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Narratives of Human Evolution Narratives of Human Evolution

Narratives of Human Evolution Narratives of Human Evolution

In the notoriously controversial field of paleoanthropology Misia Landau has found a hidden level of agreement among theories of human evolution. According to Landau, these theories are versions of the universal hero tale in folklore and myth. The narratives all have similar structures, featuring a humble hero (in theories of evolution it is a nonhuman primate) who departs on a journey (leaves his native habitat), receives essential aid or equipment from a donor figure (through evolutionary principles such as natural selection or orthogenesis), goes through tests (imposed by competitors, harsh climate, or predators), and finally arrives at a higher (that is, more human) state.

Analyzing classic texts on evolution by Darwin, Keith, and Elliott Smith, as well as more recent authors by scholars such as Dart, Robinson, Tobias, and Johanson, Landau reveals not only their common narrative form but also how this form accommodates differences in meaning—widely varying sequences of events, heroes, and donors. Landau shows how interpretations of the fossil record differ according to what the anthropologist believes it the primary evolutionary agent. She concludes that scientists have much to gain from an awareness that they are tellers of stories. An understanding of narrative, she argues, can provide tools for creating new scientific theories as well as for analyzing old ones. Her book will be entertaining and enlightening for both general readers and scholars.

Paperback: 215 pages
Publisher: Yale University Press; Reprint edition (March 11, 1993)

Anthropology (13th Edition) Anthropology (13th Edition)

Anthropology (13th Edition) Anthropology (13th Edition)

Anthropology, provides its readers with a comprehensive and scientific introduction to the four fields of anthropology. It helps them understand humans in all their variety, and why such variety exists. This new thirteenth edition places an increased emphasis on immigration, migration and globalization. It also showcases how anthropological skill sets can be applied beyond academia.

About the Author

Carol R. Ember started at Antioch College as a chemistry major. She began taking social science courses because some were required, but she soon found herself intrigued. There were lots of questions without answers, and she became excited about the possibility of a research career in social science. She spent a year in graduate school at Cornell studying sociology before continuing on to Harvard, where she studied anthropology primarily with John and Beatrice Whiting. For her Ph.D. dissertation she worked among the Luo of Kenya. While there she noticed that many boys were assigned "girls' work," such as babysitting and household chores, because their mothers (who did most of the agriculture) did not have enough girls to help out. She decided to study the possible effects of task assignment on the social behavior of boys. Using systematic behavior observations, she compared girls, boys who did a great deal of girls' work, and boys who did little such work. She found that boys assigned girls' work were intermediate in many social behaviors, compared with the other boys and girls. Later, she did cross-cultural research on variation in marriage, family, descent groups, and war and peace, mainly in collaboration with Melvin Ember, whom she married in 1970. All of these cross-cultural studies tested theories on data for worldwide samples of societies. From 1970 to 1996, she taught at Hunter College of the City University of New York. She has also served as president of the Society of Cross-Cultural Research and was one of the directors of the Summer Institutes in Comparative Anthropological Research, which were funded by the National Science Foundation. She is now executive director at the Human Relations Area Files, Inc., a nonprofit research agency at Yale University.

After graduating from Columbia College, Melvin Ember went to Yale University for his Ph.D. His mentor at Yale was George Peter Murdock, an anthropologist who was instrumental in promoting cross-cultural research and building a full-text database on the cultures of the world to facilitate cross-cultural hypothesis testing. This database came to be known as the Human Relations Area Files (HRAF) because it was originally sponsored by the Institute of Human Relations at Yale. Growing in annual installments and now distributed in electronic format, the HRAF database currently covers more than 370 cultures, past and present, all over the world. He did fieldwork for his dissertation in American Samoa, where he conducted a comparison of three villages to study the effects of commercialization on political life. In addition, he did research on descent groups and how they changed with the increase of buying and selling. His cross-cultural studies focused originally on variation in marital residence and descent groups. He also conducted cross-cultural research on the relationship between economic and political development, the origin and extension of the incest taboo, the causes of polygamy, and how archaeological correlates of social customs can help draw inferences about the past. After four years of research at the National Institute of Mental Health, he taught at Antioch College and then Hunter College of the City University of New York. Heserved as president of the Society for Cross-Cultural Research and was president (since 1987) of the Human Relations Area Files, Inc., a nonprofit research agency at Yale University, until his passing.

