The Widening Circle
IT SEEMS unlikely, even making all conceivable allowances for gaps in the text, which some are persuaded must exist, that one could push back the date of the Flood and with it the date of the events outlined in this Table of Nations, beyond a few thousand years B.C. At the very most these events can hardly have occurred much more than 6000 years ago ï¿½ and personally, I think 4500 years is closer to the mark. In this case, we are forced to conclude that, except for those who lived between Adam and Noah and were overwhelmed by the Flood and whose remains I believe are never likely to be found, all fossil men, all prehistoric peoples, all primitive communities extinct or living, and all civilizations since, must be encompassed within this span of a few thousand years. And on the face of it, the proposal seems utterly preposterous.
However, in this chapter I hope to show that there are lines of evidence of considerable substance in support of the above proposition. In setting this forth, all kinds of “buts” will arise in the reader’s mind if he has any broad knowledge of current physical anthropology. An attempt is made to deal with some of these “buts” in four other Doorway Papers: “Fossil Man and the Genesis Record”, “Primitive Cultures: Their Historical Origins”, “Longevity in Antiquity and Its Bearing on Chronology”, and “The Supposed Evolution of the Human Skull”. Yet some problems remain unsolved. However, one does not have to solve every problem before presenting an alternative view.
It is our contention that Noah and his wife and family were real people, sole survivors of a major catastrophe, the chief effect of which was to obliterate the previous civilization that had developed from Adam to that time. When the Ark grounded,
* Custance, Arthur, “Fossil Man and the Genesis Record”, Part I and “Primitive Cultures: Their Historical Origins”, Part II and “The Supposed Evolution of the Human Skull”, Part IV, in Genesis and Early Man,in Genesis and Early Man, vol.2; “Longevity in Anitquity and Its Bearing on Chronology”, Part I in The Virgin Birth and the Incarnation, vol.5 ï¿½ all in The Doorway Papers Series.
there were 8 people alive in the world, and no more. Landing somewhere in Armenia, they began to spread as they multiplied, though retaining for some time a homogeneous cultural tradition. The initial family pattern, set by the existence in the party of three sons and their wives, gave rise in the course of time to three distinct racial stocks who, according to their patriarchal lineage, are most properly termed Japhethites, Hamites, and Shemites, but in modern terminology would be represented by the Semitic people (Hebrews, Arabs, and ancient nations such as Babylonians, Assyrians, etc.), the Mongoloid and Negroid Hamites, and the Caucasoid Japhethites.
At first they kept together. But within a century or so they broke up into small groups, and subsequently some of the family of Shem, most of the family of Ham, and a few of the family of Japheth arrived from the east in the Mesopotamian Plain (Genesis 11:2). Here it would appear from evidence discussed elsewhere that the family of Ham, who had become politically dominant, initiated a movement to prevent further dispersal by proposing the building of a monument as a visible rallying point on the flat plain, thus bringing upon themselves a judgment which led to an enforced and rapid scattering throughout the earth.
This circumstance accounts for the fact that in every part of the world where Japheth has subsequently migrated he has always been preceded by Ham ï¿½ a fact which applies in every continent. In prehistoric times this is always found to be true, the earliest fossil remains being Negroid or Mongoloid in character, but those who followed were not. Indeed, in protohistoric times whatever cultural advances the pioneering Hamites had achieved tended to be swallowed up by the succeeding Japhethites. The record of Japheth’s more leisurely spread over the earth has been marred by the destruction of both the culture and their Hamite creators wherever the Japhethites arrived in sufficient force to achieve dominion. This happened in the Indus Valley, it happened in Central America, it happened to the Indian tribes of North America, it happened in Australia, and only numerical superiority has hitherto preserved Africa from the same fate. The indebtedness of Japheth to Ham for his pioneering contribution in mastering the environment is amply explored and documented in Part IV of this volume, “The Technology of Hamitic People,” and its complement, Part I, “The Part Played by Shem, Ham, and Japheth in Subsequent World History.” The evidence will not be repeated here.
Now, in spite of South African discoveries of recent years, it still remains true that whether we are speaking of fossil man, ancient civilizations, contemporary or extinct native peoples, or the present world population, all lines of migration that are in any way still traceable are found to radiate from the Middle East.
The pattern is as follows. Along each migratory route settlements are found, each of which differs slightly from the one that preceded it and the one that follows it. As a general rule, the direction of movement tends to be shown by a gradual loss of cultural artifacts, which continue in use back along the line but either disappear entirely forward along the line or are crudely copied or merely represented in pictures or in folklore. When several lines radiate from a single centre, the picture presented is more or less a series of ever increasing circles of settlement, each sharing fewer and fewer of the original cultural artifacts which continue at the centre. At the same time completely new items appear, which are designed to satisfy new needs not found at the centre. The further from the centre one moves along such routes of migration, the more new and uniquely specific items one is likely to find which are not shared by other lines, but there remain some recollections of a few particularly important or useful links with the original homeland. Entering such a settlement without previous knowledge of the direction from which the settlers came, one cannot be certain which way relationships are to be traced. There is, however, usually some dependable piece of evidence which allows one to separate the artifacts which have been brought in from those that have been developed on the site. This is particularly the case whenever complex items turn up requiring materials which would not be available locally. Sometimes the evidence is secondhand, existing in the presence of an article which is clearly a copy and has something about its construction which proves it to be so. For example, certain Minoan pottery vessels are clearly copies of metal prototypes, both in the shape they take and in their ornamentation. (138) Where the pottery handles of these vessels join the vessel itself, little knobs of clay are found which serve no functional purpose, but which are clearly an attempt to copy the rivets which once secured the metal handle to the metal body of the prototype. These prototypes are found in Asia Minor, and it is therefore clear
138. See on this J. D. S. Pendlebury, The Archaeology of Crete, Methuen, London, 1939, p.68 and V. G. Childe, Dawn of European Civilization, Kegan Paul, 5th edition, 1950, p.19.
which way the line of migration is to be traced, for it is inconceivable that the pottery vessel with its little knobs of clay provided the metal worker with the clues as to where he should place his rivets.
