Retrieving Mankind’s Lost Heritage (4E)

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3Part 4, Part 5, Part 6

Part 4: HOW WELL DOES EVOLUTION THEORY AGREE WITH SCIENTIFIC PRINCIPLES AND DISCOVERY?

4-A: Introduction
4-B: Complexity of the Natural World – Evidence of Supernatural Designer
4-C: Laws of Science
4-D: The Marvel of DNA (Deoxyribonucleic Acid) Structures
4-E: 
Monkey-to-Man Evolution? Missing Evidence of Missing Links
4-F: Micro Versus Macro Evolution
4-G: The Problem with Darwinism
4-H: In Summary, What Does Science Tell Us about Evolution Theory?

4-E: Monkey-to-Man Evolution? Missing Evidence of Missing Links

What you may be thinking,

What about the Evidence of Monkey-to-Man Evolution, the “Missing Links”?

Is there evidence of this?… No!

So let’s take a closer look…

***

Australopithecus Afarensis ‘Lucy’ Skeleton (Replica): Perhaps the most famous “missing link” is the “Lucy” skeleton (known as Australopithecus Afarensis) discovered in 1974 in Hadar, Ethiopia, by the Leakey family of archeologists.

- Authentic skeleton?

- Not really. It is actually made up of dis-articulated and geographically separated bones of more than 30 individual skeletons.

As usually happens with these discoveries, “Lucy” was greeted with great fanfare and trumpeted as the long-lost “missing link” between apes and man before any exhaustive scientific studies could be carried out to verify the claim. Eventually, further research did reveal that “Lucy” was nothing more than an ape. Sadly and all too predictably, this “reality-check” news never got the kind of media attention as did all the premature proclamations of Lucy as man’s ancestor. The following quotes/articles – from the discoverers of “Lucy” – should have been headlines on the front page of our newspapers long ago:

“If pressed about man’s ancestry, I would have to unequivocally say that all we have is a huge question mark. To date, there has been nothing found to truthfully purport as a transitional specie to man, including Lucy, since 1470 [name of a normal human skull found in the same area] was as old and probably older. If further pressed, I would have to state that there is more evidence to suggest an abrupt arrival of man rather than a gradual process of evolving.” (Richard Leakey, co-discoverer of Lucy, from a PBS documentary in 1990,)

“All these trees of life with their branches of our ancestors, that’s a lot of nonsense.” (Mary Leakey, also a co-discoverer of Lucy, three months before her death, from an interview with Associated Press (AP) Dec. 10, 1996.)

***

What’s “missing” in the history of “missing links”? … the EVIDENCE !
  • Neanderthal Man (1856) – Once thought to be a primitive ancestor of man, scientists are beginning to realize that Neanderthal Man was fully human:

1) Brain size same as ours, even larger
2) Buried their dead
3) Used tools
4) Complex social structure
5) Employed language
6) Played musical instruments
7) Differences in anatomy are minor, no more than the differences between modern races of mankind

  • Java Man (1891) – An ape-like skull was found near a human thigh bone. Later investigation showed the creature was a giant gibbon, and the thigh bone had nothing to do with the skull.

Java man copy

  • Piltdown Man (1912) – Turned out to be a complete forgery. An orangutan jaw was stained to look old, with its teeth filed down to make them more human-looking, planted together with a human skull bone, also stained to create an appearance of age.
  
piltdown32 copy  Piltdown4 copy
  • Nebraska Man (1922)
    Nebraska Man 2
  • Australopithecines (1974) – Extensive computer analysis has shown these to be just another type of ape.
  • Ardipithecus ramidus (1999) – Bones scattered over an area of about one mile. A single toe bone, supposed to prove the creature was part human, was found some ten miles from the other bones.
  • Australopithecus Sediba (2010) – Resembles very much other Australopithecines. Like the Lucy fossil, it is just another genetic variation within the ape species.
  • Ape skeletonsFossil skeletons: Ape-men? No. Just extinct breeds of apes

Charles Oxnard, PhD, DSc, expert in anatomy, conducted extensive computer analysis  on Australopithecine fossils and concluded they were just another type of ape. He stated,

“All of this should make us wonder about the usual presentation of human evolution in introductory textbooks, in encyclopedias and in popular publications.”