Paperback: 656 pages
Publisher: Pearson; 13 edition (February 11, 2010)

Anthropology: What Does It Mean to Be Human? Anthropology: What Does It Mean to Be Human?

Anthropology: What Does It Mean to Be Human? Anthropology: What Does It Mean to Be Human?

A unique alternative to more traditional, encyclopedic introductory texts, Anthropology: What Does It Mean to Be Human?, Second Edition, takes a question-oriented approach that incorporates cutting-edge theory and new ways of looking at important contemporary issues such as power, human rights, and inequality. With a total of fifteen chapters, this engaging, full-color text is an ideal one-semester overview that delves deep into anthropology without overwhelming students.

New to this Edition:

  • New discussions of gender and archaeology, domestication, social organization, nutritional anthropology, and aboriginality, and significantly updated discussions of genetics and race and human origins
  • Discussions of economic and political relations now appear in separate chapters
  • "Anthropology in Everyday Life" boxes now appear throughout the book to continually show students the applicability of anthropology
  • New "In Their Own Words" commentaries throughout
  • New module on the components of language
  • In addition to the running glossary, a glossary now appears at the end of the text
  • "For Review" sections now appear at the end of each chapter.

About the Author

Robert H. Lavenda is Professor of Anthropology and Co-chair of the Department of Anthropology at St. Cloud State University. Emily A. Schultz is Professor of Anthropology at St. Cloud State University.

Paperback: 528 pages
Publisher: Oxford University Press; 2 edition (December 7, 2011)

The Urantia Book The Urantia Book
The Urantia Book The Urantia Book


Love is truly contagious and eternally creative. (p. 2018) “Devote your life to proving that love is the greatest thing in the world.” (p. 2047) “Love is the ancestor of all spiritual goodness, the essence of the true and the beautiful.” (p. 2047) The Father’s love can become real to mortal man only by passing through that man’s personality as he in turn bestows this love upon his fellows. (p. 1289) The secret of a better civilization is bound up in the Master’s teachings of the brotherhood of man, the good will of love and mutual trust. (p. 2065)


Prayer is not a technique of escape from conflict but rather a stimulus to growth in the very face of conflict. (p. 1002) The sincerity of any prayer is the assurance of its being heard. … (p. 1639) God answers man’s prayer by giving him an increased revelation of truth, an enhanced appreciation of beauty, and an augmented concept of goodness. (p. 1002) …Never forget that the sincere prayer of faith is a mighty force for the promotion of personal happiness, individual self-control, social harmony, moral progress, and spiritual attainment. (p. 999)


There is a great and glorious purpose in the march of the universes through space. All of your mortal struggling is not in vain. (p. 364) Mortals only learn wisdom by experiencing tribulation. (p. 556)


The angels of all orders are distinct personalities and are highly individualized. (p. 285) Angels....are fully cognizant of your moral struggles and spiritual difficulties. They love human beings, and only good can result from your efforts to understand and love them. (p. 419)

Our Divine Destiny

If you are a willing learner, if you want to attain spirit levels and reach divine heights, if you sincerely desire to reach the eternal goal, then the divine Spirit will gently and lovingly lead you along the pathway of sonship and spiritual progress. (p. 381) …They who know that God is enthroned in the human heart are destined to become like him—immortal. (p. 1449) God is not only the determiner of destiny; he is man’s eternal destination. (p. 67)


Almost everything of lasting value in civilization has its roots in the family. (p. 765) The family is man’s greatest purely human achievement. ... (p. 939)


…Faith will expand the mind, ennoble the soul, reinforce the personality, augment the happiness, deepen the spirit perception, and enhance the power to love and be loved. (p. 1766) “Now, mistake not, my Father will ever respond to the faintest flicker of faith.” (p. 1733)


The story of man’s ascent from seaweed to the lordship of earthly creation is indeed a romance of biologic struggle and mind survival. (p. 731) 2,500,000,000 years ago… Urantia was a well developed sphere about one tenth its present mass. … (p. 658) 1,000,000,000 years ago is the date of the actual beginning of Urantia [Earth] history. (p. 660) 450,000,000 years ago the transition from vegetable to animal life occurred. (p. 669) From the year A.D. 1934 back to the birth of the first two human beings is just 993,419 years. (p. 707) About five hundred thousand years ago…there were almost one-half billion primitive human beings on earth. … (p. 741) Adam and Eve arrived on Urantia, from the year A.D. 1934, 37,848 years ago. (p. 828)

From the Inside Flap

What’s Inside?