In the earliest migrations which, if we are guided by the chronology of Scripture, must have been quite rapid, it was inevitable that the tendency would be more markedly towards a loss of cultural items common to the centre as one moves out, rather than a gain of new items. (139) Thus the general level of culture would decline, although oral traditions, rituals, and religious beliefs would change more slowly. In due time, when a large enough body of people remained in any one place, a new “centre” would arise with many of the old traditions preserved but some new ones established with sufficient vigour to send out waves of influence both forwards and backwards along the line.
Accompaning such cultural losses in the initial spread of the Hamitic peoples would be a certain coarsening of physique. Not only do people tend to be in many cases unsuited for the rigours of pioneering life and be culturally degraded as a consequence, but the nourishment itself often is grossly insufficient or unsuitable, and their bodies do not develop normally either. As Dawson has observed, (140) the more highly cultured an immigrant is when he arrives, the more severely he is handicapped and likely to suffer when robbed of the familiar accouterments of his previous life. This has been noted by those who have studied the effects of diet on the human skull for example, and this subject is dealt with in some detail in “The Supposed Evolution of the Human Skull” (contained in vol.2 of this series); and with respect to culture, in “Primitive Cultures: Their Historical Origins” (in vol.2) .
The occasional establishment of what might be called “provincial” cultural centres along the various routes of migration has greatly complicated the pattern of relationships in protohistoric times, yet the evidence which does exist, for all its paucity at times, strongly supports a Cradle of Mankind in the Middle East from which there went out successive waves of pioneers who were neither Indo-Europeans nor Shemites. These were Hamitic pioneers, either Mongoloid or Negroid in type with some admixture, who blazed trails and opened up territories in every
139. Perry, W. J., The Growth of Civilization, Pelican, 1937, p.123.
140 Dawson, Sir William, ‘I’he Story of the Earth and Man, Hodder and Stoughton, London, 1903, p.390.
habitable part of the earth and ultimately established a way of life in each locality which at a basic level made maximum use of the raw materials and resources of that locality. The Japhethites followed them, building upon this foundation and taking advantage of this basic technology in order to raise in time a higher civilization, sometimes displacing the Hamites entirely, sometimes educating their teachers in new ways and then retiring, and sometimes absorbing them so that the two racial stocks were fused into one.
So much for the broad picture We shall now turn to a more detailed examination of the evidence that (a) the dispersion of man took place from a centre somewhere in the Middle East, and (b) that those who formed the vanguard were of Hamitic stock.
Before man’s evolutionary origin was proposed it was generally agreed that the Cradle of Mankind was in Asia Minor, or at least in the Middle East. Any evidence of primitive types elsewhere in the world, whether living or fossil, were considered proof that man became degraded as he departed from the site of Paradise. When Evolution seized the imagination of anthropologists, primitive fossil remains were at once hailed as proof that the first men were constitutionally not much removed from apes. One problem presented itself however, the supposed ancestors of modern man always seemed to turn up in tle wrong places. The basic assumption was still being made that the Middle East was the home of man and therefore these primitive fossil types, which were turning up anywhere but in this area, seemed entirely misplaced. Osborn, in his Men of the Old Stone Age, accounted for this anomaly by arguing that they were migrants. (141) He asserted his conviction that both the human and animal inhabitants of Europe, for example, had migrated there in great waves from Asia and from Africa. He wrote, however, that it was probable that the source of the migratory waves was Asia, north Africa being merely the route of passage. This was his position in 1915, and when a third edition of his famous book appeared in 1936, he had modified his original views only slightly. He had a map of the Old World with this subscription, “Throughout this long epoch Western Europe is to be viewed as a peninsula, surrounded on all sides by the sea and stretching westwards from the great land mass of eastern Europe and Asia — which was the chief theatre of evolution, both of animal and human life.”
141. Osborn, H. F., Men of the Old Stone Age, New York, 1936, pp.19ff.
No clear traces of the men and cultures of the later part of the Old Stone Age (known in Europe as the Aurignacian, Solutrean, and Magdalenian phases) have been discovered in the central highland of Asia.
The situation remained essentially the same when W. Koppers in 1952 observed: (143)
It is a remarkable fact that so far all the fossil men have been found in Europe, the Far East, and Africa, that is, in marginal regions of Asia that are most unlikely to have formed the cradle of the human race. No remains are known to us from central Asia where most scholars who have occupied themselves with the origin of men would place the earliest races.
It is true that some fossil men have now been found in the Middle East, but far from speaking against this area as being central to subsequent migration, they seem to me to speak indirectly — and therefore with more force — in favour of it. We shall return to this subsequently.
Prof. Griffith Taylor of the University of Toronto, speaking of migratory movements in general, whether in prehistoric or historic times, wrote: (144)
A series of zones is shown to exist in the East Indies and in Australasia which is so arranged that the most primitive are found farthest from Asia, and the most advanced nearest to Asia. This distribution about Asia is shown to be true in the other “peninsulas” [i.e., Africa andEurope, ACC], and is of fundamental importance in discussing the evolution and ethnological status of the peoples concerned. . . .
Which ever region we consider, Africa, Europe, Australia, or America, we find that the major migrations have always been from Asia.
After dealing with some of the indices which he employs for establishing possible relationships between groups in different geographical areas, he remarks: (145)
How can one explain the close resemblance between such far-distant types as are here set forth? Only the spreading of racial zones from a common cradle-land [his emphasis] can possibly explain these biological affinities.
