This article is from
Journal of Creation 12(2):222–232, August 1998

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Pre-Adamites, sin, death and the human fossils


All theistic evolutionists and many who invoke other strategies for harmonising Genesis 1–3 with the human fossil record hold to the concept of pre-Adamites, although they seldom use the term. However, throughout the human fossil record there is evidence of sin, violence, trauma, hardship, and premature physical death. Hence, the entire human fossil record must be placed after the Fall of the Biblical Adam, not before. Otherwise, the Genesis 3 Fall becomes theologically meaningless.

A brief history of the pre-Adamite theory

Preadamite Races
Sketches of seven different ‘Preadamite Races’ claimed to be created before Adam and inferior to Adamites. Note the features of several of the illustrations are very exaggerated to look more apelike.

Of all the methods used to harmonise science and Genesis 1–3, the pre-Adamite theory, the idea that there were humans living on Earth before Adam, has had the most colourful and checkered history.

One of the first serious statements of the pre-Adamite concept was by Isaac de la Peyrere, a Jewish convert to Catholicism from Bordeaux, who in 1655 published a book, Systema Theologicum ex Prae-Adamitarum Hypothesi. Peyrere argued that the Biblical Adam was of pre-Adamite stock, and was the father of only the Jews. Cain’s wife and the inhabitants of Cain’s city, as well as the Gentiles, were of other pre-Adamite stock and were not descended from the Biblical Adam. Peyrere questioned miracles and the doctrine of Original Sin. To explain the existence of pre-Adamite Gentiles living after the Flood, he held that the Flood was a local event. Because of his doctrinal defects, the Catholic Church declared Peyrere to be a heretic. He was forced to make a public recantation before Pope Alexander VII. However, Peyrere continued to hold the pre-Adamite view for the rest of his life.

David Livingstone (Historian of Science, Queen’s University, Belfast), in his 1990 lecture at Wheaton College on pre-Adamites, suggests that Peyrere may not have been a Christian at all, but that he pretended to convert to Christianity for social or other purposes. However, with Peyrere’s theory we have the origin of modern Biblical criticism. Livingstone says of pre-Adamism: “The theory is born in infidelity and is nurtured in skepticism”.1 Peyrere’s theory served as an encouragement to those involved in free-thought.

In the eighteenth century, pre-Adamism moved into mainstream science. Although evolution was well-known at that time, the major scientific paradigm of origins was creationism. However, it was not a creationism based upon Genesis as much as it was a creationism based upon that ancient and perennial philosophy known as “The Great Chain of Being”.2 Because the dark-skinned and “savage” races of the world were viewed as being very different from Caucasians, it was not considered likely that both groups had a common origin. Hence, pre-Adamism took the form of polygenesis, multiple creations of human races. Many people thought that non-Caucasians were created by the Almighty as inferior races intended to be treated as slaves or as domestic animals. Some even questioned whether or not these inferior humans had souls. Thus, pre-Adamism became the scientific basis and rationale for slavery and racism. Even some Bible-believing Christians accepted pre-Adamism in this era, believing that it was not possible for Caucasians and the “very different” non-Caucasians to have both developed from the Biblical Adam in the time allowed by Genesis. Thus, the sceptical unorthodoxy of the seventeenth century tended to became the respected orthodoxy of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.1

One of the major works in the nineteenth century was by Alexander Winchell entitled Pre-Adamites; or a Demonstration of the Existence of Men before Adam, published in 1880.3 Winchell was Professor of Geology and Palaeontology at the University of Michigan. He was one of the leading scientists of his day, and was a constant adviser on matters scientific to his church, the Methodist Church. Although his work was blatantly racist, he claimed that it was supported both by the Bible and by the latest scientific evidence. He felt that virtually everything in Genesis 1–11 (other than Genesis 1:1) was subject to scientific verification and should be interpreted according to the latest scientific findings. Although he was accused of being an evolutionist, he claimed to be a creationist. He held that the human family had a single origin, that the Biblical Adam was a late descendent from black pre-Adamite stock, and that the Adamites (white and Caucasian) had developed (evolved?) to a more advanced position than had the dark-skinned races, which included Dravidians, Mongoloids (and the Neandertals), Negros, Eskimos, Hottentots, Papuans, and native Australians. Winchell thus helped popularise the pre-Adamite concept both as a defence of racism and as an apologetic for the Bible in its interface with science.

A testimony to the amazing flexibility of the pre-Adamite concept is seen in that while Alexander Winchell used the pre-Adamites in support of a long Earth history, G.H. Pember, in Earth’s Earliest Ages,4 used the pre-Adamites as evidence of a divine judgment, placing them in a gap between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2. In Pember’s gap theory there is a discontinuity between pre-Adamites and Adamites. In Winchell’s work and in more recent pre-Adamite scenarios there is usually a continuity between pre-Adamites and Adamites or their contemporaries.

