The evidence quoted below is somewhat esoteric, but it bears on an important issue: how long ago did our ancestors become our equals in terms of biological and intellectual abilities? (The longer that period, the longer is the handle in McCloskey’s “Great Fact.”)
(p. D3) Fragments of ancient pottery found in southern China turn out to date back 20,000 years, making them the world’s oldest known pottery — 2,000 to 3,000 years older than examples found in East Asia and elsewhere.
. . .
The crockery, found in Xianrendong Cave in Jiangxi Province, belonged to a group of mobile foragers, Dr. Bar-Yosef said. They were a hunting and gathering community; plant cultivation and agriculture probably did not arrive until about 10,000 years later.
For the full review, see:
SINDYA N. BHANOO. “OBSERVATORY; Remnants of an Ancient Kitchen Are Found in China.” The New York Times (Sun., July 3, 2012): D3.
(Note: ellipsis added.)
(Note: the online version of the review has the date June 28, 2012.)
The full reference for the book under review, is:
Wu, Xiaohong, Chi Zhang, Paul Goldberg, David Cohen, Yan Pan, Trina Arpin, and Ofer Bar-Yosef. “Report; Early Pottery at 20,000 Years Ago in Xianrendong Cave, China.” Science 336, no. 6089 (June 29, 2012): 1696-700.