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Human and Cultural Hologenesis

by Alfred de Grazia



Might all types of known hominids and proto-humans have been of the species homo sapiens (schizotypus) in physiology and culture? Might these and all modern races have appeared during the past 14,000 years? Might man have originated hologenetically in the holocene period, by quantavolution? Such is the line of questioning and argument to be followed here; outrageous as it may be to conventional theory, it may be also productive.

We have already noted that australopithecus had certain human qualities. We can pick up the analysis again. He was adequately supplied with cranial matter. Specimens exceeding the minimal brain size known for normal humans have been discovered. His brain-body build proportions were modern. His size was that of many millions of modern people. His dentition was close to modern man's, far removed from the apes. He was bi-pedal and held his head high (higher than we do, said Louis Leakey). He was social. He used tools. He built enclosures. He was right-handed. It appears that his brain was hemispherically asymmetric, which introduces additional human potentials. McKinley, Wolpoff says, "demonstrated that Australopithecus (gracile and robust) followed a 'human' model of short birth spacing," and Mann showed that "the rate of australopithecine development and maturation were delayed, as in modern man, rather than accelerated, as in modern chimpanzees." (Based upon the timing of molar eruption.) There are no signs yet of his having had speech, but no evidence to the contrary; Louis Leakey thought he had a human palate. There have been few indications yet of his having been religious and artistic. There are signs of his having used fire.

He was connected with homo erectus in time and with the Acheulian-Chellean culture at Olduvai, which culture extends into the Terrafine of North Africa and is found also at Swanscombe and Steinheim, with practically modern man. Opposing the theory that australopithecus was human stands largely the thesis that he is anatomically too different from modern man. To the forgoing response may be added the following: we do not know what are the limits of variation within the single species or how the principal distinction employed -- that interbreeding be impossible -- would apply here. It is of significance that Johanson had persistent doubts about classifying his fossil hominid, "Lucy." He argued that she might be called homo, but relented at the prospect, then, that all australopithecines would logically have to be regarded as of the homo line. Where would we go to find our hominid ancestors? The search for the missing link would begin again.

While at the University of Chicago, Charles Oxnard compared fossil australopithecines with living apes and men by fine measurements of the foot, pelvis, fingers and other bones, transferring the measures to computer tapes for multivariate analysis [1] . "Geometrically this is the equivalent of constructing and viewing from one position a three-dimensional model of the swarms (of points measuring similar objects) and then rotating and viewing the model from a new position that best separates the swarms." His studies suggest that the australopithecine bones are uniquely different from both man and the chimpanzee and gorilla.

Applying stress analysis to the bones supports his comparisons derived from the computer analysis in that the finger bones of man are incompetent for both knuckle-walking and hanging-climbing, whereas those of the Olduvai australopithecines are poor for knucklewalking, but adapted for hanging-climbing. Oxnard believes also that australopithecus might have been better equipped to run than to stride bipedally. One wonders when the Olduvai "creature of the savannahs" stopped walking on his knuckles, how he used his hanging-climbing faculty, and why his hands were not scuppered for scooping fish from the successive "Lakes of Olduvai." Kamala, the Indian wolf-girl, went on all fours and could not stand, until after years of coaching; her hands were described as very strong and rough; she could run, rising on her digits. Her anatomy was normal for homo sapiens. The races of mankind are distinguishable as skeletons, but are one species; so the "hanging-climbing" hands of Olduvai man may be of minor importance if he were otherwise human.

Australopithecus may be a branch of the human line that habitually clung and climbed. Better yet, he may have maintained an ancestral feature that was finally bred out. It may be suggested, also, that he originated wherever homo emerged, and that the quantavolution was so open-ended as to provide a remarkable diversity of human types in the beginning, followed by a diffusion of these types around the world. Soon the types would double back, and merge with, or exterminate each other.

There is much diversity among the australopithecines themselves to fuel controversy; several attempts have been made to call new specimens by new species names. Generally, anthropologists have wanted to join them together as a single species, if only to avoid barren disputation and to make it easier to sum up the primordial situation in textbooks.

Charles Oxnard points out that a recent finding at East Rudolph, by Richard Leakey, of the keystone of a foot arch (talus) has been dated as the same age as, or older than, the Olduvai australopithecine. Yet the new find is much larger, more similar to that of modern men, according to the multi-variate analysis of Bernard Wood. Richard Leakey found also a skull dated from two to three million years of age with an endocranial volume of 800 cubic centimers (the australopithecine volume being generally much less), showing an overlapping of cranial capacities with homo erectus. Then, too, an arm bone fragment from Kanapoi, dated at four million years, "has already been shown... to be very similar to that of modern man." In this phrase, "very similar," we can read within the range of variation of modern man.

The various pieces of evidence, according to Oxnard, add up to meaning that perhaps as long as 5,000,000 years ago (and the possibility is not lost that future finds may place this further back in time) there may well have been creatures living that were generally similar to homo erectus and therefore classifiable as man in a way that we must deny to any australopithecine (whether named H. habilis, H. africanus or whatever else)." That is, we should say, erectus was even more modern in anatomy than australopithecus. But probably present anatomical differences between the pygmies of the Congo and their tall black neighbors are as great as between australopithecus and homo erectus; they discourse in the same language (pygmies adapt and use neighboring languages), intermarry, have continuous commercial dealings, and in fact are symbiotic.


Now it is homo erectus who comes to mind, and we would like to know whether he, too, might be human. If so, how did he come to be created? And when was he created? And if five million years old, or three, or one, or one-half, or one-tenth -- to cite various estimates -- why then should he have evolved so slowly until the Upper Paleolithic, which is variously reckoned at from 50,000 to 10,000 years ago?

Homo erectus cannot be dismissed from the motley ranks of modern man. He had large supraorbital ridges but so have some modern individuals and so, too, Neanderthal man, who had a cranium larger than modern man and a culture. Home erectus had a low skull, yet possessed the cranial capacity of the smaller skulls found among ourselves. And amongst ourselves, cranial size has little or no relationship to average intelligence and competence, or perhaps even to extreme intelligence.

