four, are unique to man. They are (1) Displacement-the ability "to talk about things that are remote in space or time (or both)."; (2) Productivity-"the capacity to say things that have never been said or heard before and yet to be understood by other speakers of the language . . . one can coin new utterances by putting together pieces familiar from old utterances, assembling them by patterns of arrangement also familiar in old utterances."; (3) Duality of patterning-the use of a limited number of meaningless units of sound put together in many different combinations to form different words or morphemes; and usually (4) Traditional transmission-the extragenetic transmission of the communication system from generation to generation. (To what extent other mammals may do this is not known in detail but is thought to be possible in a rudimentary way.)13
These distinctions of Professor Rockett are much more than a refinement of a position taken by Leslie A. White, Professor of Anthropology at the University of Michigan, over twenty years ago. White believed that his conclusions about man's ability to create symbols demonstrated a fundamental difference in kind and not in degree between man and other biological life. We must doubtless conclude from Hockett's analysis that there is still a virtual difference in kind, but the obvious attempt is made to provide a continuity suggesting merely a difference in degree. I believe, nevertheless, that White's conclusions are still valid.
There is a fundamental difference between the mind of man and the mind of non-man. This difference is one of kind, not one of degree. And the gap between the two types is of the greatest Importance-at least to the science of comparative behavior. Man uses symbols; no other creature does. An organism has the ability to symbol or it does not; there are no intermediate stages . . . All culture (civilization) depends upon the symbol. It was the exercise of the symbolic faculty that brought culture into existence and it is the use of symbols that makes the perpetuation of culture possible. Without the symbol there would be no culture and man would be merely an animal, not a human being. Articulate speech is the most important form of symbolic expression. Remove speech from culture and what would remain? 14
White has been justifiably challenged on his inadequately defined use of the term symbol. I believe that his idea is more exactly expressed by the linguist Joseph Greenberg in a recent article on the evolution of language.
The rules by which novel utterances are understood or constructed involve an analysis into classes of words and smaller meaningful units, rules of combination and rules of semantic interpretation. This analysis is what is called grammar. The ability to carry out grammatical analysis would then seem to be one of the things that distinguishes man from other animals. It Involves what for want of a more suitable term might be called "multiple abstraction". 15
The ability to use and to respond to symbols certainly is characteristic of the higher animals. Even a bee instinctively does a complicated, symbolic dance to instruct the hive concerning a source of nectar. Hockett also points out that two of the "design features" included in some animal communication are arbitrariness and semanticity.16 Both are phases of symbolic behavior. So we observe that contemporary man's capacity is more than just the creation and the use of symbols. It is an ability to employ multiple abstractions; or, as the linguist Roger W. Wescott has phrased it, it is a capacity for "symbolic layering," which refers to the phoneme-morpheme hierarchy or dichotomy.17 George L. Trager would go a step beyond Hockett's duality of patterning and call it trinity of patterning-arbitrary sounds combined in arbitrary shapes given arbitrary meanings.18
It is in this area of extrinsic symbolic representation on the complex level or what we call articulate speech, that I would begin a definition of true man. We might add to this his complete reliance upon learning and his moral capacity, but these are also related to his ability for complex symboling. Is there any evidence in the archeological record, however, to indicate the presence of this capacity? Most anthropologists, believe that tools made in standardized traditions are evidence for beings who were truly human. It is thus that Kenneth P. Oakley of the British Museum summarized it in a classic article on the definition of man calling him the Tool-Maker.19
A standardized tool must, first of all, be a symbol conceived in the brain. The whole group must participate through time, furthermore, for there to be tool traditions; and therefore some kind of external symbolic communication is necessary. Does this external communication have to be human language as we know it? Most anthropologists have seemed to take this f or granted, and thus it almost has the status of an assumption. In one of the most recent books to appear on human evolution, Bertram S. Kraus, Professor of Physical Anthropology at the University of Pittsburgh, suggests a position on the subject very representative of this contemporary thinking.
It seems most likely that Man could not have produced, sustained, and augmented culture without the ability to transmit his experiences and knowledge to his offspring other than by example. This means speech . . . Sinanthropus (surely) and Pithecanthropus (probably) produced culture and were presumably nonpathological individuals and functionally well-adapted to their environments . . . The ability of the brain to permit speech and culture evidently was achieved long before its volume reached the status found in modern Man. 20.
This is indicative that it is difficult for us to separate the idea of conceptual thinking and communication from language, at least what would be necessary for making stone tools. Words become symbols for things and for images of things. In the latter case they are symbols for symbols, because images or pictures are also symbols. Would it not be possible therefore for symbolic or conceptual thought to be carried on in the mind by means of images? This is almost never the case with man, of course, because words give him much greater facility. We can imagine in pictures, but we will invariably find ourselves falling back on the use of our language. Is imagination, however, dependent upon language? Could not conceptual thought based upon images rather than upon word symbols be carried on in the minds of very intelligent animals who did not yet have the capacity for the animals who did not yet have the capacity for the complexity of human language? Do the core and flake tool traditions of the Lower and Middle Paleolithic demand more than this? Simple tool-making and many other kinds of symbolic activity may very well have been possible for creatures far more capable than the living anthropoid apes but without our uniqueness.
The matter of communication is more difficult to explain because we have no adequate precedents in the biological world; however, there is probably a minimum of traditional transmission of behavior patterns by means of imitation on the part of some 'of the mammals, particularly the anthropoid apes as we shall illustrate later.
Although most physical anthropologists at the present time tend to believe that language was coincident with the appearance of material artefacts in regular traditions, there is some wavering on this point due to recent studies of primate behavior in their natural habitat and the discovery of stone tools on the living site of the Australopithecine Zinjanthropus. In fact as a result of this there seems to be some confusion again as to the definition of man. Oakley actually denies the capacity for speech to the Australopithecines, but by his own definition, if they were tool-makers, they were indubitably human.21
Tool-using is, of course, to be differentiated from toolmaking. Highly intelligent animals may use material objects at random from time to time. Baboons have been observed crushing scorpions with pebbles, and chimpanzees and gorillas have been observed using sticks and stones as simple toolS.22 The making of tools, however, has been considered the exclusive activity of large brained hominids who had crossed the human threshold. (The following minimum cranial capacities have been recommended; 700 c.c., Franz Weidenreich; 750 c.c., Sir Arthur Keith; 800 c.c., Henri VaRois; but recently, 600 c.c., L.S.B. Leakey.)23 Chimpanzees, however, have been reported making tools in captivity in the presence of a visible reward. (Sultan by Kohler). Oakley has written,
Chimpanzees are the only reported animals that make tools ... In the chimpanzee the mental range seems to be limited to present situations, with little conception of past or future. The power of conceptual thought Is basic to tool-making but is only "Incipient" in apes. 24
An even stronger interpretation is expressed by the biologists G.A. Harrison and J.S. Weiner of Oxford and London Universities.
