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Intelligent Design, the best explanation of Origins » Theory of evolution » The origin of Homo Sapiens & timeline of human evolution

The origin of Homo Sapiens & timeline of human evolution

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The origin of Homo Sapiens & timeline of human evolution according to mainstream science.....

http://reasonandscience.heavenforum.org/t2596-the-origin-of-homo-sapiens-timeline-of-human-evolution

JAVA MAN was the first of at least 280 similar fossil individuals that have been discovered to date. It would be impossible to exaggerate the importance of this group of fossils, known collectively as Homo erectus. For the proponents of evolution, Homo erectus is the major category bridging the gap between the australopithecines (which most probably are nonhuman) and the early Homo sapiens and Neandertal fossils (which are truly human). Thus Homo erectus is indispensable to the proponent of evolution as the transitional taxon.  Surprisingly, Homo erectus furnishes us with powerful evidence that falsifies the concept of human evolution. Three questions are crucial. First, is Homo erectus morphologically distinct enough to warrant it's being classified as a species separate from Homo sapiens? The evidence clearly says no. By every legitimate standard applicable, the fossil and cultural evidence indicates that Homo erectus is fully human and should be included in the Homo sapiens taxon. Homo erectus individuals have lived side by side with other categories of true humans for the past two million years (according to evolutionist chronology). This fact eliminates the possibility that Homo erectus evolved into Homo sapiens. That this two-million-year contemporaneousness has been largely camouflaged is a tribute to the skill of naturalist writers. 

A BRIEF HISTORY OF HUMAN EVOLUTION
Contemporary genetic variation is understood best in light of our species’ past. In order to set the stage for understanding present-day patterns of variation, we need to review briefly the fossil record for hominin evolution (hominin is the term for humans and human ancestors back to the time of a divergence from the African ape line). Fossil and genetic evidence suggests that the African ape and hominin lines diverged roughly 6–7 million years ago or so in Africa. The earliest hominins, including species in the genera Ardipithecus and Australopithecus, lived in Africa and were bipeds with small brains and large faces. By 2 million years ago, the species Homo erectus emerged in Africa, with an increase in brain size, a reduction in the size of the face and teeth, and reliance on a stone tool technology. By around 1.8 million years ago, H. erectus dispersed out of Africa into Southeast Asia and the eastern edge of Europe. By around 800,000 years ago or so, brain size increased more, and such specimens of Homo are often placed in the taxon Homo heidelbergensis, although others refer them to examples of early Homo sapiens. Fossils known collectively as Neandertals are found in Europe and the Middle East, with some features appearing between 100,000 and 200,000 years ago in Europe and “classic” Neandertals dating back to about 70,000 years ago . Debate continues over whether they should be referred to as a subspecies of H. sapiens or a separate species (Homo neanderthalensis). Based on overall morphology, both specimens of H. heidelbergensis and the Neandertals are sometimes referred to collectively as “archaic” humans to contrast with anatomically modern humans. There has been growing consensus that the morphology characteristic of anatomically modern humans appears first in Africa with a subsequent dispersion into Eurasia . Evidence of an earlier appearance of modern humans in Africa includes remains from Omo in Ethiopia at 195,000 years ago, Herto in Ethiopia at 160,000 years ago, and the Klasies River Mouth in South Africa at 130,000 years ago. Some early expansion out of Africa is seen at the Skhul and Qafzeh sites in Israel dating back 92,000 years ago, followed by later expansions into Eurasia by about 60,000 years ago. Modern humans arrive in Australia sometime between 45,000 and 60,000 years ago and into Europe between 30,000 and 40,000 years ago. Modern humans later disperse into the Americas, most likely starting between 15,000 and 20,000 years ago.



