I have posted several times recently updating the timeline of humanity’s development. This primarily documents indirectly the rise of symbolic thought, which in my scheme presupposes a highly developed sense of empathy: why code and communicate symbolically what is in your MEMBRAIN’s interiority if you do not sense empathically that within the other’s MEMBRAIN their interiority ‘understands’ your meaning or import? Here’s another report pushing the timeline back and including Neanderthals.
Science News (4/18/15) reports that a paleontologist looked again at eagle claws recovered a hundred years ago from a cave dated to 130,000 years ago inhabited by Neanderthals (modern humans would not arrive in the area, as far as we now know, for another 60,000 years). He found evidence that these claws had been worked and probably strung together to form a necklace or some other adornment. Of course some say they did not necessarily symbolize something (and of course we do not know what) but this seems ludicrous. Maybe they put on jewelry mindlessly like Zsa Zsa Gabor but the rest of us humans don’t. This article has some other good details in it so check it out.
I looked back at some of my other posts to construct a proper timeline, remembering that some clerics (and many were of the intelligentsia of their day) tried to refute Darwin by pointing out that his theory on the origin of species would require many thousands of years, and they knew from studying the Bible that the earth itself was less than 10,000 years old (oops!). Darwin’s time was also the birth of modern geology so most intelligent people knew the earth was much older and now we know it is billions of years old with life developing in fits and starts over the majority of it. So a timeline is actually an important result of good science.
Before listing a summary from my more recent posts, here are some skulls of Homo genus (and they all were empathic and used some symbolization) with Mr/Ms Neanderthal upper right.
Check out these dates listed as years ago:
3 million—gene appears promoting brain enlargement
2 to 2.8 million—tools that were worked and shaped
1.8 million—fire and cooking (homo erectus)
500,000–phonological study’s estimate of origins of modern language
40,000 to 100,000—burials
45,000—paintings, good painting they are too
40,000—modern humans arrive in Europe
9,000—dog burials (just found that one)
6,000—glyphs and a new learning curve
And so we travel on.