We know from the archaeological record that the first hominids also made the first and crudest of stone tools-the simply shaped pebble tools of the 01dowan industry. That they were effectively used as cutting-tools seems very probable from the South African evidence. The step from using casually picked up sharp stones and giving them something of a shape seems little different In principle from the observed actions of some chimpanzees in putting together sticks or piling up boxes to reach a desired object. In actions of this sort chimpanzees evince the rudiments of a type of mental response which we call 'conceptual--'the capacity to respond to the present environment In one way and think of responding In another~-the conceptualizing ability of the chimpanzee is well displayed In the human domestic environment where the animal can learn to convey and receive a fair number of messages by the use of symbols and gestures. 25
The first scientific report on the behavior of chimpanzees in the wild was made by British researcher Jane Goodall in 1963. A summary description of her findings states,
The author established that wild chimpanzees share with humans the ability to modify natural objects and turn them to useful ends--a talent long believed to set mankind apart from all other creatures. 26
Miss Goodall reported seeing certain of these animals break off twigs or shred leaves from their stems and use them to probe termite hills for their tasty occupants. She wrote that she saw them carry such implements for as far as half a mile, going from one termite hill to another. Her conclusions are very enlightening.
For a long time there has been discussion In scientific circles as to whether any primates in the wild ever modify natural objects to make tools. My chimpanzees have settled the argument once and for all: The answer is that at least some chimpanzees do ... In so doing . . . the chimpanzee has reached the first crude beginnings of tool-making ... It Is unlikely that this practice of fishing for termites Is an Inborn behavior pattern. 27
She concluded that this was very likely a social tradition passed on from ape to ape by observation and imitation.
Dr. L.S.B. Leakey of the Coryndon Museum in Nairobi, Kenya has accepted this as evidence that the small brained Australopithecines very likely also had the capacity to make simple tools. Pebble tools had been known from Lower Pleistocene levels in South Africa but had never actually been found in situ with fossils of the man-apes. In 1959 Dr. Leakey discovered for the first time stone tools on a living site with remains of a large Australopithecine, the now famous Zinjanthropus boisei. There were 9 Oldoway choppers, 1 hammer stone, 5 natural stones, and 176 flakes.28 Many have been willing to concede that this is evidence enough. Washburn noted soon after the discovery that it used to be assumed that
. . . tools constituted evidence of the existence of large brained, fully bipedal men. Now tools have been found in association with much more primitive creatures, the not-fully bipedal, small-brained near-men, or man-apes. Prior to these finds the prevailing view held that man evolved nearly to his present structural state and then discovered tools and the new ways of life that they made possible. Now It appears that man-apes-creatures able to run but not yet walk on two legs, and with brains no larger than those of apes now living-had already learned to make and use tools. 29
Recent identification of another discovery in the same area by Dr. Leakey as a possible new candidate for the genus Homo (Homo habilis) has cast some doubt again on assertions that the Australopithecines were tool-makers. Perhaps Zinjanthropus was a victim or an intruder on a Homo habilis living site.30 It seems to me, however, that there is little to be gained here if our major objection to Zinjanthropus as a tool-maker had been his small cranial capacity (most recent measurement, 525 c.c.) within the range of the living apes. Mean estimates for the cranial capacity of Homo habilis are only in the neighborhood of 675 c.c. Personally I find no difficulty in believing that either of these creatures could have been capable of making crude tools without having to admit them to the circle of fully developed man. Even Hockett and Ascher -low, that tool-making surely preceded the advent of true language.
The development of openness (pre-language), with the various consequences already mentioned, either accompanied or paved the way for some radical developments in tool habits. We imagine that tool manufactures over against the using and carrying of tools-received its single greatest impetus from this source. If carrying a weapon selects for foresight, shaping a rough weapon into a better one indicates even greater foresight. The manufacturing of a generalized tool-one designed to be carried around for a variety of possible uses and the development of tools specialized for use In the rnaking of other tools, certainly followed the Inception of pre-language. 31
This presents a little different picture from a few years ago. We may now have small-brained hominids and perhaps earlier proto-hominids which are not only tool-users but also tool-makers, without the presence of true language. If even a chimpanzee, without the rudiments of true language, is a simple tool-using and sometimes tool-creating animal is it inconceivable that more intelligent primates may have created more complex tools without language? This idea had the support of anthropologist and archaeologist Robert Braidwood of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago in a discussion with some of us in a seminar a few years ago. He agreed that he could conceive of intelligent tool-making hominids who were not men in the complete sense.
If the consideration is granted that crude tool-making is possible for intelligent animals without language, when does language appear? This is critical to our definition of true man. Hockett and Ascher place the general time of the "Human Revolution" at about one million years ago.
. . . as soon as the hominids had achieved upright posture, bipedal gait, the use of hands for manipulating, for carrying and for manufacturing generalized tools, and language, they had become men. . . We are convinced that all the crucial developments of which we have spoken had been achieved by about one million years ago; that is, by the beginning of the Pleistocene.32 (italics mine)
Sherwood Washburn would tentatively place it, however perhaps 500,000 years later in the Middle Pleistocene.
One is tempted to think that language may have appeared together with the fine tools, fire and complex hunting of the large-brained men of the Middle Pleistocene, but there Is no direct proof of this. 33
Most men in the field would agree with either one or the other of the above estimates. There are a few' however, who hold to a much more recent origin for human language, a suggestion which we shall discuss below.34
Whenever and wherever language was introduced most linguists and anthropologists are agreed that it happened only once. Henry Lee Smith, Jr. wrote in his comment on Hockett and Ascher's article,
Again as a linguist I am in full accord with the Inference that the emergence of true language needed to happen only once, however "sudden" or not so sudden the steps in the development may have been. 35Trager has taken a similar position.
Language is not, in my opinion, an evolutionary development. It Is an invention-the first cultural invention. All the rest of culture followed automatically . . . the nature or basic structure of language must have been, from the start, what it Is today . . . How the first language was invented (and I agree this must have happened only "once" is not known, and Is perhaps unknowable. 36
Hockett and Ascher also have concluded that it must have all happened during one particular period of time and in one particular place. They say that the similarities of systems of phonology extant in the societies of men today "preclude the independent invention of duality of patterning, and of modern articulatory motions, in two or more parts of the world. The crucial developments must have taken place once, and then spread ... The human revolution, completed before the diaspora, established a state of affairs in which further change and adaptation could be effected, within broad limits, by tradition rather than genetics. That is why human racial diversity is so slight, and it is why the languages and cultures of all communities, no matter how diverse, are elaborations of a single inherited 'common denominator.'37 But when did language enter the picture and when did this "diaspora" take place? Can we tell from the fossils?