142. Fleure, H. J., The Races of Mankind, Benn, London, 1930, p.45.
143. Koppers, W., Primitive Man and His World Picture, Sheed and Ward, New York, 1952, p.239.
144. Taylor, Griffith, Environment, Race and Migration, University of Toronto Press, 1945, p.8.
145. Ibid., p.67.
The first point of interest in studying the distribution of the African peoples is that the same rule holds good which we have observed in the Australasian peoples. The most primitive groups are found in the regions most distant from Asia, or what comes to the same thing, in the most inaccessible regions. . . .
Given these conditions its seems logical to assume that the racial zones can only have resulted from similar peoples spreading out like waves from a common origin. This cradleland should be approximately between the two “peninsulas,” and all indications (including the racial distribution of India) point to a region of maximum evolution not far from Turkestan. It is not unlikely that the time factor was similar in the spread of all these peoples.
In a similar vein Dorothy Garrod wrote: (147)
It is becoming more and more clear that it is not in Europe that we must seek the origins of the various paleolithic peoples who successfully overran the west. . . . The classification of de Mortillet therefore only records the order of arrival [my emphasis] in the West of a series of cultures, each of which has originated and probably passed through the greater part of its existence elsewhere.
So also wrote V. G. Childe: (148)
Our knowledge of the Archaeology of Europe and of the Ancient East has enormously strengthened the Orientalist’s position. Indeed we can now survey continuously interconnected provinces throughout which cultures are seen to be zoned in regularly descending grades round the centres of urban civilization in the Ancient East. Such zoning is the best possible proof of the Orientalist’s postulate of diffusion.
Henry Field in writing about the possible cradle of Homo sapiens, gives a very cursory review of the chief finds of fossil man (to that date, 1932), including finds from Pekin, Kenya Colony, Java, Heidleberg, (Piltdown), and Rhodesia, and then gives a map locating them; and he remarks: (149)
146. Ibid., pp.120, 121.
147. Garrod, Dorothy, “Nova et Vetera: A Plea for a New Method in Paleolithic Archaeology,” Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society of East Anglia, vol.5, p.261.
148. Childe, V. G., Dawn of European Civilization, Kegan Paul, London, 3rd edition, 1939. In the 1957 edition, Cllilde in his introduction invites his readers to observe that he has modified his “dogmatic” orientation a little but he still concludes at the end of the vohlme (p.342), “the primacy of the Orient remains unchallenged.”
149 Field, Henry, “The Cradle of Homo Sapiens,” American Journal of Archaeology, Oct.-Dec., 1932, p.427.
It does not seem probable to me that any of these localities could have been the original point from which the earliest men migrated. The distances, combined with many geographical barriers, would tend to make a theory of this nature untenable. I suggest that an area more or less equidistant from the outer edges of Europe, Asia, and Africa, may indeed be the centre in which development took place.
It is true that these statements were written before the recent discoveries in South Africa, or in the Far East at Choukoutien, or in the New World. Of the South African finds little can be said with certainty and there is no unanimity as to their exact significance. The finds at Choukoutien, as we shall attempt to show, actually support the present thesis in an interesting way. As for the New World, nobody has ever proposed that it was the Cradle of Mankind. Thus the Middle East still retains priority as the probable original Home of Man. Nevertheless, as to dating, it must be admitted that no authority with a reputation at stake would ever propose it was a homeland so recently as our reckoning of only 4500 years ago. The time problem remains with us and at the moment we have no answer to it, but we can proceed to explore the lines of evidence which in all other respects assuredly support the thesis set forth earlier in this chapter.
Part of this evidence, curiously, is the fact of diversity of physical type found within what appear to have been single families. This has been a source of some surprise and yet is readily accounted for on the basis of a central dispersion. Some years ago, W. D. Matthew made the following observation: (150)
Whatever agencies may be assigned as the cause of evolution in a race, it should be at first most progressive at its point of original dispersal, and it will continue this process at that point in response to whatever stimulus originally caused it, and will spread out in successive waves of migration, each wave a stage higher than the preceding one. At any one time, therefore, the most advanced stages should be nearest the centre of dispersal, the most conservative stages the furthest from it.
Some comment is in order on this observation because there are important implications in it. Lebzelter (151) pointed out that “where man lives in large conglomerations, race (i.e., physical form) tends to be stable while culture becomes specialized: where he lives in small isolated groups, culture is stable but
150. Matthew, W. D., “Climate and Evolution,” Annals of the New York Academy of Science, vol.24, 1914, p.80.
151. Lebzelter: quoted by W. Koppers in his Prirnitive Man, p.220. His view was sustained by LeGros Clark, JRAI (Journal of the Royal Archaeological Institute), vol. 88, Pt. 2, July-Dec., 1958, p.133.
Fig. 3. The approximate locations of the fossils remains or primitive peoples in this volume.
|1. Neanderthal Man (in||4. Cromagnon Man||7. Kangera||13. Obercassel||19. Folsom|
|Palestine), M. es Skhul,||5. Solo Man||8. Florisbad||14. La Chapelle||20. Lagoa Santa|
|9. Fontechevade||15. Grimaldi||21. Olduvai|
|2. Swanscombe Man,||6. Pekin Man,||10. Heidelberg||16. Krapina||22. Canstadt|
|11. Mauer Jaw||17. Talgai|
|3. Rhodesian Man||Choukoutien||12. La Quina Woman||18. Hotu|
specialized races evolve.” According to Lebzelter, this is why racial differentiation was relatively marked in the earlier stages of man’s history. The explanation of this fact is clear enough. In a very small closely inbreeding population, genes for odd characters have a much better chance of being homozygously expressed so that such characters appear in the population with greater frequency, and tend to be perpetuated. On the other hand, such a small population may have so precarious an existence that the margin of survival is too small to encourage or permit cultural diversities to find expression. Thus physical type is variant but is accompanied by cultural conformity, whereas in a large and well-established community, a physical norm begins to appear as characteristic of that population, but the security resulting from numbers allows for a greater play of cultural divergence.
