Evolution, Part IV: Ape to Man Evolution

Lucy (australopithecus afarensis)

Lucy (australopithecus afarensis)

Read Part IPart II, Part III

One of the most contentious issues within evolution is the idea that mankind evolved “from monkeys.”  According to evolutionary theory, humans and modern apes evolved from a common ancestor five to ten million years ago.1  This theory is based on genetic similarities between humans and apes, estimates from our “genetic clocks,” and a supposed wealth of fossil evidence that shows a gradual shift in physiology bridging the gap between the two.

It is true that the vast majority of biologists, geneticists, and paleoanthropologists accept “ape to man” evolution.  What you may not know however, is that there is significant debate within the scientific community about how this process could have occurred.  Contrary to popular opinion, the evidence supporting this progression is anything but clear.  The neat, clean diagrams shown in text books and discussed in mainstream media are myths.  Even evolutionary scientists admit this fact:

“The once popular fresco showing a single file of marching hominids becoming more vertical, tall, and hairless now appears to be fiction” – Jean Jacque Hublin, Director of the Department of Human Evolution at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology2

“Our progress from ape to human looks so smooth, so tidy.  It’s such a beguiling image that even the experts are loath to let it go.  But it is an illusion.” – Bernard Wood, George Washington University3

“Even with all the fossil evidence and analytical techniques from the past 50 years, a convincing hypothesis for the origin of Homo (humans) remains elusive” – Bernard Wood4

“There is certainly no evidence to support the notion that we gradually became who we inherently are over an extended period, either in the physical or intellectual sense.” – Ian Tattersal, Paleoanthropologist and emeritus curator of the American Museum of Natural History5

In reality, there are a few clear facts:

  • Within the theoretical “family tree” of modern man, there are really only two meaningful genera: Australopithecus (now extinct, but very similar to modern apes) and Homo (seen as distinctly human).  There is no intermediate, transitional genus.6
  • Each of the supposed examples of transition within a given genus are highly questionable and debated, even within the evolutionary community.7
  • The supposed “primitive” Homo fossils actually appear to be instances of genetic degeneration due to deformities, inbreeding, and various pathologies rather than examples of “pre-humans.”8
  • As more fossils have been discovered, the supposed ape to man transition has become more clouded and confused, not clearer.9
  • Recent evidence shows that mankind (Homo) co-existed with our supposed Australopithecine ancestors, calling the entire theory into question.10

Let’s take a brief look at some of the major fossil discoveries that have been touted as demonstrating the ape to man transition.  The information presented below is taken from the excellent book “Contested Bones” by Christopher Rupe and Dr. John Sanford.  In it, they go into much more detail.  However, it is important to note, that their research relies primarily on original source material from within the mainstream evolutionary, paleoanthropological community.

Australopithecus Afarensis (“Lucy”)

Lucy is perhaps the best known “hominin” fossil and is considered by many to be the best example of ape to man evolution.11  The discovery of Lucy and other A. Afarensis specimens was highly trumpeted within the media.  While Lucy appears to be mostly apish, she was broadly described as having human-like hands, feet, spine, ribcage, hips, and legs and having walked upright.12

But there are many problems with A. Afarensis.  The specimens we have, including Lucy, are terribly incomplete (Lucy is the best at only 40%) and damaged.13  Furthermore, many A. Afarensis examples are found in mixed bone beds that include other species and genera, including Homo (human).14  This last point is especially important since it proves that Lucy did not predate Homo and not all bones attributed to A. Afarensis may be assigned correctly, especially since the fossils are typically found spread out across a wide area, not together.

Most shockingly, Lucy is described as having human hands and feet despite her skeleton not having any hand and foot bones found!15  Incredibly, the assignment of these human-like characteristics (and human-like knees, hips, and spine) is based largely on the discovery of human-like footprints in Laetoli, Tanzania that were over 1,000 miles away and were dated 1 million years before Lucy!16  However, since it is assumed that Lucy is a predecessor of humanity, the Laetoli footprints must be assigned to “her kind” rather than humans, despite the fact that other A. Afarensis fossils indicate ape-like feet.17

Lucy’s human-like hip is also a huge question mark since her hip was actually crushed and broken into 40 pieces.18  Given the highly damaged condition, multiple reconstructions are possible, some of which are human-like and others ape-like.  But the Laetoli footprint “evidence” pushed the researchers to assume the human-like solution was correct.

At the end of the day, A. Afarensis is highly questionable.  The only indisputable fossil evidence we have points to a clearly ape-like creature.  The human-like “evidence” is highly questionable and depends on a lot of equally questionable assumptions.  And we know that the specimens were found in mixed bone beds which creates additional opportunities for error.  If this is the best example of ape to man evolution, clearly the evolutionists have a problem.

Australopithecus Ramidus (“Ardi”)

Ardi was trumpeted in mainstream press as man’s oldest known ape-like ancestor.19  It was described as the “discovery of the century” that revealed a “new kind of ancestor.”20

However, the reality is much different.  Ardi was discovered in 1992, but a full analysis of the bones was not published until 2009, almost 20 years later.  This long amount of time is due to the fact that Ardi’s bones were scattered over a wide area (miles!), poorly preserved, crushed, and extremely fragile, to the point some could not be handled without breaking.21

Given the terrible condition of the fossils, an extreme “reconstruction” effort was needed to decide what Ardi looked like.  These reconstructions were highly subjective and involved a “substantial degree of speculation” and subject to interpreter bias.22  In fact, there were eleven different reconstructions of Ardi’s skull23 and up to fourteen of his hip24 before the researchers decided they had it right.  Furthermore, the reconstruction of Ardi’s hip was done by the same researcher that did Lucy’s equally questionable reconstruction,25 illustrating the strong potential for researcher bias!

