Chapter 18 - Modern Behavior
Historical and sociological studies support the view that genetic differences are not of importance in determining the social and cultural differences between different groups of Homo sapiens."
United Nations, Unesco, 1950

    Paleoanthropologists make a connection between “modern” (Hss) anatomy, which they say arose 160,000 ya, and “modern” behavior. If a population is (or was) anatomically modern, it should be (or should have been) capable of modern behavior and there should be some evidence of such behavior. Conversely, if there is no evidence that a population engaged in modern behavior, then doubt is cast on whether the anatomy of a population has been correctly categorized as “modern.”
    “Modern” humans, i.e., Hss, did not just make functional tools and weapons, as did erectus and Hs, but had a culture – drawings, musical instruments, burying their dead with artifacts. The first definite evidence of human culture is beads over 100,000 yrs old found in Israel. 1 Thus, if Omo has a modern skull, as the afrocentrists assert, then modern man in Africa went about 60,000 yrs without modern culture, even though he was supposedly capable of creating it. 2
    Did any Africans engage in modern behavior before recent incursions of modern Eurasians into Africa? As we saw in Chapter 15, Africans did not come any where near creating civilizations, which would certainly have constituted modern behavior.
    Traveling farther across water than one can swim, which requires, at the minimum, only a few logs secured together, is certainly modern behavior. If Africans became modern 160,000 ya, this is one modern behavior they could easily have engaged in. But there are many large islands just off the coast of Africa that were not visited or settled by Africans. Off the Western coast lies the seven Canary Islands, only 108 km (67 miles) away, with the highest peak visible from Morocco; they were first settled by white Berbers. Howells, 1948, p. 272). Zanzibar is only 32 km (20 miles) off the eastern coast, but was visited by Egyptians (2500 BC) and Phoenicians (600 BC) long before Africans (Bantu, 100 AD). The fourth largest island in the world, Madagascar, lies just 370 km (229 miles) off the eastern coast of Africa, with the smaller Comoros islands in between, yet the islands were first settled by Indonesians, not Africans. (If the reader will refer to the map of Africa (Fig. 17-6) he can identify these and other islands off the coast.)
    Meanwhile, stone tools found on the island of Flores indicate that Asian erectus was using boats 800,000 to 900,000 ya. (Morwood, 1998; O’Sullivan, 2001). How is that possible when supposedly modern man in Africa could not even reach islands just off the African coast a few thousand years ago? To have not explored and settled islands, even some that are visible from Africa, strongly suggests that Africans, even recently, had not become modern, so to suppose they were modern when they allegedly migrated out of Africa 65,000 ya is ludicrous. How could supposedly modern Africans not only leave Africa and travel throughout Europe, Asia, and even to Australia and South Pacific islands, but never reach islands just off their own coast?
    Domesticating an animal is behavior that is clearly modern. Domestication requires keeping an animal within a limited space so that it can be located and easily captured, feeding, watering, and protecting it, and selectively breeding it for traits that are useful to man. The domestication of a wild animal, particularly a dangerous wild animal, unlike making simple tools, which even chimpanzees and some birds can do (FN 444, p. 106), requires a modern mind that can plan for the future 3 and can engage in complicated behavior. There is no evidence that any animal was domesticated in sub-Saharan Africa. Some tribes (Zulus, Masaï, Tutsis) do herd cattle, but those tribes have interacted with Arabs, who did have domesticated cattle. 4
    The NE Asian wolf was the first animal to be domesticated, between 100,000 and 130,000 ya. 5 Now, can you guess where the NE Asian wolf lived? If you guessed in NE Asia, you win an honorary paleoanthropologist merit badge. And, one more guess, where did the people live who domesticated it? If you guessed “Africa,” go back to Chapter 1. So, again, the OoA theory fails because modern man must have lived within the range of the NE Asian wolf, which does not include Africa, long before the afrocentrists say he left Africa.
    There is other evidence that people outside of Africa engaged in modern behavior before 65,000 ya, the date that the afrocentrists say the first modern man left Africa. Heidi was killing elephants, twice the size of today’s elephants, with wooden spears and butchering them with flint tools 400,000 ya in Great Britain. 6 In Germany, seven balanced throwing spears, over 400,000 yrs old, were found with stone tools and the butchered remains of more than 15 horses; these are “the world's oldest wooden throwing spears – so far the oldest complete hunting weapons of humankind.” (Thieme, 1997). This find strongly suggests that systematic hunting, involving foresight, planning, and appropriate technology – all modern behavior – occurred in Europe long before modern man allegedly even arose in Africa. The BBC News, June 20, 2006, reported that a 250,000 year old cleaver and “giant flint hand axes” of “exquisite, almost flamboyant, workmanship” were found in Britain, which is also modern behavior. People were living as far north as Finland, where tools were found in and below layers dated at 340,000 to 300,000 ya. (Schulz, 1998). In southern France, 73,000 year old prehistoric man was burning coal for fuel. (Thery, 1996). Neanderthals (at least 60,000 ya, Kebara, Israel) and pre-historic man in Europe were burying their dead before Africans.
    In the Northern Territory of Australia, stone tools and other artifacts, including a large piece of hematite that had been used as a red pigment, were dated by archeologist Rhys Jones at about 53,000 to 60,000 BP, with the latter date more likely (Roberts, 1993); that date would allow only 5000 yrs to migrate there from Africa.
    The control of fire, i.e., keeping a fire burning in one location (and probably also being able to start a fire), is one of the most important modern behaviors because control of fire vastly extends to the north the territory that could be occupied. Fire breaks down meat for easier chewing and digestion, leads to metallurgy, and is a powerful defense against predators (e.g., the cave bear in the north, which competed for living space). The earliest hearths are in Israel 790,000 ya (Goren-Inbar, 2004), Vétesszöllös in Hungary, and Choukoutien near Peking, dated at 400,000 to 500,000 ya (Chap. 17, Table 2). In Africa, clear evidence of controlled fire is not found until about 60,000 ya, at Kalambo Falls, Zambia, although many earlier living sites have been found in Africa. 7 The much earlier controlled use of fire by the Eurasians strongly implies that the selection pressures for advanced technology were greater in the north and that Eurasians responded to those pressures, again suggesting that modern man did not arise in Africa.
    In one of “the coldest, driest places in Europe," on the Don River in Russia some 250 miles south of Moscow, scientists found 45,000 to 42,000 year old stone, bone and ivory tools, as well as perforated shell ornaments and a carved piece of mammoth ivory that appears to be the head of a small human figurine. (Anikovich, 2007). Could Africans, in only the 20,000 yrs since they allegedly left Africa 65,000 ya, have traveled and lived that far north?
    In the next two chapters, we look at mtDNA evidence that the afrocentrists cite to prove their case.

