Thursday, November 30, 2006


Archaeologists have found a stone snake that was carved long ago inside a cave in the Kalahari Desert of Botswana. It is as tall as a man and 20 feet long.

Scientists believed that human intelligence had not evolved the capacity to perform group rituals until 40,000 years ago. But this discovery of 70,000 year-old artifacts appears to represent the first known human rituals.

"You could see the mouth and eyes of the snake. It looked like a real python," said Sheila Coulson of the University of Oslo. "The play of sunlight over the indentations gave them the appearance of snake skin. At night, the firelight gave one the feeling that the snake was actually moving."

They also found spearheads made of stone that would have been brought to the cave from hundreds of miles away, and then burned.

There was no sign of normal habitation or ordinary tools at the site.

The modern San people of the region have legends that mankind descended from the python. They believe that the ancient dry stream beds around the hills were created by their python ancestor as it circled ceaselessly, looking for water.

"Our find means that humans were more organized and had the capacity for abstract thinking at a much earlier point in history than we have previously assumed," Coulson said. "All of the indications suggest that Tsodilo has been known to mankind for almost 100,000 years as a very special place in the pre-historic landscape."

The scientists found a secret chamber behind the python carving, where the shaman could have hidden himself. He would have had a good view of the inside of the cave while remaining invisible himself. When he spoke from his hiding place, it would have seemed as if the voice came from the snake. There was also a small shaft off the back through which he could leave the chamber.

What is most amazing to me is that mankind has had the capacity for nearly 100,000 years to create rituals involving abstract thinking, but has evolved into a race that ritually watches moronic TV shows while burning out brain cells. Our shamans speak to us from within the large box while the airwaves circle ceaselessly, creating arid places in our minds.

The Wizard of Oz, the Holy Grail, and the Kalahari Python got nothin' on us. With such brilliant beginnings, we could have done better.


melanie said...

"With such brilliant beginnings, we could have done better."

you know? that is such a true statment! sad that we haven't evolved into a more peaceful co-existance. I blame greed and religion.

sighs. Nice post!

velvet girl said...

I find it funny that they had seemingly figured out deception so long ago, a la Oz.

It's truly amazing to think that we may have reached the pinnacle of our general intellectual development as a species and are now on the decline. Well, at least it seems that way sometimes!

Great post! Thanks for the link, by the way... I'm adding you to mine, too.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


We use our large brains to make war on each other when we're not engaged in really inane activities. I agree that greed and religion have played a very large part in this.

Thank you for your visit!


You expressed my thoughts exactly, that we may have reached our pinnacle and are now descending - and to what? Cave dwelling? Stone implements?
Even worse TV shows?

I think that we must be a huge disappointment to our Creator, the Python.

Thanks for the link. I love your blog, and am so glad I found you.

monicker said...

100,000 years and here we are, bashing each other's brains out for a PS3.

An explosive said...

We've all been bored into a massive state of comatosis, *(new word)* The imagination has been taken over by the remote and the video game controller! ~M SAD so SAD!

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Or a pair of sneakers. We're a sad lot, we humans. If this is the best we can do, we should have stayed on all fours.

My heart,

Comatosis. Good word. Like when you sleep too long and your breath stinks?

katrice said...

I think humans are getting dumber. And it's a shame, because there's so much more now to learn with.

mist1 said...

I totally wanted to leave a deep comment, but then I got distracted by Elimidate.

Penny said...

"What is most amazing to me is that mankind has had the capacity for nearly 100,000 years to create rituals involving abstract thinking, but has evolved into a race that ritually watches moronic TV shows while burning out brain cells."

Amen. I killed my television years ago.

Great post!

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Katrice (Tania,)

That's a really good point. I agree with you wholeheartedly. I also can't do much about it. Sigh.


Who did the shaman pick, the Lady or the Python?


Live alone, do you? I would kill them all if I ran the world.

Welcome and thanks for your visit.

Odat said...

Me thinkith that we got detoured from the yellow brick road.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Gee, you think? Er, thinkETH? Yea, verily, t'will thus be so for e'r.

'Tis a bummer, forsooth.

velvet girl said...

"I love your blog, and am so glad I found you."

That's the nicest thing that anyone has said to me in ages.

I love your blog and am glad that I found you, too. :)