Le Gros Clark, seeking to prove gradual evolution, wrote that by "the end of the Middle Pleistocene, the hominid skull had attained a degree of development very similar to modern man; indeed, except for the rather strongly developed supraorbital ridges, some of the cranial remains of this date are hardly to be distinguished from modern man." [2] His "Middle Pleistocene" was about 500,000 years ago, and in cultural terms might now be termed Lower Paleolithic, because well-developed stone age cultures dated at 250,000 years ago have been uncovered, as in Tadshik, U. S. S. R. Björn Kurten alludes to modern humans with a brain case of 1400 cc and using fire, discovered in Hungary at Varteszöllös in the 1960's and dated at 400,000 years ago [3] . Probably homo erectus and homo sapiens were contemporaries. Inasmuch as fire making was also assigned to Peking man, homo erectus whether 400,000 or four million years ago, it would seem that humans have been allowed an inordinately long time to sit around fires in a mental funk.

In 1975, field work at Koobi Fora in northern Kenya resulted in the demonstration of contemporaneity between KNM-ER 3733, an unequivocal homo erectus cranium, and KNM-ER 406, an obvious robust australopithecine. This was dramatic confirmation of earlier interpretations that suggested the existence of two distinct hominid lineages in the African early Pleistocene [4] .

In Java, homo erectus and meganthropus were living side by side in the Middle Pleistocene [5] .

Presently, radiometric dating, particularly the Potassium-Argon test, is determining the ages of hominids, and this test is applied ordinarily to volcanic issue. The stretching of the time of hominids has gone on regardless of definitions of boundaries, and little attention is given to traditional geochronology. If the volcanic ashes imbedding a bone are adjudged to be two million years old, that is usually the end of age reckoning. So the hominids have gone back beyond the Pleistocene well into the Pliocene.

How baffling the time element can be is suggested in an incident. A skull of homo erectus was discovered in Kenya by Bernard Ngeneo, working under Richard Leakey. It was dated at 1.5 million years. Peking man, a prototype of homo erectus had been dated by non-radiometric methods at 0.5 million years or less. Leakey said, "this raises questions about the true age of Peking Man. The Chinese must develop a new, different way to date their sites for more accuracy. Upon re-examination, they'll probably find these fossils to be a million years older than now dated." [6]

In effect, the 40K-40A dating method is giving very old and by implication "good" results, and should be the sole method of plotting man's ascent! If so, some dates of hominid and homo fossils that were estimated before radiometric methods were employed may be useless. Or else these types lived for millions of years on Earth. As I stated earlier, modern types are now being found aged in the millions of years, not only skulls of modern volume but also modern bones, and now modern footprints.


Sinanthropus, the Chinese version of homo erectus, from Choukoutien [7] , probably had a cerebral mechanism for speech. He was also righthanded as judged by cerebral asymmetry and the way he made and used tools. His occlusal trough was the same as ours and he chewed the same way. His two lateral upper incisors "display a crown morphology quite typical for this region in various races of modern man." The upper central incisors were longer than in the Northern Chinese today. The lower molars were of a "generalized and progressive type... one whose slight modification in a given direction may readily produce a condition dominant in modern hominids" (The experts who say this make a comment that should be borne in mind when comparing ancient and modern man: that the most distinctive peculiarities of modern man are "degenerative in origin.")

Sinanthropus built fires and made artifacts of quartz; layers of ashes were uncovered and thousands of pieces of worked quartz. We will treat this matter when we discuss cultural hologenesis, but it may be worthwhile to mention here that the "Choukoutien formation must be considered as a perfectly homogeneous and distinct stratigraphical unit." To our view, this signals the possibility that the Choukoutien scenario was brief, not enduring for a hundred centuries or a thousand centuries.

An archaelogical columnar section illustrates the distribution of prehistoric culture in relation to deposits of North China, as known to Black and his collaborators half a century ago. I have tabulated it here. Note how crowded the holocene period is in relation to the Pleistocene and Pliocene sections, and yet how heavy its cultural development. So much time is allotted to the earlier periods because convention so dictates, i. e., such is the ruling paradigm of evolutionary time. But inspection of the contents of the column reveals plainly that practically all of its material could have been deposited in weeks, years, or centuries. The deposits are precisely of the type that occur in floods and storms: sandy lacustrine deposits, loams, loess, and gravel. (In The Lately Tortured Earth, I examine evidence of an extraterrestrial origin of the loess.) It is unlikely that hundreds of thousands of years elapsed, as the report declares. This idea is especially poignant because the Choukoutien fossils and artifacts were found in lenses of deposits that were swept into a rock cleft, fissure, or large cave, filling it up, until, in our day, they were come upon in the course of quarrying.

That the total setting is recent is attested to by occasional unsuspecting sentences in the reports: the fissure contains such a wide range of fauna from Late Pliocene and Upper Pleistocene (at least 1 myr) "that it is not easy to decide to which of them it stands more closely related," so it is placed as Lower Pleistocene.

The fossils... constitute a curious and heterogenous collection of types... Such forms as the marmot, the camel, the antelope and the ostrich seem rather out of their due place. Possibly they were accidental wanderers along the plain, unless we admit that the plain itself was the steppe, then elevated considerably above the present flood plain level.


Though these pioneers probably arrived with a knowledge that crude stones could be used in a variety of useful ways, it would seem probable that the lithic industry of Choukoutien was largely if not wholly a slow autochronous development; that the latter in any case was indeed an extraordinarily slow one, is witnessed by the relatively insignificant advances made in technique over the many, many centuries during which the Sinanthropus community must have occupied the great cave of Choukoutien...

The climate was mild. "Curiously enough, however, a generally effective faunal barrier seems to have existed then just as now, between the Yangtze and Hoangho basins." Just as now! Why not now?

There are some Mousterian (Neanderthal) cultural affinities: "As a matter of fact most of the... quartz specimens would seem to be indistinguishable from the major part of the quartz artifacts which have been collected in some of the Mousterian caves in France." Then: "There also occur throughout the deposit vast numbers of burnt and fragmented bones." Further, much of the deposit is of ashy and burnt clay of different colors, possibly of a great many fires, but also possibly of wind and water transported ashes. Almost nothing but cranial parts of Sinanthropus was found in the deposits, despite the abundance of mammalian bones in the thousands of cubic meters of debris examined. Could the skulls alone have been buried in the pit (a possible Mousterian practice)? Or washed in from a nearby settlement? One can conclude that more direct evidence supports a short-time life of the cave than a long-term history.