At the very beginning, we might therefore expect to find in the central area a measure of physical diversity and cultural uniformity: and at each secondary or provincial centre in its initial stages, the same situation would reappear. The physical diversity to be expected on the foregoing grounds, would, it is now known, be exaggerated even further by the fact (only comparatively recently recognized) that when any established species enters a new environment it at once gives expression to a new and greater power of diversification. Many years ago, Sir William Dawson remarked upon this in both plant and animal biology. (152) From a study of post-Pliocene molluscs and other fossils, he concluded that “new species tend rapidly to vary to the utmost extent of their possible limits and then to remain stationary for an indefinite time.” An explanation of this has been proposed recently by Colin H. Selby in the Christian Graduate. (153) The circumstance has been remarked upon also by Charles Brues, (154) who adds that “the variability of forms is slight once the population is large, but at first is rapid and extensive in the case of many insects for which we have the requisite data.” Further observations on this point were made by Adolph Schultz in discussing primate populations in the 1950 Cold Springs Harbor Symposium. (155)
152. Dawson, Sir William, The Story of the Earth, Hodder and Stoughton, London, 1903, p.360.
153. Selby, Colin H., in a “Research Note,” in the Christian Graduate, IVF, London, 1956, p.99.
154. Brues, Charles, “Contribution of Entomology to Theoretical Biology,” Scientific Monthly, Feb., 1947, pp.123ff., quoted at p.130.
155. Schultz, Adolph, “The Origin and Evolution of Man,” Cold Springs Harbor Symposium on Quantitative Biology, 1950, p.50.
Thus we have in reality three factors, all of which are found to be still in operation in living populations, which must have contributed to the marked variability of early fossil remains particularly where several specimens are found in a single site as at Choukoutien for example, or at Obercassel, or Mount Carmel.
These factors may be summarized as follows: (a) A new species is more variable when it first appears; (b) A smal1 population is more variable than a large one; (c) When a species or a few members of it shift into a new environment, wide varieties again appear which only become stable with time. To these should be added a fourth, namely, that small populations are likely to be highly conservative in their culture, thus maintaining many links though widely extended geographically.
Fossil remains constantly bear witness to the reality of these factors, but this has meaning only if we assume that a small population began at the centre and, as it became firmly established there, sent out successive waves of migrants usually numbering very few persons in any one group, who thereafter established a further succession of centres, the process being repeated again and again until early rman had spread into every habitable part of the world. Each new centre at the first showed great diversity of physical type but as they multiplied a greater uniformity was achieved in the course of tine. Where such a subsidiary centre was wiped out before this uniformity had been achieved but where their remains were preserved, the diversity was, at it were, captured for our examination. At the same time, in marginal areas where individuals or families were pushed by those who followed them, circumstances often combined to degrade them physically so that fossil man tended toward a bestial form — but for secondary reasons. On the other hand, in the earliest stages of these migrations cultural uniformity would not only be the rule in each group but necessarily also between the groups. And this, too, has been found to be so to a quite extraordinary degree. Indeed, following the rule entunciated above, the most primitive groups — those which had been pushed furthest to the rim ï¿½ might logically be expected to have the greatest cultural uniformity, so that links would not be surprising if found between such peripheral areas as the New World, Europe, Australia, South Africa, and so forth, which is exactly what has been observed.
Such lines of evidence which we shall explore a little further, force upon us the conclusion that we should not look to these
marginal areas, to primitive contemporaries or to fossil remains, for a picture of the initial stages of man’s cultural position. It is exactly in these marginal areas that we shall not find them. The logic of this was both evident to and flatly rejected by E. A. Hooten who remarked: (156)
The adoption of such a principle would necessitate the conclusion that the places where one finds existing primitive forms of any order of animal are exactly in the places where these animals could not have originated. . . .
But this is the principle of lucus a non lucendo, i.e., finding light just where one ought not to do so, which pushed to its logical extreme would lead us to seek for the birthplace of man in that area where there are no traces of ancient man and none of any of his primate precursors [my emphasis].
William Howells has written at some length on the fact that, as he puts it, “all the visible footsteps lead away from Asia.” (157) He then examines the picture with respect to the lines of migration taken by the “Whites” and surmises that at the beginning they were entrenched in southwest Asia “apparently with the Neanderthals to the north and west of them.” He proposes that while most of them made their way into both Europe and North Africa, some of them may have travelled east through central Asia into China, which would possibly explain the Ainus and the Polynesians. He thinks that the situation with respect to the Mongoloids is pretty straightforward, their origin having been somewhere in the same area as the Whites, whence they peopled the East. The dark skinned peoples are, as he put it “a far more formidable puzzle.” He thinks that the Australian aborigines can be traced back as far as India, with some evidence of them perhaps in southern Arabia. Presumably, the African Negroes are to be derived also from the Middle East, possibly reaching Africa by the Horn and therefore also via Arabia. However, there are a number of black-skinned peoples who seem scattered here and there in a way which he terms “the crowning enigma,” a major feature of which is the peculiar relationships between the Negroes and the Negritos. Of these latter, he has this to say: (158)
They are spotted among the Negroes in the Congo Forest, and they turn up on the eastern fringe of Asia (the Andaman Islands, the Malay Peninsula, probably India, and possibly
156. Hooten, E. A., “Where Did Man Originate?” Antiquity, June, 1927, p.149.
157. Howells, Wm., Mankind So Far, Doubleday Doran, 1945, pp.295ff.
158. Ibid., pp.29S, 299.
formerly in southern China), in the Philippines, and in New Guinea, and perhaps Australia, with probable traces in Borneo, Celebes, and various Melanesian Islands.
All of these are “refuge” areas, and undesirable backwoods which the Pygmies have obviously occupied as later more powerful people arrived in the same regions. . . .
Several things stand out from these facts. The Negritos must have had a migration from a common point. . . . And it is hopeless to assume that their point of origin was at either end of their range. . . . It is much more likely that they came from some point midway, which is Asia.