The pre-Adamite concept was born in Biblical scepticism and heresy. It then moved into mainstream science and became a justification for racism and slavery. In the twentieth century, pre-Adamism is no longer a consideration in the scientific community. However, with the continued discovery of human fossils of alleged great age, pre-Adamism has moved into the Church and become one of the major apologetic methods used in the harmonisation of science and the Scriptures.

It would be natural for twentieth century evangelicals who are theistic evolutionists to subscribe to some form of pre-Adamism, although they seldom use the term. They see the Biblical Adam, usually dated by them about 10,000 years ago (10 ka), to be quite modern (Neolithic Age). The older human fossils are the pre-Adamites and would represent Adam’s evolutionary precursors (Palaeolithic Age). However, some old-Earth-recent-Adam creationists also invoke pre-Adamism to explain the human fossil material. Ronald Youngblood (Bethel Seminary—West) states that these pre-Adamites had only animal intelligence with no covenant relationship with God.5 Gleason L. Archer, Jr. (Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) also feels that the pre-Adamites did not have a covenant relationship with God, but that they might have had souls. Since Romans 5:12–21 states that all present humans must be the literal descendants of Adam, Archer suggests that the pre-Adamites were destroyed by God before He created Adam.6 John R.W. Stott (All Souls Church, London) also ascribes the human fossils to pre-Adamites, and states that Adam was the first human specifically created in the image of God.7

Without question, pre-Adamism, used in one form or another as a Christian apologetic, is more popular today than it has ever been in its history. This strange concept has been used to support either heresy or orthodoxy, to support slavery and racism, and to support either evolution or its exact opposite, creationism. With its checkered career, one can question whether the pre-Adamite concept is able to cast any meaningful or discriminating information on human origins as set forth in Genesis.

The theological problem

Preadamite Races
Drawing of a female Hottentot and a female gorilla purporting to show how close a Preadamite is to an ape. The drawings show little relationship with reality and are drawn to ‘prove’ the author’s preconceived idea.

The use of pre-Adamism as a harmonising strategy involves a major theological problem. The seriousness of this problem is exceeded only by the failure of pre-Adamite adherents to address it. The problem is that there is not a shred of Biblical evidence for the existence and death of pre-Adamites. Further, the idea contradicts clear Biblical statements that human physical death originated with Adam. The late Bernard Ramm, who could hardly be accused of taking the early chapters of Genesis literally, expressed the problem of pre-Adamism well:

“There are problems with this theory before it can be a good option. It seems too much like having our cake and eating it. We can admit all that the anthropologists say; and then announce that it has nothing to do with the Biblical account of man. We can have the antiquity of man, and the recency of Adam! But who is to tell where one leaves off and the other begins? Certainly, if pre-Adamism leads to the breakdown of the unity of the race, we have theological problems with the imputation of sin through the fall of one man.”8 (Emphasis added.)

Romans 5:12–21, which is at the heart of the problem, is one of the most profound and theological passages in the entire Scriptures. Paul writes (NIV):

Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned—for before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law. Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come. But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ. Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous. The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Paul continues the same concepts in I Corinthians 15:21–22 as he writes (NIV):

… For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.

The profoundness of the concept does not detract from the clarity of the language. Physical death first entered the world through the sin of one man, the Biblical Adam, and his sin was imputed to the entire human family because all humans are descended from Adam. Oxford theologian W. H. Griffith Thomas comments on the Romans passage:

“ … sin and death are regarded as connected; death obtains its moral quality from sin. Paul clearly believes that physical dissolution was due to sin, and that there is some causal connection between Adam and the human race in regard to physical death … . The clause "for that all sinned" (v. 12) establishes a causal connection between the sin of Adam and the death of all”.9

The historicity of the Biblical Adam, the historicity of the Fall, the imputation of Adam’s sin to the entire human family, and its resulting physical death are all related. Further, Paul relates them to Christ’s work on the cross and to the plan of redemption. John Murray (Westminster Theological Seminary) emphasises this relationship:

“To view the parallel and contrasted disobedience of the one Adam in non-historical terms is to wreck the structure of Paul’s thought and therefore the doctrine set forth in these passages. The consequences for the plan of redemption are apparent. [Emphasis added]”.10

Some old-Earth advocates attempt to blunt the force of the relationship between Adam’s sin and physical death by claiming that only spiritual death resulted from Adam’s sin, and that physical death is a natural occurrence and a part of God’s original creation. Hugh Ross, referring to the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden, goes even further than most of his old-Earth fellows in claiming that physical death is a “blessing”. He writes:

“Physical death for humans became a blessing designed to restrain the spread of evil and make way for the redemption of willing men and women”11

However, Ross is in error. Physical death was not a “blessing” but was a penalty for Adam’s sin. When Paul states: “For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive” (I Corinthians 15:22) the context is bodily resurrection! Hence, Paul clearly is talking about physical death because bodily resurrection is the “cure” for physical death. Regeneration is the “cure” for spiritual death. The two are closely related, one dealing with the human body and the other with the human spirit. Death in both cases is the result of Adam’s sin. To make one a punishment and one a “blessing”, as Ross does, when the Scriptures teach that physical death is a curse (Genesis 3) and an enemy (I Corinthians 15:26) is a denial of an important part of Scripture—all in an attempt to harmonise Scripture with the popular belief in an old Earth.

