2010. Hard to believe!
But, in all honesty, I've been looking forward to this new year and decade for a while, and now both are underway.
I hope the year ahead will be healthy, prosperous, and full of fresh, helpful discoveries for us all.
Beginning this month, CB readers will see more frequent and shorter posts between longer ones, and no doubt at least a few entries making connections with the Introduction to Anthropology class I'll be teaching as of January 19.
It's no more than an educated guess, but I imagine the ties between cosmos and culture date as far back as our early hominid ancestors in East Africa -- almost certainly to Homo habilis, who produced the ring of stones, bones, and flaked stone tools found in Bed I at Olduvai Gorge about 1.6 million years ago -- and possibly to the older australopithecines.
Anthropologists will never definitively know when culture began, but approximately 2.5 million years ago the earliest known stone tools were made by modern human ancestors. Whether they were produced by an early genus Homo primate (larger brain case, bipedal, and out of the trees at least part-time) or an australopith (smaller brain case, bipedal, and out of the trees at least part-time) -- opinions vary -- their presence reflects patterned behavior. Making and using them requires learning and sharing. They are a marker for culture.
For this reason, I can pretty easily imagine some early hominid scanning the night sky from his or her comfortable perch high in a tree, noticing all that blackness and light, and perhaps feeling something of the mystery we ourselves sometimes feel when we look up. It may not have been a conscious feeling, but I like to think it was there.
Here's to new beginnings.
Next stop: tbd
Banner bus photo credit: Dorothy Delina Porter