We have still not found the missing link between us and apes
There was once an animal that was an ancestor to both humans and apes. But what was it like?
18 May 2017
It is true that, today, some researchers have a well-thought-through idea of what the LCA looked like and how it behaved. The trouble is that other researchers have equally well-reasoned models that suggest an LCA that looked and behaved in a completely different way. And that puts the research community in a bit of a quandary.
In principle, fossilised remains of the LCA might come to light any time. They might even be discovered this very year. But because there is so little agreement on what the LCA should look like, researchers will interpret the fossils differently.
http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20170517-we-have-still-not-found-the-missing-link-between-us-and-apes

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_human_evolution#Hominidae

4100 Ma  The earliest life appears. Abiogenesis
Abiogenesis is impossible
http://reasonandscience.heavenforum.org/t1279-abiogenesis-is-impossible

3500 Ma This marks the first appearance of photosynthesis
Photosynthesis
http://reasonandscience.heavenforum.org/t1555-photosynthesis

2100 Ma More complex cells appear: the eukaryotes
Eukaryotes evolved from Prokaryotes. Really ?
http://reasonandscience.heavenforum.org/t1568-eukaryotes-evolved-from-prokaryotes-really

1200 Ma Sexual reproduction evolves, leading to faster evolution
Sex, the Queen of Problems in Evolutionary Biology
http://reasonandscience.heavenforum.org/t1685-sex-the-queen-of-problems-in-evolutionary-biology

600 Ma It is thought that the earliest multicellular animal was a sponge-like creature.
Unicellular and multicellular Organisms are best explained through design
http://reasonandscience.heavenforum.org/t2010-unicellular-and-multicellular-organisms-are-best-explained-through-design

580 Ma Multicellular animal movement may have started with cnidarians. Almost all cnidarians possess nerves and muscles.
The nervous system is an irreducibly complex information transmitting system  
http://reasonandscience.heavenforum.org/t2581-the-human-nervous-system-evidence-of-intelligent-design#5565

550 Ma Flatworms are the earliest known animals to have a brain, and the simplest animals alive to have bilateral symmetry.
Evolution of the brain
http://reasonandscience.heavenforum.org/t2598-evolution-of-the-brain

Number of cells in the human body, and synapses in the human brain
http://reasonandscience.heavenforum.org/t2597-number-of-cells-in-the-human-body-and-synapses-in-the-human-brain

540 Ma Acorn worms are considered more highly specialised and advanced than other similarly shaped worm-like creatures. They have a circulatory system with a heart that also functions as a kidney. Acorn worms have a gill-like structure used for breathing, a structure similar to that of primitive fish.
Evolution of fish
http://reasonandscience.heavenforum.org/t2482-evolution-of-fish

390 Ma  Some fresh water lobe-finned fish (Sarcopterygii) develop legs and give rise to the Tetrapoda.
" Tetrapods evolved " . Really ?  
http://reasonandscience.heavenforum.org/t2219-the-evolution-of-tetrapods

375 Ma  Tiktaalik is a genus of sarcopterygian (lobe-finned) fishes from the late Devonian with many tetrapod-like features. It shows a clear link between Panderichthys and Acanthostega.
Tiktaalik , a missing link ?
http://reasonandscience.heavenforum.org/t1891-tiktaalik-a-missing-link#3161

