Cavemen Could Keep In Touch, Too
Archaeologists excavating a site in preset-day Ghana were surprised to find an early australopithecine skeleton in excellent condition, nearly intact. Specimens of this sort, which date back more than three million years, are rare.
“Don’t you agree?” said Pedro Fuentes, the lead scientist on the team. “Very exciting! Don’t you agree?”
Fuentes and his team were even more surprised to discover, clutched in the specimen’s hand, a primitive cell phone.
“At first, we thought it was currency of some sort,” said Miranda Harrison, Fuentes’s senior researcher. “You know: a rectangle held in a hand. But upon further inspection we noticed that there was a button on the bottom of what we took to be the front face. When we pressed it, the rectangle illuminated.”
As the device had no passcode, the researchers were able to enter it.
“It’s very primitive,” said Harrison. “No wireless charging, a bad camera, 1G. And the screen is a little cracked. But it is unquestionably a cell phone.”
“Very exciting!” said Fuentes, the lead scientist on the team. “Don’t you agree? Very exciting!”
The team carefully inspected the contents of the phone and were able to extract a series of text messages and contacts.
“The messages were all monosyllables, like ‘Uh’ and ‘Blargh.’ Oh, and ‘Oof!'” said Harrison. “And the contacts were other prehistoric types that we assume this particular skeleton, before being a skeleton, communicated with. They had pretty simple names: Larry, Harry, Gertie.” The famous australopithecine, Lucy, was not among them.
The researchers were able to find the cell phone’s number—they have not released it for privacy concerns—and place a call.The result? A voice-mail greeting that was little more than monosyllabic grunting.
“Much of this remains a mystery,” said Harrison, who added that the team will continue to analyze the device.
“Agree! Exciting! Exciting!” said Fuentes.