Modern Culture 44,000 Years Ago: Human Behavior, as We Know It, Emerged Earlier Than Previously Thou

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posted on Aug, 1 2012 @ 09:40 AM
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www.sciencedaily.com...

An international team of researchers, including scientists from Wits University, have substantially increased the age at which we can trace the emergence of modern culture, all thanks to the San people of Africa.

Objects discovered in the archeological layers of Border Cave, South Africa. a: wooden beating stick, b: wooden stick decorated with notches and bearing at its end residues of ricinoleic acid, c: bone point decorated with a spiral engraving filled with orange pigment, d: baboon fibula with one edge covered with notches engraved by four different lithic cutting edges, e: object constituted of beeswax and plant resin, f: ostrich egg and shell beads. Scale = 1 cm. (Credit: Errico/Backwell)

"The dating and analysis of archaeological material discovered at Border Cave in South Africa, has allowed us to demonstrate that many elements of material culture that characterize the lifestyle of San hunter-gatherers in southern Africa, were part of the culture and technology of the inhabitants of this site 44,000 years ago," says Backwell.

A key question in human evolution is when in prehistory human cultures similar to ours emerged? Until now, most archaeologists believed that the oldest traces of San hunter-gatherer culture in southern Africa dates back 10,000, or at most 20,000 years.

The study of stone tools discovered in the same archaeological layers as the organic remains, and from older deposits, shows a gradual evolution in stone tool technology. Organic artifacts, unambiguously reminiscent of San material culture, appear relatively abruptly, highlighting an apparent mismatch in rates of cultural change. This finding supports the view that what we perceive today as "modern behavior" is the result of non-linear trajectories that may be better understood when documented at a regional scale.

This article from ScienceDaily caught my attention.

It seems more and more that archaeologists, anthropologists, geologists, etc are determining that there was not "one" place that "civilization" was born, and that it has been happening far longer than we knew about. It's these kind of findings that continue to perpetuate my theory that we, the human race as it stands today, are only one in a long history of civilizations that came and went...

or are remnants of a once united civilization that was blown to bits (wouldn't surprise me a bit -- either man-made or cosmic collision-related)....

and that the seeming "simultaneous but separate" development of things like agriculture, animal husbandry and domestication is more than just a coinky-dink.

I wish I had more to offer than this one page (it's nothing compared to some of the brilliant pieces that come to this forum), but I want to look more into this. Anyone else have resources to connect to it?

Check out the article, it describes how they made poisonous arrow tips using bees-wax (the oldest known use of the stuff), and Euphorbia poison. Pretty sophisticated, and pretty indicative of humankind's ability to use innovation.
Hate to post and remove for edit, so here goes...my next points will follow.

~wild
edit on 1-8-2012 by wildtimes because: add a thought




posted on Aug, 1 2012 @ 09:48 AM
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reply to post by wildtimes
 


Yes border cave has some very nice artifacts in it. Survival of bone and wood back that far is rare.


Border cave

General information on Border caves

At present there is no evidence that there were previous 'civilizations', cultures yes and as science pushes the dates back farther and farther we'll probably find even more information.



posted on Aug, 1 2012 @ 10:01 AM
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This is great news! The human race has been on the face of this planet much longer than what we have been told. Science has just been hesitant to admit it due to most of the worlds religious beliefs.

Religion hinders Science. Science hinders Religion.

The only way we will get to the answer to how long we have been around is to put aside those beliefs, quit looking at the Bible and other books of religion as history books, and get down to the science of the subject.
edit on 1-8-2012 by mikemck1976 because: Added a thought.



posted on Aug, 1 2012 @ 10:07 AM
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Originally posted by mikemck1976
This is great news! The human race has been on the face of this planet much longer than what we have been told. Science has just been hesitant to admit it due to most of the worlds religious beliefs.

Religion hinders Science. Science hinders Religion.

The only way we will get to the answer to how long we have been around is to put aside those beliefs, quit looking at the Bible and other books of religion as history books, and get down to the science of the subject.
edit on 1-8-2012 by mikemck1976 because: Added a thought.


Depends on who you ask, fundamentalist Christians 6,000 years, fundamentalist Hindu millions. Scientists, about 200,000 years for modern man and about 5 million since we split off from Chimpanzees



posted on Aug, 1 2012 @ 10:19 AM
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Recently I read Bill Bryson's latest title "At Home", which is a real hoot, and goes into all sorts of history stuff...
about how cultures developed all over the world, seemingly independently.

