ISKCON researchers have compiled evidence supporting the Vedic picture of the age of the human species.
by Drutakarma Dasa
Modern science tells us that anatomically modern man has been around for only about 100,000 years. The Vedic writings say he has been here a lot longer. Now a book from the Bhaktivedanta Institute, Forbidden Archaeology, takes a new look at the scientific evidence. That evidence, says the book, has been fudged.
The authors are Michael Cremo (Drutakarma Dasa) and Richard Thompson (Sadaputa Dasa), both regular contributors to BTG, and Stephen Bernath (Madhavendra Puri Dasa). Their book uncovers a startling picture not only of what the evidence is and what it means but also of how science reached its story.
We present here, in condensed form, the Introduction.
In 1979, researchers at Laetoli, Tanzania, in East Africa discovered footprints in deposits of volcanic ash more than 3.6 million years old. The prints were indistinguishable from those of modern human beings, said Mary Leakey and other scientists. To them this meant only that 3.6 million years ago our human ancestors had remarkably modern feet.
But other scientists disagreed. One such scientist was R. H. Tuttle, a physical anthropologist at the University of Chicago. Fossil bones show, he said, that the known human beings back then—the australopithecines—had feet that were distinctly apelike. So the Laetoli prints don't fit. In the March 1990 issue of Natural History Tuttle confessed, "We are left with somewhat of a mystery."
It seems permissible, therefore, to consider a possibility neither Tuttle nor Leakey mentioned—that creatures with modern human bodies to match their modern human feet lived in East Africa some 3.6 million years ago. Perhaps, as suggested in the illustration on the opposite page, they coexisted with more ape-like creatures.
As intriguing as this possibility may be, current ideas about human evolution forbid it. Knowledgeable persons will warn against suggesting that anatomically modern human beings existed millions of years ago. The evidence of the Laetoli footprints is too slim.
But there is further evidence. Over the past few decades, scientists in Africa have uncovered fossil bones—apparently millions of years old—that look remarkably human.
At Kanapoi, Kenya, in 1965, Bryan Patterson and W. W. Howells found a surprisingly modern humerus (upper arm bone). Scientists judged it more than 4 million years old. Henry M. McHenry and Robert S. Corruccini of the University of California said the Kanapoi humerus was "barely distinguishable" from that of modern man.
Then there is the ER 1481 femur—a thigh-bone found in 1972 in Lake Turkana, Kenya. Scientists normally assign it an age of about 2 million years and say it belonged to the pre-human Homo habilis. But Richard Leakey said the femur matches those of modern humans. And since the femur was found by itself, one cannot rule out the possibility that the rest of the skeleton was also anatomically modern.
In 1913 at Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania, the German scientist Hans Reck found a complete human skeleton—anatomically modern—in strata more than 1 million years old. The find has inspired decades of controversy.
Here again, some will caution us not to set a few isolated and controversial examples against the overwhelming amount of clear evidence. That evidence shows how modern humans came on the scene: In Africa (and, some say, in other parts of the world) they evolved from more apelike creatures fairly recently—about 100,000 years ago.
But it turns out that the Laetoli footprints, the Kanapoi humerus, and the ER 1481 femur do not exhaust our stock of unusual finds. Over the past eight years, Richard Thompson and I, aided by our researcher Stephen Bernath, have uncovered extensive evidence that calls current theories of how humans got the way they are into question. Some of this evidence, like the Laetoli footprints, is fairly recent. But much of it was reported by scientists in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Without even looking at this older body of evidence, some will assume there must be something wrong with it. Scientists must have properly disposed of it long ago, and for very good reasons. But Richard and I have looked deeply into that possibility. We have found that the quality of the controversial evidence is no better or worse than the supposedly noncontroversial.
Drastic Revision Needed
Before us, one of the last authors to discuss the kind of reports found in Forbidden Archeology was Marcellin Boule. In his book Fossil Men (1957), Boule gave the reports a decidedly negative review. But when we looked into the original reports, we found poor grounds for Boule's extreme skepticism. In Forbidden Archeology, we give primary source material that will let you form your own opinion about the evidence Boule dismissed. We also introduce a great many cases that Boule neglected to mention.