Speech is not a physiological function with one special center in the brain. All attempts to locate anatomical evidence for speech from fossil remains have been futile. Vallois concludes,
. . . the essential thing in speech is unquestionably not so
much a fixed cortical form as the existence of a whole system
of psychomotor correlations, which examination of casts, as
complete as they are, will never enable us to reveal. 38
Another recent summary of research states,
. . . it is not possible to diagnose the ability to speak from a particular enlargement or marking of the endocranial cast. It is, therefore, impossible to tell in this way whether any of the fossil hominids were endowed with speech. Nor can this be inferred from the presence or absence of genial tubercles In the mandible. 39
J. N. Spuhler, Professor of Physical Anthropology at the University of Michigan, indicates the reasons for this.
Human speech is an overlaid physiological function. It uses a set of body parts of quite diverse primary action, Consider the muscles used in speaking. Most of our coordinated muscular movement involves corrections and adjustments from proprioceptors. But the laryngeal muscles lack proprioceptors, and feedback control of speech comes by way of the ear and the 8th cranial nerve. When we talk, the voice box, tongue, and lips must work together smoothly and precisely. The 10th nerve controls the adjustment of the vocal cords and the 5th nerve the movement of the lips. Both of these involve bronchial muscle while the 12th nerve moves the tongue with somatomotor muscle. The neurological basis of speech is not clear, but it is clear that the only place where the motor organs and steering apparatus of speech are wired together Is in the cerebral cortex. 40
Earl W. Count has noted how far research has progressed in this area.
The neurological sciences have been developing profound insights into the architecture of phasis; they permit one to say that man speaks because his brain has elaborated cybernetic systems beyond what his ape cousins have done. But after a century of Darwin we are still as much in the dark as we have ever been as to what actually has brought these systems together. 41
Language is therefore something that must be learned. As far as we can tell "human genes carry only the capacity to learn the language and 'probably also a strong drive toward such acquisition."42 If children were never taught, furthermore, they would be devoid of language and hence of most of that which we consider human behavior. As a well-known introductory text in anthropology puts it, "Left solely to their own instinctive devices the children of men would remain undeveloped brutes, which is something less than brats."43
I am thus suggesting the following propositions: (1) Language, the basis for culture as we know it, is a unique human capacity which is very likely one evidence for the imago dei in man; (2) The- acquisition of language is perhaps not necessary for a certain level of tool-making and the beginning of traditional behavior; (3) There is evidence that language had a single and perhaps sudden origin; (4) Language is not instinctive but must be learned.
Now the only alternative to the acceptance of a gradual linguistic and cultural development on the part of man's ancestors is its introduction from a source external. to man; namely, something like the account in the Genesis record. This would satisfy the requirements of both a single origin and also of its being learned behavior. Though the term disciple which means learner is not specifically used of Adam, it is used to describe one of man's relationships to God.
Is there any evidence, however, from the fossil and archaeological record to suggest when this might have occurred? We have already rejected the initial appearance of stone tools, which may be in the neighborhood of two million years ago, as the time of our beginning for Adam, for reasons cited above. Then how about a time just before the Neolithic? As noted in the introduction, characteristics of the Neolithic seem to appear in the Genesis account soon after the Fall. (Genesis 4) The earliest archaeological record substantiating a Neolithic culture is about 9,000 B.C. in the village site of Zawi Chemi Shanidar reported by Ralph Solecki.44 Man morphologically like ourselves (Homo sapiens) furthermore, lived on the same site, according to C14 dating, from about 33,100 B.C. to 26,700 B.C. About 10,000 B.C. or 15,000 years later, which is the time of the final retreat of the last glacier, similar men returned to the site, and evidence for the Neolithic appears about 1,000 years later.45
Among other evidences we must also take into account the beautiful cave paintings of Western Europe which are dated from 15,000 to 30,000 years ago.46 Certainly these artistic creations and the advanced stone and bone cultures of the Solutrean and Magdalenian suggest creatures with capacities equal to contemporary man.
Is there any time then in the sequence from the earliest pebble tools of a million or more years ago and the beginning of the Neolithic when there is some kind of marked difference in the archaeological record, a hiatus, or a discontinuity?
There is one possible time which stands out more than any other in the prehistory of this long period. It has even been given a special name by prehistorians. This is the cultural efflorescence known as the Upper Paleolithic. There are three things which suggest to me that this might be the time of the advent of "man made in the image of God." (1) Appearing for the first time are graphic and plastic arts-adornments, ornaments, carvings, drawings, and paintings. (2) There is a great increase in the assortment and varieties of tools and in materials from which they are made and a considerable improvement in tool technique. (3) This is all coincident with the first appearance of Homo sapiens. The culture of the Upper Paleolithic therefore was the production of men morphologically like ourselves, and these are the same kind of men that produced the Neolithic revolution. I am not suggesting at all that Adam had to have our exact anatomy; however, it does seem to me to be a significant coincidence considering the other evidence.
Prehistorians are well aware of the distinct cultural developments in the Upper Paleolithic in contrast to the older Lower and Middle Paleolithic periods. The French prehistorian Francois Bordes, for example, has written,
. . . we may safely consider the resulting cultures of the Upper Paleolithic as the first great civilization, with its peak or climax In the Magdalenian. For it was Indeed a civilization, with everything that word Implies in terms of a cultural superstructure: rites, legends, songs (all, unhappily, forever lost), and art, even if based on magic or religion (medieval and Greek art was, after all, nothing else). All of which Indicates a relatively dense population, rather well-off materially and capable of providing a certain amount of leisure time -to think and create. 47
How does evidence from the Upper Paleolithic differ, however, from the preceding periods of the Old Stone Age which mightimply the advent at this time of true language and hence true culture and true men? We have noted above that the significant capacity underlying human language and true culture is man's ability for complex symboling called "multiple abstraction" or "symbolic layering." I would like to suggest that both the artistic expression and the new stone tool products and techniques show evidence for this capacity. Incidentally it is hardly necessary to prove that men of the Upper Paleolithic had language, because there is hardly anyone who questions it. More significant will be the attempt to contrast the Upper Paleolithic record with what preceded it in order to demonstrate that the presence of true language made a significant difference. This is very difficult to do because we have no way of knowing what would be possible for creatures having a much higher intelligence than living anthropoid apes, yet without language.