I don't think ALL religions hinder science; like Hans says, it depends who you ask, but the Western religions, yes, are apparently not interested. With all the recently discovered pyramids all over the world (Alaska?!, China, even North America), it just seems to me that there is much more that distant cultures and peoples have in common than they have differences.

I've always been an evolution believer, but recent scientific finds have made me think more about the "seeding" or the "gifts of ancient visitors".... I don't know. Fascinating stuff.



posted on Aug, 1 2012 @ 10:28 AM
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reply to post by Hanslune
 



Yes border cave has some very nice artifacts in it. Survival of bone and wood back that far is rare.

Thanks!! LOL, it hit wikipedia already??! Interesting. I'd like to get my hands on the papers about to be published, but thanks. I shoulda known someone else would already be all over this. THANKS for the LINKS!!



posted on Aug, 1 2012 @ 10:45 AM
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A common mistake some people make in regarding the independent expression of similar advances in culture around the world at similar times is that what appears to be a geologically similar time frame could have differences of hundreds of years, if not a thousand or two, which is common for differences.

Over the course of a few hundred, to two thousand years, well, people are like sand at the beach, and tend to get everywhere, even the darndest places.
While getting everywhere, surviving, and sometimes not, well, they spread their ideas and tools along the way with other peoples.

Thus, what may appear to be independent spontaneous combustion of differing cultural advances and innovations could very well be the invisible influence of people just getting up to travelling about like they always seem to do.

Over the last 2000 years, a blink of the eye in geological time, how far have we, as people spread?
Who's to say that 45,000 years ago, our ancestors weren't just as proficient at getting out and about, meeting other people, and sharing info, tools, and stories?

Dating finds that far back is prone to error with some plus or minus in degrees of a few hundred to a couple thousand years depending on the reliability of your samples and the methods employed for dating.

45,000 years from now, were future archaeologists to employ the same dating methods we use now to date artifacts, our history would look like a really strange mix of hunter-gatherer subsistence living bundled with iPads, LCD TVs, stone tools, bronze age weapons, steam engines, spacecraft, horse and buggy transport, nuclear power, telegraph communication, and the whole variety of everything that encompasses the history of the last 2000 years.
It'd be really super confusing.

In light of this confusion, it's easy to see how it can appear that many diverse cultures all over the planet spontaneously developed advances all at the same time, when in reality, there was likely more a degree of gradualism occurring over a much longer scale of time than most non-academics are use to thinking.

Ancient history can get along fine and be spoken for in accounting for it's developments quite well on it's own without people from the stars giving gifts of knowledge to all the good little boys and girls of planet earth.



edit on 1-8-2012 by Druscilla because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 1 2012 @ 10:48 AM
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Always fascinated with that, border cave, blombos cave...in particular the insane time frames involved there.
Sometimes this goes back 100.000 years where they can trace back inhabitation of those caves by humans.

100.000 years...remember that we have already difficulties to imagine how life/culture was here just 2000 years ago, eg. the ancient Romans etc..... and here we have caves where we know people lived there since 100.000 years on and off...i simply cannot wrap my mind around this.

I would give something to have a time machine, going back 50.000 or more years and be able to observe and study those people. There is evidence that back so many years, they already produced jewelry and all kinds of items in sort of a "mass production"...and tools show markings like they were able to count and made notes in some form.



posted on Aug, 1 2012 @ 11:02 AM
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reply to post by Druscilla
 



In light of this confusion, it's easy to see how it can appear that many diverse cultures all over the planet spontaneously developed advances all at the same time, when in reality, there was likely more a degree of gradualism occurring over a much longer scale of time that most non-academics are use to thinking.

Ancient history can get along fine and be spoken for in accounting for it's developments quite well on it's own without people from the stars giving gifts of knowledge to all the good little boys and girls of planet earth.


I agree that cultures roamed, rowed, herded and wandered about, trading with one another and sharing technologies. Have you read "Sarum" by Edward Rutherford? Really interesting look at history of people in the British Isles, starting with the last ice age.

I think I detect a note of something in your last sentence that could make me uncomfortable; but I'm going to dismiss it. I'm not some starry-eyed kid, and I get your point, but there are things we don't know. And yes, I tend to look at any suggestion and think, "Hmm...okay, let's think that over."