From the evidence we have gathered we conclude, sometimes in language devoid of ritual tentativeness, that the now dominant assumptions about human origins need drastic revision. We also find that a process of "knowledge filtration" has left current scientific workers with a radically thinned-out collection of facts.
We expect that many such workers will take Forbidden Archeology as an invitation to productive discourse on (1) the nature and treatment of evidence about human origins and (2) the conclusions to which that evidence most reasonably leads.
The Knowledge Filter
As we begin Part I of Forbidden Archeology, we survey the history and current state of scientific ideas about human evolution. Mainly we are concerned with a double standard in how evidence is treated.
We identify two main bodies of evidence. The first (A) is controversial evidence that points to the existence of anatomically modern humans in the uncomfortably distant past. The second (B) is evidence that can be taken to support the now dominant view that modern humans evolved, in Africa and perhaps elsewhere, fairly recently, about 100,000 years ago.
After detailed study, we find that if the same standards for judging evidence are applied equally to A and B, we must either accept both A and B or reject them both. If we accept them both, we have evidence placing anatomically modern human beings millions of years in the past, coexisting with more apelike hominids. If we reject them both, we deprive ourselves of the evidential grounds for saying anything at all about human origins and antiquity.
Historically, many scientists once accepted the evidence in category A. But a more influential group of scientists applied standards of evidence more strictly to A than to B. So A was rejected and B preserved. This differing application of standards set up a "knowledge filter" that obscures the real picture of human origins and antiquity.
In the main body of Part I (Chapters 2-6), we look closely at the vast amount of evidence that runs against current ideas on human evolution. We tell in detail how this evidence has been suppressed, ignored, or forgotten, even though it is as good in quality (and quantity) as the evidence for currently accepted views. When we speak of suppression of evidence, we are not referring to a satanic plot by scientific conspirators bent on deceiving the public. Instead, we are talking about an ongoing social process of knowledge filtration. Certain categories of evidence simply disappear.
Crude Human Artifacts
Chapter 2 deals with anomalously old bones and shells showing cut marks and signs of intentional breakage. To this day, scientists regard bones and shells as an important category of evidence, and many archeological sites are valued for this kind of evidence alone.
In the decades after Darwin introduced his theory, many scientists discovered incised and broken animal bones and shells suggesting that tool-using humans or near-humans lived in the Pliocene Era (2 to 5 million years ago), the Miocene (5 to 25 million years ago), and even earlier. In analyzing these cut and broken bones and shells, the discoverers carefully weighed and ruled out alternative explanations—such as geological pressure or the work of animals—before concluding that humans were responsible.
A striking example is a shell with a crude yet recognizably human face carved on its outer surface. The shell was reported by geologist H. Stopes to the British Association for the Advancement of Science in 1881. According to standard views, humans capable of the artistry the shell displays did not arrive in Europe until 30,000 or 40,000 years ago. And even in their African homeland they are not supposed to have shown up until some 100,000 years ago. Yet the shell came from the Pliocene Red Crag formation in England, a formation considered more than 2 million years old.
Concerning evidence of the kind reported by Stopes, anthropologist Armand de Quatrefages wrote in his book Hommes Fossiles et Hommes Sauvages (1884): "The objections made to the existence of man in the Pliocene and Miocene seem habitually more related to theoretical considerations than to direct observation."
The most rudimentary stone tools, the eoliths ("dawn stones"), are the subject of Chapter 3. These implements, found in unexpectedly old geological contexts, inspired protracted debate in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. For some, eoliths were not always easily recognizable as tools. Eoliths are not symmetrical implements. Rather, they are natural stone flakes with an edge chipped to make them suitable for a particular task, such as scraping, cutting, or chopping. Often, the working edge bears signs of use.
Critics said eoliths resulted from natural forces, like tumbling in stream beds. But defenders of eoliths countered that natural forces could not have made one-way chipping on just one side of a working edge.
