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Arabian Artifacts Alter Evolutionary Map

by Dr. Elizabeth Mitchell on December 10, 2011

Yahoo News: “Arabian Artifacts May Rewrite 'Out of Africa' TheoryNubian wares scramble human evolutionary map again.

Evolutionists generally believe human beings in all their manifestations evolved in Africa and dispersed from there. However, “The route and timing of Homo sapiens exit(s) from Africa is the subject of considerable debate,”1 write the discoverers of ancient Nubian artifacts in Oman.

Many evolutionists believe our ancestors migrated along a northern route through the Levant to populate Eurasia. That belief is based on remains of ancient anatomically modern humans in Israel. But some mitochondrial DNA analyses favor a migratory history from southern Africa through Arabia to parts beyond.2 Until now, there has been no archaeological support for this southern route.

Archaeologist Jeffrey Rose and colleagues have now found hundreds of distinctive Nubian Middle Stone Age tools at several sites in Oman’s Dhofar Mountains on the Arabian peninsula. These match artifacts from the Nile Valley in style and apparent age. “The discovery . . . in Dhofar upholds this [southern route] model. The distribution . . . in the middle and lower Nile Valley, the Horn of Africa, Yemen, and now Dhofar provides a trail of diagnostic artifacts—stone breadcrumbs—spread across the southern dispersal tour out of Africa.”3

This distinctive method of chipping stone tools is strong evidence for a cultural connection between ancient Arabia and northeastern Africa. Due to the early dates obtained in both locations, the finding challenges the “current genetic data placing global human migration out of Africa perhaps 80,000 years ago,” and Rose suggests that instead of “out of Africa, we could be looking at ‘out of Arabia.’”4 No hominid fossils have been found at the Oman sites, but anthropologists associate Nubian tools with Homo sapiens. The Red Sea and the Arabian Desert would seem insurmountable barriers to primitives, but the researchers note that a lower sea level and a lusher climate probably facilitated migration.

Optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dating of two samples of riverbed sediment where some Dhofar artifacts were buried yielded a date of 106,000 years. Similar Nubian artifacts from northeastern Africa have been dated using OSL, and the dates match. OSL is used to determine “the elapsed time since the dated quartz grains were last exposed to sunlight.”5 OSL assesses how much energy is stored in a mineral, assuming its electrons were excited by sunlight exposure in the past and trapped in crystalline imperfections. The energy it emits now when stimulated by laser light is compared to emissions from specimens obtained from the present environment. This ratio is used to estimate how long the mineral has been buried. The researchers say the samples were taken from “a homogenous layer [of sediment] that accumulated during a single, continuous phase of deposition.”6 In other words, they’re sure the riverbed sediment around the artifacts has been in the dark for 100,000 years.

The overall method must be calibrated by comparison to other dating methods based on their own unverifiable assumptions. Thus, even though OSL of specimens from North Africa and Arabia produced similar results, the actual dates are drawn from assumptions stacked atop other assumptions, all unverifiable.

Like other dating methods, OSL is based on unverifiable uniformitarian assumptions. Can we know a sample has truly been in the dark for thousands of years? Can we be sure no other factor such as heat or water exposure has altered the energy stored in it? Can we be certain the mineral’s sensitivity to energy has remained unchanged? It is impossible to know these conditions have been met. Furthermore, the overall method must be calibrated by comparison to other dating methods based on their own unverifiable assumptions. Thus, even though OSL of specimens from North Africa and Arabia produced similar results, the actual dates are drawn from assumptions stacked atop other assumptions, all unverifiable.

Discovery of matching Nubian artifacts in widely separate locations is, however, consistent with dispersion from the tower of Babel less than 4,300 years ago. After God confused languages at Babel, groups dispersed, each taking certain skills with it. The Arabian and African toolmakers may represent two groups with the same skills from Babel or one group that branched to settle in both places. Genomic mapping of people groups may suggest the ethnic background of people in a place but cannot actually tell how and when they got there.

The idea that Africa is the evolutionary cradle of humanity rests on the assumption that humans must have evolved from apelike ancestors somewhere. All human beings are genetically related, not by an evolutionary rise through a common apelike ancestor but by common descent from our common ancestors Adam and Eve. The Bible tells us God created Adam in His own image from the dust of the ground, not from animal ancestors. He did so the same day He made land animals. He created man and land animals about 6,000 years ago in the space of one day, not millions of years. There is no room for Christians to compromise on this point without disputing God’s own Word. All so-called scientific proof to the contrary—whether paleontological, genetic, linguistic, or archaeological—is based on assumptions about the unobservable past.

According to the Bible, Noah’s family disembarked from the Ark in the mountains of Ararat, and their descendants settled in the plain of Shinar, eventually dispersing from there. Genesis provides the eyewitness account of humanity’s geographical underpinnings. Only evolutionary insistence on an African evolutionary cradle puts their starting point in Africa.

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