Parts I and II

God, the inhabited universes, life after death, angels and other beings, the war in heaven.

Part III

The history of the world, science and evolution, Adam and Eve, development of civilization, marriage and family, personal spiritual growth.

Part IV

The life and teachings of Jesus including the missing years. AND MUCH MORE…


God, …God is the source and destiny of all that is good and beautiful and true. (p. 1431) If you truly want to find God, that desire is in itself evidence that you have already found him. (p. 1440) When man goes in partnership with God, great things may, and do, happen. (p. 1467)

The Origin of Human Life, The universe is not an accident... (p. 53) The universe of universes is the work of God and the dwelling place of his diverse creatures. (p. 21) The evolutionary planets are the spheres of human origin…Urantia [Earth] is your starting point. … (p. 1225) In God, man lives, moves, and has his being. (p. 22)

The Purpose of Life, There is in the mind of God a plan which embraces every creature of all his vast domains, and this plan is an eternal purpose of boundless opportunity, unlimited progress, and endless life. (p. 365) This new gospel of the kingdom… presents a new and exalted goal of destiny, a supreme life purpose. (p. 1778)

Jesus, The religion of Jesus is the most dynamic influence ever to activate the human race. (p. 1091) What an awakening the world would experience if it could only see Jesus as he really lived on earth and know, firsthand, his life-giving teachings! (p. 2083)

Science, Science, guided by wisdom, may become man’s great social liberator. (p. 909) Mortal man is not an evolutionary accident. There is a precise system, a universal law, which determines the unfolding of the planetary life plan on the spheres of space. (p. 560)

Life after Death, God’s love is universal… He is “not willing that any should perish.” (p. 39) Your short sojourn on Urantia [Earth]…is only a single link, the very first in the long chain that is to stretch across universes and through the eternal ages. (p. 435) …Death is only the beginning of an endless career of adventure, an everlasting life of anticipation, an eternal voyage of discovery. (p. 159)

About the Author

The text of The Urantia Book was provided by one or more anonymous contributors working with a small staff which provided editorial and administrative support during the book's creation. The book bears no particular credentials (from a human viewpoint), relying instead on the power and beauty of the writing itself to persuade the reader of its authenticity.

Leather Bound: 2097 pages
Publisher: Urantia Foundation; Box Lea edition (August 25, 2015)

Anthropology by Robert Ranulph Marett Anthropology

Anthropology Anthropology by Robert Ranulph Marett

This work has been selected by scholars as being culturally important and is part of the knowledge base of civilization as we know it.

This work is in the public domain in the United States of America, and possibly other nations. Within the United States, you may freely copy and distribute this work, as no entity (individual or corporate) has a copyright on the body of the work.

Scholars believe, and we concur, that this work is important enough to be preserved, reproduced, and made generally available to the public. To ensure a quality reading experience, this work has been proofread and republished using a format that seamlessly blends the original graphical elements with text in an easy-to-read typeface.

We appreciate your support of the preservation process, and thank you for being an important part of keeping this knowledge alive and relevant.

Paperback: 158 pages
Publisher: Pinnacle Press (May 24, 2017)

Lone Survivors: How We Came to Be the Only Humans on Earth Lone Survivors: How We Came to Be the Only Humans on Earth

Lone Survivors: How We Came to Be the Only Humans on Earth Lone Survivors: How We Came to Be the Only Humans on Earth

A leading anthropology researcher on human evolution proposes a new and controversial theory of how our species came to be.

In this groundbreaking and engaging work of science, world-renowned paleoanthropologist Chris Stringer sets out a new theory of humanity's origin, challenging both the multiregionalists (who hold that modern humans developed from ancient ancestors in different parts of the world) and his own "out of Africa" theory, which maintains that humans emerged rapidly in one small part of Africa and then spread to replace all other humans within and outside the continent. Stringer's new theory, based on archeological and genetic evidence, holds that distinct humans coexisted and competed across the African continent-exchanging genes, tools, and behavioral strategies.

Stringer draws on analyses of old and new fossils from around the world, DNA studies of Neanderthals (using the full genome map) and other species, and recent archeological digs to unveil his new theory. He shows how the most sensational recent fossil findings fit with his model, and he questions previous concepts (including his own) of modernity and how it evolved.