In the late nineteenth century, Benjamin Harrison, an amateur archeologist, found eoliths on the Kent Plateau in southeastern England. Geological evidence suggests that these eoliths were made in the Middle or Late Pliocene, about 2 to 4 million ago. Among the supporters of Harrison's eoliths were Sir John Prestwich, one of England's most eminent geologists; Ray E. Lankester, a director of the British Museum (Natural History); and Alfred Russell Wallace, co-founder with Darwin of the natural-selection theory of evolution.
Although Harrison found most of his eoliths in surface deposits of Pliocene gravel, he also found many below ground level. He also found more advanced stone tools (paleoliths). Again, geological evidence suggests that these were of similar Pliocene antiquity.
In the early part of the twentieth century, J. Reid Moir found eoliths (and more advanced stone tools) in England's Red Crag formation. Moir was a fellow of the Royal Anthropological Institute and president of the Prehistoric Society of East Anglia. The strata in which he found the tools are dated at 2 to 2.5 million years old. Moir found some of the tools in the detritus beds beneath the Red Crag. This indicates that they could have been made from 2.5 to 55 million years ago.
Moir's finds won support from a most vocal critic of eoliths, Henri Breuil, then regarded as a preeminent authority on stone tools. Another supporter was paleontologist Henry Fairfield Osborn, of the American Museum of Natural History in New York. In 1923, an international commission of scientists journeyed to England to investigate Moir's main discoveries. The commission pronounced them genuine.
But in 1939, A. S. Barnes published an influential paper in which he analyzed the angle of flaking on Moir's eoliths. Barnes claimed his method could tell between human handiwork and flaking from natural causes. On this basis, he dismissed all the eoliths he studied, including Moir's, as products of natural forces. Since then, scientists have used Barnes's method to deny the human manufacture of many other stone tools. But in recent years, stone-tool authorities have disputed Barnes's method and its blanket use. This suggests that the European eoliths need to be looked at again.
Significantly, early stone tools from Africa, such as those from the lower levels of Olduvai Gorge, appear identical to the rejected European eoliths. Yet the scientific community accepts the Olduvai tools without question. Those tools, of course, fall within, and help support, the conventional places and times for human evolution.
But other eoliths of unexpected antiquity run into strong opposition. Here is another example. In the 1950s, at Calico in southern California, Louis Leakey found stone tools in strata dated more than 200,000 years old. According to standard views, humans did not enter such sub-Arctic regions of the New World until about 12,000 years ago. So mainstream scientists responded to Calico predictably: the objects found there were natural products or not really 200,000 years old, they said. But there the strata are, still dated at 200,000 years. And though most of the Calico implements are crude, some, including a beaked graver, are more advanced. They look for all the world like genuine human artifacts.
More Recognizable Tools
In Chapter 4 we look at a category of implements we call "crude paleoliths." In eoliths, chipping is confined to the working edge of a naturally broken stone. But the makers of crude paleoliths deliberately struck flakes from stone cores and then shaped the flakes (and sometimes the cores) into more recognizable tools.
Among the crude paleoliths we look at are the tools found in the late nineteenth century by Carlos Ribeiro, head of the Geological Survey of Portugal. Ribeiro found these tools in Miocene strata, 5 to 25 million years old. At an international conference of archeologists and anthropologists held in Lisbon, a committee of scientists investigated one of the sites where Ribeiro had found these implements. One scientist from the conference then found a stone tool even more advanced than the better of Ribeiro's specimens. It matched accepted Late Pleistocene tools, yet it was firmly embedded in a Miocene conglomerate, in circumstances confirming its Miocene antiquity.
Crude paleoliths were also found in Miocene formations at Thenay, France. S. Laing, an English science writer, noted: "On the whole, the evidence for these Miocene implements seems to be very conclusive, and the objections to them have hardly any other ground than the reluctance to admit the great antiquity of man."
At Aurillac, France, scientists also found crude paleoliths, apparently of Miocene age. And at Boncelles, Belgium, A. Rutot uncovered a large collection of paleoliths in Oligocene strata (25 to 38 million years old).