Although physical death is the sign of the deeper fact of spiritual death, it is physical death that is imposed directly from Adam upon each human being. Spiritual death is inherited from our parents—going back through all of the intervening generations to Adam.12 If the Fall is not an historic reality, if physical death is “natural”, it implies that we are not fallen creatures and that it was not necessary for Christ to die to purchase our salvation. In this sense, the doctrine of the imputation of Adam’s sin to the human family is one of the most important doctrines of the Scriptures.

The doctrine of the imputation of Adam’s sin to the human race may be a fundamental doctrine, and it may be clearly taught in Scripture, but it is “strange” nonetheless. However, this “strangeness” may be the fault of our sinfulness rather than that of the doctrine itself. The doctrine implies the incredible unity and solidarity of the human race. If evangelicals truly believed the implications of this doctrine, we would be in the vanguard of the movement for racial justice and equality. Unfortunately, sin separates rather than unites. It results in self-centredness. We see only ourselves, not others. Isaiah put it well (Isaiah 53:6): “ … each of us has turned to his own way … .” Hence, any doctrine emphasising the unity of the human family would seem strange and unnatural to us as sinners.

Further, the doctrine of the imputation of the sin of Adam to the entire human family seems unfair to us. However, here again our sinfulness distorts our vision. It is the very same doctrine of imputation that places our sins upon Christ at the cross, and that imputes the righteousness of Christ to us as believers. Was it fair for the sinless Christ to be made sin for us (II Corinthians 5:21)? That ethical problem doesn’t concern us. We are content to call it the love of God. Is it fair for us to receive the righteousness of Christ when we do not deserve it? We don’t worry about the ethics of it. We call it “grace” and thank God for it. In other words, when imputation works to our good, we gladly accept it. When it doesn’t, we question the fairness of God. The problem is ours, not God’s. The fact is that we die physically because of Adam’s sin. Biblically, all physical death occurred after Adam’s Fall, not before. As sincere as they may be, those who espouse the pre-Adamite theory and its history of death before Adam are actually endangering the very doctrine of salvation they hold dear.

To sustain the pre-Adamite old-Earth concept, many of its advocates also question the nature of the Genesis 3 curse. Romans 8:18–25 states that the “creation was subjected to frustration”, “that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay”, and that “the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time”. Some old-Earth advocates say that these verses are not references to the curse which God placed upon nature as a result of Adam’s sin. Instead, they present the “normal” condition of nature as God created it even before Adam’s sin, based upon their belief in the legitimacy of the uniformitarian ages and their history of physical death. These verses, they say, predict a future glory for the Earth rather than referring to a past curse.

Based on the idea that physical death in animals is a normal part of God’s original creation, some old-Earth advocates suggest that there are two types of evil: “moral evil” and “natural evil”. “Moral evil” began with Adam’s sin and involves murder, stealing, lying, and other sins committed by humans. It results in human physical death. “Natural evil” involves “evil” in the universe not originated by humans, such as

  1. animal disease and death;
  2. human accidents, birth defects, disease, and pain;
  3. natural disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes, and drought; and
  4. the death and decay of plants.

All of this “natural evil” was the normal condition of nature even before the sin of Adam.

It is a powerful testimony to the clarity of Romans 5:12–21 that most old-Earth pre-Adamite advocates assign the beginning of human physical death to Adam. However, their devotion to the geologic ages system also demands that they subscribe to the presence of “natural evil” before Adam’s sin. Gary Emberger (Messiah College) asserts:

“Given an old earth, there are no compelling reasons to attribute all natural evils to the sin of the first humans”.13

John C. Munday, Jr. (Regent University) comments:

“All evolutionary interpreters of course accept prefall animal death”.14

Almost all who hold the old-Earth pre-Adamite position consider the Biblical Adam to have lived during the Neolithic (New Stone Age), about 10 ka. The human fossils dated before that time, representing humans who lived in the Palaeolithic (Old Stone Age), were pre-Adamites. The nature of these pre-Adamites (were they human or animal, having or not having the image of God?) varies with the individual interpreter. However, the recognition that human physical death began with Adam implies that many of them assume that the pre-Adamites were less than human. This would partly explain their desire to show that the Bible allows for animal death before Adam. However, every bit of evidence that we can reasonably expect from the fossil and archaeological record shows that these fossil individuals were fully human.

The human fossil evidence

The human fossil record shows that human death goes back several million years on the uniformitarian time-scale. During all of this time, there is evidence of “moral evil”. Further, the human fossil record beyond 10 ka is full of evidence of the deaths of infants, children, and young people. For anyone to claim that God would call this history “good” is almost to question the nature of God. Thus, the old-Earth pre-Adamite theory that human sin and death began about 10 ka (according to the uniformitarian time-scale) and that the older human fossils represent pre-Adamites who lived before the Fall is Biblically untenable.