The art and ornament of the Upper Paleolithic without uoy doubt expresses this ability for complex symboling. There first of all, the article or painting which in itself is a symbol of the real thing, a projection of the image in the mind. Secondly, there is the meaning that must have been ascribed to the painting, carving or sculpture. Usually a religious or magical meaning is suggested; for example, small figurines of women with exaggerated sexual parts may be linked to fertility rites or preoccupation with reproduction. There must at least, however, have been an aesthetic meaning. Much art work, furthermore, was deep in eaves which were not living sites. Some animals drawn on the cave walls show red gashes on their bodies or projectile points piercing the flesh, or there are hunting clubs drawn beside the animals. In later paintings there is the use of pigments creating complexes of color comparable to what an artist might produce today. Though most of the cave art is realistic, there are also a few symbolic stick figures representing men. Thus we have symbols of symbols, like a word is a symbol of an image or an idea. Finally there are numbers of undecipherable markings which have been variously described as possible clan symbols or magical signs. Drawing is always the first step in communication by writing, and writing assumes language. I think we have to say that art as a symboling system assumes language as well.
More significant than the presence of art in the Upper Paleolithic is its complete absence in. previous periods and even in Mousterian (Neanderthal) sites which are contemporary in other parts of the world with the early Upper Paleolithic cultures for perhaps as many as 10,000 years.
The Mousterian or Levalloisio-Mousterian tool types are almost always identified with Neanderthals and are found in Europe, the Near East and Africa until at least about 35,000 B.C. The early Upper Paleolithic culture identified with Homo sapiens appears first in Palestine less than 50,000 years ago. From here it seems to have spread appearing in southwestern Europe about 35,000 B.C. where it suddenly replaces the Mousterian artefacts. But in Palestine and Syria the Upper Paleolithic and Mousterian parallel each other for some time, and, in fact, are found side by side or interspersed. Leakey writes,
It must be noted that In Palestine, at Mugareh-el-Wadi, Layer T1 yielded both a 'Lower Aurignacian' culture and an Upper Levalloisio-Mousterian culture in the same horizon, while Turville-Petre found a similar state of affairs at Mugareh-elEmireh. On the other hand, Neuville found a fine level of 'Lower Aurignacian' with Emireh points at Jebel Kapseh without any association with Upper Levalloisio-Mousterian, and the same Is true of Rust's results in Syria. 48
This last statement is an indication of what is eventually found all over; namely, the Upper Paleolithic cultures of Homo sapiens replace the Mousterian of Neanderthal.
Any conclusions which we might draw from the supposed origin of Homo sapiens and the Upper Paleolithic in the land of Palestine would be purely conjectural, but is it simply a coincidence that this is the one place on the earth designated by God in the Scriptures as "My land?" L.S.B. Leakey says again,
But whereas we can only guess that the possible origin of the Chatelperronian of South-west Europe (the oldest Upper Paleolithic culture in Europe sometimes known as Lower Aurignacian) was in Palestine, we have ample proof that the Aurignacian came from that country. If the distribution of the Aurignacian is plotted on a map, it is seen to extend from Palestine and Syria to the west coast of France.49
In a detailed article on Upper Pleistocene stratigraphy in the Near East F. Clark Howell of the University of Chicago points out that nowhere else in Eurasia or Africa do we find the Upper Paleolithic blade and burin cultures so early. He indicates, first of all, that the distinctive intercalated occupation levels of Mousterian and Upper Paleolithic cultures at particular sites "would suggest temporary encampment of a passing group of blade-tool using hunters rather than an autochthonous development of the earlier peoples." Also "Upper Paleolithic blade-tool industries are always found in Europe in association with anatomically modern people; so it is easy to make the further assumption that in the Levant such migrant peoples were truly Homo sapiens." So exactly what contact, if any, there was between Europe and South-west Asia cannot be certainly ascertained, but the tool working technique is very similar though the cultures are not identical.50
Whereas there seems to be an abrupt change in Europe,51 in Palestine there is an obvious mixture of blade and burin tools typical of the Upper Paleolithic combined with the older core-flake techniques characteristic of the Levalloisio-Mousterian.52 Evolutionary presuppositions would suggest the conclusion that the more gradual cultural change in the Levant paralleled a possible biological evolution from Neanderthaloid to Homo sapiens, and there are many who favor this kind of origin for modern man.53 There is one possible flaw, however, in trying to establish an industrial sequence from Mousterian to Upper Paleolithic, and it suggests another possible interpretation. Out of the seven stages (0 through 6) proposed by Howell for the Upper Paleolithic in the Near East, four of the middle stages (1 through 4) show a decreasing influence of the Levalloisio-Mousterian techniques, but in the oldest "fully distinctive Upper Paleolithic industry" (Stage 0) there is no trace whatsoever of Mousterian influence even though the two levels where it is f ound (15 and 13 at Yabrud) are both above and beneath Mousterian cultures.54 Could this not suggest a later mixing of two separate industries as the result of the mixing of the two separate peoples, Neanderthal and Homo sapiens? The fossils found in the Skhul cave on Mt. Carmel have been interpreted in just such a way in the past, and the most recent dating of this site in Palestine places these hybrid remains right in the midst of the overlap of Mousterian and Upper Paleolithic cultures in the Near East. (Possibly 37,000 to 35,000 B.C.)55
Now we read in Genesis that Adam was secluded in a "Garden" prepared by God, What was the purpose of a special place? Besides its being a place of testing, was Adam possibly being protected from contact with some outside influence, perhaps non-human hominids? If our point of view is correct, after his expulsion from the Garden, Adam and his descendants (Homo sapiens) would probably have had some kind of contact with Neanderthals. In fact, not only might there have been interbreeding of the wild Neanderthals and the domestic Adainites, but the Adamites may have even begun to build and rapidly improve upon the stone tool techniques of their predecessors. This may all seem very fanciful, but, based on our assumptions, the circumstantial evidence can point in this direction. It also gives us another reason for the Flood which wiped out all but a pure strain of "man made in the image of God." The occurrence of the Flood, furthermore, would explain one of the great mysteries of human paleentology--the sudden disappearance of the Neanderthals.
A fertile biological union of true man and pre-Adamite hominids, however, would seem to argue for genetic relationship and thus a theistic evolutionary position. This is hardly a more powerful argument, however, than others that already exist, such as comparative anatomy, blood precipitation tests of living primates or recent discoveries of close similarities in primate DNA. The stock argument could still apply; namely, that God used a similar pattern in His creation of true man, making hybridization possible. Whatever answer we give, however, all we really seek to preserve is all that Genesis reveals; namely, that God intervened in a unique way in the creation of a unique creature with a unique purpose in His overall plan for the Earth and the universe.
