Today's post is less weird and more interesting/fascinating.
This is the Makapansgat Pebble. It's stream-worn jasperite, about 2 inches across, 3 inches high and about half a pound. So mostly it would fit nicely in your hand. It was found in South Africa in 1925.
The markings are natural, from living in a stream bed. So even though it looks like a face, that's just coincidental. I also think maybe he's wearing a nice little hat. A beret, perhaps? I suppose he could also be suffering from a bowl cut given by his mother. I'm sticking with beret, because then maybe he's eating macarons. Omnomnom.
But, this rock was discovered in a cave miles from the creek where it made its home. Which means someone moved it to the cave.
And this is where it gets interesting.
This rock, the Makapansgat pebble or the pebble of many faces (because you can actually see 2 more faces on it at different angles), was carried into that cave 2.5 to 2.9 million years ago. The Makapansgat pebble one the oldest known manuports (an object moved from its natural context by human agency but otherwise unmodified).
"Wait," you may ask. "There weren’t any humans around that long ago.” Very true. The pebble was found in a cave that was inhabited by Australopithecus africanus, a bipedal hominid that may be our ancestor.
So not only is this rock a candidate for the first known object moved by “humans,” it may be the first known example of a human ancestor exhibiting symbolic thought or aesthetic sense.
So what that means is, when that hominid found this stone in the creek, and recognized its resemblance to a face, this was the very first hint of what it meant to be human.
We are connected to a little ape-like hominid from millions of years ago because we, like them, can gaze at this rock and see a face. With or without a beret.