Implements of Modern Man: If You Can't Bear the Evidence, Kill It
In Chapter 5 we examine advanced stone implements found in unexpectedly old geological contexts. Given current estimates of what Homo erectus or Homo habilis could do, the tools discussed in Chapters 3 and 4 could conceivably be their work. But the implements of Chapter 5 are certainly the work of anatomically modern humans.
Florentino Ameghino, a respected Argentine paleontologist, found stone tools, broken mammal bones, a human vertebra, and signs of fire in a Pliocene formation at Monte Hermoso, Argentina, in 1887. He made numerous similar discoveries, attracting the eyes of scientists around the world.
In 1912, Ales Hrdlicka, of the Smithsonian Institution, published a lengthy but not very reasonable attack on Ameghino's work. Hrdlicka asserted that all of Ameghino's finds were from recent Indian settlements.
In response, Carlos Ameghino, Florentino's brother, carried out new investigations at Miramar, south of Buenos Aires. There he found a series of stone implements, including bolas, and signs of fire. A commission of geologists confirmed the position of the implements in the Chapadmalalan formation, which modern geologists say is 3 to 5 million years old. Carlos also found at Miramar a stone arrowhead firmly lodged in the femur of a Pliocene species of Toxodon, an extinct South American mammal.
Ethnographer Eric Boman disputed Carlos Ameghino's finds but also unintentionally helped confirm them. In 1920, Carlos Ameghino's collector, Lorenzo Parodi, found a stone implement in the Pliocene seaside barranca (cliff) at Miramar and left it in place. Boman was one of several scientists Ameghino invited to witness the implement's extraction. After the implement (a bola stone) was photographed and removed, another discovery was made.
"At my direction," wrote Boman, "Parodi continued to attack the barranca with a pick at the same point where the bola stone was discovered, when suddenly and unexpectedly, there appeared a second stone ball… It is more like a grinding stone than a bola." Boman found yet another implement 200 yards away. Confounded, Boman could only hint in his written report that the implements had been planted by Parodi. While this might conceivably have been true of the first implement, it is hard to explain the other two in this way. In any case, Boman produced no evidence at all that Parodi, a long-time employee of the Buenos Aires Museum of Natural History, had ever behaved fraudulently.
Arrowheads and bolas, the kinds of implements found by Carlos Ameghino at Miramar, are usually considered the work of modern man, Homo sapiens sapiens. The Miramar finds, therefore, taken at face value, show the presence of anatomically modern man in South America over 3 million years ago. Interesting? In 1921 M. A. Vignati discovered in the same Late Pliocene formation the fossil of a jaw fragment, fully human.
In the early 1950s, Thomas E. Lee of the National Museum of Canada found advanced stone tools in glacial deposits at Sheguiandah, on Manitoulin Island in northern Lake Huron. Geologist John Sanford of Wayne State University proposed that the oldest of these Sheguiandah tools were at least 65,000 years old and might be as much as 125,000. For those adhering to standard views on North American prehistory, such ages were unacceptable.
Thomas E. Lee tells what happened next: "The site's discoverer [Lee] was hounded from his Civil Service position into prolonged unemployment; publication outlets were cut off; the evidence was misrepresented by several prominent authors…; the tons of artifacts vanished into storage bins of the National Museum of Canada; for refusing to fire the discoverer, the Director of the National Museum, who had proposed having a monograph on the site published, was himself fired and driven into exile; official positions of prestige and power were exercised in an effort to gain control over just six Sheguiandah specimens that had not gone under cover; and the site has been turned into a tourist resort… Sheguiandah would have forced embarrassing admissions that the Brahmins did not know everything. It would have forced the rewriting of almost every book in the business. It had to be killed. It was killed."
In the 1960s, anthropologists uncovered advanced stone tools at Hueyatlaco, Mexico. Geologist Virginia Steen-McIntyre and other members of a team from the U.S. Geological Survey obtained for the site's implement-bearing layers an age of about 250,000 years. This challenges the whole standard picture of human origins. Men capable of making the kind of tools found at Hueyatlaco are not thought to have come into existence until some 100,000 years ago, in Africa.