Yet pressure is exerted on the curators of the site of 'Peking Man' to redate it to carry it backwards in time from 200,000 years to over a million years, so as to match East African specimens of homo erectus, which in turn has been found in association with australopithecus, and this extends backwards by another two million years, all based upon the validity of potassium-argon radiodating which is suspect. It is not beyond reason that this whole dating scheme will soon collapse and the hominids will be carried forward in time, leap-frogging the geochronological conventions of the 1920's, to the very edge of the holocene, a dozen thousand years ago.


At a site, G. Laetoli, Tanzania, the fossil imprints of three individuals, thought to be gracile australopithecines, were discovered in a consolidated tuff of volcanic ash dated by the K-A method at 3.6 to 3.75 million years. A stereometric camera was used to compare the footprints of these two individuals with modern footprints. The contour patterns are similar. The impression of the heel, ball, arch and big toe are similar. "The pattern of weight and force transference through the foot... also seem to be very similar." [8]

A lucid description of the K-A dating technique is to be found in Lucy (187-207). Johanson and his collaborators worked hard on Lucy's K-A dating of three million years to reduce the "margin of error" from 200,000 to 50,000 years. Then, on the basis of new information coming from paleomagnetic matching of rocks here and elsewhere and matching of dated fossil pigs found in rock strata of the same type elsewhere (biostratigraphy), they discarded the 3m/ y date for a new older date of 3.75 m/ y. Lucy became 750,000 years older. One can scarcely be surprised if the reader, at first awfully impressed by radiochronometric machines, becomes now disenchanted when these are abandoned for divination from pig bones. Perhaps Lucy is a million or two years on the younger side and was gassed with her friends in a recent volcanic oven. And maybe the footprints at Laetoli were made by the Leakey family on an outing, before they had their first foundation grants. But this we know cannot be, for Mrs. Leakey would remember whether the volcano was then active.

The age of Lucy did not long stand where Johanson had placed it. In 1982 Boaz and others made new faunal comparisons that younged her and her earlier Afar associates by half a million years, and F. H. Brown compared volcanic tufts and likewise found Lucy much younger than she had seemed to be; a basalt testing at 3.6 m/ y lay above a tuft of 3.2 m/ y, the basalt test, less reliable, was superseded [9] .

Johanson could recognize his shoeprints and a cigarette package in the wadi where he had worked two years before, for there had been no rain. Yet "we surveyed the 333 site. A good deal of sandstone had crumbled down from the overburden above. It was now scattered in large blocks and smaller chunks over the hillside that had been so carefully screened for fossils two years before." Two years and 3.75 million years: close to two million times that amount of debris might have been dumped in the area since Lucy's days, even with a uniform climate (which he claims) and no natural disasters to muck it up (but 10 volcanos were active thereabouts in Lucy's days).

Old or young, the hominid and homo types have overlapped in time and habitat, as well as in numerous traits. Michael H. Day writes:

It has been pointed out by a number of workers that the approximately contemporaneous Ternifine mandibles (jawbones) of Algeria and the Peking mandibles of China show extreme similarities; the great similarities between the Peking femurs (thighbones) and the Olduvai Hominid 28 femur have also been noted. A reasonable explanation of this similarity is that migratory hunting patterns had brought many groups of Homo erectus into contact and that exogamous (marrying outside the tribal group) breeding patterns had resulted in the widespread occurrence of certain traits. These similarities are very likely too great and consistent to have resulted from separate evolution along parallel lines in isolation; and, indeed, the degree of similarity seen in the available material makes it extremely unlikely that long-term isolation was a factor in human evolution after the early middle Pleistocene [10] .

Ashley Montagu long ago pointed out that Swanscombe man, who was quite modern, preceded Neanderthal, and that a Swanscombe type was found at Quinzano, Italy and placed in the Middle Paleolithic. Also before Neanderthal came Fontechevade man, with cultural remains, and he "would appear in all respects a modern type of man." [11] He alludes to Louis Leakey's Kanam and Kanjara discoveries as modern but Middle or Lower Pleistocene.


The extensive works of Fiorentino Ameghino, the Argentine paleontologist and archaeologist, are due a review in the light of recent oceanography, paleontology, and anthropology. During his lifetime he was attacked and ridiculed; he lost his university position for his ideas; nor has his fame been restored to this day. Several of his claims, apart from the many new species of extinct animals that are accredited to him, are beginning to ring true.

He proposed, on the basis of numerous explorations and excavations, that man had existed, with an Acheulian culture, in the Pliocene period and earlier, an age that only now is being invaded by East African hominidal discoveries. He found human remains, tools, and habitats associated with the giant fauna that were extirpated at the end of the Pleistocene. He found carapaces of giant turtles, with diameters around 1.5 meters, that could house dwellers of the plain, and inside of them, flint tools and selected bones; man, he thought, used these carapace homes on the treeless plains to avoid the giant animals of the age. He could not but believe that the association of man and great animals stretched far back into the Pliocene, even into the Miocene, and possibly the Eocene.

He argued vehemently for the existence until recently of land bridges between South America and Africa, actually in the time of man. No doubt that he would have welcomed the theory of continental drift in vogue today, although he followed a theory with other well-known writers, that the land between the continents had sunk, rather than split up and drifted.

His most shocking hypothesis was that mankind had originated in the pampas of southern South America and had moved North and East across continental connections. He called the Central Atlantic bridge the "Guyana-Senegal" connection. This is also the Antilles-Mediterranean link, which Suess, Lapparent, and other geologists and paleontologists perceived to exist in the Tertiary period [12] .

"I believe," he wrote, "that one can regard as susceptible to nearly rigorous proof the following facts: 1. The American population is not a unique and homogenous race but the product of crossings of different races. 2. One finds individuals and tribes representing races of the Old World, but the mass of people is distinctly different... 5. Emigrations from the Old World always found the Americas peopled by natives... 7. While Europe was still peopled with savages, America possessed very advanced peoples living in great cities and constructing grandiose monuments. 8. At different periods, new emigrations took place toward the Old World... 10. The most ancient peoples of Europe, Africa and America were in communication. 11. The communications were facilitated by land, today disappeared. 12. The existence of this land can be demonstrated by tradition, prehistory, archaeology, ethnology, linguistics, philology, anthropology, botany, zoology, paleontology, and geology. 13. Up to now, science has not been able to determine in what corner of the globe man or his precursor made his appearance for the first time."