Evidence of physical death

Whereas evolutionists refer to the fossil record as the history of life, it is more accurately described as the history of death. When we consider the fossil record of the animal kingdom, the world-wide testimony of death is so vast that it defeats the imagination. It is no wonder that evolutionists attempt to bring the magnitude of this record within the scope of human experience by stretching it out over millions of years to lessen its intensity.

Every human fossil individual represents an occasion of physical death, a condition which the Scriptures state came as a result of Adam’s sin and Fall. Since all of the individuals dated earlier than Adam and the Neolithic would be the alleged pre-Adamites, extensive research reveals that this would include the following fully human individuals known from the fossil record:

  1. Well over 2000 anatomically modern Homo sapiens individuals.
  2. At least 345 Neandertal individuals, also classified as Homo sapiens.
  3. At least 122 archaic Homo sapiens individuals.

It is difficult to imagine how the relevant Scriptures can be interpreted so as to allow these deaths to occur before the Fall of Adam. (Although a strong case can be made for the full humanity of the 260 Homo erectus fossil individuals, they are not included in this study because even among creationists their status is controversial.)

Evidence of hardship

In the human fossil record, there is much evidence of hardship, trauma, and disease, the very things we would expect in life after the Fall, not before. One group of Homo sapiens, the Neandertals, are dated by evolutionists from about 30 ka back to about 250 ka. A leading authority on the Neandertals, Erik Trinkaus (University of New Mexico), describes their life:

“ … life for the Neanderthals was rigorous. If they lived through childhood and early adulthood, they did so bearing the scars of a harsh and dangerous life. Furthermore, the incidence of trauma correlated with the massiveness of the Neanderthals; a life style that so consistently involved injury would have required considerable strength and fortitude for survival”.15

Speaking of the nine Shanidar, Iraq, Neandertals, Trinkaus writes: “ … the impression gained of the Shanidar Neanderthals is of a group of invalids”.16

Trinkaus also studied the teeth of the Neandertals for defects in the enamel which would indicate periods of starvation. He discovered that 70 per cent of the Neandertal fossils studied showed such defects and that these defects dramatically increased after childhood. This would indicate that life for the Neandertals became even harder after they were weaned and had to get food on their own.17 In fact, scientists speculate that two-thirds of Neandertal children died before the age of three.18

Evidence of a sin nature in human fossil individuals

In much of the trauma found in the human fossil record, it is impossible to determine if that trauma, such as broken bones, was the result of accidents (so called “natural evil”) or the result of human sin. However, there are four categories where the evidence of a sin nature in these alleged pre-Adamites is very strong: cannibalism, violence, evidence of syphilis, and evidence of scalping.


There is evidence of cannibalism in the human fossil record. Care must be taken in the interpretation of this record because it is known that some cultures—past and present—have a mortuary practice of an initial burial, a subsequent defleshing of the bones, and then a reburial of the bones. In such cases, cut marks on the bones could be misinterpreted as evidence of cannibalism. However, there are ways to discriminate between the two practices.19 In the mortuary practice, all of the bones of the skeleton are usually found together in one place, none of the bones are intentionally broken, and there is evidence that the entire practice is carried out with deep respect for the remains of the deceased individual. In cannibalism, the base of the skull is often broken open to remove the brains, the long bones of the body are broken to remove the marrow, and the bones are not normally found together. Instead, they are discarded randomly and scattered along with other kitchen refuse.

There are at least 95 probable victims and at least 30 possible victims (?) of cannibalism in the human fossil record. They are as follows:

27 ka Maszycka remains Homo sapiens, Poland, 16+ individuals (?)20
39 ka Combe-Grenal Neandertals, France, 2 individuals. (?)21
40 ka Hortus Neandertals, France, 12+ individuals.22
49 ka Abri Moula Neandertals, France, 2+ individuals.21
105 ka Klasies River Mouth Caves remains, Homo sapiens, South Africa, 7+ individuals. (?)23
130 ka Krapina Neandertals, Croatia, 75–82 individuals.21,24,25
160 ka Fontechevade Homo sapiens, France, 3 individuals. (?)26
210 ka Ehringsdorf Neandertal, Germany, 1 individual (?)27
350 ka Steinheim archaic Homo sapiens, Germany, 1 individual. (?)28
800 ka Atapuerca (TD6 site) archaic Homo sapiens, Spain, 6+ individuals.29

Human violence

An unquestioned case of violence is seen in the Neandertal fossil, Shanidar 3, Iraq, dated at 46 ka. Eric Trinkaus writes:

“ … trauma on the left ninth rib of the skeleton of Shanidar 3, a partially healed wound inflicted by a sharp object. The implement cut obliquely across the top of the ninth rib and probably pierced the underlying lung. Shanidar 3 almost certainly suffered a collapsed left lung and died several days or weeks later, probably as a result of secondary complications. This is deduced from the presence of bony spurs and increased density of the bone around the cut.

