In many sites dating from 250,000 to 1,000,000 years ago, legal tools have been uncovered. Unfortunately, the tools are often in fragments, making it difficult to gain much knowledge.
The first complete site discovered has been dated to 150,000 years ago. Stone pictograph briefs were found concerning a land boundary dispute between a tribe of Neanderthals and a tribe of Cro-Magnons. This decision in favor of the Cro-Magnon tribe led to a successive set of cases, spelling the end for the Neanderthal tribe.
Until 10,000 years ago, lawyers wandered around in small tribes, seeking out clients. Finally, small settlements of lawyers began to spring up in the Ur Valley, the birthplace of modern civilization. With settlement came the invention of writing.
Previously lawyers had relied on oral bills for collection of payment, which made collection difficult and meant that if a client died before payment the bill would remain uncollected. With written bills, lawyers could continue collection indefinitely.
In the late 1880s, legal anthropologists cracked the legal hieroglyphic language when they were able to determine the meaning of the now famous Rosetta Stone Contract.
The famous first paragraph can be recited verbatim by almost every lawyer: In consideration of 20,000 Assyrians workers, 3,512 live goats and 400,000 hectares of dates, the undersigned hereby conveys all of the undersigneds right, title, and interest in and to the property commonly known as the Sphinx, more particularly described on Stone A attached hereto and made a part hereof.
The evolution and history of lawyers is very similar to the evolution and history of mankind. Like the symbiotic relationship between trees and fungus, lawyers and humans have an important, interlocking relationship going back to the dawn of man.
Legal anthropologists have not yet discovered the proverbial first lawyer. No briefs or pleadings remain from the proto-lawyer that is thought to have been in existence more than 5 million years ago.
Chimpanzees, mans and lawyers closest relative, share 99% of the same genes. New research has definitely proven that chimpanzees do not have the special L1a gene that distinguishes lawyers from everyone else. (FN 1)
This disproved the famous outcome of the Scopes Monkey Trial in which Clarence Darrow proved that monkeys were also lawyers.
Charles Darwin, Esquire theorized in the mid-1800s that tribes of lawyers existed as early as 2.5 million years ago. However, in his travels he found little evidence to support this theory.
Legal anthropology suffered a set-back at the turn of the century in the famous Piltdown Lawyer scandal. In order to prove the existence of the missing legal link, a scientist claimed he had found the skull of an ancient lawyer. The skull later turned out to be homemade, combining the large jaw of a modern lawyer with the skull cap of a gorilla. When the hoax was discovered, the science of legal anthropology was set back 50 years.
The first hard scientific proof of the existence of lawyers was discovered by Dr. Margaret Leakey at the Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania. Her find consisted of several legal fragments, but no full case was found intact at the site. Carbon dating has estimated the find at between 1 million and 1.5 million years ago.
However, through legal anthropology methods, it has been theorized that the site contains a the remains of a fraud trial in which the defendant sought to disprove liability on the basis of his inability to stand erect. The case outcome is unknown, but it coincides with the decline of the Australopithecus and the rise of Homo Erectus in the world