Ameghino describes skeletal material and crania from the Canyon of Moro (North of Necochea) [13] as of a people rather over four feet tall, long-headed, prognathic, small-brained, small-toothed, and generally exhibiting bone-structures foreign to modern man. He called this group of "hominids" Homo sinemento.

In another paper, Ameghino and his brother describe an apparently incised Protorotherium jawbone that they discovered. This would place Patagonian man over thirty million years ago, in the Eocene age, far earlier than the most radical of present-day datings which range up to five million years, and then only hypothetically. Two famous anthropologists from the United States visited the site, Ales Hrdlicka and Bailey Willis; neither accepted Ameghino's early datings of man or even the presence of a hominid in the Western Hemisphere, much less the four races of hominid that Ameghino claimed to have discovered.

Since the present author has not studied the problem extensively or at first hand, and indeed the materials for such a study may no longer exist for specialists to investigate, one can only remain in a state of mystification, hoping that the search for primordial humans in South America will be vigorously pursued.


Oxnard's statistical, computer-assisted techniques of comparative anatomy might well be applied to test new hypotheses. They are especially adapted for logical operations in which time should be squeezed out. Pearl computed coefficients of variations in the human species, along seventy dimensions. G. Simpson deemed the results to show a not unusual variability in comparison with other mammal species [14] . The data, he thought, indicated that man was changing rapidly. If modern man is so variable in physical structure, it can be assumed that fossil men (hominids included) will also be at least as internally deviant, and in fact they are, even if the australopithecines and homo erectus are examined separately.

But now let us group Neanderthals and proto-modern types with modern man, and australopithecus with homo erectus. The number of parameters of difference within the two groupings will probably remain the same - the aforesaid seventy perhaps. The variations or values within each grouping will increase. What are the two sets of coefficients of variations? What are their means and extremes? Are all of these indices equal within the two groups?

Then plot the ancient aggregate against the modern aggregate on every parameter, and on the means and extremes. Calculate all the differences and principal sets of differences and express them statistically. Test then the following hypotheses: a) The internal differences of the ancient group are of the same mean and range values as those of the modern group. b) The differences between all individual values and sets of values of the ancient and modern groups are not significantly greater than the internal differences found in each of the two groups.

Both hypotheses are deemed to be supported if the differences trend toward their confirmation. If the hypotheses are largely confirmed, elapsed time between ancient and modern man must be presumed to approach zero time.

The conclusions thus derived are subject to attack from 1) Independent measures of time by geochronology and any evidence of an independent archaeological kind such as aberrational cultural developments, as well as by 2) Independent knowledge from evolutionary genetics, from evolution by other means such as natural selection, and from paleontology concerning the length of time that the traits under examination require to reach their extreme parameters. If neither kind of independent control is valid and reliable, beyond the limits to which the aforesaid tests of the hypotheses are valid or reliable, then the hypotheses may be maintained: The groupings of ancient and modern man are internally homogeneous; elapsed time between ancient and modern man must be very short. Since little of this proposed work has been performed, however, the value of the hypotheses must be temporarily judged on the basis of such logic and evidence as are otherwise presented in this chapter and book.


Oxnard is impressed by the uses to which a long history of mankind might be put:

knowing as we do the enormously greater speed of psycho-social evolution as compared with the slow rate of biological evolution, then a larger absolute time span of, say, 5,000,000 years, may allow an even greater amount of relative evolutionary time for the evolution of the behavioral, cultural and intellectual qualities that stamp man as unique from any animal [15] .

But whoever said so much time was needed for cultural evolution? We shall soon be arguing that culture was practically instantaneous.

Some old evolutionists gave 50,000 years as the age of modern man. They were thinking in physical, not cultural, terms. That splendid hoax, Piltdown man, was expertly placed at 500,000 years and then a few years later just as expertly placed 50,000; finally, of course, he achieved the surreal, a timeless mockery of scientoid pretense. By the newest estimates, mankind would have had one hundred times as long as these 50,000 years to rise from some non-human level to its present state.

To insist that very old fossils of modern physical type must have had a culture provides a sword that cuts both ways against time. The physical as well as the mental traits of the homo species, if deemed to imply each other, might be dated very recently. Homo sapiens might be born within hailing distance of 14,000 B. P., a basepoint that I have developed in Chaos and Creation for the Holocene age.

To allow quantavolution in a short time, one must agree that some part of evolution might be systemic, that is, permit a set of crucial human changes to occur together in the same moment and perhaps by the same instant mutation. The issue has been hotly argued. A plurality of biologist are point-by-point evolutionists; very few are saltationists, quantavolutionists or systemists; many are puzzled over the great variety of points to be covered over time, no matter how long, and yet unready to accept "successful monsters" as the answer.

There is no way of soothing the bafflement and frustration concerning measures of time. I have mentioned traditional geochronology and potassium-argon radiochronometry as the bulwarks of long time reckoning. Probably I must say more of them here inasmuch as they are accepted with little question by some of the foremost paleoanthropologists.

Traditional geochronology needs to be considered mainly because it offers a fall-back position, should radiochronometry be deemed invalid. The major drawback of geochronology in regard to fossil man is that time is measured by evolution; the time scale follows the fossil record of the sequence from "lower" to "higher forms."

The defensive positions of a century ago are irreparably in disrepair, however. At that time the age of the Earth itself was being argued in the highest scientific circles in the neighborhood of thirty to ninety million years, which would on today's hominid reckoning give perhaps one-tenth of all earth-time for the development of man [16] . But then man was still hovering in the five figure bracket of 20,000 to 90,000 years. Certainly, were it not for radioactive dating methods, evolutionary theory would be at an impasse for lack of time for mutation and for natural selection to transform the biosphere.

Like question-begging is the plague of natural selection, circular reasoning is the plague of traditional geochronology. "The rocks do date the fossils, but the fossils date the rocks more accurately... circularity is inherent in the derivation of time scales." [17] There are neither transition fossils in any number to mark the important fossil stages, nor complete fossil columns showing the evolutionary sequence; nor is evolution a hard set of facts. Yet index fossils with a doctrinaire chronology are imposed on the rocks and the rocks assigned dates. Then rocks of comparable type, though lacking fossils, are dated accordingly, and many of the strata and formations surrounding them, too.

Velikovsky has ingeniously displayed, using Blanckenhorn's study of the Syrian-Palestinian rift valley, through which pass the Jordan River and Dead Sea, that the old geochronology, before radiochronometry, could properly formulate for it a history of a few thousand years, rather than many millions of years [18] . He further used proto-historical evidence, that of Biblical sources, to strengthen the theory of short duration for the rifting of the area. The older methods of geochronology are often too flexible to engender confidence.