The position of the wound on the rib, the angle of the incision, and the cleanness of the cut make it highly unlikely that the injury was accidentally inflicted. In fact, the incision is almost exactly what would have resulted if Shanidar 3 had been stabbed in the side by a right-handed adversary in face-to-face conflict. This wound therefore provides conclusive evidence of violence between humans … .”.30

Kenneth A.R. Kennedy (Cornell University) adds that Shanidar 3 was found with a stone point embedded in his thorax.27

Another almost certain case of violence among the human fossils is recorded by McCown and Keith involving their work in the caves of Mount Carmel, Israel. It concerns injuries seen in the remains of the fossil individual known as Skhul 9, dated at 91 ka. The injuries appear to have been made by a spear-like weapon. They write:

“The injury … was caused at death or soon after death. The weapon pierced and severed the whole thickness of the head of the femur, the floor of the acetabulum, and entered the pelvic cavity … . To cause such an injury the weapon must have had a hard and resistant point and the man who used it must have had great strength.

The skull of the same man shows an extensive injury. A close examination of the margins of the injury leads us to think that it was caused by a glancing blow at, or soon after, death”.31

The two injuries together seem to rule out an accident and reveal a clear case of human violence. If the injuries happened at the time of death, they could well have been the cause of death. Even if the trauma happened after death, it seems to have been an act of aggression. It hardly seems to have been an act of friendship.

Listed below are other injuries that could well be the result of human violence. The death of the Talgai, Australia, youth (12 ka) was due to a blow on the right parieto-temporal region of the skull. Shanidar 1, Iraq (46 ka), experienced a serious blow to the left side of the eye socket. Monte Circeo 1, Italy (50 ka), died by a blow to the right temporal region. Shanidar 5, Iraq (60 ka), has scars from a transverse blow across his left forehead. At Atapuerca, Spain (350 ka), one individual has a skull injury produced by a blunt object, and another has a depressed area in the skull of possible traumatic origin. The Saldanha skull, South Africa (350 ka), has a depressed fracture of the frontal bone indicating a heavy blow. It is highly unlikely that all of these injuries were accidental.

Evidence of syphilis

D. J. M. Wright (Guy’s Hospital Medical School, London) states that bone changes in Neandertal remains he examined at the British Museum show evidence of congenital syphilis.32 He mentioned specifically the Starosel’e infant, Ukraine, CIS (35 ka), the Gibraltar 2 infant (40 Kya ?), the Pech de l’Azé infant, France (45 ka), and the original Neandertal remains from Germany (80 ka?). Since syphilis, a sexually transmitted disease, is usually the result of improper sexual behaviour, this could be another indication of sin in the human family before 10 ka. (With strict monogamy, syphilis would die out.)

Evidence of scalping

The Bodo cranium from Ethiopia (600 ka) shows clear evidence of having been scalped, probably with a stone knife. Tim D. White (University of California, Berkeley), widely acknowledged as one of the world’s foremost authorities in this area, has studied the skull using a scanning electron microscope.33 He reports that the cut marks on the fossilised bone are consistent with cut marks on skulls scalped by pre-Columbian Indians which he examined in an Ohio museum. There is no evidence of cannibalism, since the base of the skull was not broken to remove the contents. Since the only reason for such action would be to take the scalp as a trophy or to use it in a pagan ritual, it would seem to be another indication of sin in the human family before 10 ka.

Chronological list of trauma, disease, sin, and premature death in the human fossil record

(Although we young-Earth creationists reject them, all dates in this paper reflect the uniformitarian time-scale, a time-scale accepted without question by theistic evolutionists and progressive creationists. “?” means that the date is uncertain, “ka” means “thousand years ago”, “Ma” means “million years ago”. Many fossil remains consist only of teeth. These cases are not listed because juvenile tooth loss can be a normal growth process not involving trauma, disease, or death.)

