Some say fire, some say language. Some say God made us in his image on the sixth day. Some say tools,
some religion. Some say whenever we first dug a hole, marked a grave—maybe the Neanderthal
family found in northern Spain: skulls, ribs, jaws, dozens of teeth, a nearly complete spine, a hand,
every carpal intact, arranged below flowstone almost as in life. Some say art, some crude representation.
Some say cooked caribou catalyzed the boom in our brains. Mother, father, child, infant.
Harris lines in the femurs told how meager their meals were. Their collarbones gnawed on, sawed
through, hacked at with flint tools, rib cages crushed with something blunt to get at the liver and marrow:
if they were buried they were buried by their murderers. Some say upright gaits, opposable thumbs,
three-pound brains. Their skulls cloven with engraved lithic blades. The written word. Ritual.
Organs still warm in the middle. Empathy. A sense of shame. Some say we’re still on the way to human.