However, if you search Wikipedia (or any other database that includes anthropological data) it will most likely tell you that *Modern* humans, not Neanderthals, not Homo Erectus, but Modern humans, originated ~200,000 years ago or ~150,000 years ago. Wouldn't this conflict with my model? Let's take a closer look.
In case you don't know what that means, Modern humans vary from one being to another. An obvious example would be the different human "races".
Human skulls dating younger than 50,000 years ago are consistently within modern human variation. Meaning they are no more different from an average modern human skull than different modern human skulls are from each other.
Even the so-called "Cro-Magnon" of Europe from 30,000 to 45,000 years ago were deemed as "within the the bounds of modern human variation" upon further study.
But I noticed all the "modern human remains" dating prior to 50,000 years ago were stated to be outside the range of variation within modern humans. You can see this to some extent by comparing the Omo-1 skull and human races skulls above. (Specifically the jaw...the way the jaw links with the cheekbone is quite different from a modern human of *any* race)
So much for "anatomically modern". Many modern anthropologists actually refer to pre-75k hominids as "Archaic Homo Sapiens" or "Homo Sapiens Idaltu", as given by the Herto skull from Ethiopia.
Potentially nothing. Remember, humans are created from the earth just like the animals in Genesis 2. Our bodies are built the same way. They are not what makes humans special. Even if there were skulls within the bounds of human variation 200k+ years ago, it really wouldn't matter. What matters is the image of God which is what makes humans special.
We are given a status by God to be the caretakers of the earth, and we were given special capacities:
We have advanced intellect (reflected by advanced tools)
We have a drive to expand and explore, and the intelligence to survive anywhere on earth (reflected by the sudden expansion of modern humans to anywhere reachable, and by the comparatively large population sizes of early modern humans compared to Neanderthals, Homo Erectus, & Idaltu)
We have philosophy and symbolic thought (reflected by art, music, and jewelry)
We have the capacity to relate to each other, and to animals (reflected by animal domestication)
We are in a fallen state, as morally responsible and sinful beings (reflected by extinction and abuse of animal species, as well as murder of each other)
Greatest of all, we are spiritual beings. We are capable of a relationship with God, though this is tainted by our sinfulness. (reflected by religious/spiritual artifacts, and religious burials)
All of the "reflections" of these traits are manifested by humans between 35,000 and 50,000 years ago in Europe, Australia, Asia, and Africa. None them are manifested by other species. (Including "Idaltu")
So, where do these Idaltu or "Archaic Homo Sapiens" fit into the creation narrative of Genesis? What should we think of them?
In my opinion, they were a distinct species created by God. They were created separately from the neanderthals and from humans. Though they bore anatomical resemblance to humans they had the mind/souls of advanced animals (like chimpanzees and ravens).
Based on their vanishing ~73,000 years ago from all sites, they likely went extinct due to the Toba supervolcano eruption at that time. This was shortly prior to God's creation of Adam and Eve in my opinion.
They were likely created by God between 200,000 and 300,000 years ago. Due to variations in their skulls, they were most likely created with a high amount of genetic variability and diversified throughout their existence.
The evidence of their existence is primarily limited to Africa, with a few sites in the Levant-region (mostly Israel), and a few possible sites linking them to southern Arabia.
They made crude stone tools (very similar to those made by Neanderthals), fire, and hunted animals. They clearly demonstrate no greater intelligence than the Neanderthals or the Denisovans. Who, in my opinion, were also distinct creations of God.
Contrary to atheistic evolutionary models, I do not believe any of these hominid species are descended from other species. They were specially created by God to fulfill a particular role in the ecosystem and/or to interact and relate to human beings.
As I put the sixth "day" of creation in Genesis 1 as extending from ~65 million years ago to the creation of Adam & Eve, Idaltu would have been created then. Though not mentioned in the bible for obvious reasons. (namely that the ancient Hebrews would have no idea what God was talking about)
"Archaic Homo Sapiens" or "Homo Sapiens Idaltu" are perfectly consistent with a biblical model for the origin of humankind and the animals, and do not alarm me in the slightest.
Thanks for reading!
1. Cro-Magnon/Early European Modern Humans
2. Omo Remains (~200,000 Years Ago)
3. Herto Remains (~160,000 Years Ago)
4. Jebel Irhoud Remains (~160,000 Years Ago)
5. Skhul and Qafzeh Remains (~100,000 - 80,000 Years Ago)
6. Dawn Of Human Culture, Richard G. Klein
7. Works Of Richard G. Klein
8. Presentation By Richard G. Klein On Modern Human Behavior
9. Manot Cave Finds