       (See Appendix 2: “Time Magazine’s New Ape-man” by James Perloff – an informative essay that goes into more detail about the “missing links”.)

***

Conclusion: The over-blown claims of “missing link” discoveries are nothing more than examples of “micro-evolution”, or development of genetic variations among human beings or among ape species that look a little different from present day human beings or apes. These fossil discoveries, trumpeted so much in glossy media presentations these days, are not “evolutionary ancestors” to humankind. Archeologists have only discovered some of the different breeds of apes/monkeys or different races of mankind that disappeared in the Flood, or those who, during the post-Flood era, became extinct somehow or merged into other races.

From the above information we can understand what so often happens when a scientist discovers some unusual-looking skeleton: he might easily jump to conclusions and assume that it is some kind of “missing link”. Especially if the discoverer has a strong predisposition towards the idea of evolutionary development of species, very likely he will interpret the bone remains in those terms while glossing over anything that might contradict his preconceptions.

***

       

Extinct form of ape and australopithecine model displayed in American Museum of Natural History, New York. Skull on top is modern man. Autralopithecine skulls bear no resemblance to human skulls. They belong to the family of apes, not human beings.

The artists’ pictures of these “ancestors” are misleading. It is easy to take an ordinary human skull and create an apish-looking face based on how one imagines the individual might have looked. The skull is no different, but the soft tissues, which have disappeared, are only assumed to look a certain way according to the preconception of the artist who drew it or the scientist who discovered it.

There is much evidence, as can be gathered from the above news article (Bangalore Mirror, 3 Jan 2011 issue), to show that instead of lacking intelligence in the past, mankind had a larger brain capacity and was, if anything, smarter than we are today. Of course, mankind has a huge amount of accumulated wisdom that we didn’t have before, but from the biological viewpoint, there is more likelihood that we have less brain capacity now than did our ancient forebears.

The news report above was based on an article printed in Discover magazine, March 2009 issue, titled “They Don’t Make Homo Sapiens Like They Used To” by Kathleen McAuliffe. During the course of McAuliffe’s interview with anthropologist John Hawks, Mr. Hawks stated, as they were looking over his collection of skulls, “You don’t have to look hard to see that teeth are getting smaller, skull size is shrinking, stature is getting smaller.” The article went on to point out that “evolution” is happening more rapidly now than ever before because of the world’s much larger population.

And yes, that is true in a sense. But it is the process of micro-evolution that scientists are observing in the natural world – the genetic variation that happens within a species that enables it to branch out into new varieties and adaptations, but without changing its basic gene structure, or genome. The genome of a species is extraordinarily complicated – like a software program – and its basic structure cannot be altered (as macro-evolution theory supposes) unless an outside Intelligence (God) purposefully intervenes and engineers such a change. Like any of mankind’s creations, the natural world has a purposeful design, and an Intelligent Creator behind the scenes who designed and made it. It is not possible that a chance process of mutational change could bring about any of the drastic changes (from one species into another) that macro-evolutionary theory envisions.

In spite of the evidence showing otherwise, the article still tries to convey the idea that mankind is advancing into “higher” forms (what we might call macro-evolution theory). Because of the habit of viewing everything through the lens of macro-evolutionary theory, scientists are seldom able to connect the evidence in the fossils and bones to the process of micro-evolution – the genetic variation that goes on within species. 

