Yes, Neandertals played bagpipes with their noses


The April 1997 issue of Discover magazine had a pretty good April Fool's joke about a number of Neandertal musical instruments that had supposedly been discovered in Germany. It was an unlikely collection, featuring bagpipes, a tuba, a triangle and a 'xylobone', along with a cave painting of marching musicians. In September 2000 the Institute for Creation Research fell for it and featured this evidence in one of their radio programs. I pointed that out on the Fossil Hominids website about a month later, and the ICR quickly apologized and retracted the claim. However, no erroneous argument ever completely disappears from creationist literature. I've recently noticed the April Fool article cited again in an article by Brad Harrub on the Answers in Genesis website (update: the citation has now been removed). Harrub also thinks that the Java Man skullcap belongs to a gibbon - even though AIG has admitted that this is a discredited argument that creationists shouldn't use any longer. Harrub's article was also published in AIG's 'peer-reviewed scientific journal', the Technical Journal. What is AIG's peer-review process like, if clangers like these can get through it?


It is a common failing of the creationists of all stripe, ID or otherwise, that they don’t keep up on the literature, whether technical or otherwise. I was “privileged” to hear William Harris the other night. His knowledge of the science behind the origin of life went no deeper than a set of Wells-inspired talking points. He appeared to be quite unaware of the known Precambrian eukaryotic fossils, for example, yet waxed on about the “Cambrian explosion.” A sidebar to the Dover story is that Pandas is almost 20 years out of date, yet that was chosen as the “alternative source” for ID education sic.

Likewise, I’ve read some of Fritz Schaefer’s writings on evolution and seen him participate in a discussion on it. It is amazing how little he understands about the subject.

the Java Man skullcap

It’s simple, really. Java Man was Jewish.

And we also know that creationists/ID proponents don’t speak German. I remember that April Fools item. The dead giveaway that it was a joke was the fact that the German scientist who had discovered the alleged instruments was named “Todkopf,” which literally translates as “Deadhead.”

If English was good enough for Jesus . …

Jim Foley…an April fool?

I think so.

Hey Jim…instead of echoing TalkOrigins why don’t YOU actually look at the article on AIG’s website. It is not the April article cited but a one from January of ‘97. Also, AIG only uses the ‘flute’ as an example (which, although disputed is not proven false), not the other made up instruments.

Garrett, I’m not echoing TalkOrigins; I wrote the TalkOrigins material about this.

I did look at the article on AIG’s website, very carefully. Reference 28, which used to refer to the 1997 April Fool article in Discover, has been silently removed in the last couple of days, and a reference to “five different types of musical instruments” removed (but it still says “musical instruments”, even though there is only one contender left, the flute). Fortunately, I kept a copy of the original article, which I’d be happy to email you if you wish. And, of course, there’s always the hardcopy version in the Technical Journal, which can’t be so easily retrospectively edited!

Garrett Wrote:

AIG only uses the ‘flute’ as an example (which, although disputed is not proven false)

I don’t think it was a flute. I think it was an early example of a “marital aid.” Thus far my hypothesis has not been proven false.

I guess the question now would be: Why would you save a copy of the ‘original’ article? But regardless, you can send it if you wish. I saw an error that you made and wanted to point it out. I could care less if AIG decided to remove something that was false.

I could care less if AIG decided to remove something that was false.

No! Indeed, they would be remiss if they did not, as long as they made a good faith effort to inform their readers of their error and to stop the promulgation of the false information that resulted from it. They did do that, didn’t they? Is there a record of their correction?

I saved a copy of the original article just in case someone such as Garrett questioned me about it after it had been fixed. As for “I saw an error that you made”, that should more accurately have been: “I saw an error that I thought you had made”, since I didn’t make an error.

Yes, there is a record of their correction, they sent me one. I just had to contact them.

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This page contains a single entry by Jim Foley published on April 1, 2005 6:49 AM.

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