In the last post we looked into patinas on a suspected eolith and I went through some of my observations according to my study on Eoliths and Figure Stones. In this post we will be delving into probability, particularly in parallel features and practically apply the study to some flint finds.
This flint from my find site shows two sets of parallel lines.
Many people have found these rhomboid or diamond shaped stones in connection with figure stones and I have a few from my find site here in Southern England. But is this a natural formation? No, it is not! allow me to explain a little further.
The probability of two randomly placed lines on a flat plane being parallel is zero, that's right! according to mathematics, that popular sciencey thing, there is a zero chance that two randomly placed lines will be parallel, but not impossible. Here is a thread about the boring math equation from StackExchange.
Right so we have categorically established that the stone above is not a natural formation, we have a next to impossible appearance of parallel lines twice in the same find, here is my simple version of the math:
A nearly impossible probability multiplied by another nearly impossible probability equals a very very very impossible probability.
But can this be applied to other linear features or alignments in flint finds and eoliths? Yes it can. When face features are in an upright alignment to each other exactly the same math applies, although that does not account for the random creation of a face like feature in the first place, adding an even bigger statistical unlikelihood of it being a natural formation. Readers of my blog will already be aware of face and other features having linear alignments in my finds and most likely there own.
Applying probability and statistics to linear flake removal is another useful tool in debunking eoliths as natural formations, below is a picture featured on Adam Bentons web page Evoanth, quite what or even if he was thinking when writing this post, I do not know?
The eolith is left and accepted tool on the right.
The picture comes from this scientific paper about eoliths here.
I count four linear flake removals (not including retouch and sharpening flakes) in the eolith, one on the reverse (first drawing) and three on the front (second drawing). But these are not perfectly parallel? No, but they are as near as damn it, and we have a third factor to work into our equation, that of depth, our z coordinate, as our flakes (or lines) are not locked to a flat plane as they are in the equation, but we can ignore that as it would only add further improbability, and a probability of zero is already unbeatable.
There are more things worth noting, firstly, creating a nice long linear flake removal is very difficult, and I am sure many a skilled flint knapper can tell you that, so that's unlikely to be caused by a falling rock or a trampling foot from the outset. Secondly the eolith looks to have been created using the levallois technique, a well known prehistoric process for creating flint tools, the shape created as part of the parent stone, and then removed with one blow to produce the tool, ready for retouch and sharpening.
So what can we conclude? Many prehistoric flint tools have been ignored and labeled as natural formations most likely because they disprove much of the evolutionary theory of man.