Primates

Hominidae

Abundant genetic evidence from humans, gorillas, orangutans, and chimpanzees has allowed us to resolve the phylogenetic relationships of these species. It is much harder to resolve the phylogenetic history of the hominin clade—namely, humans and the extinct species more closely related to humans than to chimpanzees. The main reason is that all species in this clade are extinct except for our own, and we have very limited information about the others. Given the limited availability of DNA evidence, evolutionary biologists, paleontologists, and anthropologists must rely largely on fossil evidence to reconstruct the evolutionary history of the hominins. However, as of 2010, whole genome sequence data have been reported for humans, Neanderthals (Homo neanderthalensis), and the recently discovered Denisovan hominin from southern Siberia (Reich et al. 2010). As a result of the limited number of specimens found to date and the difficulty of determining species boundaries from fossil evidence, hominin classification remains an active area of scientific debate. What is clear, however, is that the story of hominin evolution has not been the story of a single linear progression. Rather, just as elsewhere in the tree of life, the story of this clade has been a story of branching evolution in which most species are now extinct. Figure 14.33 shows a chronogram of hominin evolution, indicating the age of each fossil and the likely phylogenetic relationships among them. This figure illustrates the numerous branching speciation events that have occurred since the divergence of humans and chimpanzees. During much, if not all, of this period, multiple hominin species coexisted. Only for the past 30,000 years, since the disappearance of the Neanderthals and the Denisovans, have modern humans been the sole representatives of the hominin lineage. Perhaps this period is even briefer if skeletal remains recently discovered on the Indonesian island of Flores turn out to derive from a unique Homo species. This population, provisionally dubbed Homo floresiensis, appears to have been present as recently as 13,000 years ago. 13

Pan Prior - Chimpanzee–human last common ancestor
Pierolapithecus catalaunicus
Sahelanthropus tchadensis
Orrorin tugenensis
Ardipithecus
Ardipithecus kadabba
Ardipithecus ramidus
Australopithecus
Australopithecus anamensis
Australopithecus afarensis
Lucy (Australopithecus)
Australopithecus deyiremeda
Australopithecus garhi
Paranthropus aethiopicus
Australopithecus africanus
Homo rudolfensis ( habilis )
Australopithecus sediba
Paranthropus robustus
Paranthropus boisei
Homo heidelbergensis
Homo erectus
Homo floresiensis
Homo neanderthalensis

Human Evolution, or Not?






12
(A) Pan troglodytes, chimpanzee, modern
(B) Australopithecus africanus, STS 5, 2.6 My
(C) Australopithecus africanus, STS 71, 2.5 My
(D) Homo habilis, KNM-ER 1813, 1.9 My
(E) Homo habilis, OH24, 1.8 My
(F) Homo rudolfensis, KNM-ER 1470, 1.8 My
(G) Homo erectus, Dmanisi cranium D2700, 1.75 My
(H) Homo ergaster (early H. erectus), KNM-ER 3733, 1.75 My
(I) Homo heidelbergensis, "Rhodesia man," 300,000 - 125,000 y
(J) Homo sapiens neanderthalensis, La Ferrassie 1, 70,000 y
(K) Homo sapiens neanderthalensis, La Chappelle-aux-Saints, 60,000 y
(L) Homo sapiens neanderthalensis, Le Moustier, 45,000 y
(M) Homo sapiens sapiens, Cro-Magnon I, 30,000 y
(N) Homo sapiens sapiens, modern





12




















The narratives of human evolution are oft-told and highly contentious. There are major disagreements in the field about whether human evolution is more like a branching tree or a crooked stick, depending partly on how many species one recognizes. Interpretations of almost every new find will be sure to find opposition among other experts. Disputes often center on diet and habitat, and whether a given animal could walk bipedally or was fully upright. What can we really tell about human evolution from our current understanding of the phylogenetic relations of hominids and the sequence of evolution of their traits? 9














http://sci-hub.cc/10.1038/nature09709
The relationships among the living apes and modern humans have effectively been resolved, but it is much more difficult to locate fossil apes on the tree of life because shared skeletal morphology does not always mean shared recent evolutionary history.  Sorting fossil taxa into those that belong on the branch of the tree of life that leads to modern humans from those that belong on other closely related branches is a considerable challenge.



