According to conventional evolutionary theory, three and half million years ago the ancestors of humanity were ape-like creatures still partly in the trees and just beginning to explore the life of an upright walker. But the latest findings indicate that the there were mental processes occurring at that time which were much more advanced than evolution had predicted – namely that someone was using tools to process game for food. As the article details:
“This discovery dramatically shifts the known timeframe of a game-changing behavior for our ancestors,” says Alemseged, Curator of Anthropology at the California Academy of Sciences. “Tool use fundamentally altered the way our early ancestors interacted with nature, allowing them to eat new types of food and exploit new territories. It also led to tool making — a critical step in our evolutionary path that eventually enabled such advanced technologies as airplanes, MRI machines, and iPhones.”
Although the butchered bones may not look like particularly noteworthy fossils to the lay person, Alemseged can hardly contain his excitement when he describes them. “This find will definitely force us to revise our text books on human evolution, since it pushes the evidence for tool use and meat eating in our family back by nearly a million years,” he explains. “These developments had a huge impact on the story of humanity.”
Not only were these creatures using tools that they had designed, but apparently they were employing complex planning and forethought:
“For the most part, the only stones we see coming from these ancient sediments at Dikika are pebbles too small for making tools,” says McPherron. “The hominins at this site probably carried their stone tools with them from better raw material sources elsewhere. One of our goals is to go back and see if we can find these locations, and look for evidence that at this early date they were actually making, not just using, stone tools.”
While such findings are not surprising to those who see human origins as being something more than the incidental modifications of other organisms, they are wholly unexpected from an evolutionary perspective. As I have chronicled previously, this is not the first time evolutionists have been surprised by evidence that our ancestors at that time were much more like modern humans than evolution predicts.
But that is not the only thing notable about this finding. The process used to make these determinations was one that verifies yet again the usefulness and perspicacity of employing design criterion – that is measurements and principles that help us recognize the actions of an intelligence agent. In this case, it was the markings in fractures on animal bones. Now no tools were found with the bones, and there was no expectation that tool using creatures were around at that time, so researchers were required to depend purely on the nature of the indicators found on the bone itself to conclude it was the result of a tool making intelligence.
The criteria indicated that, “”the marks were consistent with the morphology of stone-inflicted cuts rather than tooth-inflicted marks.” This statement is a tacit acknowledgement that design criteria can be applied to distinguish intelligent activity from that which is naturally occurring, and as much as it does so agrees with the fundamental principles of design theorists. Design criteria can then be understood to be both legitimate and useful.
Of course, many of us already knew that.