THE SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE FOR THE ORIGIN OF MAN David N. Menton, Ph.D. St. Louis, Missouri 1
THE SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE FOR THE ORIGIN OF MAN
David N. Menton, Ph.D.
St. Louis, Missouri 1988
(C) copyright 1991 Missouri Association for Creation, Inc.
One of the most fundamental beliefs of evolutionism is that man has
evolved from beasts through time, chance and natural selection. Some
insist that evolutionism does not teach that man evolved from apes but
rather from "ape-like" ancestors. This argument is specious as virtually
any of the presumed "hominid ancestors" of man would be classified as apes
were they alive today. An ape is defined as merely a tailess monkey. The
research dealing with mans evolution from the apes begins with the
assumption that man did in fact evolve from the apes. No observations or
interpretations are allowed to question this apriori assumption. What has
been sought in paleoanthropology (the study of human and "prehuman" fossil
record) then are the transitional stages from ape-like animals to man.
Transitional forms have proven as elusive here however, as between any
other class of plants or animals. The missing links remain missing.
One would think that paleoanthropologists would have to begin with
some idea of what sort of structural features may be assumed to prove that
an ape is becoming man. Since mainly skulls are found in the fossil
record, and especially teeth, we can reasonably expect that criteria used
to judge transitional forms will pertain largely to these. What we are
really asking is what is a hominid? A hominid is defined as an erect-
walking primate that is either a "known" ancestor of man, a collateral
relative of man or true man. Obviously man is the only known hominid.
The evidence most often sighted to show that an ape is in the process
of evolving into man is the shape and cranial capacity of the skull. The
average for the human is 1,350 cc for a woman and 1,500 cc for a man. The
normal range is from 830cc (australian aborigines) to the largest brain
ever recorded, about 2,800cc. There is virtually no known correlation
between intelligence and brain size among humans in this normal range. By
comparison, modern apes have a brain capacity of 500cc.
DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERISTICS OF HUMAN SKULL COMPARED TO APE
Brow ridges are small
Dome shape of skull
Eye sockets broad and spaced relatively far apart
Dental arcade - parabolic for man and U-shaped for apes
Teeth morphology, small incisors and canines compared to molars in ape
Position of the foramen magnum
Shape of jaws
Angle that canine teeth enter maxilla
Do paleoanthropologists have a consistent basis for determining if an
ape-like creature really is near man or becoming man? The answer is quite
simply NO! In his book LUCY, Donald Johanson said :
"It may seem ridiculous for science to have been talking about humans
and prehumans and protohumans for more than a century without ever
nailing down what a human was. Ridiculous or not that was the
situation. We do not have even today, an agreed-on definition of
humankind, a clear set of specifications that will enable any
anthropologist in the world to say quickly and with confidence this
one is a human; that one isn't".
The destinguished British Anatomist Sir Solly Zuckerman has pointed out
much the same thing in a paper titled, "Correlation of Change in the
Evolution of Higher Primates" (in EVOLUTION AS A PROCESS, A.C. Hardy, and
E.B. Ford, eds., 1954):
"Views on phylogeny are never more than inferences, drawn in the light
of the geological time scale .... The inferences are sometimes very
insecurely based because of inadequacies of the evidence." "The lack
of accepted criteria by which to judge the hominid nature, or
otherwise, of borderline features in bones makes the whole position
Still it is not difficult to tell that a human skull is human, the problem
is with the idea of an ape becomming a man. What exactly would one look
for in an ape to prove that it is evolving into man, or conversely, what
does one look for in men that might indcate that they are more closely
related to the apes than other men? Finally, we must not overlook the
problem of the range of variation which is normal for a given primate
species or sexual dimorphism which is often quite extreme in nonhuman
Before we begin our consideration of the cast of characters that have
been proposed as ancestors of man, we should be familiar with certain
terms that are used by paleoanthropologists to name their hominid hopefuls.
The term "pithecus" means ape, "anthro" means man and "homo" means self or
modern man. Thus the name "Pithecanthropus" literally means "ape man".
PILTDOWN MAN ----Eanthropus dawsoni (dawn man)
In 1912, Charles Dawson a medical doctor and an amateur paleontologist
discovered a mandible and part of a skull in a gravel pit near Piltdown
England. The jaw bone was ape-like but had teeth that showed wear similar
to the human pattern. The skull was very human-like. These two specimens
were combined to from "Dawn man", which was calculated to be 500,000 years
The whole thing turned out to be an elaborate hoax. The skull was
indeed human (about 500 years old) while the jaw was that of a modern ape
whose teeth had been filed to look like the human wear pattern. The
success of this hoax for over 50 years in spite of the careful scrutiny of
the best authorities in the world led Sir Solly Zuckerman to declare:
"--It is doubtful if there is any science at all in the search for
man's fossil ancestry".