Pan Prior - Chimpanzee–human last common ancestor 9

The chimpanzee–human last common ancestor, or CHLCA, is the last common ancestor shared by the extant Homo (human) and Pan (chimpanzee) genera of Hominini. Due to complex hybrid speciation, it is not possible to give a precise estimate on the age of this ancestral individual. While "original divergence" between populations may have occurred as early as 13 million years ago (Miocene), hybridization may have been ongoing until as recent as 4 million years ago (Pliocene). Speciation from Pan to Homo appears to have been a long, drawn-out process. After the "original" divergence(s), there were, according to Patterson (2006), periods of hybridization between population groups and a process of alternating divergence and hybridization that lasted over several millions of years.[1] Sometime during the late Miocene or early Pliocene the earliest members of the human clade completed a final separation from the lineage of Pan — with dates estimated by several specialists ranging from 13 million[2] to as recent as 4 million years ago.[1] The latter date and the argument for hybridization events are rejected by Wakeley[3](see current estimates regarding complex speciation).

The chimpanzee–human last common ancestor, or CHLCA, is the last species shared as a common ancestor by humans and chimpanzees; it represents the node point at which the line to genus Homo split from genus Pan. The last common ancestor of humans and chimps is estimated to have lived during the late Miocene, but possibly as late as Pliocene times—that is, more recent than 5.3 million years ago.
Speciation from Pan to Homo appears to have been a long, drawn-out process. After the "original" divergence(s), there were, according to Patterson (2006), periods of hybridization between population groups and a process of alternating divergence and hybridization that lasted over several millions of years.[1] Sometime during the late Miocene or early Pliocene the earliest members of the human clade completed a final separation from the lineage of Pan—with dates estimated by several specialists ranging from 13 million [2] to as recent as 4 million years ago.[3] The latter date and the argument for hybridization events are rejected by Wakeley[4] (see current estimates regarding complex speciation).
Richard Wrangham (2001) argued that the CHLCA species was very similar to the common chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes)—so much so that it should be classified as a member of the Pan genus and be given the taxonomic name Pan prior.[5] However, to date no fossil has been identified as a probable candidate for the CHLCA or the taxon Pan prior.
In human genetic studies, the CHLCA is useful as an anchor point for calculating single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rates in human populations where chimpanzees are used as an outgroup, that is, as the extant species most genetically similar to Homo sapiens.  11
Sahelanthropus tchadensis is an extinct hominid species with a morphology apparently as expected of the CHLCA; and it lived some 7 million years ago—which is very close to the time of the chimpanzee–human divergence. But it is unclear whether it should be classified as a member of the Hominini tribe, that is, a hominin, or as a direct ancestor of Homo and Pan and a potential candidate for the CHLCA species itself.
Few fossil specimens on the 'chimpanzee-side' of the split have been found; the first fossil chimpanzee, dating between 545 and 284 kyr (thousand years, radiometric), was discovered in Kenya's East African Rift Valley (McBrearty, 2005).[19] All extinct genera listed in the taxobox are ancestral to Homo, or are offshoots of such. However, both Orrorin and Sahelanthropus existed around the time of the divergence, and so either one or both may be ancestral to both genera Homo and Pan. 11





Pierolapithecus catalaunicus

13 Ma Homininae ancestors speciate from the ancestors of the orangutan. Pierolapithecus catalaunicus is believed to be a common ancestor of humans and the other great apes, or at least a species that brings us closer to a common ancestor than any previous fossil discovery.

How Science Reporters Lie to the Public  5  11/19/2004
An ape fossil was found in Spain, and reported in Science.3  It was pure ape, with a “mosaic” of features that confused the discoverers somewhat; rather than clarifying the origin of the great apes, it seemed to have some features that they feel suggested “convergent evolution” or homoplasy.  They named it Pierolapithecus, and made only a tentative suggestion about its place in the supposed monkey-ape-human family tree:
Pierolapithecus, hence, does not fit the theoretical model that predicts that all characters shared by extant great apes were present in their last common ancestor, but instead points to a large amount of homoplasy in ape evolution.  The overall pattern suggests that Pierolapithecus is probably close to the last common ancestor of great apes and humans.
In the same issue,4 Elizabeth Culotta described the different opinions about this fossil and where it fits between monkeys and apes, and between African apes and orang-utans.  Only the mildest suggestions were made that it might have been on the line that eventually led to humans, but there was confusion even on the issue of where it fit on the ape family tree.  In short, it was completely ape, and there was no agreement among specialists where to put it into the lineage of apes and monkeys.
   Since the skeletal fragments had a “mosaic” of ape and monkey features, there was no clear message of evolution.  The discoverers were reluctant to call it a “missing link” of any sort. Here’s how the media headlines came out, however:

National Geographic:  “Ancient Ape Discovered: Last Ape-Human Ancestor?
BBC News:  “Scientists have unearthed remains of a primate that could have been ancestral not only to humans but to all great apes, including chimps and gorillas.  The partial skeleton of this 13-million-year-old ‘missing link’ was found by palaeontologists working at a dig site near Barcelona in Spain.  Details of the sensational discovery appear in Science magazine.”
MSNBC News:  “Ape fossil bridges evolutionary gap” and “Specimen could represent the last common ancestor of humans and great apes.”
ABC News:  “Ancient Animal Could Be Human-Ape Ancestor: Scientists Say Fossil in Spain Shows Animal That Is Common Ancestor to Humans, Great Apes.”
Some of the news media buried caveats into the text of the articles.  But then, how many people read just the headlines?

This animal was pure ape.  It would have walked like an ape, climbed like an ape, smelled like an ape, and aped like an ape.  If you found one you would put it in the zoo in the ape cage.  It was no more evolving into a human than a new kind of horse fossil was evolving into a giraffe.  Instead of helping clarify evolution, it confused it, because it had a mosaic of features that did not fit neatly into any evolutionary lineage.  The researchers had to employ the hocus-pocus phrase “convergent evolution” to explain it.  Compared with other apes, there was not a single incipient human feature about it, but all the news media hyped the faintest suggestion by some of the researchers that it might have had something to do with the “last common ancestor” (assuming evolution) between apes and humans.  Shouldn’t this make a sensible person angry?  Suppose any other special interest group or religion routinely got such favorable press for non-sequiturs like this.  Yet as predictably as monkey see, monkey do, the instant any fossil of an ape, monkey or alleged hominid is reported by any scientist, you can bet your bananas there will be a color picture of an artist’s reconstruction of it on National Geographic News the same day, complete with a big fib about how this is helping us understand our own evolution.  But will they give fanfare to the headline that neo-Darwinism has been falsified in the lab? (see 10/19/2004 headline).  Never.  Bad press for Charlie makes them fold up like monkeys and say, “Hear no righteousness, see no righteousness, speak no righteousness.”  (Now read the next headline.)




Evolution, Carl T. Bergstrom , page 487










1. http://www.nature.com.sci-hub.bz/nature/journal/v548/n7666/full/nature23456.html?foxtrotcallback=true
2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sahelanthropus
3. Moya-Sola et al., “Pierolapithecus catalaunicus, a New Middle Miocene Great Ape from Spain,” Science,, Vol 306, Issue 5700, 1339-1344 , 19 November 2004, [DOI: 10.1126/science.1103094].
4. Elizabeth Culotta, “Spanish Fossil Sheds New Light on the Oldest Great Apes,” Science, Science, Vol 306, Issue 5700, 1273-1274 , 19 November 2004, [DOI: 10.1126/science.306.5700.1273a].
5. http://creationsafaris.com/crev200411.htm
6. http://creationsafaris.com/crev201102.htm#20110216a
7.
8. Basics in Human Evolution, Michael P. Muehlenbein, page 212
9. http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/evograms_07
10. http://www.nature.com.sci-hub.bz/nature/journal/v440/n7088/full/4401100a.html
11. http://amedleyofpotpourri.blogspot.com.br/2015/10/chimpanzeehuman-last-common-ancestor.html
12. http://www.theistic-evolution.com/transitional.html
13. Evolution, Carl T. Bergstrom , page 487

