Story of long ago
|This Could Have Happened|
Jarah grunted his approval over the buffalo his tribe had just killed. Ceremonial eating of the heart and liver went to the four bravest hunters and Jarah abstained in order to make the prize that much more precious. One of the tribesmen that was not selected for this feast was Gondo, a young hunter that had made his manhood by cutting off a tail of a saber toothed tiger with a spear at 30 yards. He was big for his age and a real up and comer in the Dandan tribe.
Gondo hid his disappointment by tossing a spear in Jarah’s direction but Jarah expected as much and had fashioned a likeness of himself out of dry grass and buffalo droppings and concealed himself behind a big rock. When Gondo saw the Jarah’s “head” fall to the ground he rushed to grab a piece of liver. But Jarah had anticipated this too and stuck out his leg and tripped Gondo as he was passing by the big rock. Gondo, realizing that he had been had by the tribal leader, blushed and grunted that he had only absent mindedly tossed his spear aside and rushed to where the liver was being eaten because he thought the expiration date on the liver was past and feared his fellow tribesmen would get really bad tummy aches eating it.
Now Jarah was considered to be a clever Neanderthal but this was cleverness he had not encountered before. By so quickly thinking up his lie about the expiration date, Gondo surely was a Neanderthal of the first order. Jarah wasn’t angry though and restrained himself by stacking firewood at the entrance Gondo’s family’s cave and setting it afire. However, Gonda escaped injury because he was out searching for the ingredients for an herbal potion he was going to use to poison Jarah’s grain supply. Gondo’s family wasn’t so lucky and the next day the tribe’s people gathered to pay homage to the departed family and many commented that the wood used by Jarah had imparted a particularly delicious smoky flavor to their earthly remains.
These actions by the Dandan tribe seem viscous and morbid and may shock today’s sophisticated reader but during the period when Jarah and Gondo roamed the Serengeti, it was par for the course. These people had yet to learn the lessons taught by their descendents such as “turn the other cheek” and “love thy neighbor”. Ancient inscriptions found on cave walls of the period have recently been translated to describe many of the cultural mores of the day. Some examples are as follows:
“I crush the head of Habnoh if he show teeth at me again”
“Kresha fall in hole and not get out. I take his woman, she look like buffalo behind.”
The latter inscription has been regarded as evidence of budding sympathy, a real indication of nascent civilized behavior, because this person was willing to take in an ugly woman. Others have argued that other inscriptions have indicated that Kreshna had a ‘thing’ about digging holes and that the assumption that a woman must be ugly if she looked like a buffalo’s behind is nothing more than speculation unsupported by other evidence.
This final inscription, though, seems to indicate that interactions among tribe members were less than altruistic:
“Herd of running mastodons crush family of Hamak and Zudoog but the unworthy dogs have only junk in their caves.”
Regardless of current expressions like “junk in the trunk” and “one person’s junk is another person’s treasure” where the word ‘junk’ can hold two meanings at once or even be a desirable quality, it seems apparent that these cave people were not in the kumbayah mode of tribal unity. Some anthropologists have even suggested that had they had nuclear weapons “all hell would have broken out”1 . This kind of speculation that these people could possibly have stumbled upon a method of splitting the atom seems a smidge farfetched seeing how artifacts suggest that people of this era had difficulty deciding which end of the spear to point forward before throwing (see “Blunt Trauma Injuries to Mastodon skulls” for a more detailed discussion)2.
Despite the controversy surrounding these peoples abilities and their societal maturity it does seem apparent that their common sense was in short supply. Evidence of this comes from the fact that their caves were generally in the faces of steep cliffs. Uses of ropes or ladder type conveyances seems to have been mostly absent due to inscriptions that indicate many of the dwellers couldn’t figure out why they fell to their deaths upon exiting their cave when attempting to visit neighboring caves. And regardless of recent suggestions that the Neanderthals ceased to exist as a seperate specie due to intermarriage with homo sapiens, many researchers believe it was just a matter of time, and falls, that eliminated these people.
1 Cavemen and the Atom, A Retrospective Worth Considering
Prof. Adam Blom & Dr. Krey Z. Knoshuns
Journal of Ancient Speculation, July 1998
2 Blunt Trauma Injuries to Mastodon Skulls
Dr. L. A. Phunt
Proceedings of the European Society of Big Animals, Past & Present
Volume 17, p. 120 – 166, September, 2007