New Evidence for Old (Very Old Indeed)

In my book Forbidden Archeology and in the lectures and interviews I give about the book, I often mention cases of archaeological evidence for extreme human antiquity from the nineteenth century and early twentieth century. My critics, and even some of my supporters, question this evidence. They would prefer to hear reports of more recent evi­dence.

To such people, I reply that evidence for extreme human antiquity is evidence for extreme human antiquity no matter when it was reported. The doubting of “old” evidence is based on the questionable idea that “new” evidence is better. Science, it is claimed, has made considerable advancement since the old days.

If this assumption is accepted, what will be the status of current “new” evidence in one hundred years? Will it suddenly become untrue? Does scientific evidence have an expiration date, after which it automatically becomes in­valid? I think not. If that were true, the only way to get reliable evidence would be to project oneself forward to the end of time, if there is such a thing. The last facts would then be the real ones, all past evidence being consigned to the oblivion of falsity.

But in reality we do not consistently make judgments like that. People are very selective in their judgments about “old” evidence. Archaeological textbooks are full of discoveries from the nineteenth and early twentieth centu­ries, such as the original Neanderthal discoveries (reported in 1857), the original Homo erectus discoveries (reported in 1893), the original Australopithecus discoveries (reported in 1925), and many others. Because these discoveries support the now dominant theory of human evolution, they are not subjected to the charge of being “old” evidence. But evidence that contradicts the dominant theory of human evolution is held to a different standard. If such evi­dence is from the nineteenth century or early twentieth century, it is dismissed as “old,” and hence unreliable.

But it simply is not true that all science done before midnight January 1, 1950, is automatically outdated. The theory of relativity was proposed by Einstein in 1905. It is still accepted today. Hundreds of other examples could be given.

Furthermore, what I proposed to do in my forbidden archaeology research was to conduct an historical survey of all the archaeological evidence discovered from the time of Darwin up to the present. So of course I could not confine my research to just the most recent evidence. I had to deal with the whole archaeological record. And when I sur­veyed the entire history of archaeology, what I found is that archaeologists, and other earth scientists, have at differ­ent times and places reported abundant evidence for extreme human antiquity.

Although this evidence for extreme human antiquity is present in the primary scientific literature, the reports by original investigators published in the professional scientific literature, this evidence is largely absent from the secon­dary scientific literature, such as textbooks and survey studies. Why is that? I proposed it is because of a process of knowledge filtration, whereby evidence that supports the dominant theories passes through this intellectual filter; and evidence that radically contradicts the dominant theories does not pass through it. And it is significant that this process has been operating for a long time. And it is still operating now.

If people want current examples of evidence for extreme human antiquity, I can give them such examples, as I have often done in this column in the past, and as I will now do again in this present column.

Here is the most recent example that has come to my attention:

Earlier this year, researchers, including lead author Matthew Bennett of Bournemouth University in the United Kingdom, announced in the February 27 issue of the journal Science the discovery of footprints at Ileret, Kenya. The footprints were excavated by paleontologists working under John K. Harris of Rutgers University in cooperation with the National Museum of Kenya. The footprints were found in layers of rock 1.5 million years old. The age was es­tablished by study of volcanic deposits in the footprint layers. The footprints were found in two layers of rock. The upper layer contained three trails of footprints (two trains of two footprints each, and one set of seven footprints, along with some individual footprints). The lower layer contained one trail of two prints and one individual footprint.

Dr. Bennett made three-dimensional images of the footprints. He also made digital images of the footprints of lo­cal modern people. He found the ancient and modern footprints to be remarkably similar. The researchers stated that the ancient footprints displayed all the features of the anatomically modern human foot. Of course, the researchers, being evolutionists, did not believe that humans like us were present 1.5 million years ago to make those prints. So how did they explain the prints? They attributed the footprints to Homo ergaster, an African variety of the apeman Homo erectus.

But no one knows what the feet of Homo erectus were like, because no one has ever discovered any foot bones of Homo erectus. Actually, the only creature known to science today who has a foot exactly like a modern human foot is a human being like us. So, from the strictly scientific point of view, the best thing to do would be to attribute the footprints to human beings like us. That would extend the age of the modern human species from the currently ac­cepted 150,000 years to 1.5 million years.

And there is other evidence from Africa to support this. In 1913, at Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania, the German re­searcher Hans Reck reported finding an anatomically modern human skeleton solidly embedded in upper Bed II of Olduvai Gorge. This would give the skeleton an age of at least 1.1 million years, and it could be as much as 1.7 mil­lion years old. At Lake Turkana in Kenya, Richard Leakey reported that a femur (the ER 1481 femur) found in forma­tions 1.9 million years old was exactly like a modern human femur.

The researchers who reported on the Kenya footprints in Science said they “provided the oldest evidence of an es­sentially modern human-like foot anatomy.” This is not true. In 1979, Mary Leakey reported the discovery of foot­prints at a place called Laetoli, in Tanzania. The footprints were found in layers of solidified volcanic ash 3.7 million years old. The dating was done using the potassium-argon method. In her original report, published in National Geo­graphic magazine, Mary Leakey said that the Laetoli footprints were indistinguishable from anatomically modern hu­man footprints. Paleontologist Tim White said, as quoted in Don Johanson’s book Lucy, “Make no mistake about it. They are like modern human footprints.” And physical anthropologist Russell Tuttle wrote in a scientific publication (Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London) in 1981 that “the shapes of the prints are indistinguisha­ble from those of striding, habitually barefoot humans.”

The case of the Kenya footprints provides a recent example of how the knowledge filtering process operates in human origins studies. Evidence for extreme human antiquity can be staring researchers directly in their faces, but unable to accept the true implications of the evidence, the researchers do whatever is necessary to make it fit their ev­olutionary theories of human origins. In this case, they attributed the Kenya footprints to a prehuman honinin, Homo erectus, although there is no real justification for doing so, other than blind commitment to the current theo­ries of human evolution.

Another recent example of such knowledge filtering is provided by some footprints discovered near the Valsequil­lo Reservoir in central Mexico. Geoarchaeologist Sylvia Gonzalez, in 2005, announced in Nature the discovery of many footprints in volcanic deposits there. She said the footprints were like those of modern humans, and were about 40,000 years old. Subsequently, scientists from the University of California at Berkeley led by Paul Renne did radio­metric studies of the age of the volcanic deposits and conclude in a report in Nature that they were about 1.3 million years old. According to the scientists who did the dating, and other scientists, this ruled out the possibility that the footprints were made by humans like us.

Chris Stringer, head of human origins studies at the Natural History Museum in London, said, “The new dating is far beyond any credible evidence of humans in the Americas. Some experts had questioned whether the prints were indeed human, and this issue will now have to be reexamined very carefully” (Epoch Times, Dec. 7, 2005). The most likely explanation was that they were not really footprints, but were impressions in the rock that resembled footprints.

To such suggestions, Sylvia Gonzalez replied, “Even if we are wrong and the ash is indeed 1.3 million years old, that is not automatically a reason to disregard interpretation of the features reported as footprints, simply because they are not in agreement with the established models for the settlement of the Americas” (Epoch Times, Dec. 7, 2005).

I agree with Sylvia Gonzalez. I believe the most scientifically justifiable conclusion is that the footprints are hu­man, and that they are 1.3 million years old, just about the same age as the Kenya footprints.

Michael A. Cremo is author, with Richard Thompson, of the underground classic Forbidden Archeology: The Hid­den History of the Human Race. His latest book is Human Devolution: A Vedic Alternative to Darwin’s Theory (see

By Michael Cremo

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