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Observations placeholder

Seven Ages of Man - 01 The Boskopoid people – from Lyall Watson Dreams and Dragons



Type of Spiritual Experience


The term "Boskop Man" is no longer used by anthropologists, principally because it does not fit their religion - that man evolved from an ape.  If one constantly insists on a neo-Darwinian model, an out of Africa theory and evolution as the only method of change, then Boskop Man is rather an inconvenient piece of evidence against you.  But there are well-studied skulls from Boskop, South Africa, as well as from Skuhl, Qazeh, Fish Hoek, Border Cave, Brno, Tuinplaas, and other locations.  Boskop Man is not an isolated anomoly but a reality.

The first evidence of the existence of Boskop Man was a Boskop skull, discovered in 1913 by two Afrikaner farmers. They offered it to Frederick William FitzSimons for examination and further research. Many similar skulls were subsequently discovered by paleontologists such as Robert Broom, William Pycraft and Raymond Dart.

In April 2008, neuroscientists Gary Lynch and Richard Granger published a book on human intelligence titled Big Brain: The Origins and Future of Human Intelligence, in which Boskop fossils play a prominent role. The authors conclude that the head of a Boskop would have been some 30 percent larger than that of modern humans, giving them a large forebrain.


A description of the experience

Lyall Watson – Dreams and Dragons – from The Success of Failure

In the beginning, there was an ice-cold current that swept up the west coast of Africa, carrying polar storms and penguins right into the tropics.

It continued for millions of years, unmercifully compelling the climate into shaping a hard, barren, sandy land. For almost 3,000 kilometers from Cape Point to the Cunene River, there is now nothing but rocks and dunes, rugged hills and patches of thorny scrub.

This is the Skeleton Coast, whose history is written in its sun-bleached bones.  Walk here, as I did as a child, and you can read every line.

In open graves along dry riverbeds lie the long limbs of ancient reptiles that once scrambled through the Mesozoic, hissing and snapping at the dark. Half-buried above the high-tide line stand cages of ribs that contain the remains of modern whales that found some kind of despair in the deep and tried to hurl themselves back onto the land.

Somewhere between the two rests a phenomenon. A prodigy concealed only by the sand and enormous mounds of broken shell.

I was fifteen when I found it. Just a skinny kid, burned dark by the sun, curious and solitary, very happy on my own. I loved that dry country and knew something of the richness in the wrinkles of its skin. I was familiar with the midden mounds. The fragments of shell shone like beacons, visible from a great distance all along the old raised beaches. But I knew nothing of those who had made them, except that they were sometimes called Strandloopers'--Afrikaans for "the beach walkers."

Then, ankle deep in sand one day, I stubbed my toe, dug down, and found a bone. Another tiny fragment in the land, but rather different from the rest.  I cleared the area carefully, finding more bones, leaving them in place, and keeping on excavating until I had a hole the size of a large suitcase. And in it, the body of a man.

He was small, smaller than I, with a huge head. He lay on his left side in a fetal position, with his knees drawn up and one hand raised to pillow the great dome of the skull. I had been a little afraid when I first realized that the skeleton was human, but all fear disappeared as I exposed the figure fully and could see how frail and vulnerable it was.

The limbs were weak and spindly and the ribs no thicker than paper. Bur the head was incredible. Beneath the high arch of the forehead, the face was straight and small with delicate jaws and tiny teeth. It was a child's body, with a childish face, driven by a gigantic brain.

I learned later that his people are known to science as Boskopoid, after the site in South Africa where they were first discovered, and are regarded as interesting if somewhat meaningless freaks, having a cranial capacity 30 percent larger than ours. They are also thought to be ancestral to the Bushmen who still eke out a precarious existence in the Kalahari.

But I have my doubts about both of these assumptions………………..

We have prolonged our adolescence and our lives and changed the whole direction of our evolution toward greater reliance on brain than brawn. It seems inevitable that this process will continue…. And given a hundred thousand years, we might end up looking exactly like that gentle being with his huge brain who sat on a remote African beach and watched the ice age coming in.

The man of the future may already have arrived, and lived, and died.

Several of his middens and graves have now been excavated, but it is disappointing work for an archaeologist. There are no traces of any kind of permanent structure, no weapons or tools, no engravings, carvings, paintings, or even any personal adornments. The one concession to technology yet to come to light is a collection of stones suitable for breaking open shellfish too tough for delicate fingers and tiny teeth. The Strandlooper gathered his food on the shore, ate it raw, and slept on the sand. If he had any furniture, it was all in his mind.

Tied as we are to a mechanistic concept of culture, we find it difficult to attribute intelligence to anything or anyone who does not share our kind of configuration.  We tend to have more respect for technology than we do for intelligence. Our tests for mind are measures of experience and manipulative ability, nothing more.  Those without our hangups, or our hands, will always fail them.

