A cluster of ghostly hand- and footprints on a mountain north of Lhasa offers evidence that humans scratched out a permanent existence in the thin air of Tibet much earlier than commonly thought, according to a new study. Some locals believe the prints, pressed into an ancient slab of limestone located 14,000 feet above sea level near the present-day village of Chusang, were left behind by mythical beasts. A team of researchers say that the impressions were left by people and that they offer intriguing clues to the puzzle of Tibetans’ ethnic origins. –WSJ
The dating of an ancient slab of limestone in Tibet has now been attributed to human beings between 7,000 and 12,000 years ago. But that’s still fairly recent so far as we are concerned.
More than ever we are partial to the idea that people in great civilizations were alive 20,000 or 30,000 or 40,000 years ago. And we’re willing to consider the possibility it goes back a lot further than that.
A 900 page book on the subject citing a good many examples intends to show human beings on earth go back hundreds of millions of years. The evidence is being removed from museums in favor of proofs that support the idea that human beings are not so old.
This story in Science is example of an article that pushes on the boundaries of science without blowing up the theory in its entirety.
The researchers, whose latest findings are published in the latest issue of Science, say they’ve now developed a clearer picture of the site’s significance. According to their calculations, Chusang was very likely used by inhabitants of a nearby year-round settlement between 7,400 and 12,700 years ago — at least 2,200 years before permanent villages are believed to have been established elsewhere on the Tibetan Plateau.
… By positing an earlier date of settlement on the Tibetan plateau, the study is likely to be controversial in Chinese archaeological circles. It could also irk Communist Party officials, for whom the question of where Tibetans came from is freighted with political significance. Pushing back against advocates for Tibetan independence, the Chinese government recently began arguing that Tibet has been a part of China, not just during the imperial era, but “since ancient times.”
China is using archaeology to make political points. And it is not just China. Archaeology throughout the West has been put in a similar position. It is at least partially in the service of specific political persuasions.
In the West, for instance, the idea is that civilization has been on a constant upward curve. With a certain jaggedness, the curve has been maintained with a regular ascension.
But perhaps this ascension has been maintained dishonestly. Human skeletons for instance, seem to have been buried within strata that is 10, 20 or even 100 million years old. The strata is contiguous and set up in a way that proves the bodies couldn’t have drifted down from a higher level
There is almost as much evidence, it seems, for man being hundreds of millions of years old as there is that modern man is 60,000 years old. The human construct of Petra in Jordan is said to be millions of years old just based in the sites massive erosion. And the same erosion is said to have affected various sites in South America.
The result has been especially injurious to Darwin’s theory of evolution. Darwin noted a good deal of micro evolution between species and thus concluded that macro evolution must take place. But in nearly 200 years of looking, not a single case of macro-evolution has been definitively proven from what we can tell.
Horses were supposed to have grown from small to large, shedding toes in the process. But these days, there is a good deal of doubt whether the initial multi-toed animal was ever some sort of horse to begin with. Simply calling it a horse does not make it one.
Saying man evolved from apes sounds good but the evidence may not be there. Great apes did evolve to walk, but not much else actually changed. Great brow ridges remained. The rib cage still went from in to out. The arms still dangled nearly to the knees. The strength of these creatures was five to ten times that of modern man.
Neanderthals are said to be proto-humans, but some have now noted that even the Neanderthal had a strong resemblance to an ape. The shape of the body, including the lengthy arms, barrel chest, prominent brow ridges and other elements far more represent an ape than a modern human. Thus even the Neanderthal could be said to represent an extreme form of ape.
Human beings are far different than apes. Their strength is much diminished, their heads are much different as are the length of their arms. An upright walking ape may still be a kind of ape despite his stance. But a human is a human.
The idea here is that there are many micro-evolutions but these do not add up to a single macro-evolution.
It is also noted that macro-evolutions take place after great extinctions when there are numerous additional animal niches to fill. In very short periods of time, macro-evolution must take place to fill literally thousands of these now vacant niches. Since we cannot definitively identify a single clear-cut macro-evolutionary example, granting an explosion of them in a few thousand years seems at least suspicious.
Conclusion: None of this means the theory of evolution is dead. But much of it seems questionable and the burden of proof after so many years should surely fall at least in part on those who espouse it. Right now, evolution has a lot of adherent including major scientists, but at some point they will have to move beyond theory and actually provide solid evidence.