Nevertheless, ancient artifacts show pretty suggestive "artwork" and hieroglyphs that certainly could indicate something other than just ancient folklore, considering that our DNA is different from everything else's (more streamlined, if you will), and the fact that we have self-awareness AND this nagging "how did we come to be, and to be here?" quest and thirst to know. I am not convinced that elephants, whales, and other species are any less sentient than we are, either, they simply live within their environments without having to ruin them.

The prehistoric cave paintings, from all over the world are just too similar in that vein to be completely dismissed, in my opinion.

Yes, I often consider our own civilization being unearthed millennia from now, and the odd eclectic finds they would be puzzling over. I have not ruled out that past civilizations might have been just as advanced, nor have I ruled out plain old evolution.

Thanks for your thoughtful post, though! (I've always loved your avatar...)



posted on Aug, 1 2012 @ 11:29 AM
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Originally posted by wildtimes
reply to post by Hanslune
 



Yes border cave has some very nice artifacts in it. Survival of bone and wood back that far is rare.

Thanks!! LOL, it hit wikipedia already??! Interesting. I'd like to get my hands on the papers about to be published, but thanks. I shoulda known someone else would already be all over this. THANKS for the LINKS!!


The cave has been known for over 60+ years, various groups have excavated there. My pleasure



posted on Aug, 1 2012 @ 11:52 AM
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Organized religion has a pretty long history of patronizing scientific inquiry.



posted on Aug, 1 2012 @ 11:54 AM
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reply to post by BrutalDictator
 

okay.
Erm...what is your point? I'm not into organized religion, I guess you are responding to an earlier response about the climate between the two?

IMO, religion was born out of a need to "understand" why life is hard. It is hard, that's why it's hard. And then we die.
Hopefully one day someone will dig up our civilization and learn from our mistakes.



posted on Aug, 1 2012 @ 11:23 PM
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Originally posted by wildtimes
It seems more and more that archaeologists, anthropologists, geologists, etc are determining that there was not "one" place that "civilization" was born, and that it has been happening far longer than we knew about.


I was curious in regards to where these other places of modern human populations? Any story or finding I have ever seen were in Africa. I was just curious if I was missing something.

Also, I'm not sure if anyone has saw this, but since we are on the topic of ancient human ancestors. Here is a link to the world's oldest "bed" that dates to 77,000 years ago. Also, they burned the beds after using them, which was kind of odd but could have been to keep bugs away. It shows a lot of creative thinking, but as far as technological societies, even something like ancient Egyptians, they were no where close to it at the time. Anything we have found so far is very primitive.

77,000 year old bed
edit on 1-8-2012 by deathlord because: forgot link



posted on Aug, 2 2012 @ 12:12 AM
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The same technologies used by the San (Bushmen) at the Border Cave more than 40 000 years ago are still used by some Kalahari San today.

The San people suffered terribly under colonization in Southern Africa, first being displaced by black agriculturalists and herders from the Iron Age to the present, and later also by white settlers.
They were once seen as sub-humanly "primitive" by Western science.
So it's interesting that today their technology is credited with "civilization", when in the previous two centuries they were often seen as "primitive man", or the antithesis of "civilization".

It appears that the simplest technologies were the most efficient, and stood the test the of time.
Civilizations came and went while the San technology lasted, and left undisturbed they would still be using it successfully across SA today.




posted on Aug, 2 2012 @ 07:37 AM
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reply to post by wildtimes
 


But what about Adam's calendar?

thecrit.com... structures-on-earth/

75,000 years old. It points to culture and even civilisation.

Also, as the linked article mentions, Horus was there...

"A recent observation is that the fallen monolith on the outer circle that marks the vernal equinox sunrise is shaped like the Horus hawk head from Egypt and the resembles the Zimbabwe ruins birds."
edit on 2/8/2012 by Recouper because: To add more info.
edit on 2/8/2012 by Recouper because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 2 2012 @ 09:10 AM
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reply to post by Recouper
 


Very cool!! I am not saying that the OP article is the be-all and end-all of our knowledge. I'm no archaeologist, and have only a "consumer's" knowledge of the data available. (Plus, I'm a little groggy this morning (it's finally raining here!! yay!! low pressure systems always make my brain stall)...so my response may seem as lame to you as it does to me), in fact I was curious about how it was determined the "oldest". I remember seeing and reading things about much further back than that.

