Blog dedicated primarily to randomly selected news items; comments reflecting personal perceptions

Friday, May 29, 2015

Proto Human Emotions

"Murder is an ancient feature of humanity."
"Other humans went to the top of this vertical shaft and deposited dead members of their social group down into the site, and in this way formed a kind of primitive cemetery or kind of an early manifestation of funerary practices."
"Clearly this is an intentional human disposal of the dead."
Rolf Quam, Binghamton University, New York

"Unfortunately, the intentions do not fossilize, so it is impossible to interpret the motivation of the killing."
"Not even Sherlock Holmes could help us in that."
Nohemi Sala, Archaeological study, lead author
Photo of skull 17.
An early Neanderthal skull uncovered from the Sima de los Huesos cave. Seventeen skulls have been discovered there. Photograph by Javier Trueba, Madrid Scientific Films

Proto human communities existed almost half a million years ago, according to archaeological paleontologists. A study published in the journal PLOS One reveals that scientists have hypothesized the reason for the presence of one fractured skull among at least 28 others whose skulls have been found intact. The remains of early proto human species , lying in a mass grave known as the Pit of Bones have brought a mystery to scientists who have deciphered that mystery as a murder.

The Pit of Bones or as it is called, the Sima de los Heusos pit, since it is located in Spain, is a deep depression over fourteen meters below a surface shaft. Under which a layer of dirt exists and it is replete with cave bear bones. But the pit also contains a collection of human fossils, In fact, 6,500 bones representing 28 individual bodies' skeletal structures of ancient remains have been discovered through excavating the pit since 1976.

Fragments of one fractured skull found alongside the remains of 27 others northern Spain have been interpreted through reconstruction as having resulted from a primitive murder. The violence done to the skull has convinced the examining scientists that the holes in the forehead of this skull represent a deliberate murder, given the shape, size and location of the holes. A face-to-face conflict, they theorize, was responsible for the head-on trauma leading to immediate death.

That the fractures indicate no signs that healing took place before death indicates to the scientists that death occurred immediately; no healing process of recovery from the injuries sustained took place. Judging from the location and the size of the holes scientists theorize a single instrument was used to strike the victim twice, in a face-to-face conflict that represented a deadly, frontal attack.

The bone pit remains are not those of modern humans, but members of Homo heidelbergensis, who were the first to live in colder climates, and routinely hunted large animals, and were able to alter their environment by building shelters. The existence of the Pit of Bones also suggests that they cared for their dead. The 28 skeletons discovered in the pit appear to indicate their placement was intentional.

Photo of skull 17.
Paleontologists unearth fossils at the Spanish cave site. Photograph by Javier Trueba, Madrid Scientific Films

The pit, on the evidence, represents the oldest evidence of ritual burial. Leaving the impression that those early humans mourned the death of those they cared for. An emotion of sorrow that lies deep in the emotional psyche of present-day humans representing the attachments of love and concern. Emotions that are generally shared by all humans, along with the emotions of hatred, suspicion and rage leading to violence.

What was once representative of an emerging species given to reacting to their genetic inheritance of emotions motivating them to preserve their genetic code through procreation and caring, is also representative of the species that since evolved, carrying with it down through endless time those other all-too-human emotions related to territoriality and advantaging survival of the fittest, advancing evolutionary traits not much different from those of our predecessors.

Photo of skull 17.

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