11 ka? Romito 2 skeleton, Homo sapiens, Italy. A dwarf.34
12 ka Lake Tandou 1 skeleton, Homo sapiens, Australia. Death of a juvenile.35
12 ka? Grimaldi Caves remains, Homo sapiens, Italy. Deaths of four children and three juveniles.36
14 ka Chancelade calvaria, Homo sapiens, France. Death of a child.37
15 ka Peking Man, Upper Cave remains, Homo sapiens, China. Deaths of two children, one juvenile, and three young adults.38
18.5 ka Paviland remains, Homo sapiens, Wales. Death of a young adult.39
22 ka? Labatut 2 cranium, Homo sapiens, Castelmerle, France. Death of child.40
22 ka? Lacave skull fragment, Homo sapiens, France. Death of a juvenile.41
22 ka? Lachaud remains, Homo sapiens, France. Deaths of three juveniles and three infants.42
22 ka? Le Placard remains, Homo sapiens, France. Deaths of one infant, one child, and one juvenile.43
22 ka? Roc de Sers 3 remains, Homo sapiens, France. Death of a young adult.44
22 ka? Villefranche du Conflent 1 and 2 mandible, maxilla, Homo sapiens, France. Deaths of a young adult and a child.45
25 ka Kostenki remains, Homo sapiens, Ukraine, CIS. Deaths of two children and one young adult.46
25 ka Mladec (Lautsch) remains, Homo sapiens, Czech Republic. Deaths of five children.47
26 ka Dolni Vestonice remains, Homo sapiens, Czech Republic. Deaths of three young adults.48
26 ka Predmosti remains, Homo sapiens, Czech Republic. Deaths of 14 infants and children, three juveniles, and four young adults.49
27 ka? Maszycka remains, Homo sapiens, Poland. Possible victims of cannibalism, including eight children and three juveniles.50
27 ka Amud Neandertals, Israel. Four individuals died in infancy or childhood.51
27.4 ka Willendorf mandible, Homo sapiens, Austria. Death of a young adult.52
28 ka Lake Mungo 1 skeleton, Homo sapiens, Australia. Death of young adult.53
29 ka? Isturets remains, Homo sapiens, France. Deaths of one young adult, one juvenile, and three children.54
29 ka? Les Roches 2 mandible, Homo sapiens, France. Death of a child.55
29 ka? Les Rois 1 and 2 mandibles, Homo sapiens, France. Deaths of 2 children.56
29 ka? Teoule calvaria, Homo sapiens, France. Death of an infant.57
30 ka Cro-Magnon remains, Homo sapiens, France. Adult facial bone pathology, death of an infant.58
31 ka Mugharet el ‘Aliya (Tangier) maxilla, tooth, archaic Homo sapiens, Morocco. Death of a child.59
32 ka La Ferrassie remains, Neandertal, France. Deaths of four children.60
32 ka La Ferrassie 1 Neandertal, France. A severe injury to the right hip,15 bone lesions caused by infection and/or carcinoma.61
32 ka La Quina 5 Neandertal, France. A wound on the right upper arm.15
32 ka La Quina 18 and 25 remains, Neandertal, France. Deaths of two children.62
33 ka Abri Pataud remains, Homo sapiens, France. Deaths of two infants and one child.63
34 ka Arcy-sur-Cure remains, Neandertal, France. Deaths of two children and one infant.64
34 ka? Pair non Pair 1 skull fragment, Homo sapiens, France. Death of a juvenile.65
35 ka Starosel’e remains, Neandertal, Ukraine, CIS. Evidence of rickets and/or congenital syphilis, died as an infant.32
35 ka? Miesslingtal mandible, Homo sapiens, Austria. Death of a child.66
36 ka Yamashita-cho 1 femur/tibia, Homo sapiens, Okinawa. Death of a child.67
37.4 ka Ziyang skullcap, maxilla, Homo sapiens, China. Skull pathology due to chronic inflammation of alveolar process.68
38 ka Ksar ‘Akil remains, Neandertal, Lebanon. Deaths of two children.69
39 ka Combe-Grenal remains, Neandertal, France (2), possible victims of cannibalism.21
40 ka Hortus remains, Neandertal, France (12+). Victims of cannibalism,70 including a juvenile.
40 ka? Engis 2 remains, Neandertal, Belgium. Death of a child.71
40 ka Le Moustier remains, Neandertal, France. Pathology on a mandible.72 Deaths of two children.73
40 ka Niah remains, Homo sapiens, Borneo, Malaysia. Death of a juvenile.74
40 ka? Brno remains, Homo sapiens, Czech Republic. Death of a young adult.75
43 ka? Salawusu (Ordos) mandible, Homo sapiens, China. Death of a child.76
45 ka Pech de l’Aze cranium, Neandertal, France. Evidence of rickets and/or congenital syphilis, died as a child.32
45 ka? Le Petit-Puymoyen 1 and 3 mandibles, Neandertal, France. Deaths of two juveniles.77
45 ka? Contrada Ianni skull fragment, Neandertal, Italy. Death of a child.78
45 ka? Cariguela skull fragment, Neandertal, Spain. Death of a child.79
45 ka? Saint Brelade 2 cranial fragment, Homo sapiens, Jersey, Channel Islands, England. Death of a child.80
45 ka? Tapolca cranial fragment, Homo sapiens, Hungary. Death of a young adult.81
45 ka? Honerthohle remains, Homo sapiens, Germany. Deaths of two children.82
45 ka? Svitavka skeleton, Homo sapiens, Czech Republic. Death of a juvenile.83
46 ka Shanidar 1 skeleton, Neandertal, Iraq. Serious blow to left side of eye socket; right upper arm bone atrophied with pathological tip; several healed fractures in both upper arm bones; fracture and extensive arthritis in right foot; numerous skeletal lesions.84
46 ka Shanidar 3 skeleton, Neandertal, Iraq. Debilitating arthritis in right foot; lumbar abnormalities; and a partially healed wound on left ninth rib violently inflicted by a sharp object, probably resulting in death. A stone point was found embedded in his thorax.27,30
46 ka Shanidar 5 skeleton, Neandertal, Iraq. Pathological bone nodules on the inner surfaceof the skull, and scars from a transverse blow across the left forehead.16,85
49 ka Abri Moula remains, Neandertal, France (2+). Victims of cannibalism.21
50 ka Monte Circeo 1 cranium, Neandertal, Italy. Bone overgrowths on palate probably of genetic origin or caused by syphilis or rickets.86 Death by blows to the right temporal region.27
50 ka Monte Circeo 3 and 4 mandibles, Neandertal, Italy. Deaths of a child and a young adult.87
50 ka La Chapelle-aux-Saints skeleton, Neandertal, France. A broken rib, debilitating arthritis, and extensive tooth loss.88
55 ka Amud remains, Neandertal, Israel. Deaths of five children.89
55 ka? Roc de Marsal 1 remains, Neandertal, France. Death of a child.90
55 ka? Chateauneuf-sur-Charente 1 and 2 remains, Neandertal, France, Deaths of two children.91