We must bring time into a new order. So long as it is the tool of the old vision of a point-by-point development of humanity, time will stretch out of bounds. The Holocene-Pleistocene boundary is not fixed upon an event, unless it be an end of the ice ages. But the ice ages are still going on, and it is doubtful that they played much of a role in the humanization and diffusion of man, except for imposing sometimes rather obvious limits upon settlement. The Pleistocene-Pliocene boundary was set by the International Geological Congress of 1950 on the basis of late Cenozoic stratigraphy in Italy, more precisely on the entrance of northern marine invertebrates into the Mediterranean. This boundary, too, is scarcely useful, and should be ignored in reckoning the origins of man in time. The Pleistocene record is always discontinuous and fragmentary, especially in glaciated areas. The task of scholars "would have been incomparably easier if some stratigraphic section covering the entire Pleistocene were available, showing, for instance a complete sequence of alternating tills and soils. Unfortunately, such a section seems to be available nowhere in the glaciated areas." [19]

We note, too, how geological time-reckoning expands as we go back in history. The Upper Paleolithic artistic period was dated back 30,000 years by French scholars and geologists, working on remains in caves and rock shelters. Estimates of sedimentation rates of deposits into which artifacts were sandwiched, gave such duration. But the dating of the Upper Paleolithic artists is more a working consensus that an absolutely tested fix. Pergrony and Caslis give us an age of 4500 years ago for metals, a Neolithic lasting 5000 years before then, a Mesolithic of 2500 years, an Upper Paleolithic of 30,000 years, a Middle Paleolithic of 80,000 years and Lower Paleolithic of from 800,000 to 1,500,000 years [20] . As we have pointed out, this last figure is now verging upon five million years.

The Upper Paleolithic period falls between the claimed periods of competence of radiocarbon dating and potassium-argon dating. The most careful work on this period is therefore dependent on sedimentary dating in large part, and this cannot get around the possibilities of periods of flood and torrents, laying down blanket after blanket of clay and gravel to create illusions, in today's peaceful landscape, of the passage of much time. This is no new problem. For instance, when Alfred Wallace was writing his studies of the distribution of animal life in the nineteenth century, he had to confess to the great difficulty of judging sedimentary deposits [21] . In repeated discussions at the Dordogne cave and shelter sites with French scientists who have excavated and are responsible for them, I have been unable to accept their meticulous reconstructions as valid.

In the end, they rely nowadays upon carbondating, which although it often upsets their expectations, at least keeps them in the Paleolithic period rather than moving them into more recent times. That radiocarbondating which is based upon measuring a ratio involving the diminishing amount of carbon-14 isotopes discoverable in organic remains, can be erratic, owing to atmospheric, species, and soil transformations, has already been the subject of investigation. Recently, changes in the Earth's geomagnetic field have been added to the several conditions that alter radiocarbon dating. Unfortunately, the usefulness of radiocarbon dating decreases exponentially as we move into the periods of the neolithic and beyond, when the need for a dating instrument becomes increasingly acute [22] .

Geologists bought evolutionary time to preserve themselves from alternative catastrophic hypotheses. Whereupon the biologists and anthropologists, together with the geologists, were persuaded of radiochronometry by geo-physicists. The Potassium-Argon test claims validity over a time span of a billion years and more, beginning at 100,000 years or less before the present. Its favorite rock for testing is erupted volcanic material, ashes and lava. It establishes a constant rate of decay of the isotope potassium-40 into the isotope argon-40 (40K to 40A). Then it measures the amount of 40K and 40A in a rock sample and, by the proportion of the two, determines the 'age' of the rock, hence of fossils embedded in the rock. A high proportion of Argon-40 signifies an old age.

Unfortunately for its validity, and despite the brilliant technical theory and achievements represented in its applications, the 40K ug 40A test suffers from a defect common to radioactive elements in nature. The elements migrate. In consequence, the proportions change, giving illusory ages. Rocks can both acquire and lose both elements or either alone.

Moreover, one cannot rely upon a temporal sequence that appears nicely to show older strata succeeded by younger strata as a proof that the sequence occurred smoothly and without disturbance. For the whole sequence may have been laid down in short order during a turbulent period that is accompanied by high argon deposition, or the eruptive sequence of a volcanic source can lay down deposits, first heavier, then lighter, in Argon-40, owing to a tendency of such trace materials to migrate from heavier to lighter rock. It may not be necessary to disbelieve absolutely in the validity of 40K ug 40A dating to maintain a quantavolutionary opinion of the process of humanization. However, it is more difficult to explain certain critical fossil data and the mechanics of humanization while adhering to a long time perspective. Vast stretches of non-eventful time have to be accepted between the occasions of significant changes, such as bipedalism, large brain, tools, and language; or else the finest, minutes, multitudinous ladder rungs or steps are forced upon one, leaving one again in baffling contradictions and a need to search for a meaning behind evolution such that every bit of change requires every subsequent bit of change, connecting intelligence with depilation, and so, on, thus accounting for the confusion of ladder-rung-labelling, with now one trait, then another being given priority.


Homo erectus bones and artifacts, which may even be australopithecine, have lately been discovered in the Syrian-Palestinian rift valley that we have already claimed to be of recent origin. In a letter of October 15, 1981, Professor Ernst Wreschner of the Department of Anthropology, University of Haifa, wrote me that at Ubeidiya, "together with an industry of pebble tools, spheroids and primitive handaxes they found a skull fragment and a tooth. Not enough to say Australopithecus or Homo erectus. I tend towards the latter. Supposed time: ca 800,000 years. Because of the similarity with Olduvai 3 it became designated: Israel-Olduvai. The Ubeidiya site, the time of its occupation ca 800,000 years ago and till about 250,000 ago, was a lake-side camp, before the tectonic tilting. The living floor is now tilted ca 43 degrees. " (Dating was by 40K-40A of underlying and intermediate basalt (lava) layers, thus similar to E. African practice generally.)

But, now this tool-strewn "Ubeidiya" hominid site of Israel has been reevaluated with respect to homo erectus in Africa and moved from 700,000 years ago to 2 million years or more, placing it alongside or possibly older than any early Acheulian finds of Africa [23] .