Lone Survivors is the definitive account of who and what we were, and will change perceptions about our origins and about what it means to be human.

About the Author

CHRIS STRINGER is the author of The Complete World of Human Evolution, Homo britannicus, and more than two hundred books and papers on the subject of human evolution. One of the world's foremost paleoanthropologists, he is a researcher at the Natural History Museum in London and a Fellow of the Royal Society. He has three children and lives in Sussex and London.

Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; First edition (July 30, 2013)

Written in Stone: Evolution, the Fossil Record, and Our Place in Nature Written in Stone: Evolution, the Fossil Record, and Our Place in Nature

Written in Stone: Evolution, the Fossil Record, and Our Place in Nature Written in Stone: Evolution, the Fossil Record, and Our Place in Nature

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Beginning with a recently discovered 47-million-year-old primate fossil, Switek effectively and eloquently demonstrates the exponential increase in fossils that have been found since Darwin first published On the Origin of Species. In delightful prose, he blends information about fossil evidence with the scientific debates about how that evidence might be best interpreted. Switek, who writes the Smithsonian's Dinosaur Tracking blog, focuses on evidence for the evolution of major lineages, from reptiles to birds and from fish to tetrapods. He also explains at length how whales, horses, and humans evolved, marshaling compelling fossil evidence and combining it with information from molecular biology; at every step, he makes clear what is still unknown. He underscores that life forms have not "progressed" through evolution to end with Homo sapiens as the highest life form; rather, evolution has produced "a wildly branching tree of life with no predetermined path or endpoint." He superbly shows that "f we can let go of our conceit," we will see the preciousness of life in all its forms. 90 b&w illus. (Nov.) (c) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

In this thoroughly entertaining science history, Switek combines a deep knowledge of the fossil record with a Holmesian compulsion to investigate the myriad ways evolutionary discoveries have been made. Just one chapter encompasses an 1817 Amazon expedition, Richard Owen and London’s Natural History Museum, the musings of Darwin, an array of late nineteenth- and twentieth-century naturalists, some digs in Greenland, and paleontologist Jenny Clack’s 1980 research in old field notebooks and a trip to the Sedgewick Museum basement. All of this leads in a roundabout way to the 2006 discovery of Tiktaalik: a fish with a critical position in the record between fins and fingers. From there Switek moves on to “footprints and feathers” and a dozen other topics that all further his mission of exploring natural history and portraying the scientists who spent their lives asking questions and finding answers. It’s poetry, serendipity, and smart entertainment because Switek has found the sweet spot between academic treatise and pop culture, a literary locale that is a godsend to armchair explorers everywhere. --Colleen Mondor

Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Bellevue Literary Press (November 30, 2010)



The Human Skull
That Challenges
The Out of Africa Theory

From: Ancient Origins


Petrlona Cave

This is the account of the discovery of a skull that has the potential to change what we know about human evolution, and a suppression and cover-up which followed.

In 1959, in an area called Chalkidiki in Petralona, Northern Greece, a shepherd came across a small opening to a cave, which became visible when a thick covering of snow finally melted.  He gathered a group of villagers to help him clear the entrance so they could go inside and explore.  They found a cave rich in stalactites and stalagmites. But they also found something surprising – a human skull embedded in the wall (later research also uncovered a huge number of fossils including pre-human species, animal hair, fossilized wood, and stone and bone tools).

Petralona Skull

The skull was given to the University of Thessaloniki in Greece by the President of the Petralona Community. The agreement was that once the research was done, a museum would be opened featuring the findings from the Petralona cave, and the skull would be returned to be displayed in the museum – something that never happened.

Dr Aris Poulianos, member of the UNESCO's IUAES (International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences), later founder of the Anthropological Association of Greece, and an expert anthropologist who was working at the University of Moscow at the time, was invited by the Prime Minister of Greece to return to Greece to take a position of a University Chair in Athens.  This was due to the publication of his book, 'The Origins of the Greeks', which provides excellent research showing that Greek people didn't originate from the Slavic nations but were indigenous to Greece.  Upon his return to Greece, Dr Poulianos was made aware of the discovery of the skull at Petralona, and immediately started studying the Petralona cave and skull.

The 'Petralona man', or Archanthropus of Petralona, as it has since been called, was found to be 700,000 years old, making it the oldest human europeoid (presenting European traits) of that age ever discovered in Europe. Dr Poulianos' research showed that the Petralona man evolved separately in Europe and was not an ancestor of a species that came out of Africa.

