The evolutionary age assignment for mankind just doubled, according to new research. Teeth were discovered in an Israeli cave in a context of unprecedented age for human remains. This evidence refutes long-held ideas about human evolution, including the "out of Africa" story and the whole presumed timing of human development.
Textbooks and museum displays have long insisted that humans came from Africa about 200,000 years ago. But the eight teeth found in the Qesem Cave near Rosh Ha'ayin are supposedly 400,000 years old. Computer tomography and X-ray scans indicated that these teeth are shaped like those of modern humans.
Tel Aviv University anthropologists also studied the cave's other artifacts and published their findings online in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology. They found evidence that flint cutting tools were produced, fire was used, meat was shared, and raw materials were mined, adding weight to the interpretation that these teeth were from humans.
A university press release stated that this discovery "may overturn the theory that modern man originated on the continent of Africa."1 Recently published evidence of ancient man from Spain and China also challenges the African origins hypothesis, which is held as sacred doctrine by many evolutionists.2
Another general evolutionary doctrine is that human-like fossils show some kind of evolutionary progression from ape to man. Ape-like remains in the fossil record are supposed to be in lower rock layers, with more man-like remains found above them. Some interpret this as an indication of evolutionary progression from ape to man. But as Marvin Lubenow clearly showed in his book Bones of Contention, there are massive time overlaps between various ape and human remains, the studies for which are all published in evolution-only journals.3
Lubenow presented finds that were "anatomically human," a phrase that would also describe the Israeli teeth, but that were discovered in sediments dated far older than 3 million years.3 Of course, since mankind should not yet have existed so far back according to the evolutionary timeline, such remains are routinely considered as having come from some unknown ape-like creature that happened to have had a particularly human-like feature, like an ape with a human tooth, bone, or footprint.
Interpreting these finds in light of biblical history removes the need to attribute "anatomically human" features to anything other than actual humans. Deposits that date from the post-Flood Ice Age until the present should be expected to have the possibility of human remains in them. This is because mankind, according to the eyewitness testimony of Scripture, moved across the earth after the dispersal event at the Tower of Babel, an event that occurred a few hundred years after the Flood. And since they were found in a cave that was itself an effect of the earth-covering Flood, the Israeli teeth certainly fit the early post-Flood timeframe.
TAU archaeologist Avi Gopher told The Associated Press that if the Israeli teeth were really human teeth, then "this changes the whole picture of evolution."4
But the teeth pose no threat to the picture of creation, which holds that humans and animals were made together and did not develop separately from unrelated organisms. Bible-based science is free from having to insist on a recent "emergence" of mankind and can evaluate all the evidence (including that from the Bible) together, instead of having to force it to fit a constantly changing evolutionary scenario.
- Was Israel the Birthplace of Modern Man? Tel Aviv University press release, accessed January 6, 2011, reporting research published online December 23, 2010, in Hershkovitz, I. et al, Middle pleistocene dental remains from Qesem Cave (Israel), American Journal of Physical Anthropology.
- Thomas, B. Canadian Philosopher Insists 'We Are All African!' ICR News. Posted on icr.org August 11, 2010, accessed January 4, 2011.
- Lubenow, M. L. 2004. Bones of Contention: A Creationist Assessment of Human Fossils. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 337.
- Researchers: Ancient human remains found in Israel. Associated Press, December 27, 2010.
* Mr. Thomas is Science Writer at the Institute for Creation Research.
Article posted on January 14, 2011.