The latest research on dolphins and whales, for instance, shows that we have been underestimating them very badly. It seems that they possess an awareness, a consciousness, that may be more than a match for our own. I believe we are making a similar mistake with the Strandloopers.

Like dolphins, they had large brains and yet lacked a material culture. It is almost as though they hadn't any hands. Or didn't need them. Our hands gave us our brains, which in the end seem destined to make hands redundant. So why not short-circuit the whole evolutionary process? Given a big brain, use it. What more do you need?

I have a feeling that things did indeed happen this way. That some genetic frenzy pushed an early branch of human development rapidly through to its natural conclusion. That the Srrandloopers got their big brains and were able to keep them intact, out of the cut and thrust of competition elsewhere, because this small group at least existed on a remote uninhabited shore where they could make a relatively easy living.

Here on the edge of the continent, free from the battle for survival going on back in the cradle in the interior, they reached fulfillment. Eating when they needed to and sleeping where they pleased. Playing a lot, because that is something children do. Nimble in their bodies and their minds, because that is the way of adolescence. And they would never grow up. Never become heavy-footed, small-minded, thick-skulled, and morose, because they had chosen a different direction.

I believe this is how it was. I choose to see them playing, sitting, thinking, dreaming; instructing each other in manners and morals; learning grace and loving beauty; finding satisfaction in making ideas rather than machines. I think they may well have discovered trance states and perfected effortless techniques of consciousness raising, that we are now only beginning to explore in our laborious and painful way. And I make all these farfetched and unscientific assumptions because there is a secret I share with those walkers of beaches.

When I opened that simple grave in the dunes, there was more than just the bones of a man. There was evidence of ceremony by the way he had been placed at rest on his left side, the side of the heart and the way of the past. There was a suggestion of future renewal and resurrection in the fetal position and in the way his right foot was half raised as if to begin the dance all over again. There were all these signs of care and concern, but most important of all, for a people who placed so little value on material goods, there was a gift.

Lying beneath the bones of the slim right hand, as though it had been held there in the palm pressed tight against his navel, was a circular white object. I prized it loose and found it was the operculum of a giant snail. The lid that is attached to the side of a mollusk's foot and that it pulls in after the body to seal the entrance to the shell. This particular one was beautiful. On one side it was pure raised pearl, deep and cloudy and translucent, like a crystal ball. The other side was flat, white, and marked with a thin line that wound down from the perimeter in a smooth and perfect spiral to its vanishing point in the centre.

It was not an artefact. Such objects occur naturally. It was not manufactured or modified in any way; but it was chosen. The very act of such selection made it special, and the choice of this object for that purpose made it very special indeed. I knew nothing then about votive objects or sympathetic magic, but it felt very sacred to me. I wanted urgently to keep it, but even then I knew enough to put it gently back into the open hand and to fill in the grave and leave it as I had found it……

I still have a lot to learn about even the most elementary levels of consciousness, but as I grow, I cannot rid myself of the certainty that the beach walkers have been there before me. There is no other way to keep a giant brain happy. If it isn't turned outward and involved in experiment and manipulation, then it must be looking in, exploring the maze of consciousness and the marvels of interconnection.

The ice ages were a time of great extinctions. One of them carried these dreamers away; or they died of some poison tide; or fell victim to more aggressive and less thoughtful invaders. Maybe there were never quite enough of them in the first place.  We don't know what ended their games on the beach. Certainly they did disappear and must now join a long list of other unsuccessful experiments. Technically they were inferior; empirically they must be regarded as unfitted for survival. Biology requires only one proof of success, and that is continued survival.

But again I have my doubts about this kind of evaluation.

When the blue whale finally succumbs to mindless human predation, it will have become extinct. It will cease to survive. But will it have failed? Can you call a species that has been around for 20 million years a failure? The whales, if they do die, will not die by default, or through some personal failure or deficiency. If they disappear, it will be because we have failed them………

ln a time of flux and indecision, when we desperately need new answers but haven't yet been given the relevant questions, we could use some inspired failures. The beach walkers could have taught us something, but they don't live here anymore. That is sad. More sad than I can say, because I think that something quite irreplaceable died with them.

Happily, however, there are other strange people, other failures with extraordinary gifts still living around us.

They may be hiding in the most remote rain forests of Brazil.

Or we may simply have hidden them away from ourselves by locking them up in asylums in Tokyo or Texas.

Whoever they are, and whatever it is that they do, we need them now.  Without them it may be impossible for us to recognize that many of the gifts in question are already ours. That we have just been too lazy, too busy, too stupid, or perhaps too much afraid to unwrap them.

The source of the experience

The Ancestors

Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items

Activities and commonsteps