Further readings:
http://biologos.org/blogs/archive/the-human-fossil-record-part-1-the-nature-of-transitional-fossils
https://uncommondescent.com/news/original-great-ape-probably-not/
http://www.proof-of-evolution.com/pierolapithecus-catalaunicus.html



Last edited by Admin on Sun Sep 17, 2017 8:19 pm; edited 58 times in total

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2 Sahelanthropus tchadensis on Sat Aug 19, 2017 8:55 pm

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Sahelanthropus tchadensis

7 Ma The latest common ancestor of humans and chimpanzees lived around the time of Sahelanthropus tchadensis

Sahelanthropus tchadensis is one of the oldest known species in the human family tree. This species lived sometime between 7 and 6 million years ago in West-Central Africa (Chad). Walking upright may have helped this species survive in diverse habitats, including forests and grasslands. Although we have only cranial material from Sahelanthropus, studies so far show this species had a combination of ape-like and human-like features. Ape-like features included a small brain (even slightly smaller than a chimpanzee’s), sloping face, very prominent browridges, and elongated skull. Human-like features included small canine teeth, a short middle part of the face, and a spinal cord opening underneath the skull instead of towards the back as seen in non-bipedal apes. 1

Unanswered questions:
What did the body of Sahelanthropus tchadensis look like? So far paleoanthropologists have only uncovered cranial fossils of this species.
What was their primary form of locomotion?
What did they eat?
Why did Sahelanthropus tchadensis males have smaller canines? This is unlike male chimpanzees and most other primates who use their long canine teeth to threaten others, especially when competing for mates.
Were there size differences between Sahelanthropus tchadensis males and females?
Was Sahelanthropus tchadensis a common ancestor of humans and chimpanzees?





Gorilla or Hominid?  Toumaï Controversy Continues    04/14/2005 1
Michel Brunet’s controversial Toumaï skull (Sahelanthropus tchadensis) made the cover of Nature last week,1,2 but rivals contend it was not part of the human line.  The skull he found in Chad in 2002 (see 07/11/2002 and 10/09/2002 entries) was badly disfigured and needed reconstructive surgery, leading to criticisms that any interpretations were subjective.

News sources like MSNBCBBC News and National Geographic immediately pounced on the clay reconstruction featured on the cover of Nature, a gorilla-shaped face with a smooth head and thoughtful-looking eyes.  National Geographic printed a large image of the reconstruction but made no mention of the controversy surrounding its classification.  It stated, “Now new fossil finds and a high-tech skull reconstruction (not shown) strongly suggest the species was human, after all.  This would make it the oldest known human ancestor.”
The BBC News article, by contrast, included statements by other anthropologists who disagreed.  It quoted Mary Pickford (National History Museum, Paris), for instance, who said that it is an ape-like animal and is unconvinced that Toumaï was a hominid at all.  The BBC also pointed out the ramifications of Brunet’s claim that this was in the human line:

If Toumaï really does belong on the human branch of the evolutionary tree, its discovery calls into question certain assumptions about our prehistory.
The fossils were found some 2,500km (1,500 miles) west of the African Great Rift Valley – traditionally seen as humankind’s ancestral home due to the wealth of hominid fossils that have been discovered there. The discovery of S. tchadensis implies early hominids ranged far wider from East Africa, and far earlier, than previously thought It also suggests that hominids evolved quickly when they set off on their own evolutionary path


1Michel Brunet et al., “New material of the earliest hominid from the Upper Miocene of Chad,” Nature 434, 752 - 755 (07 April 2005); doi:10.1038/nature03392.
2Zollikoffer, Brunet et al., “Virtual cranial reconstruction of Sahelanthropus tchadensis,”

