The Mystery Of Ooparts


A long-standing debate rages still as to the origin of man as recent discoveries place the earliest human ancestors further and further back in time. Consensus science tells us that Ardipithecus appeared in Africa about 4½ to 5½ million years ago. Australopithecus appeared about 1 million years later. Homo Habilis (‘handy man’) appeared between 1½ and 2½ million years ago; he was the first to make tools for specific uses. He was followed by Homo Erectus (‘upright man’) about one million years later; he was the first to use fire. Homo Neanderthalensis emerged in Southern Europe around 400,000 years ago; he lived in caves, wore clothing, and buried his dead. Anatomically modern man, Homo Sapiens (‘wise man’) appeared in Africa about 200,000 years later. The agricultural revolution took place between 12,000 – 7,000 BPE, followed by civilization as we know it. Man crossed the Bering land bridge between eastern Asia and North America about 18,000 years ago to settle mostly in Central and South America.
But some experts beg to differ with the consensus. In their admittedly controversial book, Forbidden Archeology (and its condensed version, The Hidden History of the Human Race), authors Michael Cremo and Richard Thompson compiled considerable evidence illuminating the possibility that modern man or something like us may have walked the Earth much, much earlier than we assume. They present apparently man-made objects and even human remains that have been found in impossibly ancient geologic layers. These objects are called ‘ooparts (for ‘out of place artefacts’). Consider the following cases, only a handful of many mysterious and controversial discoveries that have come to light in recent years.


Between 1951 and 1955 Thomas E. Lee, an anthropologist for the National Museum of Canada, discovered dozens of advanced stone tools, mostly projectile points, near the village of Sheguiandah, on Manitoulin Island in Lake Huron. According to the strata of glacial till in which the tools were found, they were anywhere from 65,000 – 125,000 years old. Over the next several years, other geologists confirmed the dating of the strata, but the unconventional date for humans in Canada was not accepted by most mainstream scientists. The artefacts were stored away at the National Museum of Canada, and the site was covered up and turned into a tourist area.

In 1966, sophisticated stone tools were unearthed at the archeological site of Hueyatlaco, about 75 miles southeast of Mexico City. A U.S. Geological Survey team that included geologist Virginia Steen-McIntyre was called in to date the site. Using four well-accepted tests, Steen-McIntyre dated the site to about 250,000 years BPE. Again, this date was unacceptable to most scientists. The publication of a paper about the discovery was held up for years. When it finally appeared in print in 1981, anthropologists rejected it and ridiculed Steen-McIntyre.


In 1970, Canadian archaeologist Alan Lyle Bryan discovered a thick fossil skullcap with heavy brow ridges reminiscent of Homo Erectus languishing in a Brazilian museum. The skullcap had come from a cave Lagoa Santa region of Brazil and would indicate – if it were authentic – that

man, in the form of Homo Erectus, came to the Americas much earlier than previously believed. Shortly after its re-discovery by Bryan, the skullcap unfortunately disappeared from the museum.

Italian geologist Giuseppe Ragazzoni was searching for fossilized shells at Castenedolo, Italy in 1860, when he found a human cranium fused with coral in strata dating 3 – 4 million years ago. Twenty years later, more bones were found – the remains of four people in all, including parts of a skull, jaw, teeth, vertebrae, and limb bones. There was no evidence of an intrusive burial, and Ragazzoni stated that the bones were, “. . . an irrefutable document for the existence of man . . . of a character fully human.” While some experts tried to discredit the findings, tests revealed that the bones had high concentrations of fluorine and uranium, suggesting they were indeed ancient.