Here we evaluate fossil mammals from Ubeidiya, which are stratigraphically and directly associated with Early Acheulian artefacts, and find no substantial reason for considering the locality younger than 2 Myr, and possibly as much as 500,000 yr older than any record of Early Acheulian artefacts or Homo erectus in Africa.

In this book, I am suggesting that the Rift finds generally should be deemed contemporaneous, so that the new placement is welcome in one sense. However I also suggest reconsidering both homo erectus and australopithecus as quite young, that is, moving the Acheulian to the beginning of the Holocene period. In other books (The Lately Tortured Earth and Chaos and Creation) I ask, too, that geological dating methods be revised so as to allow the drastic younging of the strata in which all hominids and homo erectus are found. These discoveries bear ominously upon the famous centerpiece of current paleo-anthropology, the Olduvai Gorge. The narrow floor and steep sides of Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania are a typical element of the East fork of the Great African Rift, which cuts from at least South-eastern Africa to the Red Sea. The problem of Olduvai man and culture is part of a complex world wide geological history that I have outlined in Chaos and Creation. I appreciate that I cannot here reproduce these materials, nor bring to bear more extensive materials analyzing the particular setting and criticizing the methods of radiochronometry employed.

I can only state the nature of the problem and alert the reader to the ultimate surprises that may be awaiting historical anthropology in this setting. To do so, I quote here from an exchange of letters with Dr. Melvin A. Cook, a geophysicist, recipient of a special Nobel prize for his studies of explosives, and author of Prehistory and Earth Models. (1966). On March 10, 1976, I wrote Dr. Cook the following:

... Presently I am perusing the three volumes of reports by the Leakeys and others on the Olduvai Gorge. Here I think is a main intellectual battle front, and one that calls especially for your attention. Here the conventional paleontologists, geologists, radiochronometricians, and evolutionists are lined up in force. All the discoveries are squarely upon the Great African Rift, the bottom of the deposits is an igneous basalt, and from then on up for 300 feet are layer upon layer of tuff, clay, marl, Bonneville-like type 'sediments' and scanty soilroot elements, with earliest fragments of australopithecus and pithecanthropus interlarded at 'living' sites, and with abundant mammalian and lake fauna including very large and modern species both extant and extinct. Hominid and faunal transitions are indistinct from bottom to top, similarly the abundant scattered artifacts. The discoveries are eroding off the walls of the rift and are also found by digging back from the walls. The whole is dated after some controversy from 2 million years at the bottom to about 300 thousand at the top, using K40-A40. Everyone is proud of this showcase of many disciplines.

On the other hand, I cannot but perceive a quite different solution, that is, the initiation of a heavy cone and fissure volcanism, the uplifting of the great plateau, a watered depression, successive floodings and lava flows and fallouts of ash and dense material from the many nearby centers of volcanism, repeated incursions of hominid and faunal species, and finally the rifting as a forking from the world global fracture. Several cultures, from Asia to Kenya, 'remember' the upheaval of the rift, Hebrews, Arabs, and Blacks...

If you would look at the excavation profiles in Vol. III, you will note an average of about 30 levels, most or all of which are probably turbulence deposits.

In his reply, dated May 5, 1976, Dr. Cook said, inter alia:

Interestingly enough, just a day before your letter of April 29 arrived, my son Krehl returned from Kenya and a visit to the Olduvai Gorge and Great African Rift valleys with a large group of geographers and geologists. He gave me his vivid first-hand impressions of the geology of this region and the occurrences of fossils. It coincided very well indeed with your descriptions. After his extensive study of the region of the Olduvai Gorge and the surrounding area, he said he is completely convinced that it should be understood in terms of a catastrophic continental drift with great global overthrusts and subsequent catastrophic read-justments that have really been the facts that have shaped the region... The global extent of the great rifts, their obvious relationship one to another, the sort of chaotic geology found in and around the rifts throughout the world - not merely those in Kenya, and the excessive fragmentation of fossil skulls and bones (human and animal) in these regions are the sorts of information that to us prove that the great rifts were created all at once, i. e., catastrophically...

Your reconstruction of the situation in the Great African Rift and Olduvai Gorge is very plausible...

One must handle K-A dating, consistent with all the facts dealing with it, by simply dismissing it as unscientific and completely unreliable, indeed absurd. They simply don't publish the sort of facts they know about that would kill K-A dating once and for all if they are known. For example, I have heard that year-old volcanism in Hawaii can yield K-A 'ages' of several million years...

As I pointed out in PEM [Prehistory and Earth Models], the A 40 found in igneous rock is largely nonradiogenic contamination. Leakage of rare gases from the crust is too great to permit any reliable dating. Moreover, leakage can both deplete and enrich. For example, leakage of A 40 along such vast outscrapings as occur in the Great African Rift can concentrate A 40 inventory of the earth even if the earth were five billion years old...

Should the hypothesis of the recency of Olduvai history become adopted, the theory of homo schizo would be strengthened. Should it not be acceptable, mysteries, contradictions, anomalies and confusion would persist, such as the astonishing million-year retardation of human implement development that I stress in these pages and that Sonia Cole, among others, refers to [24] . In such a case, the theory of homo schizo would need to retreat to a position asserting that the true human was born recently out of catastrophic events which allowed a further climactic mutation and/ or chemico-physiological transformation. We would have to abandon australopithecus and homo erectus throughout the Old World, with all of their humanlike traits, to live out very long existences sub-humanly.


But nothing stands in the way of objectively and empirically explaining the whole set of fossil hominids that rift excavations extending from Syria to Southeast Africa have produced as a short-term occurrence under catastrophic conditions. The same is true of Peking Man (see Index) and of all other hominid and protohuman finds, except perhaps certain 'anomalies' (to borrow the excuse of the opposition). The Olduvai Gorge hominids and homo can be readily brought into the Holocene period.

Consider how rapidly man changes, physiologically and culturally, under present-day observation and from our earliest direct knowledge, which is Upper Paleolithic and Neolithic. To thereupon add five million years (or 100,000 'memorial' fifty-year generations) of mental and cultural evolution to a substantially completed anatomical structure would reduce to absurdity the uniformitarian theory of the evolution of modern mankind. Or else man would have evolved, and been destroyed, time and time again, never being extinguished. (But of course this would be another form of universal catastrophic theory).