Have we forgotten?  Brunet wants to be top dog in the paleoanthropology olympics, so he found his own contestant in his own turf.  He dug up a gorilla skull that was badly deformed, gave it a mythical date, and fashioned it according to his own beliefs (see 03/28/2003 caution by Tim White).  So Brunet got his prize – the cover of Nature – which says absolutely nothing about the validity of his claim that his specimen lived millions of years ago, but more about the gullibility of Darwinist-controlled journals.  Now the other teams are angry that he scored and are out to topple him in this king of the hill game by disqualifying his contestant. This is all so silly.  Evolutionists want us to be surprised at the suggestion that Chad Gorilla could have wandered so far from the Great Rift Valley in millions of years.  Have we forgotten them telling us a few weeks ago that a chipmunk-size armadillo made it from Africa to North America? (see 04/01/2005).  They talk about adaptive radiations and migrations all the time, but need to keep their hominids imprisoned in isolated areas for millions of years to keep their tall tale from falling apart.  Evolutionists toss these millions of years around like flippant remarks, seemingly oblivious to how long even ten thousand years represents.  All of known human history, including all the plant and animal breeding humans have done, fits into a span that is one one-hundredth of just one million years.  They want us to refrain from laughing when they spout absurdities like “It also suggests that hominids evolved quickly when they set off on their own evolutionary path.” Once you understand the inherent foolishness of these long timelines and the stretch-and-squish manner in which they treat rates of evolution (see 12/14/2004 entry), you will not be swayed by these occasional announcements.  Once you understand that the facts are not the issue, but rather the obsessive-compulsive Darwinian need to force human ancestry into an evolutionary timeline, you will instead find these announcements quite amusing. 

New infant cranium from the African Miocene sheds light on ape evolution 1

Here we report on the, to our knowledge, most complete fossil ape cranium yet described, recovered from the 13 million-year-old Middle Miocene site of Napudet, Kenya. The infant specimen, KNM-NP 59050, is assigned to a new species of Nyanzapithecus on the basis of its unerupted permanent teeth, visualized by synchrotron imaging. Its ear canal has a fully ossified tubular ectotympanic, a derived feature linking the species with crown catarrhines. Although it resembles some hylobatids in aspects of its morphology and dental development, it possesses no definitive hylobatid synapomorphies. The combined evidence suggests that nyanzapithecines were stem hominoids close to the origin of extant apes, and that hylobatid-like facial features evolved multiple times during catarrhine evolution.



Sahelanthropus tchadensis is an extinct homininae species (and is probably the ancestor to Orrorin) that is dated to about 7 million years ago, during the Miocene epoch, possibly very close to the time of the chimpanzee–human divergence. Few specimens are known, other than the partial skull nicknamed Toumaï ("hope of life"). 2








Toumai man offers proponents of evolution no hope 3
This discovery is just “the tip of [the] iceberg—one that could sink our current ideas about human evolution.”  Science writer John Whitfield typifies the reaction of paleontologists as they learned about an astounding fossil discovery recently reported in Nature.
An international team of paleontologists led by French scientist Michel Brunet recovered and characterized a remarkably complete hominid skull, with partial jawbone and teeth, from the Sahel region of Chad. The find dates about 7 million years in age.The team assigned these specimens to a new genus, Sahelanthropus tchadensis, and nicknamed it Toumai, which means “hope of life” in the local language.
Ironically, Toumai man’s discovery sinks the “hope of life” in evolutionary explanations for man’s origin. Instead of providing fresh support, Toumai man contradicts several key predictions that stem from the human evolutionary paradigm: evolution from a shared ancestor 5 to 6 million years ago, emergence of two evolutionary branches (apes and hominids) from a single species, and bipedalism as the gradual result from an evolutionary driving force.

Age Problem

Human evolution is thought to have occurred only in eastern and southern Africa. Based on genetic differences and similarities, evolutionary biologists place the divergence time of the great apes and hominids from a shared ancestor at about 5 to 6 million years ago. Toumai man, at 7 million years, appears in the fossil record at least 1 million years prior to the predicted date. And yet Toumai man’s anatomy appears as advanced as hominids such as Homo habilis, dated at 2 million years old. The australopithecines, such as “Lucy,” (3.3 million years old) possess features more primitive than Toumai man’s—meaning that this group of hominids, long regarded as the transitional intermediates in humanity’s ancestry, now seem to represent an evolutionary side-branch and dead end.