In 1978 pioneer anthropologist Mary Leakey discovered the fossilized footprints of three walking hominids at Laetoli, in northern Tanzania. Fifty prints were excavated from volcanic ash rock dated to 3.6 – 3.8 million years ago. Leakey wrote, “. . . in Pliocene times, what I believe to be man’s direct ancestor walked fully upright with a bipedal, free-striding gait. The form of his foot was exactly the same as ours.” (The footprint of Australopithecus was quite different.) Professor Russell Tuttle, a physical anthropologist at Chicago University, said, “. . . the shapes of the prints are indistinguishable from those of striding, habitually barefoot humans . . . the tracks were made by a mystery hominid whose fossils have yet to be found.”

Closer to home, Professor Wilbur Burroughs, head of geology at Berea College, Kentucky,

reported in 1938 that he had examined fossil footprints in 250-million-year-old sandstone. The tracks showed left and right feet with five toes and a distinct arch like those of modern human feet. Burroughs did not claim the tracks were human but admitted that, “. . . they look human. That is what makes them especially interesting.”

Reverend Stanley E. Taylor found a short trail of fossilized footprints running between and

even inside three-toed dinosaur tracks in the Paluxy River bed near Glen Rose, Texas, in 1969. Further excavations under solid limestone revealed a total of 14 human footprints in the vicinity of over 100 dinosaur tracks in strata 100 million years old.

The most unbelievable footprints of all must be those of shoe prints – yes, shoe prints! In Nevada in 1922, geologist John Reid found a rock with the clear outline of the rear half of a shoe, including visible stitching. The fossil was dated by a geologist from Columbia University and three professors from the American Museum of Natural History to the Triassic period, 213 – 248 million years ago. Microscopic analysis of the thread in the fossilized stitching indicated that the fossil was of a man-made object! Scientists now consider this object “a freak of nature.” The fossil itself has disappeared; all that remains is a photograph.

Other ooparts:

In 1981, William E. Dubois of the Smithsonian Institute reported on a copper coin about the size of a quarter found one year previously in strata dating to 200,000 – 400,000 BPE in Lawn Ridge, Illinois. On each side of the coin was engraved the outline of a human figure and a series of undecipherable hieroglyphics.

Human skulls, bones, stone spears and arrow heads, knives, mortars and pestles, stone dishes, ladles, grooved stone hammer-heads, an iron nail, a large white marble bead and a stone axe were all excavated from 38 – 55 million-year-old gravel at Table Mountain during the California gold rush of the 1840’s and 1850’s.

Rounded rectangular metallic tubes were found in 1968 by speleologists exploring a quarry at Saint Jean de Livet, France. The tubes were buried in a 65-million-year-old chalk bed. Specimens were turned over to the University of Caen for study, but independent researchers have not been able to view them.

A 10-inch long chain of 8 carat gold fell from 260 – 320 million-year-old coal as Mrs. S. W.

Culp, publisher of The Morrisonville Times, was breaking a lump of coal in Illinois, in 1891. The chain was given to a family member and cannot be traced.

South African miners have found hundreds of extremely hard metallic spheres, at least one of which has three parallel grooves running around it. Roelf Marx, curator of the museum at Klerksdorp where some of the spheres are kept, says, “(The spheres) are found in . . . a quite soft secondary mineral . . . formed by sedimentation about 2.8 billion years ago. On the other hand, the globes . . . are very hard and cannot be scratched, even by steel.”

Vanishing evidence aside, some of these artefacts have surely been erroneously identified and dated. Some may be hoaxes. But if even one of them is correct, we must struggle to grasp the significance of such mysterious ooparts to the accepted history of the human race.

 BY: Donna Marie West  





Books, London, England, 1998

Cremo, Michael A., and Thompson, Richard L. THE HIDDEN HISTORY OF THE HUMAN RACE,

Bhaktivedanta Book Publishing Inc., Los Angeles, CA., 1996

Donnelly, Ignatius L. RAGNAROK: THE AGE OF FIRE AND GRAVEL. R.S. Peale & Company,

Chicago, IL., 1883

Kenyon, Douglas J. (editor). FORBIDDEN HISTORY. Bear & Company, Rochester, Vermont, 2005

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