Virginia Steen-McIntyre had a hard time getting her dating study on Hueyatlaco published. "The problem as I see it is much bigger than Hueyatlaco," she wrote to Estella Leopold, associate editor of Quaternary Research. ?It concerns the manipulation of scientific thought through the suppression of "Enigmatic Data," data that challenges the prevailing mode of thinking. Hueyatlaco certainly does that! Not being an anthropologist, I didn't realize the full significance of our dates back in 1973, nor how deeply woven into our thought the current theory of human evolution has become. Our work at Hueyatlaco has been rejected by most archaeologists because it contradicts that theory, period."
Such patterns of data suppression have a long history. In 1880, J. D. Whitney, the state geologist of California, published a lengthy review of advanced stone tools found in California gold mines. The implements included spear points and stone mortars and pestles. They were found deep in mine shafts, beneath thick undisturbed layers of lava, in formations that geologists now say are from 9 million to more than 55 million years old. The finds, Whitney wrote, pointed to the existence of human beings in North America in very ancient times.
W. H. Holmes of the Smithsonian Institution, one of the most vocal nineteenth-century critics of the California finds, responded: "Perhaps if Professor Whitney had fully appreciated the story of human evolution as it is understood today, he would have hesitated to announce the conclusions formulated, notwithstanding the imposing array of [supporting] testimony with which he was confronted." In other words, if facts disagree with the favored theory, then those facts, even an imposing array of them, must be discarded.
Skeletons that Cause Problems
In Chapter 6 we review discoveries of anomalously old skeletal remains, anatomically modern human. Perhaps the most interesting case comes from Castenedolo, Italy. There in the 1880s, G. Ragazzoni, a geologist, found fossil bones of several Homo sapiens sapiens in layers of Pliocene sediment 3 to 4 million years old. Critics typically respond that the bones must have been placed into those Pliocene layers by fairly recent human burial. But Ragazzoni, alert to this possibility, had carefully inspected the overlying layers. He had found them undisturbed, with absolutely no sign of burial.
Modern scientists have used radiometric and chemical tests to attach recent ages to the Castenedolo bones and other anomalously old human skeletal remains. But these tests can be quite unreliable. The carbon 14 test is especially shaky when applied to bones (such as those from Castenedolo) that have lain in museums for decades. Such bones are exposed to contamination that could make the test yield abnormally young dates. To remove such contamination requires rigorous purification techniques. Scientists failed to use those techniques when, in 1969, they tested some Castenedolo bones and found an age of less than a thousand years.
Although the carbon 14 date for the Castenedolo material is suspect, it must still be considered relevant evidence. But it should be weighed with the other evidence, including the original stratigraphic observations of Ragazzoni, a professional geologist. In this case, the stratigraphic evidence appears more persuasive.
Opposition on theoretical grounds to a human presence in the Pliocene is not new. Speaking of the Castenedolo finds and others of similar antiquity, the Italian scientist G. Sergi wrote in 1884: “By means of a despotic scientific prejudice, call it what you will, every discovery of human remains in the Pliocene has been discredited.”
A good example of such prejudice is provided by R. A. S. Macalister. In 1921, in a textbook on archeology, he wrote: “The acceptance of a Pliocene date for the Castenedolo skeletons would create so many insoluble problems that we can hardly hesitate in choosing between the alternatives of adopting or rejecting their authenticity.”
This supports the main point we are making in Forbidden Archeology: the scientific community has a knowledge filter that screens out unwelcome evidence. This process of knowledge filtration has been going on for well over a century, and it continues right up to the present day.
In Part II of Forbidden Archeology, we survey the body of accepted evidence generally used to support the now- dominant ideas about human evolution.