NEBRASKA MAN ---- Hesperopithecus haroldcookii
In 1922, Henry Fairfield Osborn, then head of the American Museum of
Natural History, received a tooth from a Mr. Cook who said he found it in
the Pliocene deposits of Nebraska. Osborn claimed that this tooth had
characteristics of man and ape and decided that it was from an ancestor of
man. Other distinguished scientists supported Osborn's view. A picture of
Nebraska man and his wife were published in the Illustrated London Daily
News. This tooth was used at the Scopes "Monkey" trial in 1925 as
irrefutable evidence of the animal ancestry of man. Since William Jennings
Bryan was himself from the state of Nebraska, Osborn chided him about
Nebraska man in the press:
"the earth spoke to Bryan from his own state of Nebraska. The
Hesperopithecus tooth is like the still, small voice. It's sound is
by no means easy to hear ----. This little tooth speaks volumes of
truth, in that it affords evidence of mans descent from the ape".
Other parts of the skeleton were found in 1927 when it became clear that
the "still small Voice" was nothing more than the tooth of an extinct pig
This animal was long believed to be the first branch from that line of
apes which evolved into man about 14 million years ago. In an article on
Ramapithecus in Scientific American (May 1977) Dr. Elwyn Simons said that:
"this extinct primate is the earliest hominid or distinctively man-
like, member of man's family tree. The finding of many new specimens
of it has clarified its place in human evolution".
Simons confidently concluded that the:
"pathway can now be traced with little fear of contradiction from
generalized hominids -- to the genus Homo".
The crucial importance of Ramapithecus as an early ancestor of hominids is
evident in this comment by Simons in Time magazine (Nov. 7, 1977):
"Ramapithecus is ideally structured to be an ancestor of hominids. If
he isn't we don't have anything else that is".
Simon's confidence in the human or hominid ancestry of Ramapithecus is
surprising in view of a study by Dr. Robert Eckhardt which appeared in an
earlier issue of Scientific American (226: 94, 1972). Eckhardt had made 24
different measurements of the teeth from two species of Dryopithecus (a
fossil ape) and one species of Ramapithecus. He compared the range of
variation of these measurements with that of similar measurements of a
population of modern chimpanzees. He found that there was greater
variation in the teeth among living chimps than there was between
Dryopithecus and Ramapithecus. This is significant because Ramapithecus is
judged to be an early hominid primarily on the basis of its teeth. Eckhardt
"there is no compelling evidence for the existence of any distinct
hominid species during this interval (pliocene 14 myo), unless the
designation hominid means simply any individual; ape that happens to
have small teeth and a corresponding small face."
Richard Leaky (American Scientist 64:174, 1976) apparently agrees with
"the case for Ramapithecus as a hominid is not substantial, and the
fragments of fossil material leave many questions open".
What about the human like dental arcade of Ramapithecus? In 1961,
Elwyn Simons published a reconstruction drawing of the dental arcade of
Ramapithecus based on a particular maxillary fragment (YPM 13799), which
purportedly showed a nearly parabolic form with the post canine teeth
strongly diverging posteriorly. This reconstruction has been accepted and
reproduced by numerous authors. In 1969 however, Genet-Varcin using the
same maxillary fragment showed that a completely different reconstruction
is possible which shows the U-shaped dental arcade typical of apes.
Moreover, there are living animals with dental characteristics quite
similar to Ramapithecus. A high altitude baboon living in Ethiopia
(Theropithecus galada) has incisors and canines which are small relative to
those of other living apes. It also has the short deep face and other man-
like features of the type associated with both Ramapithecus and
Australopithecus. Clearly teeth reflect habitat and diet and not
Some investigators have suggested that Ramapithecus is nothing more
than a female of Dryopithecus which every one agrees was an ape. Others
have pointed out that some recent specimens of ramapithecus show a clear
canine gap but that this is often ignored by authors who wish to emphasize
its hominid status.
Many drawings have been made of Ramapithicus walking upright but
Zihlman and Lowenstein have pointed out that:
"Ramapithicus walking upright has been reconstructed from only jaws
and teeth. In 1961 an ancestral human was badly wanted. The prince's
ape latched onto the position by his teeth and has been hanging on
ever since, his legitimacy sanctified by millions of textbooks and
Time-Life volumes on human evolution".
Ramapithicus may not be hanging on so well after all. In a recent
issue of Science 82 (April p. 6-7) is an article titled "Humans lose an
early ancestor" which states that:
"A group of creatures once thought to be our oldest ancestors may have
just been firmly bumped out of the human family tree, according to
Harvard University paleontologist David Pilbeam." "Many
paleontologists have maintained that ramamorphs are our oldest known
ancestors, evolving after we split away from the African apes". "But
these conclusions were drawn from little more than a few jaw bones and
some teeth". "The heavy jaw and thickly enameled teeth resemble those
of early human ancestors, says Pilbeam, but in more significant
aspects, such as the shape of its palate, the closely set eye sockets
that are higher than they are broad, and the shape of the jaw joint,
it looks more like an orangutan ancestor."
In his book LUCY, Donald Johanson refers to the "australopithecine
mess" and indeed as we shall see it is certainly that. Australopithecus
means "southern ape" because the first fossils were found in limestone
quarries of South Africa (in Taungs). In 1924 a fossil of the face, lower
jaw and a natural brain cast of a juvenile ape was found in a hillock
together with the remains of other animals; all showed marks of inflicted
blows. The fossil was given to Dr. Raymond Dart professor of anatomy at
Witwatersrand University in Johannesburg.