The tool industries of Homo sapiens in the Upper Paleolithic also suggest the capacity for symbol layering as opposed to the earlier Paleolithic traditions. The core and flake tools of the Lower and Middle Paleolithic were simple enough to be conceived merely as pictures in the mind and not verbal ideas. (This may be true of some of the Upper Paleolithic tools as well, but the whole tool assemblage and development of this period seems to be different.) Manufacturing techniques were passed on by imitation without language from generation to generation as some less technical patterns of behavior are even learned by the more intelligent mammals to this day.
This was certainly possible in the case of the pebble tool industries. Early hominids, perhaps Australopithecines, learned by imitation to break a pebble in half or in three parts to get a crude cutting edge. Since they were to a large extent bipedal in locomotion, their hands were free to carry these tools and even weapons, such as the smooth rounded stones found in the earliest Lower Pleistocene tool deposits, in their constant quest for food.
The core and flake traditions that followed simply built upon the experience of the pebble tool industry. The first addition to the earlier technique was a systematic shaping of the core by breaking off many flakes instead of two or three. The early Chellean or Abbevillian and later Acheulian hand-ax traditions, for example, differ only in the size of the flakes removed and whether or not a hammer, stone or wood or bone baton is used to remove them.56 A second addition or perhaps only a refinement of what was an obvious idea from the start was the use of flakes removed from the core and their eventual retouching to achieve a keener edge. This was the idea behind everything from the crude Clactonian to the more refined Mousterian traditions.
The one tool technique preceding the Upper Paleolithic which seems to have taken a good deal of foresight is the Levalloisian, which may have appeared as early as 150,000 years ago. Here a core or nucleus of stone is prepared by careful flaking around its edges, a striking platform is made, and then a flake is removed that is just the right shape and needs little retouching. Here we do have an incipient symbol layering combining both the ideas of a prepared core and flaking. It may not be as complicated as it seems, however, since the one idea follows rather neatly on the other after the natural use of flakes is begun. Though it is perhaps beyond proving at the present time, it does not seem improbable that even this slightly more complicated process could have been conceived with images in the mind and passed on by imitation.
Finally the numbers and varieties of tools of the Lower and Middle Paleolithic are simplicity itself-hammerstones, hand axes or choppers, knives or cutters (including the triangular point) and planes, scrapers, scratchers or gravers. All of these can be suggested by the anatomy of the hominid itself-hand, fist, teeth and nails.
There are a few early examples of "blades and burins" in the Middle Paleolithic which seem to present a foretaste of the Upper Paleolithic to come. This would not be unusual since an occasional sliver of flint could be struck producing a blade-type flake; however, the highly developed technique and efficient industry of blade and burin culture marks the appearance of the Upper Paleolithic which is always identified with Homo sapiens. We are not denying the possibility that Adam's descendants may have even picked up the idea of stone-working from non-human hominids just as we have learned principles of aerodynamics from birds. In fact, there are several commands given to man in the Word instructing him to observe and learn from the lesser creatures. (Proverbs 6:6; Job 12:7-11) Homo sapiens soon demonstrates his greater intelligence or conceptualizing powers, however, in going way beyond what had remained stagnant for tens of thousands of years.
The Upper Paleolithic, for example, saw a great diversification and multiplication of specialized stone tools and a rich development of bone and antler tools.57 In contrast the Neanderthal, who immediately preceded and sometimes paralleled Homo sapiens, has been characterized as "uninventive." Oakley summarizes this point
regards material equipment, the Neanderthalers showed little
more inventiveness than the Early Paleolithic peoples. They do
not appear to have mastered the craft of working
bone, although they broke the long bones
animals for use
as tools, and selected dense bones, such as the phalanges
of bison, for service as chopping blocks or anvils.58
Oakley then contrasts the work of Homo sapiens.
Compared with all predecessors, the possessors of the new tradition were remarkably inventive. They made a wide range of specialized tools and weapons, and in environment where wood was scarce they mastered the working of bone and other animal substances. Some had a developed aesthetic sense and displayed artistic skill scarcely excelled in any later period; they decorated their bodies and buried their dead with ceremony. 59
The tool technique of the Upper Paleolithic is superficially related to the "discoidal nucleus" technique of the Levalloisio-Mousterian tradition. It involved the systematic flaking of a better prepared nucleus to produce a continuous series of a single kind of bladeflake which then became the basis for many different kinds of tools. Many similar flakes taken from a single nucleus of flint, in other words, could be conceived in over twenty different ways and in many different associations. It seems as if this might be what we could expect to find erected on the tool tradition of the Middle Paleolithic by conceptualizing creatures who now had the added capacity to think in words and thus to build in layers of symbols. This increased the intellectual ability to see relationships, such as bone with stone and hafting with holding. The hand ax disappears and the use of wood and bone handles becomes commonplace.
Upper Paleolithic tools were much more economical of flint and very efficient. A. Leroi-Gourhan, Director of the Museum of Natural History in Paris, has worked out what he calls man's "first economic statistic." F'rom a single pound of flint an Abbevillan hand-ax would provide only about two inches of cutting surface. An Acheulian hand-ax might provide eight inches. The Mousterian knapper, furthermore, could get up to forty inches of cutting edge by careful flaking. The blade technique of the Magdalenian period of the Upper Paleolithic, however, could have produced from ten to forty feet of cutting edge from the same pound of flint. He calls this technique lamination.60 It is a further development of the older Levalloisian skill, but whereas the latter technique usually produced only a single flake and a specific kind of tool, the new laminating technique produced a dozen or more similar slivers or blades of flint which were then reworked into over twenty different kinds of tools. It would seem that considerably more imagination and foresight was needed in the latter case than in the former. I suggest that a capacity for "multiple abstraction" also necessary for the presence of language is in evidence.
All of this seems to point to the conclusion that Homo sapiens had mental powers considerably superior to his predecessors. Leroi-Gourhan summarizes, for example,
In sum, the coming of modern man to various regions of France matched the development of a civilization with roots in the Mousterian past but with an intellect much more like our own.61
If this points to the acquisition of language, where did Homo sapiens learn to speak? Was language really an evolutionary development or was it a radically different quantum step?