Chapter 7 focuses on the discovery of Pithecanthropuserectus by Eugene Dubois in Java during the last decade of the nineteenth century. Historically, the Java man discovery marks a turning point. Until then, there was no clear picture of human evolution to be upheld and defended. So a good number of scientists, most of them evolutionists, were actively considering the evidence that anatomically modern humans lived in the Pliocene and earlier. But with the discovery of Java man, now classified as Homo erectus, the long-awaited missing link turned up in the Middle Pleistocene, only 800,000 years ago. As Java man won acceptance, the evidence for a human presence in more ancient times slid into disrepute.
This evidence was not conclusively tossed out. Instead, scientists stopped talking and writing about it. It didn’t fit with the idea that apelike Java man was a genuine human ancestor.
Interestingly enough, modern researchers have reinterpreted the original Java man fossils. The famous bones reported by Dubois were a skullcap and femur. Though they were found more than 45 feet apart, in a deposit filled with bones of many other species, Dubois said they belonged to the same individual. But in 1973, M. H. Day and T. I. Molleson determined that the femur found by Dubois is different from other Homo erectus femurs and in fact matches anatomically modern human femurs. This led Day and Molleson to propose that the femur was not connected with the Java man skull.
As far as we can see, this means we now have an anatomically modern human femur and a Homo erectus skull in a Middle Pleistocene layer considered 800,000 years old. This gives further evidence that anatomically modern humans coexisted with more apelike creatures in unexpectedly remote times. According to standard views, anatomically modern man arose just 100,000 years ago in Africa. Of course, one can always propose that the modern human femur somehow got buried recently into the Middle Pleistocene beds. But the same could also be said of the skull.
In Chapter 7 we consider the many discoveries of Java Homo erectus reported by G. H. R. von Koenigswald and other researchers. Almost all these bones were surface finds, their true age doubtful. Nevertheless, scientists have assigned them Middle and Early Pleistocene dates obtained by the potassium-argon method. The potassium-argon method is used to date layers of volcanic rock, not bones. Because the Java Homo erectus fossils were found on the surface and not below intact volcanic layers, assigning them potassium- argon dates is misleading.
The Piltdown Hoax
The subject of Chapter 8 is the infamous Piltdown hoax. Early in this century, Charles Dawson, an amateur collector, found pieces of a human skull near Piltdown, England. Scientists such as Sir Arthur Smith Woodward of the British Museum and Pierre Teilhard de Chardin later took part with Dawson in excavations that uncovered an apelike jaw, along with several mammalian fossils of appropriate antiquity. Dawson and Woodward, believing that the humanlike skull and apelike jaw came from a human ancestor in the Early Pleistocene or Late Pliocene, announced their discovery to the scientific world. For the next four decades, Piltdown man was accepted as genuine and was integrated into the human evolutionary lineage.
In the 1950s, J. S. Weiner, K. P. Oakley, and other British scientists exposed Piltdown man as an exceedingly clever hoax, carried out by someone with great scientific expertise. Some blamed Dawson, Teilhard de Chardin, or Sir Arthur Smith Woodward. Others have accused Sir Grafton Eliot Smith, a famous anatomist; William Sollas of the geology department at Cambridge; and Sir Arthur Keith of the Hunterian Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons.
J. S. Weiner himself noted: “Behind it all we sense, therefore, a strong and impelling motive.… There could have been a mad desire to assist the doctrine of human evolution by furnishing the ‘requisite’ ‘missing link.’ ”
Piltdown shows that in addition to the general process of knowledge filtration in paleoanthropology, there are instances of deliberate fraud.
Finally, there is substantial, though not incontrovertible, evidence that the Piltdown skull, at least, was a genuine fossil. The Piltdown gravels in which it was found are now thought to be 75,000 to 125,000 years old. An anatomically modern human skull of this age in England would be considered anomalous.
Evidence from China
Chapter 9 takes us to China. There in 1929 Davidson Black reported the discovery at Zhoukoudian (formerly Choukoutien) of the Peking man fossils. These specimens of Peking man, now classified as Homo erectus, were lost to science during the Second World War.
In addition to Peking man, many more hominid finds have been made in China. The dating of these hominids is problematic. They occur at sites along with fossils of mammals broadly typical of the Pleistocene. In reading various reports, we noticed that to date these sites more precisely, scientists routinely used the morphology of the human remains.