Continue to 4-F: Micro Versus Macro Evolution

Appendix 2

Time magazine’s new ape-man- by James Perloff,
WorldNetDaily

In 1999, following the de-emphasis of evolution in Kansas schools, Time magazine struck in its August 23 issue with an editorial denouncing creationists and a huge cover story called “How Man Evolved.” The article displayed man’s supposed oldest ancestor—Ardipithecus ramidus—while neglecting to tell readers that its fragments had been found scattered over an area of about one mile, and put together to form a “missing link.” Time’s cover was of a reconstructed ape-man skull, yet well less than half the skull consisted of actual fossil fragments—the rest was plaster, molded by imagination.

A more recent issue of Time, dated July 23, takes no less liberty. On the cover is a painting of an ape-man called Ardipithecus ramidus kadabba, with the headline “How Apes Became Human.” Inside, the article begins: “Meet your newfound ancestor.” The painting is based on some fragmentary bones recently found in Ethiopia by a graduate student named Yohannes Haile-Selassie. Time assures its readers that the creature walked upright.

The evidence for this? A single toe bone. Time displays the bone with the unequivocal caption: “This toe bone proves the creature walked on two legs.” But not until the last page of the eight-page article do readers learn that the toe bone was actually found some ten miles from the other bones. What evidence exists that the toe bone belonged to Haile-Selassie’s other specimens? None, other than speculation.

There is great danger in basing conclusions on a single bone. In 1922, paleontologist Henry Fairfield Osborn, an ardent evolutionist, was shown a single tooth found in Nebraska by geologist Harold Cook. After examining it, Osborn declared it belonged to an early ape-man. It became known as “Nebraska Man.”

Osborn hailed the tooth as “the herald of anthropoid apes in America.” At the American Museum of Natural History, William K. Gregory and Milo Hellman, specialists in teeth, said after careful study that the tooth was from a species closer to man than ape. In England, evolutionist Grafton Elliot Smith convinced the Illustrated London News to publish an artist’s rendering of Nebraska Man. The picture, which appeared in a two-page spread and received wide distribution, showed two brutish, naked ape-persons, the male with a club, the female gathering roots. All this from one tooth.

However, further excavations at Cook’s site revealed that the tooth belonged neither to ape nor man, but to a peccary, a close relative of the pig.

Or take the Piltdown Man. It was declared an ape-man, 500,000 years old, and validated by many of Britain’s leading scientists, including Grafton Elliot Smith, anatomist Sir Arthur Keith and British Museum geologist Arthur Smith Woodward. At the time the discovery was announced (1912), the New York Times ran this headline: “Darwin Theory Proved True.” For the next four decades, Piltdown Man was evolution’s greatest showcase, featured in textbooks and encyclopedias.

But what did the Piltdown Man actually consist of? A very recent orangutan jaw, which had been stained to look old, with its teeth filed down to make them more human-looking, planted together with a human skull bone, also stained to create an appearance of age.

Those who think such mistakes no longer occur need only consider the Archaeoraptor, promoted in a 10-page color spread in the November 1999 National Geographic as the “true missing link” between dinosaurs and birds. The fossil was displayed at National Geographic’s Explorers Hall and viewed by over 100,000 people. However, it too turned out to be a fake—someone had simply glued together fragments of bird and dinosaur fossils.

Even if Time turns out to be correct, and Ardipithecus ramidus kadabba walked on two feet, would it prove he was our “newfound ancestor”? This assertion is based on a long-standing evolutionary assumption, usually stated something like this: “Humans are the only creatures that have evolved to the point where they can walk on two feet; therefore, if we can find the fossil of an animal that could walk on two feet, such a creature was our ancestor.”

However, the assumption that two-footed mobility establishes human kinship is groundless. Gorillas occasionally walk bipedally; Tanzanian chimpanzees are seen standing on two legs when gathering fruit from small trees. So even if a fossil creature did have some limited ability to stand on two feet, it doesn’t make it man’s ancestor any more than these modern apes. And man is not the only bipedal creature. Birds are bipedal; so was the T. rex. Therefore, are they human ancestors?