In 1964, independent German researchers, Breitinger and Sickenberg, tried to dismiss Dr Poulianos' findings, arguing that the skull was only 50,000 years old and was indeed an ancestor that came from Africa.  However, research published in the US in 1971 in the prestigious Archaeology magazine, backed up the findings that the skull was indeed 700,000 years old.  This was based on an analysis of the cave's stratigraphy and the sediment in which the skull was embedded.  Further research in the cave discovered isolated teeth and two pre-human skeletons dating back 800,000 years, as well as other fossils of various species.

Today, most academics who have analyzed the Petralona remains say that the cranium of the Archanthropus of Petralona belongs to an archaic hominid distinguished from Homo erectus, and from both the classic Neanderthals and anatomically modern humans, but showing characterists of all those species and presenting strong European traits.  A skull dating back 700,000 which is either Homo sapien or part Homo sapien is in direct conflict with the Out of Africa theory of human evolution.

Petrlona Cave Skull

Further excavations continued in the cave of Petralona with the participation of international researchers (46 specialists from 12 separate countries), which provided further proof of Dr Poulianos' claims, including remarkable findings like fossilized pieces of wood, an oak leaf, animal hair and coprolites, which enabled accurate dating, as well as the almost continuous presence of stone and bone tools of the Archanthropus evolutionary stage, from the lower (750,000 years) to the upper (550,000 years) layers of sediment within the cave.

The research, after an interruption due to the dictatorship in Greece, continued up to 1983. It was then ordered by the government that all excavations at the site were forbidden to anyone, including the original archaeological team, and for 15 years nobody had access to the site or to the findings – no reason was provided by the government.  Was this denial of access to prevent the extraction of whatever new scientific conclusions remained hidden within the incredible fossils embedded within the layers of the caves' walls?

After the Anthropological Society of Greece took the case to the courts, 15 years later they were again allowed access to the cave.  Since then the Ministry of Culture is trying in any way to overcome the Courts decision and further trials proceed.

Aris Poulianos

Dr Poulianos' findings contradicted conventional views regarding human evolution and his research was suppressed.  Dr Poulianos and his wife were physically attacked and injured in their home in 2012 and the culprits were never found. He and his team have been denied further access to the cave to complete their research and study, and the whereabouts of the skull is now unknown.

Today a sign sits outside the cave of Petralona stating that the skull found in the cave was 300,000 years old, and on Wikipedia today you will see references dismissing the evidence and trying to date the Petralona skull within acceptable parameters – between 160,000 and 240,000 years old.

Recently, Professor C.G. Nicholas Mascie-Taylor of the University of Cambridge sent a letter to the Ministry of Culture in Greece saying that the correct date of the skull is 700,000 years old and not 300,000. He has also challenged the government's suppression of information regarding this incredible discovery.

The Greek Ministry of Education, Religions, Culture and Sports,
Bouboulinas 20-22,
Athens 106 82,

5 September 2012

Dear Sir,

I am writing on behalf of the European Anthropological Association, which is the umbrella professional and academic association linking all of the national European biological anthropology and human biology societies, to express our concerns about the conservation of the Petralona Cave and Skull, the misinformation of the dating of the skull, as well as the treatment of personnel associated with the conservation of the Cave.

The bases of our concerns are that the skull has been damaged through many scratches and the crown of a tooth (1st molar) cut off. As requested by Anthropological Association of Greece what is required is a detailed description of the present status of the skull, so that no one in future can arbitrarily damage it further. There is also the problem of dating which has been scientifically dated at about 700,000 years ago not 300,000 as is given at the information desk. There is a very detailed record of the excavations and findings which need to receive further public presentation but which have never been catalogued so as to prevent specimens going missing.

It is very unfortunate that the Greek Archaeological Department stopped Dr Aris Poulianos from further work in the Cave without any explanation. It is also very worrying that Dr Poulianos and his wife were physically attacked and injured in their home earlier this year and the culprits have not been found. He was also verbally abused when attempting to give an invited presentation to teachers and school children.

Senior anthropologists and geologists have also been denied access to the Cave and the specimens for further study on a number of occasions without substantive reasons. Earlier this year there has also been misinformation given to the Greek Parliament concerning financial aspects of the Cave.