There is, then, a very wide measure of agreement that the lines of migration radiate not from a point somewhere in Africa, Europe, or the Far East, but from a geographical area which is to be closely associated with that part of the world in which not only does Scripture seem to say that man began peopling the world after the Flood physically, but also where he began culturally. Looking at the spread of civilization as we have looked at the spread of people, it is clear that the lines follow the same course. The essential difference, if we are taking note of current chronological sequences, is that whereas the spread of people is held to have occurred hundreds and hundreds of thousands of years ago, the spread of civilization is an event which has taken place almost within historic times.
One might postulate that those whose migration took place hundreds of thousands of years ago and whose remains supply us with fossil man and prehistoric cultures (Aurignacian, etc.) were one species; and that those who initiated the basic culture in the Middle East area — the watershed of all subsequent historic cultures in the world — were another species. Some have tentatively proposed a concept such as this by looking upon Neanderthal Man as an earlier species or subspecies who was eliminated with the appearance of so-called “modern man.” (159) The association of Neanderthals with moderns in the Mount Carmel finds seems to stand against this conception. (160) And indeed, there is a very widespread agreement today that, with the exception of the most recent South African finds, al1 fossils, prehistoric, primitive, and modern men are one species, Homo sapiens.
Ralph Linton viewed the varieties of men revealed by fossil
159. Weidenreich, Franz von, Palaeontologia Sinica, whole series No.127, 1943, p.276; and see F. Gaynor Evans in Science, July, 1945, pp.16, 17.
160. Romer, Alfred, Man and the Vertebrates, University of Chicago Press, 1948, pp.219, 221.
If we are correct in our belief that all existing men belong to a single species, early man must have been a generalized form with potentialities for evolving into all the varieties which we know at present. It further seems probable that this generalized form spread widely and rapidly and that within a few thousand years of its appearance small bands of individuals were scattered over most of the Old World.
These bands would find themselves in many different environments, and the physical peculiarities which were advantageous in one of these might be of no importance or actually deleterious in another. Moreover, due to the relative isolation of these bands and their habit of inbreeding, any mutation which was favorable or at least not injurious under the particular circumstances would have the best possible chance of spreading to all members of the group.
It seems quite possible to account for all the known variations in our species on this basis, without invoking the theory of a small number of distinct varieties.
Viewed in this light, degraded fossil specimens found in marginal regions should neither be treated as “unsuccessful” evolutionary experiments towards the making of true Homo sapiens types, nor as “successful,” but only partially complete phases or links between apes and men. Indeed, as Griffith Taylor was willing to admit, (162) “the location of such ‘missing’ links as Pithecanthropus in Java, etc., seemed to have little bearing on the question of the human cradleland.” He might in fact also have said the same on the question of human origins. He concludes, “They are almost certainly examples of a . . . type which has been pushed out to the margins.”
Thus the way in which one studies or views these fossil remains is very largely coloured by one’s thinking whether it is in terms of biological or historical processes. Prof. A. Portmann of Vienna remarked: (163)
One and the same piece of evidence will assume totally different aspects according to the angle — palaeontological or historical — from which we look at it. We shall see it either as a link in one of the many evolutionary series that the paleontologist seeks to establish, or as something connected with remote
161. Linton, Ralph, The Study of Man, Student’s edition, Appleton, New York, 1936, p.26.
162. Taylor, Griffith, Environment, Race and Migration, University of Toronto, 1945, p.282.
163. Portmann, A., “Das Ursprungsproblem,” Eranos-Yahrbuch, 1947, p.11.
historical actions and developrnents that we can hardly hope to reconstruct. Let me state clearly that for my part I have not the slightest doubt that the remains of early man known to us should all be judged historically.
This same approach toward the meaning of fossil man has been explored in some detail by Wilhelm Koppers who thinks that “primitiveness in the sense of man being closer to the beast” can upon occasion be the “result of a secondary development.” (164) He believes that it would be far more logical to “evolve” Neanderthal Man out of Modern Man than Modern Man out of Neanderthal Man. He holds that Neanderthal was a specialized and more primitive type, but later than modern man, at least in so far as they occur in Europe.
Such a great authority as Franz von Weiderlreich (165) was also prepared to admit unequivocably, “no fossil type of man has been discovered so far whose characteristic features may not easily be traced back to modern man” [my emphasis]. This agrees with the opinion of Griffith Taylor, (166) who observed, “Evidence is indeed accumulating that the paleolithic folk of Europe were much more closely akin to races now living on the periphery of the Euro-African regions than was formerly admitted.” Many years ago, Sir William Dawson pursued this same theme and explored it at sorne length in his beautifully written, but almost completely ignored work, Fossil Man and Their Modern Representatives. Though at one time the unity of man was questioned, we see that it was not questioned by all.
On almost every side we are now being assured that the human race is, as Scripture says, “of one blood,” a unity which comprehends ancient and modern, primitive and civilized, fossil and contemporary man. It is asserted by Ernst Mayr, (167) by Melville Herskovits, (168) by W. M. Krogman, (169) by Leslie White, (170)
164. Koppers, W., Primitive Man and His World Picture, Sheed and Ward, New York, 1952, pp.220, 224.
165. Weidenreich, Franz von, Apes, Giants and Man, University of Chicago Press, 1948, p.2.
166. T’aylor, Griffith, Environment, Race and Migration, University of Toronto, 1945, pp.46, 47.
167. Mayr, Ernst, “The Taxonomic Categories in Fossil Hominids,” Cold SpringsHarbor Symposium, vol15, 1950, p.117.
168. Herskovits, Melville, Man and His Works, Knopf, New York, 1950, p.103.
169. Krogman, W. M., ”What We Do Not Krow About Race,” Scientific Monthly, Aug., 1943, p.97, and subsequently, Apr., 1948, p.317.