Dart was convinced that certain features of the Taungs skull and
particularly the teeth were man-like so he concluded that it represented an
intermediate between apes and man. He immediately rushed a notice to the
journal Nature titled "Australopithecus; the man-ape of South Africa". His
opinions on the matter were largely scorned by the scientists of the time
who considered it to be some kind of chimpanzee. The skull was soon known
derisively as "Dart's baby" but Dart and Dr. Robert Broom a physician,
spent the rest of their lives trying to gain acceptance for
Shortly after the discovery of the Taungs "child", as it is known
today, Dart and Broom found other Australopithecines at Kromdraii,
Swartkrans and Makapansgat. The apes seemed to show two parallel lines of
development one being a small "gracile"(slender) type and the other a
larger "robust" type. Much controversy has existed regarding these types
and some investigators, including Richard Leakey, have concluded that they
represent merely male and female of the same species while others say the
gracile form, which is believed to be older, evolved into the robust form.
Today these animals are known as Australopithecus africanus and
Australopithecus robustus respectively. The latter is clearly heavier, has
more massive jaws and a pronounced sagital crest - all typical of sexual
dimorphism in male apes. The australopithecines have often been found in
association with other animals such as baboons and these often show
evidence of bashed in skulls. Bone tools in the form of clubs, knives and
choppers were found as well as evidence of fire. It might be attractive
to assume that the Australopithecines had been the hunters and butchers
except that some of their skulls were broken in as well. Were they then
the hunters or the hunted? An American journalist met up with Dart who
convinced him that the Australopithecines were actually hunting one
another. The journalist, Robert Ardrey wrote a book AFRICAN GENESIS that
popularized the view of the "killer ape".
In 1959, Mary Leaky discovered a badly broken skull (100 pieces) in
Olduvai Gorge in East Africa. When she showed it to her husband Lewis he
is reported to have said "why it's nothing but a damn Australopithecine".
Louis quickly got over his disappointment, however, when he found a great
variety of stone tools as well as the fossilized bones of animals in the
same strata. The bones of many of these animals revealed that they had
been butchered and deliberately broken for their marrow. Leakey decided on
the basis of this evidence that his fossil had been the tool maker and
butcher and thus called him Homo habilis or "handy man". Most other
investigators, however, were not comfortable with such an extremely
primitive beast being a tool maker. Like Australopithecus robustus,
Leakey's "Homo habilis" had huge and very unhuman molars, a very small
brain and a large bony sagital crest on the top of its skull. Later, Leaky
thought better of the whole idea of his "Homo habilis" as a tool maker and
demoted him to the classification of Zinjanthropus which means East African
Although Mary Leaky found Zinjanthropus, or "Zinj" as it was often
called, it made Louis Leakey famous as a result of the publicity he
received from the National Geographic Society through its magazine and
educational films. The National Geographic Society financed Leakey's work
and largely through their publicity of Leakey and Zinj, paleoanthropology
once again became both popular and respectable after a long period of
disrepute following the Piltdown hoax. Today, Zinjanthropus is considered
by everyone to be just another robust australopithecine just as Lewis Leaky
originally said it was.
Australopithecines are considered by many to be hominids because they
are believed to have been bipedal and thus walked upright. Dart and Broom
for example, had no trouble determining that their australopithecines were
erect walking hominids although they had no post cranial fossils! Until
the 70s, the upright and bipedal posture was based on the position of the
foramen magnum and very fragmentary finds of pelvis, limb and foot bones.
Then Richard Leakey found several more nearly complete remains that threw
considerable doubt on the idea of a upright posture. In Science News of
1971 (100:357) Leakey concluded that:
"the Australopithecines were long-armed short-legged knuckle-walkers,
similar to existing African apes".
Perhaps no one has studied the Australopithecines more extensively than Sir
Solly Zuckerman and yet he rejects the idea that they be classified as a
hominid rather than simply an ape (in EVOLUTION AS A PROCESS, 1954):
"There is, indeed, no question which the Australopithecine skull
resembles when placed side by side with specimens of human and living
ape skulls. It is the ape - so much so that only detailed and close
scrutiny can reveal any differences between them".
As for its putative bipedal posture, Zuckerman says:
"In short, the evidence for an erect posture, as derived from a study
of the inominate bones, seems anything but certain."
In addition the anatomist Dr. Charles Oxnard of the University of Chicago
"multivariate studies of several anatomical regions, shoulder, pelvis,
ankle, foot, elbow, and hand are now available for the
australopithecines, these suggest that the common view, that these
fossils are similar to modern man may be incorrect. Most of the
fossil fragments are in fact uniquely different from both man and
man's nearest living genetic relatives, the chimpanzee and gorilla
Neither of these investigators, who have spent much of their professional
careers studying the Australopithecines, believe that they walked upright
and were bipedal. Most evolutionists now consider both Australopithecus
africanus and robustus to be an evolutionary dead end and few consider them
in any way ancestral to man. We could write the Australopithecines off
entirely at this time were it not for the current love affair with an
Australopithecine named "Lucy".
