Skull Found in Manot Cave

Family History~

Like the found entry in the diary of a great aunt
who knew some things are best left secret,
the remarkable discovery of a missing paragraph
in the evolutionary chapter titled, “Leaving Africa.”

Pulled from 55,000-year-old soil,
the partial globe of a skull in Israel’s Manot Cave
is that of an immigrant to the rugged empire
of the Neanderthal: a familiar hominin, the intruder.

Is this bone the practical proof we need, a map back
through our family history, the missing link
to the ancestral strain of DNA that won out
over less proficient upright propagators?

We like to think of now as pre-ordained,
that life’s narrative was always moving toward us,
but maybe this archaeological journal entry has unearthed
another truth— that we, homo sapiens, are not brave heroes.

Perhaps we have found that we are lucky survivors
of forebears whose accidental genius was intermarriage,
our penchant for dominion piously mistaken
as the lofty genetic evidence of being Chosen.

                                               Anne McCrady, 1-29-15

NewLinks: Nature, Manot Cave Project, Science Daily, BBC

AudioLink at Soundcloud: Family History

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Poet with a Press Pass is a series of weekly poems written by Anne McCrady and produced by InSpiritry in response to world news, current events, science developments and social justice topics. “Family History” was prompted by the discovery of an ancient human skull fragment in Israel’s Manot Cave. More about Anne and InSpiritry is available at!