170. White, Leslie, “Man’s Control over Civilization: An Anthropocentric Illusion,” Scientific Monthly, Mar., 1948, p.238.
by A. V. Carlson, (171) by Robert Redfield, (172) and indeed by UNESCO. (173) At the Cold Springs Harbor Symposium on “Quantitative Biology” held in 1950, T. D. Stewart, (174) in a paper entitled, “Earliest Representatives of Homo Sapiens,” stated his conclusions in the following words, “Like Dobzhansky, therefore, I can see no reason at present to suppose that more than a single hominid species has existed on any time level in the Pleistocene.” Alfred Romer (175) observed in commenting on the collection of fossil finds from Palestine (Mugharet-et-Tabun, and Mugharetes-Skubl), “While certain of the skulls are clearly Neanderthal, others show to a variable degree numerous neanthropic (i.e., “modern man”) features.” Subsequently he identifies such neanthropic skulls as being of the general Cro-Magnon type in Europe ï¿½- a type of man who appears to have been a splendid physical specimen. He proposes later that the Mount Carmel people “may be considered as due to interbreeding of the dominant race (Cro-Magnon Man) with its lowly predecessors (Neanderthal Man).” Thus the picture which we once had of ape-like half-men walking with a stooped posture, long antedating the appearance of “true” Man, has all been changed with the accumulation of evidence. These stooped creatures now are known to have walked fully erect, (176) their cranial capacity usually exceeding that of modern man in Europe (if this means anything); and they lived side by side with the finest race (physically speaking) which the world has probably ever seen.
As an extraordinary example of the tremendous variability which an early, small isolated population can show, one cannot do better than refer to the finds at Choukoutien in China, (177) from the same locality in which the famous Pekin Man was
171. Carlson, A. V., in his retiring address as President of the American Association of Advanced Science, Science, vol.103, 1946, p.380.
172. Redfield, Robert, “What We Do Know About Race,” Scientific Monthly, Sept., 1943, p.193.
173. UNESCO: Provisional draft: given as of May 21st, 1952, in Man, Royal Anthropological Institute, June, 1952, p.90.
174. Stewart, T. D., “Earliest Representatives of Homo sapiens”, Cold Springs Harbor Symposium, vol.15, 1950, p.105.
175. Romer, Alfred, Man and the Vertebrates, University of Chicago Press, 1948, pp.219, 221.
176. Neanderthal erect: first reported by Sergio Sergi in Science, supplement 90, 1939, p.13; contrast with M. C. Cole, The Story of Man, Chicago, 1940, frontispiece facing p.13: and note that Cole’s reconstruction of a stooped Neanderthal, for popular consumption, appeared one year later than the report in Science.
177. For a useful and early summary report, see “Homo sapiens at Choukoutien,” News and Notes, Antiquity, June, 1939, p.242.
found. These fossil remains came from what is known as the Upper Cave, consisting of seven individuals, who appear to be members of one family: an old man judged to be over 60, a younger man, two relatively young women, an adolescent, a child of five, and a newborn baby. With them were found implements, ornaments, and thousands of fragments of animals.
Study of these remains has produced some remarkably interesting facts. The most important in the present context is that, judged by cranial form, we have in this one family a representative Neanderthal Man, a “Melanesian” woman who reminds us of the Ainu, a Mongolian type, and another who is rather similar to the modern Eskimo woman. In commenting on these finds Weidenreich expressed his amazement at the range of variation: (178)
The surprising fact is not the occurrence of paleolithic types of modern man which resemble racial types of today, but their assemblage in one place and even in a single family, considering that these types are found today settled in far remote regions.
Forms similar to that of the “Old Man” as he has been named, have been found in Upper Paleolithic, western Europe and northern Africa; those closely resembling the Melanesian type, in the neolithic of Indo-China, among the ancient skulls from the Cave of Lagoa Santa in Brazil, and in the Melanesian population of today; those closely resembling the Eskimo type occur among the pre-Columbian Amerindians of Mexico and other places in North America, and among the Eskimos of western Greenland of today.
Weidenreich then proceeds to point out subsequently that the upper Paleolithic melting-pot of Choukoutien “does not stand alone.” (179) In Obercassel in the Rhine Valley were found two skeletons, an old male and a younger female, in a tomb of about the same period as the burial in Choukoutien. He says, “The skulls are so different in appearance that one would not hesitate to assign them to two races if they came from separate localities.” So confused is the picture now presented that he observes: (180)
Physical anthropologists have gotten into a blind alley so far as the definition and the range of individual human races and their history is concerned. . . .
But one cannot push aside a whole problem because the methods applied and accepted as historically sacred have gone awry.
178. Weidenreich, F., Apes, Giants, and Man., University of Chicago Press, 1948, p.87.
179. Ibid., p.88.
This extraordinary variability nevertheless still permits the establishment of lines of relationshlip which appear to crisscross in every direction as a dense network of evidence that these fossil remains for the most part belong to a single family.
Griffith Taylor links together Melanesians, Negroes, and American Indians. (181) The same authority proposes a relationship between Java Man and Rhodesian Man. (182) He relates certain Swiss tribes which seem to be a pocket of an older racial stock with the people of northern China, the Sudanese, the Bushmen of South Africa, and the Aeta of the Plilippines. (183) He would also link the Prednost Skull to Aurignacian folk and to the Australoids. (184) Macgowan (185) and Montagu (186) are convinced that the aboriginal populations of central and southern America contain an element of Negroid as well as Australoid people. Grimaldi Man is almost universally admitted to have been Negroid even though his remains lie in Europe, (187) and indeed so widespread is the Negroid type that even Pithecanthropus erectus was identifed as Negroid by Buyssens.(188)
Huxley maintained that the Neanderthal race must be closely linked with the Australian aborigines, particularly from the Province of Victoria; (189) and other authorities hold that the same Australian people are to be related to the famouls Canstadt Race. (190) Alfred Romer relates Solo Man from Java with Rhodesian Man from Africa. (191) Hrdlicka likewise relates the Oldoway Skull with LaQuina Woman; LaChapelle and others to the basic African stock, (192) and holds that they must also be related to