So much time is not needed, if man is evolving on a consistent anatomical base. More time is now defeating to evolutionary theory; the evolutionists do not yet appreciate that they have crawled out farther and farther on a limb which may suddenly and soon break off at the trunk. For instance, could humans and hominids have lived for millions of years without having reached the Americas, where elephants, camels, horses and other mammals abounded? Would they have waited until 100,000 years ago to descend upon Australia?

Nor can evolutionists cease to stretch time and beat retreat to shortened time. If the time is drastically shortened for paleoan-thropology, the radio-dating techniques collapse. Then all which depends upon the techniques -- prehistory, paleontology, geophysics, geology, climatology, etc. -- will come under revolutionary assault.

Against the background of this stupendous reversal in prospect, other conclusions about fossil man pale. The australopithecines existed alongside homo erectus and other types of man, as well as many kinds of ape. The vanished hominids were destroyed by or adapted to a dominant strain of the human race, in conjunction with natural catastrophes. We shall consistently maintain that homo sapiens schizotypus (catastrophized homo sapiens) reduced his live, physiologically compatible brethren, whether australopithecus, or homo erectus, or homo sapiens, to subjection, or he exterminated them.


By now it should be clear that we are heading implacably toward a theory of biological quantavolution, an eventful scene in natural history, where a hominid walked upon the stage and a human walked off. This hovers upon creationism, in the theological sense. But it is not such. Nor do we need to employ here orthogenesis such as Teilhard de Chardin calls upon, a divine or even natural penchant of the soma of a species to transmute into a phylum crowned by a mysterious noos [25] . It is not that we want to, or can, or must take away from humankind all the glories that we claim for it. But this matter is not germane, and there has always been an abundance of literature exclaiming upon the incomparable and marvelous capabilities of homo sapiens sapiens. We say that humanization is a brief episode, accomplished by a set of minor alterations, and followed by a mighty effect.

De Chardin was close to such significant events of fossil anthropology as the fraud of Piltdown Man and the excavation of the caves of Choukoutien in China that gave up the skulls of Peking man (sinanthropus); he was a Jesuit and a social philosopher, playing a role rather like that of Loren Eisely in America. He accepted uniformitarianism but yet conceived of teleology in evolution. He thought that the Peking skulls, that were found throughout the whole fifty meters' depth of a filled fissure of breccia, ashes, and clay, along with many extinct animals, were of thinking humans. He saw evidences, as did others, of fire-making and deliberately chipped stones. The time of occupation was estimated, by himself and others, at between 100,000 and over one million years. Two fatal observations, that are conveniently evaded in most discussions of Peking man these days, are that the assembled material may have been catastrophically collected and impacted in a short time and that the skulls may have originated elsewhere.

Peking man, later identified with a widespread group of hominids of the homo erectus designation, was part of "the trajectory of a humanity moving persistently towards ever higher states of individual and affective consciousness." [26] However, it seemed to him that this hominid group died out in the Middle Pleistocene, then estimated at some 200,000 years ago, as did the more primitive but possibly also pebble-chipping australopithecines, which have also been found over half the Old World.

De Chardin found himself trapped between microevolution, point-by-point changes, which he nevertheless calls quantum jumps at one place [27] no matter how small they may be, and macroevolution, a large quantum leap. But he could not imagine the form of the leap except that it might be "a simple chromosomatic mutation" and that the gap between the human and the australopithecine "has not necessarily been greater, in size, than that ordinarily observed or stimulated, beneath our eyes, in animal or vegetable populations at present living. In the case of man, we seem to have an example of mega-evolution governed by chromosomatic play of a perfectly normal type." Yet the germplasm is orthogenetically prepared for "the great leap of hominization" and cerebration.

This is ex post facto reasoning of a dubious kind, made necessary because Chardin feels he must have a marvelous (teleological) cause. Ultimately he would then argue for noos or spiritual intelligence, and soul, detouring around all that is known about the brainwork and central nervous system, not to mention the behavior of humankind.


Theodosius Dobzhansky picks up the problem of the quick leap, too, in two sentences of his masterful treatise on Mankind Evolving. But he perceives the leap as involving many quick successive changes. "Quantum evolution, emergence of novel adaptative design, may involve breaks in the evolutionary continuity when the differences between the ancestors and the descendents increase so rapidly that they are perceived as differences in kind." [28] He passes on to other matters, missing the chance, as does Teilhard de Chardin, of launching into a quite new paradigm.

After discussing, as if they were successive, a set of evolutionary are at least behavioral changes in prehominids, he raises the question

as to whether upright stance, tools, monogamous family, change in food habits, or relaxation [sic] of male aggressiveness came first. Obviously we cannot answer with certainty, but it is most likely that these changes went together, with mutual reinforcement. What we are dealing with is the emergence of a whole new evolutionary pattern, a transition to a novel way of life which is human rather than animal. This is an example of an infrequent type of evolutionary change, which Simpson (1944, 1953) has called 'quantum evolution. ' Evolutionary alternatives in general, and especially those in quantum evolution, are unlikely to involve changes of one trait at a time. The whole genotype and the whole phenotype are reconstructed to reach a new adaptative balance [29] .

This passage is remarkable in that, whereas Dobzhansky's work as a whole epitomizes the conventional uniformitarian and long-term evolutionary approach to the origins of human nature, here he is practically giving away the show to quantavolution. Any being that can perform all of these operations can and must perform all other human operations; man is born.

At one place he says that pre-man separated from apes "no less than 11 million years" ago [30] . He places the proto-homo sapiens at perhaps a quarter of a million years ago. Presumably long periods of evolutional impetus occurred, or thousands of other changes took place before the sudden transformation. Then why is the great leap needed?

So it was Simpson who had originally muddied the still waters of uniformitarianism. What had he said? Reluctantly, with a step backward for every step forward, Simpson applied the term "quantum evolution" to the relatively rapid shift of a biotic population in disequilibrium to an equilibrium distinctly unlike an ancestral condition [31] . However, "the genetic processes involved do not permit making the step with a single leap." Agreeing with earlier work of Dobzhansky [32] , "the accumulation of small mutations is not only adequate to permit rapid evolution, such as involved in quantum evolution, but also the best substantiated mechanism for this."

