It Sounds Like I’m Lower-Brow Than a Neanderthal

I just read the following two opening paragraphs in a story in Friday’s Wall Street Journal:

Neanderthals, once considered the low-brows of human evolution, may have been among the world’s first artists, creating cave paintings long before modern humanity arrived on the scene, scientists reported in two new studies Thursday.

Although these primitive cousins of humankind mastered fire and made tools, most archaeologists have assumed until now that they lacked the cognitive capacity for artistic expression, unlike early humans who painted vivid images of lions, rhinos and other animals on cave walls.

Since I am incapable of painting vivid images of anything (see picture above for an example), I apparently lack the cognitive capacity of early humans, which possibly puts me down with neanderthals. But then neanderthals mastered fire and made tools, two more things I have never been able to do, certainly not from scratch.

So where does that leave me?

I decided to read up a bit on human evolution, and came upon the following Wikipedia article: Timeline of human evolution.

Reading through the article it seemed to me that I am closest to Australopithecus afarensis (AA), who lived between 3.9 and 2.9 million years ago. AA is considered one of the earliest hominins—those species that developed and comprised the lineage of Homo and Homos closest relatives after the split from the line of the chimpanzees. AA left human-like footprints on volcanic ash in Laetoli, Kenya (Northern Tanzania), providing strong evidence of full-time bipedalism.

Evidence of stone tools being deliberately constructed are first noted around 3.4 million years ago with Kenyanthropus platyops (KP), a possible ancestor of Homo, which emerged from the Australopithecus genus.

So I have human footprints and I got the bipedalism thing down, but not tool development. That puts me somewhere between AA and KP, or about 3.5 million years behind modern man.

And if you ever got a chance to look through my wardrobe or my YouTube playlists, that should come as no surprise.

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