The ancient astronaut theory seeks to explain anomalies in the human past, whether they be archaeological, mythological, anthropological, or palaeoanthropological. Here, we are concerned with the latter – the ancient astronaut theory for the origins of man, i.e. Homo sapiens, approximately 180,000 years ago.
Ancient astronaut writers believe that a race of intelligent extraterrestrial beings visited and/or colonised Earth in the remote past, whereupon they upgraded the primitive hominidHomo erectus by means of genetic engineering to create the human race as we know it:Homo sapiens.
Evidence for this idea is found (a) in the improbability of Homo sapiens emerging so suddenly, according to the principles of orthodox Darwinism; and (b) in the myths of ancient civilisations which describe human-like gods coming down from the heavens and creating mankind ‘in their own image’. Homo sapiens is thus regarded as a hybrid being, incorporating a mix of terrestrial genes from Homo erectus and extraterrestrial genes from the race of the gods.
Prior to the modern age of space travel and genetics, this theory for the origins of man could not have been conceived. And even now, in the 21st century, there are many people who would regard it as science fiction. However, in the light of the problems with the orthodox theory of human evolution, the idea of a genetic intervention by an intelligent human-like species (who themselves evolved on another planet over a more credible time frame) does require to be taken seriously as a potential solution to the mystery.
The most famous exponents of the ancient astronaut intervention are the Swiss writer Erich von Daniken and the American writer Zecharia Sitchin. The latter, in particular, has argued the case in great detail, and it is to his theory that we now turn.