I look forward to receiving answers to these questions.

Yours faithfully

Professor C G N Mascie-Taylor MA, PhD, ScD (all Cambridge), FSB, FNAS (Hungary)

Professor of Human Population Biology and Health and President of the European Anthropological Association


The most important conclusion of Dr Poulianos' research regards the co-existence of all main anthropological types (African – Kobi, Asian – Beijing and European – Petralona) at the same almost period (700,000, 500,000 and 750,000 respectively). That means: the appearance of the today human main populations (races or even better phyllae - from the Greek language and that's why polyphyletic etc) is tending to almost 1,000,000 m.y.a. and not to only 10,000 or 30,000 years as currently considered world wide.

However, independently if there is a scientific dispute on the above, it is only sad to become aware that research is not allowed to those who are not coordinated to the "standard" knowledge, risking even their lives in front of gun shooters.

Is this a cover up of an incredible discovery that the powers-that-be do not want us to have access to?  You be the judge.

Update from editor 31 December, 2018: Dr Poulianos wrote to Ancient Origins to state that unfortunately the suppression of information regarding the Petralona skull has continued:

"Experiencing the above I am asserting that the prohibition of research regarding human history is due to the following (most obvious, i.e. not exposing political) reasons:

Various (Worldwide) Universities and their state allied forums have the power to influence all of the small range national institutions in order to achieve the aforementioned prohibition. In turn, this is most probably due to the fact that such research is allowed only to some "confidential" persons. Thus, re-righting chapters of human history is only their "right". Whoever does not belong to such clubs and / or forums has to be stopped by all existing means, even by falsifying the truth against well documented evidence (i.e. without providing any scientific contradicting argument). Obviously I am asserting that knowledge is under control, especially what concerns human history. Therefore I agree with Lenie Reedijk's description regarding the "Cover Up," as well as the following comments to her article."

By John Black

Related Links

Petralona Cave (GR)

Petralona Cave

Aris Poulianos

Homo heidelbergensis

The Petralona hominid Site: Uranium-series re-analysis of 'layer 10' calcite and associated paleomagnetic analyses

The significance of the fossil hominid skull from Petralona, Greece

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The 40th Anniversary Since The Discovery of the Petralona Archanthropus' Skull

Petralona Cave Skull

On the 10th of May 1959 was discovered the Petralona cave, which had been accidentally located by Philippos Chatzaridis. One year later (16-9-1960) the fossilized cranium of a prehistoric man, covered by stalagmitic material, was found by Christos Sariannidis. Followed a short report, published on the newspaper of Thessaloniki "Macedonia" (18-9-1960), astonishing the scientific world, because in Greece was never found before a pre-Homo sapiens skull.

The many questions raised were out of the field of the standard archaeological methodology, especially concerning the age of the find. The main tool for providing the answers, is the science of palaeoanthropology in combination with the stratigraphical, palaeolithical, palaeontological and archaeometrical data.

At that time, specialists in the particular subject, did not exist in Greece, and for that reason, Professors of the Thessaloninki University assumed the responsibility of keeping the human cranium. Same Professors, proceeded with surface collecting of animal bones, that were spread on the stalagmitical ground of the cave and invited from abroad two German scientists: the anthropologist E. Breitinger and the palaeontologist O. Sickenberg. At the same time, they also contacted the anthropologist Dr. Aris Poulianos at Moscow University, known by his thesis: "The origin of the Greeks" (first edition 1960), which was based on craniological and anthropometrical studies of modern Greek populations from Crimea to South Italy. With these studies, Aris Poulianos demonstrated that the Greek people are autochthonous, and that their roots are common to those of the ancient Greeks. By this thesis, he opposed the previous and widely accepted theories of the German anthropology, which classified Greeks among Slavic and other peoples.

Regarding the fauna and the man of the Petralona cave, Breitinger and Sickenberg (1964), came to the conclusion that they are of about 70.000 years old, while Breitinger affirmed also that, from the anthropological point of view, the cranium is so much similar to some African findings, that can be cosidered as the "first African out of Africa". The Geological Department of Thessaloninki University adopted these conclusions, and furthermore, raised the hypothesis that the human skull drifted inside the cave by some kind of strimwater and thus no palaeontological or stratigraphical setting of the cranium can be sustained.