In 1974 while searching for the bones of early human ancestors at
Hadar, a desert in northeastern Ethiopia, the American paleoanthropologist
Donald Johanson and French geologist Maurice Taieb discovered a nearly half
complete skeleton which they estimated to be nearly 3 myo. This diminutive
female specimen was named Lucy after the Beetle's tune "Lucy in the Sky
With Diamonds". A year later portions of 13 similar fossilized animals
were found. Although Lucy's V-shaped jaw was quite different from the
others it was decided to call them all Australopithicines. In most
respects the skulls were markedly more ape-like than either A. africanus or
robustus so they called them A. afarensis. Johanson also decided to
include some Australopithecines discovered by Mary Leaky over 1000 miles
away in Laetoli in the same species. Mary Leaky objected saying Johanson's
work was "not very scientific" and Johanson responded that Mary Leaky
"really shows a poor appreciation of what evolution is all about".
Lucy is about three and one half feet tall and had a tiny brain for
her size even by ape standards. In his book LUCY, THE BEGINNINGS OF HUMAN
KIND, Johanson said:
"with Lucy I had no problem. She was so odd that there was no
question about her not being human. She simply wasn't. She was too
little. Her brain was too small. Her jaw was the wrong shape." Her
teeth "pointed away from the human condition and back in the direction
of apes" and the "jaws had some of those same primitive features".
On the basis of the knee joint and pelvic bones, however, Johanson believes
that Lucy did walk in an upright bipedal fashion. Thus he believes that
Lucy is an ancestor of man as well as an ancestor of A. africanus. What is
rarely mentioned, however, is the fact that the knee joint was found over a
mile away from the rest of the skeleton and in strata 200 feet lower!
Johanson as we have seen is quite willing to incorporate other peoples
fossils into his own classification. Not only did he incorporate Mary
Leaky's Laetoli fossils into A. afarensis over her objection, he also
claimed that A. afarensis made the remarkable human footprints she had
discovered in layers of volcanic ash in Laetoli. Mary Leaky discovered a
73 foot long trail of fossilized footprints consisting of 20 prints of an
individual the size and shape of a modern 10 year old human and 27 prints
of a smaller person. The paleoanthropologist Timothy White who was working
with Leakey at the time said:
"Make no mistake about it, they are like modern human footprints. If
one were left in the sand of a California beach today, and a four-year
old were asked what it was, he would instantly say that somebody had
walked there. He wouldn't be able to tell it from a hundred other
prints on the beach, nor would you. The external morphology is the
same. There is a well shaped modern heel with a strong arch and and
good ball of the foot in front of it. The big toe is straight in
line. It doesn't stick out to the side like an ape toe" (Lucy p. 250,
Johanson & Edey).
Louis Robins of the University of North Carolina who analyzed the foot
"the arch is raised, the smaller individual had a higher arch than I
do -- the toes grip the ground like human toes. You do not see this
in other animal forms"(Science News 115:196-197, 1979).
In a recent lecture in St.Louis, Mary Leaky pointed out one additional
feature of her footprints that one does not often see mentioned in the
literature; all of the larger foot prints of the trail have a smaller
footprint superimposed on them! Mary Leaky herself conceeded that it
appears that a child was intentionally lengthening its stride to step in an
elders foot prints! It shouldn't be necessary to emphasize that this is
a far more sophisticated behaviour than one expects from apes. In addition
there were thousands of tracks of a wide variety of animals that are
similar or identical to animals living in the area today including
antelopes, hares, giraffes, rhinoceroses, hyenas, horses, pigs and two
kinds of elephants. Even several birds eggs were found and many of these
could be easily correlated with eggs of living species.
Mary Leaky assumes that the footprints were made by some hominid but
not by Homo sapiens because the stratum in which the prints are found is
estimated to be 3.5 myo. That happens to be the current presumed age of A.
afarensis and thus it is that Johanson insists that they simply would have
to have been made by his A. afarensis:
"the foot prints would have to be from A. afarensis. They
substantiate our idea that bipedalism occurred very early, and our
contention that the brain was too small to master tools".
Mary Leaky disagrees with Johanson and his claims for A. afarensis as
the maker of her footprints. Mary Leaky is not the only one who questions
Johansons claims for Lucy. In a recent article in Science News 122:116
titled "Was Lucy a Climber?" two groups of scientists working independently
challenged the claim that Lucy had completely abandoned the trees and
walked fully upright on the ground. Anthropologist Russel Tuttle from the
University of Chicago said that the Laetoli footprints that Leaky
discovered in Tanzania were made by another more human species of ape-man
that coexisted with A. afarensis about 3.7 million years ago and that it
was this unknown hominid that is the direct ancestor to man. After a
careful examination of the Laetoli prints and foot bones of the Hadar A.
afarensis he concluded that the "Hadar foot is ape-like with curved toes"
whereas the foot prints left in Laetoli are "virtually human".