181. Taylor, Griffith, Environment, Race and Migration, University of Toronto, 1945, p.11.
182. Ibid., p.60. His argument here is based on head form, which he considers conclusive.
183. Ibid., p.67. He feels only a “common cradle-land” can possibly explain the situation.
184. Ibid., p.134.
185. Macgowan, K, Early Man in the New World, Macmillan, New York, 1950, p.26.
186. Montagu, Ashley, Introduction to Physical Anthropology, Thomas, Springfield, Illinois, 1947, p.113.
187. Weidenreich, Franz, Apes, Giants, and Man, University of Chicago Press, 1948, p.88.
188. Buyssens, Paul, Les Trois Races de Europe et du Monde, Brussels, 1936. See G. Grant McCurdy, American Journal of Archaeology, Jan.-Mar., 1937, p.154.
l89. Huxley, Thormas, quoted by D. Garth Whitney, “Primeval Man in Belgiurn,” Transactions of the Victoria Institute, vol.40,1908, p.38.
190. According to Whitney, see above, p.38.
191. Romer, Alfred, Man and the Vertebrates, University of Chicago Press, 1948, p.223.
192. Hrdlicka, Ales, “Skeletal Remains of Early Man,” Smithsonian Institute, Miscellaneous Collections, vol.83, 1930, p.342f’f.
Indian, Eskimo and Australian races. Even the Mauer Jaw is held to be Eskimo in type. (193)
We cannot do better than sum up this general picture in the words of Sir William Dawson who, far in advance of his time, wrote in 1874: (194)
What precise relationship do these primitive Europeans bear to one another? We can only say that all seem to indicate one basic stock, and this is allied to the Hamitic stock of northern Asia which has its outlying branches to this day both in America and in Europe.
While it is perfectly true that the thesis we are presenting has, in the matter of chronology, the whole weight of scientific opinon against it, it is nevertheless equally true that the interpretation of the data in this fashion makes wonderful sense and, indeed, would have allowed one to predict both the existence of widespread physical relationships as well as an exceptional variableness within the members of any one family. In addition to these physiological linkages there are, of course, a very great many cultural linkages. As a single example the painting of the bones of the deceased with red ochre, a custom which not so very long ago was still being practiced by the American Indians, has been observed in prehistoric burials in almost every part of the world. Surely such a custom could hardly arise everywhere indigenously on some such supposition as that “men’s minds work everywhere pretty much the same. . . .” It seems much more reasonable to assume it was spread by people wlo carried it with them as they radiated rapidly from some central point.
This brings us once more to the question of the geographical position of this Cradle. Evidence accumulates daily that as a cultured being the place of man’s origin was somewhere in the Middle East. No other region in the world is as likely to have been the Home of Man, if by man we mean something more than merely an intelligent ape. Vavilov (195) and others (196) have repeatedly pointed out that the great majority of the cultivated
193. Ibid., p.98. And see William S. Laughton, “Eskimos and Aleuts: Their Origins and Evolution,” Science, vol.142, 1963, p.639, 642.
194. Dawson, Sir William, “Primitive Man,” Transactions of the Victoria Institute, London, vol.8, 1874, p.60-61.
195. Vavilov, N. I., “Asia, the Source of species”, Asia, Feb., 1937 p.113.
196. Cf. Harlan, J. R., “New World Crop Plants in Asia Minor,” Scientific Monthly, Feb., 1951, p.87.
Iran may prove to have been one of the nurseries of Homo sapiens. During the middle or upper Paleolitllic periods the climate, flora, and fauna of the Iranian Plateau provided an environment suitable for human occupation. Indeed, Ellsworth Huntington has postulated that during late Pleistocene times southern Iran was the only [his emphasis] region in which temperature and humidity were ideal, not only for human conception and fertility but also for chances of survival.
Many speculations exist as to the routes taken by Caucasoids, Negroids, and Mongoloids, as the world was peopled by the successive ebb and flow of migrations. Howells, (198) Braidwood, (199) Taylor, (200) Goldenweiser, (201) Engberg, (202) Weidenreich, (203) Cole, (204) and others, (205) have tackled the problem or have expressed opinions based on the study of fossil remains; and of course, Coon’s Races of Europe is largely concerned with the same problem. (206) Not one of these can really establish how man originated, but almost all of them make the basic assumption that western Asia is his original home as a creature of culture. From this centre one can trace the movements of an early migration of Negroid people followed by Caucasoid people in Europe. From this same area undoubtedly there passed out into the East and the New World successive waves of Mongoloid people. In Africa Wendell Phillips, (207) after studying the relationships of various African tribes, concluded that evidence already existed making it possible to derive certain of the tribes from a
197. Field, Henry, “The Iranian Plateau Race,” Asia, Apr., 1940, p.217.
198. Howells, Wm., Mankind So Far, Doubleday Doran, New York, 1945, pp.192, 203, 209, 228, 234, 238, 247, 289, and 290.
199. Braidwood, Robert, Prehistoric Man, Natural History Museum, Chicago, 1948, pp.96, 106.
200. Taylor, Griffith, Environment, Races and Migration, University of Toronto, 1945, pp.88, 115, 123, 164, and 268.
201. Goldenweiser, Alexander, Anthropology, Crofts, New York, 1945, pp.427, 492.
202. Engberg, Martin, Dawn of Civilization, University of Knowledge Series, Chicago, 1938, p.154.
203. Weidenreich, Franz von, Apes, Giants, and Man, University of Chiccago Press, 1948, p.65.
204. Cole, M. C., The Story of Man, University of Knowledge Series, Chicago, 1940.
205. See, for example, Boule, M. and H. V. Vallois, Fossil Man, Dryden Press, New York, 1957, pp.516-522, an evaluation of various views.