I think the longer we look and the deeper we dig into the layers of the past (which is not to say blowing up bits of the Earth), we will continue to piece things together, ever so slowly. There have been revisions in my lifetime of "when" and "where" the earliest "modern people" arose, what they did, what they left behind. Adam's calendar, for example...obviously there are things that were "noticed" as "leftovers" but had no explanation, but as we put more and more together, we are better able to "deduce" what the original structures were designed to "do".

I wouldn't be surprised to someday learn they've found evidence of a 1,000,000 year old "civilization"...in fact, I think it's probable.



posted on Aug, 2 2012 @ 09:21 AM
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reply to post by deathlord
 


Fascinating, the "bedding". It immediately made me think of "nesting", though...many species create nests to sleep in; it's the burning part that is interesting.

I'll have to look into what is the oldest "known" use of fire as a tool...

I can't answer your question off the top of my head, the timelines are still way vague and sketchy in my mind so far. I'm still learning about this stuff, but the Central American cultures come to mind, also the remains of places like Skara Brae, the sunken cities off of Japan, the Anasazi and Hopewell cultures of North America and their predecessors (starts with a "C" -- Clovis? -- sorry, not enough coffee yet!) and also in China, Turkey, Russia, Australia...

but again, isn't it pretty well accepted that continental drift has occurred due to tectonic plate movement, ice ages, periods of volcanic erruptions, etc, came after there was an ancient single continent?

I'm so sorry, guys, I'm "off my game" today, feel like a bit of a dunce. Still waking up.
Thanks for responding though.

I'll keep looking!!

edit on 2-8-2012 by wildtimes because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 2 2012 @ 09:37 AM
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Okay, got my second cupa joe in hand. I've just done a search for archaeology timeline, and came up with a site that (is unresponsive but) says 2,500,000 years ago there was the first "industrial complex"...
so, I'm not sure why the authors of the article in the OP are going only as far back as 44,000 years.

It doesn't seem that long ago, so why is it presented that way? Perhaps they mean just in that REGION, not on a global scale.



posted on Aug, 2 2012 @ 09:46 AM
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reply to post by deathlord
 


I was curious in regards to where these other places of modern human populations? Any story or finding I have ever seen were in Africa. I was just curious if I was missing something.

Well, here's a diagram of agricultural centers that shows the growth of the practice on various different continents...according to Joey Roe, who made it.
en.wikipedia.org...:Centres_of_origin_and_spread_of_agriculture.svg

The caption says

Map of the world showing approximate centres of origin of agriculture and its spread in prehistory: eastern USA (4000-3000 BP), Central Mexico (5000-4000 BP), Northern South America (5000-4000 BP), sub-Saharan Africa (5000-4000 BP, exact location unknown), the Fertile Crescent (11000 BP), the Yangtze and Yellow River basins (9000 BP) and the New Guinea Highlands (9000-6000 BP). A proposed centre of origin in Amazonia (Lathrap 1977) is not shown. Adapted from File:BlankMap-World6, compact.svg and Diamond, J. (2003). "Farmers and Their Languages: The First Expansions". Science 300: 597–603. DOI:10.1126/science.1078208. "Fig. 1"



posted on Aug, 2 2012 @ 10:55 AM
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Originally posted by wildtimes
reply to post by Recouper
 

Very cool!! I am not saying that the OP article is the be-all and end-all of our knowledge.


Sorry if I came across a little confrontational, I really didn't mean to... I was just enthusiastic over the subject of your op.


Originally posted by wildtimes
I wouldn't be surprised to someday learn they've found evidence of a 1,000,000 year old "civilization"...in fact, I think it's probable.


Wow, you're more open minded than I... 1,000,000 is an extremly large number.

Do you suspect that Homo-erectus and or Neanderthals established a recognisable civilisation at that time? What an incredible idea, I'm spell-bound imagining a homo-erectus city... perhaps very modest by later "ancient" cities, home to only several thousand individuals, truly tiny compared to something like the small cities with populations of about 10,000 which were popping up by 4000 BC... or that "big" city Uruk (50,000 to 80,000). Could it be possible...? But finding evidence that old would be very difficult... mayby it happened and we'll never find out....
edit on 2/8/2012 by Recouper because: fixed typo





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