The first humans emerged long before our own species. So, who were they?

The evidence for humans is anecdotal. On the other hand, how would you know that this is exclusive and apes do not experience these? They certainly experience grief.

Perhaps by definition. What do you say to the Chauvet Cave paintings of 35 kya? Neanderthal art exists back to 65 kya.

Flutes indicate that tonal music goes back at least 42 kya.

Earliest music instruments found

If you have ever played a wind instrument, I would suggest the required breath and embouchure control required almost certainly confirms the ability to vocalize language, although that is not in doubt in regards to these populations anyways.

But the chasm between humans and apes is obvious. And it would be surprising if apes experience NDEs and out-of-body experiences, I guess when they get a language ability, they can let us know. :slight_smile:

Do you mean hand stencils? If so, I wouldn’t call that representative art.

I’ve played trombone, and I don’t think it’s on a par with language, speech phrases have a much greater range of expression than musical phrases such as a solo flute passage.

A good article aimed at laypeople:

For humans, defining the point at which we are confident of claiming “humanity” is difficult. What, after all, distinguishes us from other animals? There was no moment at which humanity suddenly arose—the populations that led to Pan and the populations that led to Homo did not undergo a sudden shift—the mixing of two populations simply reduced to the point where no genes flowed. We, like every other species, are the culmination of a series of partial replacements, the deaths and births of individuals in an ever-shifting population, with a continuity back in time and forward, connecting all living things together.

To talk of the first humans is to hammer a signpost into an ancient river saying “no humans beyond this point,” no matter the ever-flowing stream around its base. There is nothing essential to humanity, no single feature that intrinsically caused one creature to be a human where its parents were not. If we were to fast-forward, accelerate through time and follow these Australopithecus anamensis as the shared average features of the community shift into those of Australopithecus afarensis, the unimportance—or at least ambiguity—of this notion of species along the axis of time would be laid bare. In the time dimension, distinctions between Linnean ranks become meaningless. However hard you try to define every point before the signpost as non-human, and every point after the post as human, the river flows continually onward.

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