Chapter 19

Table of Contents


1. (Vanhaeren, 2006). Simple items of personal adornment, e.g., beads, carnivore teeth with holes drilled through them, were probably the first cultural items, especially in populated areas, as they enhanced status. Small stone blades and a pigment associated with body painting, dated about 164 kya (±12 kyrs), were found in a cave at Pinnacle Point on the south coast of South Africa. The pigment could have been used to draw symbols. (Marean, 2007). This was during an ice age (Chap. 5, Fig. 1), when Africa was cool and dry and, since human fossils were not found with the artifacts, it is not clear which human made them. Back

2.  A possible explanation is that there is no point in creating culture unless there is a social organization that it can influence, and such social organizations did not arise until environmental conditions forced an intensification of social relations. (Allman, 1994, p. 199). However, man’s brain grew to about modern size about 100,000 ya and that growth is often attributed to more complex social relations. Back

3. Chimpanzees do not plan for the future. (Arsuaga, 2001, p. 28). Back

4. “[C]attle-keeping … is not strictly typical of negro culture at all.” ("Negro." 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica). Also see (Baker, 1974, pp. 357-360). Back

5. (Wayne, 1993) Wayne's research, which is based on complete nuclear DNA (rather than segments of only mtDNA), shows that dogs are over 100,000 years old. The oldest known remains of a dog, however, date to only about 14,000 ya in Russia (Sablin, 2002), with another 14,000 ya find in Germany, where a dog was buried with two people. (Olsen, 1985). The range of the NE Asian wolf extended into Eastern Europe. The bones of wolves have been found with hominoid bones in China, dated 500,000 ya. (Olsen, 1977). The cat started living with humans as early as 130,000 ya in the Middle East, protecting stores of grain from rodents. (Driscoll, 2007). Back

6.  (Wenban-Smith, 2006). A 500,000 year old fossilized rhinoceros shoulder blade with a projectile wound in it was found at Boxgrove, England. (Pitts, M. & Roberts, M., Fairweather Eden, 1997). Back

7. Burnt bones at the Swartkrans site in South Africa dated at 1.5 million years (Brain, 1988) and baked clay at the Chesowanja site in Kenya at 1.4 million years (Gowlett, 1981, 1982) may show earlier use in Africa, but fires are started by lightning, especially during drought, though man may have made use of them; the extremely early dates in an environment where warmth is not critical arouses skepticism. Back