Susman and Stern of the State university of New York at Stony Brook
have concluded that A. afarensis while capable of walking upright, spent
considerable time in the trees. They base this conclusion on an
examination of Lucy,s scapula, foot and hand bones which they say show
"unmistakable hallmarks of climbing". They also believe that Lucy,s limb
proportions did not allow an efficient upright gait.
Finally, to make matters even more confusing, some anthropologists
claim that A. afarensis is really the same animal as A. africanus. In a
recent lecture at Washington University in St. Louis (May, 1984), The
Harvard anthropologist Dr. David Pilbeam stated that A. afarensis was
virtually indistinguishable from A. africanus. On the other hand, Pilbeam
said that he believed that A. africanus was directly ancestral to man but
conceeded that in the hominid fossil record, one organism could be
"substituted for another".
As we have pointed out, the taxon Homo habilis had an illegitimate
birth with Zinjanthropus whom Louis Leaky thought was the "handy man"
responsible for the stone tools with which he was found buried. After the
demotion of Zinj to an Australopithecine, Louis Leakey and his coworkers
reported four new fossil specimens in 1964 that they found in Olduvai
Gorge. These they claimed were larger brained than australopithicines and
surely deserved to be classified as Homo habilis. All were badly crushed
skull and jaw fragments. In his book LUCY, Johanson said that :
"always obsessed with finding human fossils, he (Leakey) insisted that
these belonged to the genus Homo and should be so named".
Measurements of the cranial capacity of these fossil fragments were
difficult if not impossible but, none the less, it was concluded that they
averaged 642 ccs, 200 ccs larger than australopithecines and that was
considered enough to make them human. They also felt that their Homo
habilis had human-like molars and premolars. Not everyone was equally
enthusiastic about these new candidates for the "handy man" however.
Wilfred LeGros Clark said:
"Homo habilis has received a good deal of publicity since his sudden
appearance was announced --- from the brief accounts that have been
published, one is led to hope that he will disappear as rapidly as he
C. Loring Brace seems to be in agreement with this assessment of the taxon:
"Homo habilis is an empty taxon inadequately proposed and should be
New life was breathed into Homo habilis by Louis Leakey's son Richard
who worked in the Lake Rudolf area in Kenya. He asked for and was given
financial support by the National Geographic Society for the purpose of
finding human ancestors. Leakey found numerous stone tools and 40
specimens of Australopithecus. Then in 1972 he made a discovery that was
to shake paleoanthropology to its foundations. He found the tool maker
that his aging father had so long sought in vain. Perhaps he found even
more than he bargained for. He found several fossilized bone fragments of
a skull which his wife Meave carefully assembled to make a nearly complete
skull minus the lower jaw. The skull was given the unimaginative name
KNMER 1470 for its registration at the Kenya National Museum in East
The skull capacity of 1470 was difficult to estimate because the
condition of the specimen but was estimated to be 800 cc, much larger than
most ape-men skulls. There were only small eyebrow ridges, no crest and a
domed skull typical of a human. Indeed , it appeared to be a human skull.
Professor A. Cave an anatomist who was the first to demonstrate that
Neanderthal man was a Homo sapiens examined 1470 in London and concluded
that: "as far as I can see, typically human". In addition, Leaky fund two
complete femurs, a part of a third femur and parts of a tibia and fibula
near the skull which he said: "cannot be readily distinguished form Homo
THE "ABSOLUTE" DATING OF 1470
How old is 1470? In July 1969 samples of KBS tuff from just above the
stratum in which 1470 would be found, had been sent to Cambridge for
potassium argon dating. Three tests gave average dates of 220 myo (million
years old)+ or - 7my! This was considered unacceptable for this strata
given its fossil content and so "extraneous argon" was blamed. Less
calcified samples were sought out and tested which gave dates of 2.37 and
3.02 myo which were considered "encouraging". Further tests were run giving
dates from 2.25-4.62 myo. An age of 2.61 myo was put forward as "the best
and most acceptable estimate" (Fitch & Miller, 1970, Nature 226:226-228).
Since 1470 came from just below the KBS tuff containing layer, it was
decided that it was 2.9 myo. An essentially human skull 2.9 myo! In
National Geographic Magazine in June of 1973 Richard Leakey said:
"Either we toss out this skull or we toss out our theories of early
man". "It simply fits no previous models of human beginnings". "1470
leaves in ruins the notion that all early fossils can be arranged in
an orderly sequence of evolutionary change".