Time refers to “fossil discoveries as far back as Java Man in the 1890s” as validating the relationship between man and ape. But Time does not relate much of what is known about those finds. The Java Man story began with Ernst Haeckel, the German zoologist who has become notorious for using fraudulent drawings of embryos to prove the theory of evolution. Haeckel was convinced that an ape-man must have existed, and he named it Pithecanthropus alalus: ape-man without speech.

One of Haeckel’s students, Eugene Dubois, became determined to find Pithecanthropus. Haeckel believed men might have separated from apes somewhere in Southern Asia. So in 1887, Dubois signed up as a doctor with the Dutch medical corps in the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia), intending to hunt for fossils during all his spare time. Dubois, it should be noted, had no formal training in geology or paleontology at the time, and his “archaeological team” consisted of prison convicts with two army corporals as supervisors.

Years of excavation produced little of significance. Then, in 1891, along Java’s Solo River, the laborers dug up a skullcap that appeared rather apelike, with a low forehead and large eyebrow ridges. Dubois initially considered it from a chimpanzee. However, the following year, the diggers unearthed a thigh bone that was clearly human.

Dubois, like Piltdown’s discoverers, presumed that an apelike bone somewhere near a human bone meant the two belonged to the same creature, constituting Darwin’s missing link.

In 1895, Dubois returned to Europe and displayed his fossils. The response from experts was mixed, however. Rudolph Virchow, who had once been Haeckel’s professor and is regarded as the father of modern pathology, said: “In my opinion, this creature was an animal, a giant gibbon, in fact. The thigh bone has not the slightest connection with the skull.”

In 1907, an expedition of German scientists from various disciplines traveled to Java seeking more clues to man’s ancestry in the region of Dubois’ discovery. However, no evidence for Pithecanthropus was found. The expedition’s report also noted a nearby volcano that caused periodic flooding in the area. Java Man had been found in volcanic sediments. The report observed that the chemical nature of those sediments, not ancient age, probably caused the fossilization of Pithecanthropus.

Nevertheless, the expedition’s findings and various deficiencies of Dubois’ work were largely ignored, and Java Man became one of evolution’s undisputed “facts.”

Then there was Peking Man, worked on and validated by a number of Piltdown alumni. In seeing textbook portrayals of Peking Man, few students learned that the skulls had been found in scattered little fragments, and that the reconstructions were actually composites taken from various individuals.

Where fragments were missing, plaster was substituted, and the famous final images of Peking Man were the creations of a sculptress named Lucille Swann. Later, all of the Peking Man fossils mysteriously vanished, except for a couple of teeth, preventing Peking Man from being subjected to the kind of checking that doomed Piltdown Man.

Neanderthals were long portrayed as ape-men, stooped over. This misconception was largely the result of a faulty reconstruction by French paleontologist Marcellin Boule, who mistook the skeleton of a man with kyphosis (hunchback) for an ape-man in the process of becoming upright.

Which basically leaves us with australopithecines, currently in vogue as man’s ancestor. [“Lucy” is purported to be an australopithecine.] However, australopithecine fossils show that they had long forearms and short hind legs, like today’s apes. They also had long curved fingers and toes, like those apes use for tree-swinging.

Charles Oxnard, former director of graduate studies and professor of anatomy at the University of Southern California Medical School, subjected australopithecine fossils to extensive computer analysis. Stephen Jay Gould called him “our leading expert on the quantitative study of skeletons.” Oxnard concluded:

“The australopithecines known over the last several decades are now irrevocably removed from a place in the evolution of human bipedalism, possibly from a place in a group any closer to humans than to African apes, and certainly from any place in the direct human lineage. All of this should make us wonder about the usual presentation of human evolution in introductory textbooks, in encyclopedias and in popular publications. In such volumes not only are australopithecines described as being of known bodily size and shape, but as possessing such abilities as bipedality and tool-using and -making and such developments as the use of fire and specific social structures. Even facial features are happily (and non-scientifically) reconstructed.”

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Continue to 4-F: Micro Versus Macro Evolution

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