We know that God created man for fellowship with Himself. (I Corinthians 1:9) Would not this involve the granting of the capacity for "multiple abstraction" and even the teaching of a language? If left to himself would man have been able to make the "brilliantly successful 'mutation' "62 necessary for true language? Certainly his communication with God by means of words was a normal and necessary part of Adam's environment by which he was being conditioned in the likeness of God. With Adam's rebellion and subsequent expulsion from the presence of God there came an unnatural environment in which neither Adam nor any of his descendants were able to function properly and so fulfill the purpose for which they were created. Only as a man is reconciled to God through God's provision in Christ is the presence of God once again available to him for normal growth. Once again the communication of God is by means of words-concepts in languages. And it is by these words that we are born again (I Peter 1:23), cleansed (John 15:3), and that we grow to spiritual maturity (Acts 20:32). It is still true that "as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he." (Proverbs 23:7) This helps to explain the necessity of the Word of God, or the. communication of God, to man today and its primary place in the lives of the members of His new creation, descendants of Adam who are once again on the road to the fulfillment of the purpose for which they were created.
There is one major objection to excluding Neander thal from the category of "man made in the image of God" and that is the evidence which points to a possible glimmering of religious life; for example, a few burial sites. Burial of the dead with attendant ceremony became very common in the Upper Paleolithic, but is found on occasion also in the preceding period. Is not the religious sense which this suggests evidence for the image of God in man? Anthropolo gists define religion as belief in something beyond the natural and the activities connected with such belief. Thus the religious sense biologically explained simply includes a concern for that which exists beyond one's sense experience-the area of the unknown. All that is needed to have a sense of the unknown is imagination, and we have already concluded that very intelli gent hominids were capable of conceptualizing on a rather high level even without language. Or are we even correct in assuming that animals have no sense of the supernatural? We must also note that having a religious sense does not denote a moral capacity; in fact, religion and ethics are treated separately in the anthropological literature because they do not always coincide. Whereas Genesis would indicate that man's moral sense is a part of his uniqueness, a consciousness of the unknown or even of the supernatural may not necessarily be. Another answer is possible, however; namely, that Neanderthal was taught by Homo sapiens. In speaking of the faint glimmerings of art among the Neanderthals, Leroi-Gourhan concludes,
That was the final flash of the Paleanthropian civilization; doubtless the last Paleanthropes were influenced by the art and skills of groups of Homo sapiens who were not too far away. 63
A final question which may be asked by those familiar with the fossil evidence will be, "How about Swanscombe, Fontechevade and Kanjera?" These have been recommended as pre-sapiens sapiens forms dated earlier than 100,000 years ago; viz., Vallois, Montagu, and Howells. The most careful recent evaluations of the first two fossils have judged them to fall within the range of Early Neanderthals placing them in a very precarious position as evidence.64 Because of the circumstances surrounding the discovery of the Kanjeran remains, furthermore, their age is also highly speculative. One authority describes the ambiguity.
. . they are probably of Upper Pleistocene date. But they could be only 40,000 to 30,000 years old. Or they could be of an earlier date, or possibly Intrusive. No one really knows. 65
The following are believed to be the earliest Homo saptens fossils extant: (1) Florisbad man from South Africa with a disputed C14 dating of perhaps between 30,000 B.C. and 39,000 B.C.66 and (2) A skull from the Nish Caves in Borneo with a C14 date of about 38,000 B.C.67 HoMo sapiens tool cultures are dated earlier than this up to possibly 50,000 B.C. in the Near East. The first appearance of Hovw sapiens culture in Europe is about 35,000 B.C., and this is the earliest estimate recommended by some for the Western Hemisphere. Stone tools found in situ in deposits at Tule Springs, Nevada and the Sandia Cave in New Mexico are dated in excess of 21,000 B.C. and burned bones of dwarf mammoths suggesting a huge barbecue recorded a date in excess of 25,000 B.C.68 It is likely that the diaspora which moved man into Europe, Africa and East Asia also brought him to the New World via the Bering Strait during the Gottweig Interstadial of the Wurm-Wisconsin glaciation or somewhere between 40,000 B.C. and 29,000 B.C.69
I would recommend therefore placing the advent of Adam somewhere in the neighborhood of 45,000 B.C. to 50,000 B.C. or shortly thereafter. This, however, is really no better an answer to the Neolithic problem of Genesis 4 which was mentioned above. Given this dating for the creation of true man, there are three possible solutions to the latter discrepancy: (1) Genesis 4 is not really a picture of the Neolithic;70 (2)
The civilization of Genesis 4 was irretrievably destroyed in the catastrophe of the Flood possibly about 40,000 B.C. or earlier, and attempts to reconstruct such a civilization were frustrated by God. (Genesis 11); (3) The Adam of the Garden of Eden was created about 10,000 B.C., there being an existing race of pre-Adamite Homo sapiens as well as other hominids.71
One final bit of evidence to support the theory that language did not appear until the time of Hom sapiens about 50,000 years ago comes from tentative conclusions in glottochronology, a very uncertain area of research in historical linguistics, In an earlier article contrasting animal and human "language", Charles Hockett concluded,
These successive evolutionary changes, leading to genuine lan. guage presumably did not begin more than 10 to 15 million years ago, since our nearest non-human cousins do not show the consequences; they may have begun much earlier. They were concluded at least 50,000 years ago, and may have been completed much earlier. This second date Is based on a rough estimate of the time which would have been required for all the languages of the world today to have differentiated from a single parent language, on the assumption that they are all related. I do not recommend this assumption, which is highly dubious; but It affords us our only way of directly, estimating a terminus ad quem. Indirect inferences, based on archeological reconstructions of paleolithic life, would suggest a much earlier terminal date. Quite possibly Pithecanthropus, if not Australopithecus, shared with Homo the power of speech. 72
(Our difference of opinion here is perhaps a good example of how different pre-suppositions govern our interpretation of the evidence.) The linguist Roger W. Wescott, however, disagrees somewhat with Hockett's skepticism. In his comment on Hockett and Ascher's paper he wrote,
My own very tentative inclination, based partly on Swadesh's finding that all known languages converge on a monogenetic vanishing point about 40,000 years ago (1960), Is rather to believe that language in the full sense does not antedate Neanderthal man. If asked what kind of vocal repertory the Australopithecines had, I would guess that It was simply an expanded version of the general hominoid repertory; and If asked the same question about the Pithecanthropines, that it was still a phatic (or paralinguistic) system enriched by phonesthemes or functionally equivalent imitative referentials; but that the phoneme-morpheme dichotomy was an Invention of Upper Paleolithic Europe. 73We eagerly await more research in this area.
In conclusion let us note that if this theory is correct we will need a new vocabularly to fit our new categories. Perhaps we should reserve the terms language, culture and man for the period of the Upper Paleolithic to the present. Early hominoids and the living anthropoid apes would have what might be termed pseudo-culture. They are tool-users, and at times toolmakers, but theirs are random acts that usually do not persist because of poor memories and a lack of imagination, although Yerkes cites the example of how teaching one chimpanzee the technique of drinking from a water fountain began a persistent pattern of behavior which was passed on by imitation from one generation to another.