The problem was that 1470 was clearly contemporary with Australopithecus,
if not older, and yet looked much like modern man! This absolutely
unseated the Australopithecines as the ancestors of man. Incredibly, when
Richard Leaky spoke at Webster College in St.Louis in February of 1984 he
said almost nothing of 1470 and insisted that the only reason that 1470 got
so much publicity from the media was because "the world was flat in 1972"
apparently suggesting that there was nothing else news worthy going on in
the world at that time! One is tempted to conclude that 1470 had simply
proved to be too difficult to deal with and thus must now be swept under
The human-like appearance of 1470 coupled with its age of 2.9 myo was
a big problem for Johanson who considered his A. afarensis to be the sole
evolutionary link between apes and man. With a vastly more human appearing
1470 around that was either a contemporary of afarensis or even slightly
older his fossil was unlikely to be directly ancestral to man. So Johanson
decided to have 1470 "redated". Lucy herself had been dated by several
radiometric methods whose published results varied from 2.5 to 3.7 myo and
2.9 had been chosen as the "absolute" age. Johanson sought the aid of
Basil Cooke who claims to have assembled a detailed two million year
sequence of fossil pig lineages which he insists is consistent over a wide
geographical area. This incredible scheme is based on what is assumed to
be a constant but rapid rate of evolution in length of the third molar of
certain pig fossils found in southern Ethiopia. These "index pigs" were
used to redate Leaky's 1470 at less than 2 myo which placed it on the
desired human side of Lucy. To make things even more comfortable for Lucy,
Johanson decided to date her again too in an effort to see if he couldn't
make her a little older. In his book LUCY, Johanson said:
"That meant turning to Basil Cooke and his pig sequences. These had
already straightened out a dating puzzle at Lake Turkana and shoved
Richard Leakey's 1470 H. habilis skull forward from 2.9 my to less
than 2.0 my. Perhaps they could do it for Lucy too. But in this case
they would be stretching her age not shrinking".
Needless to say, Cooke came through as expected and said that his pig
"an age of 3.0 - 3.4 m.y. would give a better fit than the 2.9 m.y.
age for Lucy" (p. 206 -207).
So much for scientific objectivity in paleoanthropology and "absolute"
dating employing radiometric techniques. To make matters even more
confusing, Garnis Curtis at Berkeley has recently used potassium argon
dating on the KBS tuff and come up with younger dates yet. His first
series of tests showed it to be 1.8 m.y.o. and his second series of tests
showed it to be 1.6 m.y.o. To add chaos to confusion, recent fission track
studies of zircons from the KBS tuff indicate an age of 3 m.y.o.! No
wonder radiometric dating labs require that all samples to be "dated" be
identified as to their source in the Geological column! Approximately 8
out of 10 specimens ("dates") are discarded by radiometric dating labs
because they are well out of range of age they "ought to be" given there
source in the geological column. In their book POTASSIUM ARGON DATNG,
PRINCIPLES, TECHNIQUES AND APPLICATIONS TO GEOCHRONOLOGY, Dalrymple and
Lanphere sum up the whole circular process of radiometric dating:
"If the potassium-argon ages of a group of rocks agree with the
stratigraphic sequence determined on the basis of physical
relationships of fossil evidence, then the probability is good that
radiometric ages are reliable..."(page 197)
One thing is clear, when the radiometric dates are found to be in
dissagreement with the assigned age of fossils based on evolutionary
assumptions, the assumed evolutionary age of the fossil always takes
precedence over the "absolute" radiometric dates. Still, evolutionists
continue to insist that their methods of dating are so precise and reliable
that the dates always come out the same even when several different methods
of dating are used on the same specimen.
The Homo erectus story is undoubtedly the weakest link in the whole
human evolutionary scenario. It all began soon after the publication of
Darwin's ORIGIN OF SPECIES with a Dutch physician by the name of Eugene
Dubois who burned with the desire to find the "missing link" between apes
and man. Dubois had been a student of Ernst Haeckel at Jena University.
Haeckel is well known for his "biogenetic law" which stated that each
embryo in the course if its development passes sequentially through many of
the evolutionary stages of its ancestors. It is now well known that
Haeckel deliberately falsified the data he used to support this vacuous
claim. Jane Oppenheimer in her book ESSAYS IN THE HISTORY OF EMBRYOLOGY
AND BIOLOGY (p.50) said that:
"the work of Haeckel was the culmination of the extremes of
exaggeration which followed Darwin". "Haeckel's doctrines were
blindly and uncritically accepted".
Haeckel had invented a hypothetical ape-like man he called Pithecanthropus
alalus (speechless ape man) and suggested that he could be found somewhere
in Southern Asia or Africa. Haeckel even commissioned a painting of his
ape-man who appeared with wife and child.
Dubois was convinced that he would find Pithecanthropus in Sumatra and
having failed to get financial support from the Dutch government for his
quest he enlisted as a surgeon in the Royal Dutch Army in order to be
stationed in Sumatra. There he learned that a fossil skull had been found
on the nearby island of Java. He was able to secure the skull and found
another at the same site but unfortunately these fossilized skulls were too
much like modern man to be of interest to one searching for an ape-man. In
September of 1891 he discovered a large molar tooth in a cave on the banks
of the Solo river. The following month he discovered another molar tooth.
The month after that he found an ape-like skull cap. On the following
year he found a fossilized human femur 46 feet away from the where the
skull cap had been found. Although he first considered the skull cap to
be that of a chimp, after correspondence with Ernst Haeckel he declared his
collection of skull cap, femur and two molars to belong to one and the same
creature which he described as "admirably suited to the role of the missing
The missing link arrived just in time as Darwin's theory was under
fire because of the lack of fossil transitional forms between the major
classes of animals and especially between ape and man. By joining an ape
skull with an essentially modern human femur, and insisting that this
conglomerate represented one specimen, Dubois succeeded in creating a true
"ape-man" which he called Pithecanthropus erectus (upright apeman). He had
originally claimed that the strata he was working in was pliocene (about 1
m.y.o.) but after he found his ape-man he decided that it was really
Tertiary (10 myo). This of course was before "absolute" dating methods.