206. Coon, C. S., The Races of Europe, macMillan, 1939, see especially Chapter 5.
207. Phillips, Wendell, “Further African Studies,” Scientific Monthly, Mar., 1950, p.175.
single racial stock (particularly the Pygmies of the Ituri Forest and the Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert), which at a certain time must have populated a larger part of the African continent only to retreat to less hospitable regions as later Negroid tribes arrived in the country. Prof. H. J. Fleure held that evidence of similar nature towards the north and northeast of Asia and on into the New World was to be discerned by a study in the change of head forms in fossil remains. (208) Wherever tradition is clear on the matter, it invariably points in the same direction and tells the same story.
Thus we conclude that from the family of Noah have sprung all the peoples of the world — prehistoric, protohistoric, and historic. And the events described in connection with Genesis 10 and the prophetic statements of Noah with respect to the future of his three sons together combine to provide us with the most reasonable account of the early history of mankind, a history which, rightly understood, does not at all require us to believe that man began with the stature of an ape and only reached a civilized state after a long, long evolutionary history.
In summary, then, what we have endeavoured to show in this chapter is as follows:
(1) The geographical distribution of fossil remains is such that they are most logically explained by treating them as marginal representatives of a widespread and in part forced dispersion of people from a single multiplying population established at a point more or less central to them all, and sending forth successive waves of migrants, each wave driving the previous one further toward the periphery;
(2) The most degraded specimens are those representatives of this general movement who were driven into the least hospitable areas, where they suffered physical degeneration as a consequence of the circumstances in which they were forced to live;
(3) The extraordinary physical variability of fossil remains results from the fact that the movements took place in small, isolated, strongly inbred bands; but the cultural similarities which link together even the most widely dispersed of them indicate a common origin for them all;
(4) What I have said to be true of fossil man is equally true of living primitive societies as well as those which are now extinct;
208. Fleure, H. J., The Races of Mankind, Benn, London, 1930, pp.43, 44.
(5) All the initially dispersed populations are of one basic stock — the Hamitic family of Genesis 10;
(6) The initial Hamitic settlers were subsequently displaced or overwhelmed by Indo-Europeans (i.e., Japhethites), who nevertheless inherited, or adopted, and extensively built upon Hamitic technology and so gained an advantage in each geographical area where they spread;
(7) Throughout the great movements of people, both in prehistoric and historic times, there were never any human beings who did not belong within tle family of Noah and his descendants;
(8) Finally, this thesis is strengthened by the evidence of history which shows that migration has always tended to follow this pattern, has frequently been accompanied by instances of degeneration both of individuals or whole tribes, usually resulting in the establishment of a general pattern of cultural relationships which parallel those archaeology has revealed.
The tenth clapter of Genesis stands between two passages of Scripture to which it is related in such a way as to shed light on both of them. In the first, Genesis 9:20ï¿½27, we are given an insight into the relationship of the descendants of the three sons of Noah throughout subsequent history, Ham doing great service, Japhet being enlarged, and Shem’s originally appointed place of responsibility being ultimately assigned to Japheth. We are not told here the nature of Ham’s service, nor how Japheth would be enlarged nor what special position Shem was ultimately to surrender to his brother. In the second passage, Genesis 11:1ï¿½9, we are told that there was but a single language spoken by all men until a plan was proposed that led to the dramatic scattering of the planners over the whole earth.
In the centre stands Genesis 10, supplying us with vital clues to the understanding of these things by tclling us exactly who the descendants were of each of these three sons. With this clue, and with the knowledge of history which we now have, we can see the significance of both passages. We now understand in what way Ham became a servant of his brethren, in what way Japheth’s spread over the earth could be called an enlargement rather than a scattering, and in what circumstances Shem has surrendered his position of special privilege and responsibility to Japheth. We could not fully perceive how these prophetic statements had been fulfilled without our knowledge of who
among the nations were Hamites and who were Japhethites. And this knowledge we derive entirely from Genesis 10.
Furthermore, the real significance of the events which surrounded and stemmed from the abortive plan to build the Tower of Babel would similarly be lost to us except for the knowledge that it was Ham’s descendants who paid the penalty. This penalty led to their being scattered very early and forced them to pioneer the way in opening up the world for human habitation, a service which they rendered with remarkable success but no small initial cost to themselves.
Moreover, if we consider the matter carefully, we shall perceive also the great wisdom of God who, in order to preserve and perfect His revelation of Himself, never permitted the Shemites to stray far from the original cultural centre in order that He might specially prepare one branch of the family to carry this Light to the world as soon as the world was able to receive it. For it is a principle recognized in the New Testament by our Lord when He fed the multitudes before He preached to them and borne out time and again in history, that spiritual truth is not well comprehended by men whose struggle merely to survive occupies all their energies.
Thus where Ham pioneered and opened up the world to human occupation, Japheth followed at a more leisurely pace to consolidate and make more secure the initial “dominion” thus achieved. And then — and only then — was the world able and prepared to receive the Light that was to enlighten the Gentiles and to cover the earth with the knowledge of God as the waters cover the sea.
Footnote on the time taken for early migrations.
Kenneth Macgowan shows that with respect to a Middle East “Cradle of Man,” the most distant settlement is that in the very southern tip of South America, 15,000 miles approximately. How long would such a trip take? He says that it has been estimated that men might have covered the 4000 miles from Harbin, Manchuria, to Vancouver Island, in as little as 90 years (Early Man in the New World, Macmillan, 1950, p.3 and rnap on p.4) .
What about the rest of the distance southward? Alfred Kidder says, “A hunting pattern based primarily on big game could have carried man to southern South America without the necessity at that time of great localized adaptation. It could have been effected with relative rapidity, so long as camel, horse, sloth, and elephant were available. All the indications point to the fact that they were.” (Appraisal of Anthropology Today, University of Chicago Press, 1953, p.46.)