The hominid animals--Australopithecus, Homo habilis, Homo erectus, Pithecanthropus and Sinanthropus, and Homo neanderthalensis-have what we might call proto-culture.74 Here activities become more complex and standardized. There is the power for conceptual thought but in terms of pictures carried around in the mind. Behavior learned by imitation persists intact for thousands of years, but a certain limit of development is reached, and there is little appreciable improvement. Lacking language they find it difficult to store more than just so much traditional behavior, and after a certain saturation point is reached, new generations find it virtually impossible to build much on the accumulations of past generations. Lacking the ability for multiple abstraction, only simple associations of ideas are possible for them.
The hominid creature created in the image of God, whom we believe to be Homo sapiens, however, has culture because he has language and the capacity for a great variety and rich interplay of symbols. He has the potential for persistent improvement since each generation can build on the traditions of the past. Not until he adds writing to his achievements, however, and can more efficiently store these traditions, is more of this potential realized. With the development of electronic cybernetic systems to aid him in his acumulation and analysis of knowledge, furthermore, man may be approaching the day when his tremendous learning capacity will be fully exploited.75REFERENCES:
1. Benjamin B. Warfield, "On the Antiquity and the Unity of the Human Race," The Princeton Theological Review, IX (January 1911), 1. Reprinted in Biblical and Theological Studies, ed. S. G. Craig (Philadelphia: The Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, 1952), pp. 238-61.
2. For a complete summary of the Darwin Centennial see Evolution After Darwin, 3 Volumes: 1, The Evolution of Life, ed. Sol Tax; 11, The Evolution of Man, ed. Tax; III, Issues In Evolution, ed. Tax and Charles Callender (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1960).
Some recent articles and books which relate to the subject of bridging the bio-cultural gap include the following:
MacDonald Critchley, "The Evolution of Man's Capacity For Language" In Evolution After Darwin: 11, The Evolution of Man, pp. 289408.
Joseph H. Greenberg, "Language and Evolution" In Evolution and Anthropology: A Centennial Appraisal, ed. B.J. Meggars (Washington, D.C.: Anthropology Society of Washington, 1959), pp. 61-75.
Charles D. Hockett, "The Origin of Speech," Scientific American, 203 (September 1960), 89-96.
and Robert Ascher, "The Human Revolution," Current Anthropology, 5 (June 1964), 135-68.
M.F. Ashley Montagu (ed.), Culture and the Evolution of Man (New York: Oxford University Press, 1962).
___, The Human Revolution (Cleveland and New York: World Publising Co., 1964).
J. N. Spuhler (ed.), The Evolution of Man's Capacity for Culture (Detroit: Wayne University Press, 1959).
Sherwood L. Washburn (ed.), Social Life of Early Man, Viking Fund Publications in Anthropology, No. 31 (New York: Wenner-Gren Foundation and Chicago: Aldine Publishing Co., 1961).
__ _-, "Tools and Human Evolution," Scientific American, 203 (September 1960), 63-75.
For an examination of this whole problem of the bio-cultural gap from the standpoint of Christian theology see James 0. Buswell III, "The Origin of Man and the Bio-cultural Gap," JASA, 13 (June 1961), 47-55,
3. Henri V. Vallois, "The Social Life of Early Man: The Evidence of Skeltons" in Social Life of Early Man, ed. Washburn, p. 232.
4. A. Irving Hallowell, "The Structural and Functional Dimensions of a Human Existence" in Culture and the Evolution of Man, ed. Montagu, p. 228. Reprinted from Quarterly Review of Biology, 31 (1956), 88-101.5. Washburn "Tools and Human Evolution," p. 71.
7. Vallois, "The Social Life of Early Man p. 215.
8. Alfred L. Kroeber, Anthropology (New York- Harcourt, Brace and Co., 1948), p. 654.
9. Donald R. Wilson, "How Early Is Man?" Christianity Today, 6 (September 14 1962), 1176.
10. Russell L. Mixter (ed.), Evolution and Christian Thought Today (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1960), pp. 186-87.
11. Hallowell, "Personality Structure and the Evolution of Man" In Culture and the Evolution of Man, ed. Montagu, pp. 250-52. Reprinted from The American Anthropologist, 52 (1950), 159-73.
One of the earliest effective arguments linking tool-making with speech is Grace A. De Laguna, Speech: Its Function and
Development (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1927). See
also Leslie A. White, "On the Use of Tools by Primates,"
Journal of Comparative Psychology, 34 (1942), 369-74. Reprinted in White, The Science of Culture (New York: Farrar,
Straus and Company, 1949), pp. 4048.
12. This is a common statement made by anthropologists. See, e.g., Kroeber, Anthropology, p. 70 and White "The Symbol: The Origin and Basis of Human Behavior" In The Science of Culture, p. 25. For a brief summary of the anthropological contributions to the definition of man see Hallowell, "The Structural and Functional Dimensions of a Human Existence." (Ali conclude that behavioral and not simply biological criteria are necessary; namely, conceptual thought and symbolic communication, with tools as the external evidence.)
13. Hackett, "The Origin of Speech," pp. 90-91. See also summary in Bernard BereIson and Gary A. Steiner, Human Be. havior: An Inventory of Scientific Findings (New York and Burlingame: Harcourt, Brace and World, Inc., 1964), pp. 46-48.
14. White, The Science of Culture, pp. 25 ' 33. Reprinted from The Journal of the Philosophy of Science, 7 (1940), 451-63.
15. Greenberg, "Language and Evolution," p. 75. 16. Hockett "The Origin of Speech," p. 90.
1.7. "Comments" on Hackett and Ascher, "The Human Revolution," p. 164.18. Ibid., p. 163.
20. Bertram S. Kraus, The Basis of Human Evolution (New York, Evanston, and London: Harper and Row, 1964) p. 282.
21. Oakley, "A Definition of Man," p. 12; -, Discussion on "Physical Anthropology and the Biological Basis of Human Behavior" in An Appraisal of Anthropology Today, ed. Sol Tax, et. at. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1953), pp. 259-60; and -, "Skill as a Human Possession," pp. 1-37.
22. For a summary of recent sources on higher primate behavior see George B. Schaller, The Mountain Gorilla (Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1963), pp. 199-200 and I~Blbllography," pp. 407-22.
23. L.S.B. Leakey, et. at., "A New Species of the Genus Homo from Olduvai Gorge," Nature, 202 (April 4, 1964), 7.
24. Oakley, "On Man's Use of Fire, With Comments on Toolmaking and Hunting" In Social Life of Early Man, ed. Washburn, p. 187.