When Dubois exhibited his Pithecanthropus in Berlin, the distinguished
anatomist Rudolph Virchow refused to even chair the meeting. Virchow
pointed out the ape-like features of the skull and commented that "the
thigh bone has not the slightest connection with the skull". None the
less, interest ran high for Pithecanthropus and numerous imaginary
paintings and drawings were made and published of this famous "ancestor" of
man for the benefit of the laity. G.K. Chesterton commented that:
"People talked of Pithecanthropus as of Pitt or Fox or Napoleon.
Popular histories published portraits of him like the portraits of
Charles I or George IV. A detailed drawing was reproduced carefully
shaded to show the very hairs of his head were all numbered. No
uninformed person, looking at its carefully lined face, would imagine
for a moment that this was the portrait of a thigh bone, a few teeth,
and a fragment of a cranium."
As Dubois came under increasing attack he became very secretive about
his fossil finds. He locked his fossil specimens away and even hid some
under his dinning room floor. Not until about 40 years later did he reveal
the two fossilized human skulls he had found in the same strata as
Pithecanthropus. A few years before his death in 1940, Dubois himself
admitted that Pithecanthropus was in his opinion the skull of a large
gibbon. His admission was not accepted by the evolutionists however and to
this day Pithecanthropus is considered to be Homo erectus.
The other fossil in the Homo erectus taxon is even more enigmatic -
Peking man. In 1929 an almost complete skull cap was found in an infilled
limestone cave at Choukoutien near Peking China. This ape-like skull cap
was similar to Java man. The cave was continuously excavated until the
beginning of World War II and fragments of 14 skulls, 12 lower jaws and 147
teeth were found. Several skeletons of modern men were found at a higher
level. Bone fragments were once again gathered from various places and
assembled to form a skull. The jaw bone for example came from a level 85
feet higher that the skull and face bones. A sculptor was hired to model a
womans features on a cast of the skull and the result was named "Nellie".
Nellie has appeared in many textbooks. Unfortunately the skull was lost
during the Japanese occupation of China during WW II.
Once again as in many of the other presumed hominid fossil finds,
numerous stone tools and evidence of butchery and fire was found.
Choukoutien has recently been intensively investigated by Chinese
scientists who have found over a thousand fragments of stone tools, the
skulls of over 100 animals as well as fragments of 6 Homo erectus skulls.
The skulls show consistent evidence of having been broken in. In addition,
a layer of ashes over three meters thick has been found. The Chinese
scientists assume that Homo erectus made the tools and the fires because
they are confident that there were no representatives of Homo sapiens
around 500,000 - 1,000,000 years ago!
Once again, Richard Leaky and his co-workers have added a confusing
chapter to an already confusing story. In July 1984, a nearly complete
fossilized skeleton of an obviously human 12 year old boy was discovered in
Lake Turkana in Kenya. The skeleton of this child was like that of a
modern human in all respects except for certain details of the skull. He
had a low forehead and pronounced brow ridges not unlike some races of
modern man. Richard Leaky said that this boy would go unnoticed in a crowd
today. Since this human skeleton was fond in strata "dated" at 1.6 myo it
was classified by age alone as another representative of that enigmatic
taxon Homo erectus!
Although we are considering Neanderthal man last, he was really the
first "ape-man" having been discovered in Darwin's day. We have seen how
paleoanthropologists have tried to make men out of apes, now we shall see
how they have tried to make apes out of men. The story began in the
Neander valley of Germany. Here in 1856 a local school teacher discovered
a skull cap, two femurs, two humeri and other fragments. A careful
anatomical description by Professor Schaafhausen reported them to be human
and normal. Two years later two similar skulls were found in Belgium.
Subsequently portions of 60 Neanderthal type skeletons were fond in China,
Central and North Africa, Iraq, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Greece and north
western Europe. At first not much attention was given these finds but with
the publication of Darwin's ORIGIN OF SPECIES, the search was on for man's
ape-like ancestors. Darwinians argued that Neanderthal man was an ape-like
man while many critical of Darwin like Virchow argued that these
individuals were fully human but some might have been suffering from
rickets or arthritis, This race of men was characterized by prominent
eyebrow ridges, low forehead, long narrow skull, a protruding upper jaw,
and a strong lower jaw with a short chin. They were deep chested with
curved-heavy built leg bones and large joints.
In 1908 Neanderthal skeletons were found in the village of LeMoustier
and at La Chapelle-aux-Saints. These were studied and extensively
described by Professor Boule of the Institute of Human Paleontology in
Paris. Boules opinion and lengthy reports were to shape opinion about
Neanderthal man for the 20th century. He said that the Neanderthal group
was an inferior type much closer to the apes than to any other human group.