Aris Poulianos, after 1965 (year of his return from the former S. Union) continued his studies on the cranium and the Petralona cave. Contrary to Breitinger, he stated what today is considered as an established view, that the Petralona man presents a clearly European ancestral morphology, which is developed at the area of the South Eastern Europe. The almost perfect orthognathy, the shape of the dental arch, the construction of the occipital bone, were among others, the basic arguments of Aris Poulianos.

The need for systematic excavations and not only surface collection of findings was imperative. The realization of these excavations, was delayed due to the military coup in 1967, the removal of Aris Poulianos from every state job, but also because of his forced exile for a few months to the islands of Giaros and Leros. Despite all that, and with perseverance, in the spring of 1968, he managed to proceed with the first excavation of a cross-section in the Petralona cave. The excavations were ceased within a month in a dictatorial way, but the scientific conclusions which are announced to the Press (April 18th and 19th of 1968 and published in the journal "Archaeology" in January of 1971), are once again different from the previous studies. I.e., it is ascertained the existence of a cave stratigraphic sequence, which dates back more than 700.000 years and, the human presence in almost every geological layer. A presence that becomes evident from the discovery of palaeolithic tools of the same age and the traces of the most ancient -until today- traces of fire that was ever lit by human hand. These discoveries, revised not only the theories regarding the Petralona cave, but also all the previous beliefs about the exit of man from Africa and his arrival to Europe 200-300.000 years ago.

It was then when Sickenberg, complaining that he didn't have comparative osteological material during the first study of the fossils in Thessaloninki, he asked for the findings to be send to him for a second study. Unfortunately, many of these findings were never returned. His new study (1971-1975) resulted in what he called "revision of the Petralona cave fauna", which was in accordance with the age determined by A. Poulianos in 1968-1971.

The excavation and research continued when the dictatorship fell, basically from 1975 up to 1983, with permits given by the Ministry of Culture and the Archaeological Department. Since there was no other more qualified authority, the permits were edited in the name of Aris Poulianos as President of the Anthropological Association of Greece (A.A.G.). Worth to mention that thanks to his efforts the Department of Palaeoanthropology-Spelaeology of the Greek Ministry of Culture was established, with the hope of functioning in the future as the main institution of protecting the palaeoanthropological findings of Greece.

At the same time, the land of the cave was expropriated by the Greek Organization of Tourism (G.O.T.) and under special agreement, the scientific utilization (1979) of the cave and the findings were assigned to the Anthropological Association. On the expenses of the A.A.G., the building of laboratories for the needs of the excavations, and the construction of a Museum and several guest houses (1980/1), with a total capacity of 2.000 sq.m. went on.

The new conclusions, which resulted from the second excavating period, produce new evidence which is based on the studies of what is perhaps the biggest international scientific group ever formed for such a scientific topic (46 specialists, from 12 countries). The Ph.D. Professors B. Kourten (Finland), M. Kretzoi (Hungary), M. Ikeya (Japan), I. Horacek (Czech Republic), G. Belluomini (Italy), A. Moigne (France), R. Murrill (U.S.A.), are among the most sonorous names of the associates chosen by the Anthropological Company for staffing the research. From the Greek side the names of G. Maniatis of "Demokritos" (nuclear laboratory), G. Lyrintzis of the Athens Academy, S. Papamarinoppoulos of Patra University and C. Papastefanou of Thessaloniki University, should be mentioned.

Epigramatically, the new conclusions as a whole, apart from confirming, with the use of the most modern methods of absolute chronology, the age originally determined by Aris Poulianos, they also concern the stratigraphical relation of the cranium of the so called Archanthropus with various materials, which date back at about 700.000 years. The application of the most analytical excavating methods led to the discovery of remarkable findings like fossilized pieces of wood, an oak leaf, animal hair and coprolites. These methods also gave the possibility of correlation of various excavating sites from Siberia to England, as well as of the safest age control between them (through their stratigraphical and palaeontological horizons). The almost continuous presence of the stone and bone tools of the Archanthropus evolutionary stage, from the lower (~750.000 years) to the upper (~550.000 years) layers, showed his long lasting presence in the Chalkidiki area. Besides, the pattern of the evolutionary course in the area never stopped, since, anthropologically, Archanthropus' nearest modern descendants was proved (already from 1973 at the 9th International Anthropological Cogress in Chicago by Aris Poulianos) are the nomads of Pindos mountains, known as Sarakatsani and in general, the inhabitants of the S. Balkans.