55 ka? Sipka mandible, Neandertal, Czech Republic. Death of a child.92,93
60 ka Kebara Cave remains, Neandertal, Mount Carmel, Israel. Deaths of at least two infants and two children.94
60 ka Shanidar 2 remains, Neandertal, Iraq. Died as a young adult.15
60 ka Shanidar 4 skeleton, Neandertal, Iraq. A healed broken rib.16
60 ka Shanidar 6 skeleton, Neandertal, Iraq. Died as a young adult.15
60 ka Shanidar 7 and 9 remains, Neandertal, Iraq. Deaths of two infants.95
60 ka? Gibraltar 1 cranium, Neandertal. Pathological bone nodules on the inner surface of the skull.85
60 ka? Gibraltar 2 skull, Neandertal. Evidence of rickets and/or congenital syphilis, died as a child.32
65 ka Haua Fteah mandibles, archaic Homo sapiens, Libya. Deaths of two young adults.96
67 ka? Grotte Putride 1 remains, Homo sapiens, France. Death of an infant.97
67 ka? La Cave 2 remains, Homo sapiens, France. Death of a child.98
70 ka? Neandertal (original), Neander Valley, Germany. A fracture below the left elbow which limited use of arm; a possible blow to the head; evidence of rickets and/or congenital syphilis.15,32
70 ka Dar-es-Soltan 2 calotte, Homo sapiens, Morocco. Death of a young adult.99
70 ka? Kiik-Koba remains, Neandertal, Ukraine, CIS. Death of an infant.100
70 ka? Molare Shelter mandible, Neandertal, Italy. Death of a child.101
70 ka? Spy 3 remains, Neandertal, Belgium. Death of a child.102
70 ka? Teshik-Tash remains, Neandertal, Uzbekistan, CIS. Death of a child.103
70 ka? Wildscheuer cranial fragment, Neandertal, Germany. Death of a child.104
75 ka? Dederiyeh Cave remains, Neandertal, Syria. Death of an infant.105
75 ka? Monsempron mandible, Neandertal, France. Death of a young adult.106
80 ka? Subalyuk Cave 2 calvaria, Neandertal, Hungary. Death of a child.107
90 ka Malarnaud mandible, Neandertal, France. Death of a juvenile.108
90 ka? Montgaudier Cave mandible, Neandertal, France. Death of a juvenile.109
91 ka Skhul remains, Neandertal, Israel. Evidence of a fatal spear wound; deaths of three children.31,110
92 ka Jebel-Qafzeh remains, Homo sapiens, Israel. Deaths of two infants and one child.111
100 ka? Sala skull fragment, Neandertal, Slovak Republic. Wound on the right forehead.15
105 ka Klasies River Mouth Caves remains, Homo sapiens, South Africa (7+). Possible victims of cannibalism.23
105 ka Border Cave 3 remains, Homo sapiens, South Africa. Death of an infant.112
130 ka Krapina remains, Neandertal, Croatia (75–82). Victims of cannibalism, all between the ages of 3 and 20. A high frequency of enamel defects in the teeth of the victims. One individual had a broken forearm which never reunited.15,21,25,113
130 ka Laetoli 18 skull, archaic Homo sapiens, Tanzania. Death of a young adult.114
133 ka Singa cranium, Homo sapiens, Sudan. Pathological thickening of skull.115
150 ka Le Lazaret 3 skull fragment, archaic Homo sapiens, France. Death of a juvenile with a pathological lesion on his skull.116
150 ka? La Chaise remains, archaic Homo sapiens, France. Deaths of five infants.117
160 ka? Fontechevade remains, Homo sapiens, France (3). Possible victims of cannibalism; death of a child.118
165 ka Montmaurin 3 mandible, archaic Homo sapiens, France. Death of a child.119
175 ka Cave of Hearths remains, archaic Homo sapiens, South Africa. Death of a juvenile.120
185 ka Ding Cun (Tingtsun) skull, archaic Homo sapiens, China. Death of a juvenile.121
200 ka Rabat remains, archaic Homo sapiens, Morocco. Death of a juvenile.122
200 ka Jebel IrhOud 3 mandible, archaic Homo sapiens, Morocco. Death of a child.123
210 ka? Ehringsdorf remains, Neandertal, Germany. One possible victim of cannibalism. Deaths of a child and a juvenile.27,124
225 ka Casal de’Pazzi skull fragment, archaic Homo sapiens, Italy. Circular depression on face, possibly of traumatic origin.125
250 ka Pontnewydd Cave remains, Homo sapiens, Wales. Deaths of three children.126
250 ka Broken Hill skull, archaic Homo sapiens, Zambia. Severe dental pathology and abscesses, possibly from chronic lead poisoning.127
250 ka Broken Hill femur EM 793, archaic Homo sapiens, Zambia. Evidence of lead poisoning.128
250 ka Miaohoushan teeth, femur, archaic Homo sapiens, China. Death of a child.129
259 ka Florisbad partial cranium, archaic Homo sapiens, South Africa. Possible frontal bone pathology.130
350 ka Atapuerca (TG-TN site) mandible, archaic Homo sapiens, Spain. Evidence of periodontal disease.131
350 ka Atapuerca (Sima de los Huesos site) parietal I, archaic Homo sapiens, Spain. An injury caused by a blunt object, followed by infection.132
350 ka Atapuerca (S.H. site) parietal II, archaic Homo sapiens, Spain. Pathological traumatic abrasion with inflammation.133
350 ka Atapuerca (S.H. site) occipital III, archaic Homo sapiens, Spain. Depressed area of traumatic origin.134
350 ka Atapuerca (S.H. site) AT-25 upper arm bone, archaic Homo sapiens, Spain, The individual died as a young adult.135
350 ka Atapuerca (S.H. site) teeth, archaic Homo sapiens, Spain. Death of an infant; four individuals had severe hypoplasia.136
350 ka Atapuerca (S.H. site) skulls 4, 5, and 6, archaic Homo sapiens, Spain. All show skull pathologies; skull 6 died as a juvenile.137
350 ka Saldanha cranium, archaic Homo sapiens, South Africa. Depressed fracture in the frontal bone indicates a heavy blow at or shortly after death.138
350 ka Sale cranium, archaic Homo sapiens, Morocco. Possible pathology on skull.139
350 ka Steinheim skull, archaic Homo sapiens, Germany. Possible victim of cannibalism.28
450 ka Narmada clavicle, archaic Homo sapiens, India. Probably a pygmy.140
450 ka Arago (Tautavel) remains, archaic Homo sapiens, France. Deaths of three children and two young adults.141
500 ka Vertesszollos 1 teeth, archaic Homo sapiens, Hungary. Death of a child.142
600 ka Bodo skull, archaic Homo sapiens, Ethiopia. The individual was scalped just before or after death.33
800 ka Atapuerca (TD6 site) remains, archaic Homo sapiens, Spain (6+). Victims of cannibalism, including an infant and a juvenile.143,144
1.85 Ma KNM-ER 1590 cranium, Homo sapiens-like, Kenya. Death of a juvenile.145