The "small mutations" of a rapid type he accounts for by the availability of unoccupied ecological niches and the break-up of sub-groupings of a species into isolated pockets, so that one, which is preadapted, can change swiftly to exploit the niche, while the other groups often die out. Thus, some horses grow big, strong teeth while browsing, without needing them, but then, before the big toothed horses, isolated and with browsing overdone, could become extinct, the new form begins to use the teeth to graze rough grasses, then expands to fill the new niche. Simpson grants that his examples were not on large changes that bring in families, sub-orders, and orders, but thought that a process like this could cause the large changes.

Indeed it was because of the continuous puzzle of large-scale extinction followed by fully developed new species, mega-evolution, that he felt the need for a new concept. The hot breath of quantavolution was on his neck, but never could be let himself turn and face the concept. Nor could Dobzhansky or Chardin. They resorted to equivocation, denial and evasion.

When, later on, reports accumulated, that characterized the boundary-periods between extinctions and new species as times of natural catastrophes, Simpson resisted attempts to take up and enlarge his idea. He says in one place, "Since the groups involved in the major, more or less revolutionary episodes are highly varied in structure, physiology, and ecology, it seems unlikely that the intensified factors are the same for all of them." [33]

And then, farther along, he writes, "The real point is simply that a modified, relatively mild and gradualistic form of revolutionism is in accord with our present knowledge of biohistory, but that neocatastrophism is not." He likes 'neorevolutionism'. Perhaps this was because the notion of catastrophe, when fully realized as in the theory of quantavolution, affects seriously the theories of evolution, natural selection, and long-time natural history.

We can allude to a final example, one from primate history, based on a chart which can be found in Buettner-Janusz's Origins of Man [34] . The families of primates have clearly boundaried histories, with little overlapping from one age to another. Six out of seven boundaries are sharply defined by extinctions. Of course, the families may have quantavoluted at these points, rater than extinguished. If so, so much the better for our theory.

Where the boundaries of the geological ages are not clear -- such being actually the case -- the primate families themselves delineate by their careers the period boundaries, without the help of other fossils and rock strata. We note also that most of the living taxa have fossil relatives who became apparently extinct (or did they hide themselves somewhere?) eons ago. Quantavolution is manifested throughout the ages, but perhaps the ages are not so far gone either, and quantavolutions have been frequent.

Under the circumstances, a close look at the mechanisms that might produce humanization is justified. Time, period boundaries, evolution, culture, geological strata and types of humanoids -- all have begun to whirl about in our minds and we begin to wonder when the skies, too, will begin to whirl, and wish that we might have a theory -- even if quantavolutionary -- to stabilize the scene.

Notes (Chapter 2: Hominids in Hologenesis)

1. Uniqueness and Diversity in Human Evolution, Chicago: U. of C. Press, 1976, 169 et passim.

2. Op. cit., 608.

3. R. S. David, et al., "Early Man in Soviet Central Asia," Sci. Amer., 130-7; Björn Kurten, p. 113

4. D. C. Johanson and T. D. White, "A Systematic Assessment of Early African Hominids," 203 Science (26 Jan. 1979), 326.

5. R. Sartonon, "The Javanese Pleistocene Hominids," Proceedings, IX Congress UISPP, 14 Sept. 1976, 462, using fluorine tests.

6. New York Times, March 9, 1976, 14, news conference.

7. Davidson Black, Teilhard de Chardin, C. C. Young, W. C. Pei and Wong Wen Hao, Fossil Man in China, Series A, Noll, Geological Memoirs, Geological Survey of China, Peiping, May 1933, repr., AMS press, New York, 1973.

8. M. H. Day and E. H. Wickens, "Laetoli-Pliocene Hominid footprints and bipedalism," 286 Nature (24 July 1980) 386-7; R. L. Hay and Mary D. Leakey, "The Fossil Footprints of Laetoli," Sci. Am., Jan. 1982, 50-7; and on Lucy's new age.

9. See Boaz in 300 Nature (1982) 633, Brown, ibid., 631.

10. Guide to Fossil Man, 1956.

11. "Time, Morphology, and Neoteny in the Evolution of Man," 57 Amer. Anthrop. (1955), 15ff.

12. "L'homme préhistorique dans la Plata," and "L'âge des formations sédimentaires tertiares de l' Argentine en relation avec l' antiquité de l'homme," in Obras Completas 24 vols., (Buenos Aires 1912-36), vol 2.

13. "Descubrimento de dos esqueletos humanos fosiles en la Pompeano inferior del Moro," op. cit.

14. The Major Features of Evolution, N. Y.: Columbia U. Press, 1953, 78.

15. Op. cit., p. 122.

16. E. G. J. Joly measured the runoff of sodium into the oceans to get "An Estimate of the Geological Age of the Earth," of 89 million years. Smithsonian Institution, Annual Report, 1898-9, 247-88. Melvin Cook, Prehistory and Earth Models, London: Parrish, 1966 criticizes a number of such techniques. Also A. de Grazia, Chaos and Creation, Princeton: Metron Publications, 1981, ch. III.

17. J. E. O'Rourke, "Pragmatism versus Materialism in Stratigraphy," 276 Am. J. Sci. (Jan. 1976), 51; H. M. Morris, "Circular Reasoning in Evolutionary Geology," Institute for Creation Research, no 48, June 1977, iv.

18. "The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah," VI Kronos 4, 1981,

19. C. Emiliani, "Dating Human Evolution," in ii ED. 59.

20. Notions de Prehistoire, Perigeaux, 1975, 11

21. Geographical Distribution of Animals, N. Y.: Harper, 1876, I, ch 1.

22. M. Barbetti and K. Flude, "Geomagnetic Variation during the late Pleistocene period and changes in the radiocarbon time scale," 279 Nature (17 May 1979), 202-5. See Chaos and Creation, ch. 3.

23. C. A. Repenning and O. Fejfar, 299 Nature (1982), 344.

24. The Prehistory of East Africa, London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1964, 130.

25. The Appearance of Man, N. Y. Harper and Row, 1956; The Future of Man, ibid, 1964.

26. Appearance, 123.

27. Ibid., 136-7.

28. Op. cit., 213.

29. Ibid., 209-10.

30. Ibid., 183.

31. G. G. Simpson, Tempo and Mode in Evolution, N. Y.: Columbia U. Press, 1944, 206ff.

32. "Biological Adaptation," 55 Sci. Mon. (1972), 391-402.

33. In Albritton, ed., Essays in Evolution and Genetics, 291.

34. Op. cit., Figs 7.1, 7.2, pp101-2.

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