The author (son of Aris Poulianos) is Ph.D. in Anthropology of the Florence University and member of the International, European and Greek Anthropological Associations, working at the Department of Palaeoanthropology-Speleology of the Greek Ministry of Culture. In his doctoral thesis he proceeded to the research of a part of the Petralona cave findings and to the composition of the up today studies, examining also the opposite opinions that had resulted from time to time. In the preface of the thesis, the Director of the Florence Institute of Anthropology, professor Brunetto Chiarelli, quotes : "… The main evidence for concluding that the inhabitation of Europe amounts to at least 700.000 years, is the human cranium which was found in the Petralona cave … This work forms an offering of a highly European standard… with many original data about the antiquity, the conditions and way of life of this prehistoric man. Another side is the discerning but impartial presentation of the intense scientific disputes, in which were carried along and implicated even Greek governmental departments…".

As previously mentioned, the excavations of Aris Poulianos continued until 1983. This occurred because they were interrupted for a second time, and obviously for reasons completely irrelevant to science. Any access was denied to the members of his team so much to the excavations, as well as to the findings, something that is opposed to every concept of human and research rights. As a result of this, for 15 years the findings remained inaccessible to study and kept at the mercy of deterioration, inside the Museum. One approach to the reasons caused this situation is the fact that the evident target was: a) to conceal the extend of errors which preceded the A.A.G. excavations and b) to prevent the extraction of whatever new scientific conclusions remained yet hidden, so much in the unpublished findings of the Museum, as well as in the sediments of the cave. In relation to the above, an analytical memorandum was submitted to the bureau of the Ministry of Culture in September of 1994. In this, is reported with clarity that besides the efforts (manifested even in official meetings) of snatching away intellectual work, the Ministry's position after 1983 mainly favored the competitive, mostly foreign, institutions that are involved with relative studies. Because it is perfectly clear that the braking of the research of Aris Poulianos gave the chance to the excavators and researchers from abroad, to reconstruct and reorganize their theories on similar matters. As a result our country was deprived of the advances that was deserved.

In 1997 the Anthropological Association of Greece, after 15 years of trials, was justified by the Supreme Court and was ordered the continuation of its works in the cave. Since then the G.O.T. and the Ministry of Culture are trying in any way to overcome the Courts Decisions (p. ex. by stopping the water and telecommunications supply, or even by changing the low). Such a tactic is not acceptable by the A.A.G. and further trials proceed.

In conclusion, and on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the greatest discovery of the century in the field of Anthropology, one may say that from the Anthropological Association of Greece all means possible for the protection of the findings and for the projection of their great scientific importance were disposed. With or without the help of the state, it is a necessity but also an obligation for this effort to be continued. The anthropologists by the nature of their studies cannot be anything but optimistic. And this, because they are taught and they teach (in spite of some steps backwards) the almost constant biological, social and spiritual evolution of man, and a unique milestone of this evolution is the Petralona Archanthropous.

Note: The above text is here updated, originally published in the magazine "Mandragoras", v. 10-11, January-April 1996.

By Dr. Nickos A. Poulianos, President of the Anthropological Association of Greece

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Some material presented will contain links, quotes, ideologies, etc., the contents of which should be understood to first, in their whole, reflect the views or opinions of their editors, and second, are used in my personal research as "fair use" sources only, and not espousement one way or the other. Researching for 'truth' leads one all over the place...a piece here, a piece there. As a researcher, I hunt, gather and disassemble resources, trying to put all the pieces into a coherent and logical whole. I encourage you to do the same. And please remember, these pages are only my effort to collect all the pieces I can find and see if they properly fit into the 'reality aggregate'.

Personal Position

Personal Position:
I've come to realize that 'truth' boils down to what we 'believe' the facts we've gathered point to. We only 'know' what we've 'experienced' firsthand. Everything else - what we read, what we watch, what we hear - is what someone else's gathered facts point to and 'they' 'believe' is 'truth', so that 'truth' seems to change in direct proportion to newly gathered facts divided by applied plausibility. Though I believe there is 'truth', until someone representing the celestial realm visibly appears and presents the heavenly records of Facts And Lies In The Order They Happened, I can't know for sure exactly what "the whole truth' on any given subject is, and what applies to me applies to everyone. Until then I'll continue to ask, "what does The Urantia Book say on the subject?"
~Gail Bird Allen

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