A piece of string about 6 millimeters long is threatening standard evolutionary theory about the history of humanity.
The BBC reported that researchers from the United States, France, and Spain recently discovered a small piece of string at a Neanderthal site in France.1 The researchers say that the string is approximately 50,000 years old.
According to evolutionary theory, Neanderthals were a relatively recent ancestor of modern humans, but did not have nearly the cognitive abilities that we have today. However, this discovery casts doubt on that hypothesis.
The 3-ply string was evidently made from the inner bark of a tree, the researchers said. The portion found was 6.2mm long and 0.5mm wide, and was made from three fibers, each twisted carefully in an “S-twist,” and then twined together into a cord.
The ability to make this cord “implies that Neanderthals understood concepts like pairs, sets, and numbers.” The article further explains that if Neanderthals were capable of making materials made of twisted fibers, then that means they likely could make things such as “clothes, bags, nets and even boats.”
In addition, the use of the internal bark of trees “demonstrated that Neanderthals had a detailed ecological understanding of trees and how to transform them into entirely different functional substances.” On an even deeper level, it shows that Neanderthals understood math and possessed the ability to to track with “multiple, sequential operations simultaneously.”
In other words, they could perform tasks just like modern humans.
While this is astonishing to those who hold to the evolutionary mindset, it simply confirms what biblical creationists already know: humans have always been humans. Humans have always been able to think, reason, create, work, and communicate, just as they were made to do.
Genesis tells us that we did not evolve from a previous, less-developed ancestor. Instead, we were specially, intentionally created by God in His image, made like Him in many ways.2 Thus it should not, and does not, surprise us when evolutionary science begins to recognize that early humanity possessed creativity and intelligence, among other traits.
This tiny string found in a French cave is yet another reminder to thank our God for making all mankind—since the beginning of time—capable of intelligently interacting with His universe and, more importantly, able to have a relationship with Him. We serve an amazing Creator.
Stage image: A scanning electron micrograph showing the twisted cord fibers. The fragment was approximately 6.2mm long and 0.5mm wide.
Stage image credit: PA Media/BBC News. Copyright © 2020. Adapted for use in accordance with federal copyright (fair use doctrine) law. Usage by ICR does not imply endorsement of copyright holders.
1. BBC contributor. 50,000-year-old string found at France Neanderthal site. BBC. Posted on bbc.com April 13, 2020, accessed April 13, 2020.
2. Genesis 1:26-27.
*Lauren Pennington is Volunteer Coordinator at the ICR Discovery Center for Science & Earth History.
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