25. G. A. Harrison, et. at., Human Biology: An Introduction to Human Evolution, Variation and Growth (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1964), pp. 87, 89.
26. Jane Goodall and Hugo Van Lawick, "My Life Among Wild Chimpanzees," National Geographic Magazine, 124 (Aug. ust 1963). 305.27. Ibid., pp. 307-08.
29. Washburn, "Tools and Human Evolution," p. 63.
30. Leakey, et. al., "A New Species of the Genus Homo ... p. 9.
31. Hockett and Ascher, "The Human Revolution," p. 143.
32. Ibid., p. 145.
33. Washburn, "Tools and Human Evolution," p. 73.
34. Two English biologists have argued for the very recent development of speech. See J. B. S. Haldane, "Animal Communication and the Origin of Human Language," Science Progress, 43 (1955), 385-401 and R. J. Pumphrey, The Origin of Language," Acta Psychologia, 9 (1953), 219-39. This seems also to be the position of the great geneticist Theodosius Dobzhansky who has written, "Mutation, sexual recombination and natural selection led to the emergence of Homo sapiens. The creatures that preceded him had already developed the rudiments of tool-using, toolmaking and cultural transmission. But the next evolutionary step was so great as to constitute a difference in kind from those before It. There now appeared an organism whose mastery of technology and of symbolic communication enabled It to create a supraorganic culture." "The Present Evolution of Man," Scientific American, 20 (September 1960), 89.
35. Hackett and Ascher, 1117he Human Revolution," p. 163.
37. Ibid. p. 146.
38. Vallois, "The Social Life of Early Man . . . 11, p. 221.
39. Harrison, et. al., Human Biology, pp, 89-90.
40. J. N. Spubler, "Somatic Paths to Culture" In The Evolution of Man's Capacity For Culture, ed. Spuhler, p. 8. Reprinted in Gabriel W. Lasker (ed.), Physical Anthropology 19531961, Yearbook of Physical Anthropology, Vol. 9 (Mexico, D.F.: Instituto Nacional de Antropologla e Historia, 1964), pp. 17-29.
41. Earl W. Count, "Comments" on Hackett and Ascher, "The Human Revolution," p. 157.
42. Hockett, "The Origin of Speech," p. 90.
43. E. Adamson Hoebel, Man in the Primitive World, 2nd Edi. tion (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Co., 1958), p. 153. Several examples are cited in Earl H. Bell, Social Foundations of Human Behavior (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1961), pp. 18-24.
44. Ralph S. Solecki, "Dating Zawl Chemi An Early Village Site at Shanidar, Northern Iraq," Science, 127 (June 1958), 1446.
45. ___ "Prehistory in Shanidar Valley, Northern Iraq," Science, 139 (January 18, 1963), 179-94.
46. For a complete presention of the art of one of the most famous of these caves see Georges Bataille, et al., Prehistoric Painting: Lascaux or the Birth of Art (Lausanne: Skira Studio 1955).
47 ' Francois Henri Bordes, "Evolution in the Paleolithic CuItures" in Evolution After Darwin: II, The Evolution of Man, ed. Tax, p. 110.
48. Leakey, Adam's Ancestors, 4th Edition (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1960), p. 140.49. Ibid., p. 118.
50. F. Clark Howell, "Upper Pleistocene Stratigraphy and Early Man in the Levant," Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, 103 (February 28, 1959), pp. 37-38.
51.___, "Comments" on Brace, "A Consideration of Hominid Catastrophism," p. 25.52. 1 "Upper Pleistocene Stratigraphy . . . 11, p. 27,
54. Howell, "Upper Pleistocene Stratigraphy pp. 25-26.
55. E. S. Higgs and D. R. Brothwell, "North Africa and Mt. Carmel: Recent Developments," Man 6, 1 (August 1961), 138-39. These authors would prefer to interpret the Skhul fossils as transitional forms between Neanderthal and Homo sapiens. See also C. S. Coon, The Origin of Races, (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1962), pp. 569-75 and William Howells, Mankind in the Making (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday and Co., 1959), pp. 226-29.
56. Jacques Bordaz, Tools of the Old and New Stone Age (New York: American Museum of Natural History, 1959), pp. 3". Reprinted from Natural History Magazine, 68 (January 1959), 36-51 and February 1959), 92-103.
57. Kraus, The Basis of Human Evolution," pp. 273-74. See also Robert J. Braidwood, Prehistoric Men, 5th Edition (Chicago: Natural History Museum, 1961), pp. 75-83.
58. Oakley, Man the Tool-Maker (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1960, p. 91.59. Ibid., p. 93.
61. Ibid., p. 98.
62. Hockett and Ascher, "The Human Revolution," p. 144.
63. Lerol-Gourhan, Prehistoric Man, p. 72.
64. Sergio Sergi, "Morphological Position of the "Prophaneranthropi' (Swanscombe and Fontechevade)" in Ideas on Human Evolution: Selected Essays, 1949-1961, ed. William Howells (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1962), pp. 507-08. See also Brace, "A Consideration of Hominid Catastrophism," pp
17, 24-25, 28.
65. Coon, The Origin of Races, p. 618.
66. Ibid., pp. 643-44. See also Howells, Mankind in the Making, pp. 224-26.
67. D. R. Brothwell, "Upper Pleistocene Human Skull From Niah Caves," Sarawak Museum Journal, 9 (1960), 323-49.
68. Montagu, An Introduction to Physical Anthropology, 3rd Edition (Springfield, Illinois: Charles C. Thomas, 1960), pp. 269-85.69. H. L. Movius, Jr., Radiocarbon Dates and Palaeolithic Archaeology in Central and Western Europe (Madrid: Actes du V Congres International du Quaternaire, 1957).
70. For an examination of this interpretation of Genesis 4 see
T. C. Mitchell, "Archaeology and Genesis I-XI,11 Faith and
Thought, 91 (1951), 28-49.
71. For a recent survey of the Neolithic problem see James 0. Buswell 111, "Genesis, The Neolithic, and the Antiquity of Man" (mimeographed manuscript).
72. Hockett, "Animal 'Languages' and Human Language" In The Evolution of Man's Capacity for Culture, ed. Spuhler, p. 38.73. Hockett and Ascher, "The Human Revolution," p. 165.
75. The implications of Genesis 11:6 are that man has an almost unlimited capacity to learn. "And the Lord said, Behold they are one people, and they have all one language; and this is only the beginning of what they will do; and nothing that they propose to do will show be impossible for them." (RSV)