People who have heard or read of the Theosophical teaching about Root Races (see links below for explanations) sometimes understandably ask where the “cavemen” fit into it, particularly the Paleolithic peoples of what is called the “Old Stone Age,” which science dates at lasting from approximately 2.6 million to 10,000 years ago, a vast period of time.
The answer provided by H. P. Blavatsky and her Adept-Teachers can be seen in the passages quoted below from “The Secret Doctrine.”
One of the main points emphasised therein is that it is erroneous to imagine that the cavemen were the only type of people on the Earth at that time. Other, more advanced, more refined, expressions of humanity were alive at the same time as them.
For a clear and full explanation of this, however, along with evidences and arguments to support it, one must carefully read and study “The Secret Doctrine” for oneself, particularly the second of the two volumes, which is titled “Anthropogenesis.” Our articles are neither intended nor capable of replacing the Theosophical books themselves. There is far more in the books than could ever be adequately expressed, explained, and summarised, on any website.
But in the meantime, here are some interesting insights gleaned from the esoteric knowledge of the Eastern Initiates, those who students of Theosophy reverently call “The Masters of the Wisdom”:
“Palaeolithic European man of the Miocene and Pliocene times was a pure Atlantean, as we have previously stated.” (Vol. 2, p. 790)
“The earliest Palaeolithic men in Europe . . . were of pure Atlantean and “Africo” Atlantean stocks. (It must be borne in mind that by this time the Atlantis continent itself was a dream of the past.) Europe in the quaternary epoch was very different from the Europe of to-day, being then only in process of formation. It was united to N. Africa – or rather what is now N. Africa – by a neck of land running across the present Straits of Gibraltar – N. Africa thus constituting a species of extension of Spain, while a broad sea washed the great basin of the Sahara. Of the great Atlantis, the main bulk of which sank in the Miocene, there remained only Ruta and Daitya and a stray island or so. The Atlantean connections of the forefathers of the Palaeolithic cave-men are evidenced by the upturning of fossil skulls (in Europe) reverting closely to the West Indian Carib and ancient Peruvian type – a mystery indeed to all those who refuse to sanction the “hypothesis” of a former Atlantic continent to bridge the ocean. . . .
“As to the African tribes – themselves diverging offshoots of Atlanteans modified by climate and conditions – they crossed into Europe over the peninsula which made the Mediterranean an inland sea. Fine races were many of these European cave-men; the Cro-Magnon, for instance. But, as was to be expected, progress is almost non-existent through the whole of the vast period allotted by Science to the Chipped Stone-Age. The cyclic impulse downwards weighs heavily on the stocks thus transplanted – the incubus of the Atlantean Karma is upon them. Finally, Palaeolithic man makes room for his successor – and disappears almost entirely from the scene. . . . We see in their skill in engraving a gleam of Atlantean culture atavistically re-appearing.” (Vol. 2, p. 740-741)
“The rude workmanship of the Palaeolithic tools proves nothing against the idea that, side by side with their makers, there lived nations highly civilized.” (Vol. 2, p. 717)
“We repeat the question asked in “Isis Unveiled”: “Does the finding of the remains in the cave of Devon prove that there were no contemporary races then who were highly civilized? When the present population of the earth have disappeared, and some archaeologist belonging to the ‘coming race’ of the distant future shall excavate the domestic implements of one of our Indian or Andaman Island tribes, will he be justified in concluding that mankind in the nineteenth century was ‘just emerging from the Stone Age’?” (Vol. 2, p. 722)
For explanations about the concept of Root Races and other aspects of the esoteric teachings on human evolution, please take a look at Human Evolution in The Secret Doctrine, The Seven Sub-Races, Chains, Globes, Rounds and Root Races, Atlantis and Lemuria, The Esoteric Explanation of Fossils, The Destruction of Atlantis, The Religion of the Lemurians and Atlanteans, Speech and Language in the Root Races, and The Third Eye and the Pineal Gland.
For more about the book “The Secret Doctrine,” you may like to read A Beginner’s Guide To Studying “The Secret Doctrine”, An Invitation to “The Secret Doctrine”, Who Wrote “The Secret Doctrine”? and Understanding The Stanzas of Dzyan.