He thought they were intellectually primitive as well. He pointed out the
slumped posture. "monkey like" arrangement of certain spinal vertebrae ad
suggested that the feet were of a "grasping type" like the gorillas and
chimpanzees. It was concluded that Neanderthal could not walk erect and
indeed must have walked in a clumsy fashion. Boules views prevailed and
were amplified by many other evolutionists up to the mid 1950s.
One embarrassing fact about Neanderthal man was that his brain
capacity was larger than modern man (1600cc for La Chapelle-aux-Saints).
Boule and others either ignored this or played down the significance of the
extra 200 cc. One wonders if it would have been ignored if Neanderthal
man's brain were 200 cc smaller than modern man?
In 1957 the anatomists Straus and Cave examined La Chapelle-Aux-Saints
and determined that the individual suffered form severe arthritis, which
affected the vertebrae and bent the posture. The jaw also had been
affected. The big toe was definitely not prehensile as Boule had claimed.
The pelvis was not ape-like. In their report they commented that:
"if he could be reincarnated and placed in a New York subway provided
he were bathed, shaved and dressed in modern clothing it is doubtful
whether he would attract any more attention that some of its other
Today Neanderthal man is classified as Homo sapiens. But even to the
present there has been a great reluctance to allow Neanderthal man to be
fully human. In the Smithsonian magazine published in 1975 for example:
"For a while there it seemed that Neanderthal man had been
rehabilitated and was slipping closer to the mainstream of human
evolution, but the situation remains fluid".
In a lecture at Washington University in May of 1984, David Pilbeam seamed
to regret that Neanderthal man had been classified as Homo sapiens and
insisted that Neanderthal man was far too primitive to be so classified.
Forgotten in all of this is the overwhelming evidence we have for
Neanderthal man's rather sophisticated culture. He buried his dead and had
rather elaborate funeral customs. He made a variety of stone tools, worked
with skins and leather, and there is even evidence to indicate that he
engaged in some form of pharmacy, dentistry and surgery.
In a recent article in Science 81 (Oct) it was admitted that the human
status of Neanderthal had long been maligned. The article was about a
sculptor, Jay Matterens who specializes in the fleshing out of skulls for
forensic evidence. With the aid of anatomists, Matterens has "fleshed out"
a skull of Neanderthal man and the obviously human results have shocked the
evolutionists. Matterens admitted that he had to fight against his
preconceptions" to draw what the measurements showed. The article pointed
"in the view of many paleonanthropologists, the story of human
evolution has been fictionalized to suit needs other than scientific
There seems to be no end to the speculation over the bestial ancestry
of man and it would appear that all scientific caution has been thrown to
the wind. In 1976, for example, Dr. Geoffry Bourne, Director of the Yerkes
Regional Primate Research Center at Emory University declared that apes and
monkeys are in fact the evolutionary descendents of men! Dr. Bourne based
his opinion on the fact that fossils of man predate his supposed ape-like
ancestors (Australopithecus and Homo erectus) and that the human fetus
bears certain resemblence to the ape.
In his book BEYOND THE IVORY TOWER (1970) the anatomist Sir Solly
Zuckerman ranked the various fields of science in order of decreasing
scientific validity. His order went; physics, chemistry, biology, social
science and then he said:
"We then move right off the register of objective truth into those
fields of presumed biological science, like ESP or the interpretation
of man's fossil history, where to the faithful anything is possible -
and where the ardent believer is some times able to believe several
contradictory things at the same time".
Dr. David Pilbeam an anthropologist at Harvard seems to have come to
similar conclusions. In a recent review of Richard Leakey's book ORIGINS
in American Scientist (66:379 May June 1978) he said that it was "a clear
statement of our current consensus view of human evolution and remarkably
up to date" but he concluded with the following sobering thoughts:
"My reservations concern not so much this book but the whole subject
and methodology of paleoanthropology. But introductory books - or
book reviews - are hardly the place to argue that perhaps generations
of students of human evolution, including myself, have been flailing
about in the dark: that our data base is too sparse, too slippery, for
it to be able to mold our theories. Rather the theories are more
statements about us and ideology than about the past.
Paleoanthropology reveals more about how humans view themselves than
it does about how humans came about. But that is heresy."
Despite all of its weaknesses and often unscientific character, human
evolution will doubtless continue to be the most popular story in the
evolutionary legend. When Richard Leaky spoke on human evolution at
Webster College in St.Louis a few years ago, dozens of school busses
bearing grade school children arrived nearly an hour early to ensure seats
for the talk. Hundreds of people who could not find seats or standing room
in the auditorium stood in the lobby to hear the talk via a PA system. As
is so often the case in general talks on evolution, Mr. Leaky did not miss
this opportunity to proselytize the social, religious and political
implications of evolutionism and mans bestial origin. The cast of apes
considered to be ancestral to man will continue to change, as it has in the
past, but that is not important to evolutionism as long as the central
"dogma" and its profound implications remains - man is a beast.
This occult propaganda and lies is from:
Missouri Association for Creation, Inc.
405 North Sappington Road
Saint Louis, Missouri 63122-4729
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank