Chip Walter – Just Checking in…


By my count I’ve covered 50,000 miles, butchered phrases in five languages, eaten roughly 20 bad airline meals and been lucky enough to see some of the most stunning countryside you can imagine in five countries that border three oceans and four seas.

Last Ape Standing Dispatch from Spain

El Castillo Mountain

These are pictures from two of the cave complexes I visited in Northern Spain, a stunningly beautiful area near the Bay of Biscayne. The first picture is of El Castillo. Inside this rise of rock lie several cave complexes that wind themselves deep inside. It was in here that I saw some of the most amazing cave art ever painted. The caverns are intricate and filled with mystery. The second picture is of one cave entrance. It’s being excavated. To give you a feel for the scale, look up to the right of the picture about 3/4 of the way. Those are people standing there! Once inside the entrance we almost immediately descended a good 5 to 10 stories, then just kept going deeper. The third image is from another cave complex — Tito Bustillo — and my amateur photography doesn’t do it justice, but look at this beautiful horse, painted here with ochre and charcoal perhaps 20,000 or more years ago by a very talented artist. Imagine how much others in the tribe must have admired the men and women who could conjure such magical images? The last photo gives you a feel for the scale of the cave at Tito Bustillo which ran a good mile into the mountain. That’s the scientist who was escorting me through this remarkable place. It was just me and him, and these ancient symbols and works of art.


This creative ability is one reason we are the Last Ape Standing on Earth.

A Last Ape Standing Excerpt in Scientific American

Scientific American Cover Human Evolution

You might assume that childhood is normal and that most species experience it. They don’t. And it’s a big reason why we are still around today, and Neanderthals and our other cousin species are not (there were 26 of them, at least).

To learn how this happened you can read an excerpt from Last Ape Standing for a limited time here at Scientific American’s website. Visit and comment! We’d love to know what you think!