Again, the status of Ardi is highly debated within the evolutionary community.  As with Lucy, the reconstructions are very questionable.  And the well-preserved bones that were present clearly resemble modern apes26.  Only the debatable reconstructed parts supposedly resemble humans.  So Ardi is most likely just an extinct ape.

Homo Habilis and Australopithecus Sediba

Both of these fossil specimens were also trumpeted as major finds confirming evolution.  Homo habilis was considered a crucial missing link that bridged the gap between Australopithecus and Homo.  Australopithecus Sediba was also considered a transitional species that combined many traditionally ape- and human-like fossils together.

Homo habilis fossils contain some bones that appear very ape-like and others that are very human-like.  What is not reported is that habilis bones are only in mixed bone beds that contain both Australopithecus and Homo bones.27  And the habilis bone fragments are not found together but are spread out across these mixed bone beds!  As such, many evolutionary experts now consider habilis to be false species.28  Rather it is just a mix of Australopithecus and Homo bones mistakenly put together.

Likewise, Sediba appears to be the same false species.  Its bones are also found in mixed bone beds that contain scattered remains of both Australopithecus and Homo.  Once considered a crucial missing link, even mainstream scientific publications now admit Sediba may be just a jumble of species.29

Both habilis and sediba illustrate the fact that everyone, including “objective” scientists, are subject to bias.  Many researchers are so committed to the truth of evolution, and excited by the prospects of finding a missing link to prove it, that they make the “evidence” fit their paradigm and invent new species in the process.

Homo Erectus

Homo Erectus was first discovered in 1891 and is considered a “primitive” human that is far along the evolutionary path, but not quite fully human.30  Erectus is differentiated from Homo sapiens primarily by its smaller body size, lower brain capacity, and distinctive skull features like a sloping forehead, pronounced brow ridge, and a forward projecting jaw.31  Below the neck however, “the differences between Homo erectus and today’s man could only be detected by an experienced anatomist.32

While erectus has a distinctive skull, it is important to note that there is debate within the paleontological community whether erectus’ differences are due to its being a different species or because of disease.33  While erectus is different than “normal” humans, the differences are not outside of those observed in modern humans.34

Various pathologies and deformities from inbreeding can create the defining characteristics of erectus.  In fact, many erectus skulls are deformed and asymmetrical which is consistent with them having suffered from pathologies.35  And such characteristics are seen in small, hunter/gatherer groups that can be geographically isolated and subject to in-breeding.  In fact, we see erectus-like features today in modern human groups of pygmies and some Aleuts, etc.36

There is additional evidence that Homo erectus and Homo sapiens may have interbred.37  While this has not been established beyond doubt, it is an important issue.  If interbreeding did occur, then erectus is, almost beyond debate, fully human.

In summary, erectus appears to be human, but not “normal” human.  Very likely its unique features are due to disease, inbreeding, malnutrition, etc. rather than any form of evolution.  In fact, they likely represent devolution.

Homo Neanderthalensis (“Neanderthals”)

Neanderthals were first discovered in 1856.  They were the first set of bones to be considered a pre-human hominin.38

Similar to erectus, Neanderthals are not significantly different from modern man from the neck down.39  The primary distinctives of Neanderthals are the overall robustness of their skeleton and some unique skull characteristics such as a pronounced brow ridge.40  However, it bears mentioning that none of Neanderthals “distinctive” features are outside the range of normal human variation.41

In addition, anthropological evidence has been found that shows modern humans, Neanderthals, and even Erectus, lived at the same times in the same places.42  Further, there is clear evidence that Neanderthals had human-like intellect and engaged in such activities as using fire, cooking food, using tools, creating shelter, making music and art, wearing jewelry, using language, and burying their dead, among other human-like behaviors.43  These evidences strongly suggest Neanderthals were in fact fully human.

The best evidence of Neanderthal’s humanity came in 2010 when their genome was almost fully mapped.  This study showed that humans and Neanderthals share 99.7% of their DNA44.  Furthermore, there is genetic, cultural, and fossil evidence that proves Neanderthals and modern humans lived and interbred together.  By definition, if interbreeding occurred, Neanderthals and modern humans are the same species.45

Notes:

  1. Sanford, Dr. John and Rupe, Christopher. Contested Bones.  FMS Publications 2017.  11.
  2. Pg. 12
  3. Pg. 12
  4. Pg. 24
  5. Pg. 24
  6. Pg. 16
  7. Pg. 18
  8. Pg. 19
  9. Pg. 18
  10. Pg. 18
  11. Pg. 93
  12. Pg. 94
  13. Pg. 94
  14. Pg. 96
  15. Pg. 100
  16. Pg. 96-100
  17. Pg. 100-105
  18. Pg. 109
  19. Pg. 121
  20. Pg. 121-122
  21. Pg. 122
  22. Pg. 129
  23. Pg. 127
  24. Pg. 129
  25. Pg. 128
  26. Pg. 133
  27. Pg. 140-144
  28. Pg. 144-146
  29. Pg. 161
  30. Pg. 53-54
  31. Pg. 56
  32. Pg. 60
  33. Pg. 60
  34. Pg. 59
  35. Pg. 64
  36. Pg. 64
  37. Pg. 66
  38. Pg. 29
  39. Pg. 30
  40. Pg. 36
  41. Pg. 36
  42. Pg. 43
  43. Pgs. 46-49
  44. Pg. 44
  45. Pg. 44
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