To my knowledge, this is the first study of premature death, trauma, disease, and evidence of sin revealed by the human fossils. Most pre-Adamite and old-Earth advocates seem to be unfamiliar with the extent of this human fossil evidence and may not realise the full significance of what they are proposing when they place the bulk of the human fossils prior to the Fall of the Biblical Adam.

In all probability, this list reflects only a portion of the actual trauma in fossil individuals for the following reasons:

  1. Trauma in some fossil individuals probably has not been reported;
  2. Fossils with evidence of trauma are continually being discovered;
  3. The number of fossil individuals diminishes dramatically as one goes deep in the fossil record; hence, only a few of the earlier humans have been preserved;
  4. Fossil individuals who show no trauma in their preserved skeletal parts could have had trauma in their unpreserved skeletal parts or in their soft tissue areas.

The human fossil record reveals the pre-Adamite theory to be in error. Evidence of virtually every type of premature death, trauma, disease, and sin which we could reasonably expect the human fossils to show is found in the fossil record before 10 ka. We find in them the conditions we would expect to find after the Fall of Adam, not before. The accounts of sin, violence, and death recorded after the Fall, in Genesis 4–11, are reflected in the human fossil record. Hence, the human fossil material should be assigned to that era of human history, and exclusively after the Flood, given the relative positions of these fossils at the very top of the geological record.

The idea that “natural evil” was a part of the original creation, or that it was in effect outside of the Garden of Eden, is likewise refuted by the human fossil record. The fossil record does not record just animal death. It records at least 2,467 human deaths beyond 10 ka. Further, at least 273 of those deaths are deaths of infants, children, juveniles, or young adults. Even today we look upon such deaths as tragedies. The idea that God would create a world where this type of death takes place and call it “Very good” offends our sensibilities. In fact, the Bible speaks of long life as a “blessing” (for example, Deuteronomy 6:2, 22:7; I Kings 3:14; Proverbs 28:16). If the advocates of death as a “blessing” have in mind the death of a person after a long and fulfilling life, the human fossil record does not reveal that kind of existence. Hence, because of the clear evidence of sin, disease, trauma, and premature death in the human fossil record, the individuals found in the human fossil record must be placed after the Fall of the Biblical Adam, not before, as they are in a young-Earth, global-Flood context.

Posted on homepage: 25 March 2011


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