For example, at Tongzi, South China, Homo sapiens fossils were found with fossils of mammals. Paleontologist Qiu Zhonglang said: “The fauna suggests a Middle-Upper Pleistocene range, but the archeological [i.e., human] evidence is consistent with an Upper Pleistocene age.” Therefore, using what we call morphological dating, Qiu assigned the site to the Upper Pleistocene—and the human fossils with it. But our review of the Tongzi faunal evidence shows species of mammals that became extinct thousands of years earlier, at the end of the Middle Pleistocene. This indicates that the Tongzi site, and the human fossils, are at least 100,000 years old. Additional faunal evidence suggests a maximum age of about 600,000 years.
The practice of morphological dating distorts the fossil record. In effect, scientists simply arrange human fossils to fit a favored evolutionary sequence, setting the evidence of other species aside. If one goes by the true probable date ranges for the Chinese hominids, one finds that various grades of Homo erectus and early Homo sapiens may have coexisted with anatomically modern man in the middle Middle Pleistocene, during the time of Peking man.
Extinct Men Still Alive?
In Chapter 10 we consider the possible coexistence of primitive hominids and anatomically modern humans not only in the distant past but in the present. Over the past century, scientists have gathered evidence suggesting that humanlike creatures resembling supposedly extinct ancestral species of man are living in various wilderness areas of the world. In North America these creatures are known as Sasquatch. In Central Asia they are called Almas. In Africa, China, Southeast Asia, Central America, and South America, they are known by other names. Some researchers use the general term “wildmen” to include them all. Scientists and physicians have reported seeing live wildmen, dead wildmen, and footprints. They have also catalogued thousands of reports from historical records and from ordinary people who say they have seen wildmen.
Myra Shackley, a British anthropologist, wrote to us: “Opinions vary, but I guess the commonest would be that there is indeed sufficient evidence to suggest at least the possibility of the existence of various unclassified manlike creatures, but that in the present state of our knowledge it is impossible to comment on their significance in any more detail. The position is further complicated by misquotes, hoaxing, and lunatic fringe activities, but a surprising number of hard-core anthropologists seem to be of the opinion that the matter is very worthwhile investigating.”
Chapter 11 takes us to Africa. We describe in detail the cases mentioned in the first part of this introduction (Reck’s skeleton, the Laetoli footprints, and so on). These provide evidence for anatomically modern humans in the Early Pleistocene and Late Pliocene.
We also examine the status of Australopithecus. Most anthropologists say Australopithecus was a human ancestor with an apelike head, a humanlike body, and a humanlike bipedal stance and gait. But other researchers make a convincing case for a radically different view of Australopithecus. Physical anthropologist C. E. Oxnard wrote in his book Uniqueness and Diversity in Human Evolution (1975): “Pending further evidence we are left with the vision of intermediately sized animals, at home in the trees, capable of climbing, performing degrees of acrobatics, and perhaps of arm suspension.” In a 1975 article in Nature, Oxnard found the australopithecines to be anatomically similar to orangutans and said, “It is rather unlikely that any of the Australopithecines … can have any direct phylogenetic link with the genus Homo.”
Inspired by the Vedic Writings
Some might question why we would put together a book like Forbidden Archeology unless we had some underlying purpose. Indeed, there is one.
Richard Thompson and I are members of the Bhaktivedanta Institute, a branch of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness that studies the relationship between modern science and the world view expressed in the Vedic literature. The institute was founded by our spiritual master, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. He encouraged us to critically examine the prevailing account of human origins and the methods by which it was established.
From the Vedas we derive the idea that the human race is of great antiquity. To conduct research into scientific literature on human antiquity, we put the Vedic idea into the form of a theory that various humanlike and apelike beings have coexisted for a long time.
That our theoretical outlook is derived from the Vedic literature should not disqualify it. Theories can come from many sources—a private inspiration, previous theories, a movie, a suggestion from a friend, and so on. What matters is not a theory’s source but its ability to account for observations.