Family Problem

Toumai man did not live alone. The Toumai fossil is only the tip of the iceberg that represents many more likely to be found in central Africa. In addition, paleontologists have recovered hominid remains dated at 5.8 million (Ardipithecus ramidus) and 6 million years (Orrorin tugenesis) from eastern and southern Africa. Instead of a single species that gave birth to two evolutionary branches (the apes and hominids), they believe a plethora of hominids existed 6 to 7 million years ago. Thus, the hominid fossil record is not a family “tree” but a “lawn.” One paleontologist likens the structure of the hominid fossil record to the Cambrian Explosion. In other words, when hominids first occur in the fossil record, they make an explosive, not a gradual, appearance.

Foot Problem

Skull features indicate that Toumai man possessed the ability to walk upright, as did Orrorin tugenesis and Ardipithecus ramidus. This ability, considered a defining trait for humanity, appeared suddenly and coincidentally with the hominids’ first appearance. Toumai man lived in an ecological gallery that included woodlands, open savannas, and a lake front. But, the evolutionary model maintains that bipedalism arose gradually when hominids were forced from a forest environment into an open savanna. Thus, bipedalism apparently emerged in the absence of an evolutionary driving force.
Each fossil discovery reveals more of the iceberg that capsizes the case for human evolution. Toumai man’s discovery renders much of what appears in textbooks incorrect. At the same time, the explosive diversity and sudden emergence of bipedalism that occurs with hominids’ first appearance in the fossil record serve as hallmarks of God’s creative work


Oldest member of human family found 2
After a decade of digging through the sand dunes of northern Chad, Michel Brunet found a skull 6-7 million years old. He named it Toumaï.
Toumaï is thought to be the oldest fossil from a member of the human family. It's a dispatch from the time when humans and chimpanzee were going their separate evolutionary ways. A thrilling, but confusing dispatch1,2.
Sahelanthropus tchadensis - Toumaï's scientific name - was probably one of many similar species living in Africa at that time. "There must have been a group of apes knocking around between 5 and 8 million years ago for which there's a very poor fossil record," says anthropologist Bernard Wood of George Washington University in Washington DC.
Toumaï is the tip of that iceberg - one that could sink our current ideas about human evolution. "Anybody who thinks this isn't going to get more complex isn't learning from history," says Wood.
"When I went to medical school in 1963, human evolution looked like a ladder," he says. The ladder stepped from monkey to man through a progression of intermediates, each slightly less ape-like than the last.
Now human evolution looks like a bush. We have a menagerie of fossil hominids - the group containing everything thought more closely related to humans than chimps. How they are related to each other and which, if any of them, are human forebears is still debated.
Most members of the group are less than three million years old. After Toumaï, the next-oldest hominid is the 6-million-year old Orrorin tugenensis. But Orrorin is known only from a few teeth and bone scraps, and its evolutionary allegiances are controversial.
Our knowledge of Toumaï's period is "at the 1963 stage", says Wood.
"When I first saw the skull I thought: 'Gee, it's a chimp'," says anthropologist Daniel Lieberman of Harvard University. Toumaï's brain, for example, was roughly chimp-sized. A closer look "blew my socks off", he recalls.
Sahelanthropus has many traits that shout 'hominid'. These include smaller canines and thicker tooth enamel than apes. And the point at the back of skull where neck muscles attach suggests that Toumaï walked upright.
Many of Toumaï's advanced features are missing from later fossils such as Australopithecus, but reappear in still later species that are classified as Homo.
Based on this, we might have to question some species' place in the hominid club. If Australopithecus looks more ape-like than a much older fossil, how can it belong to the human family? "Anything with a more primitive face has to have its membership reviewed," says Wood.
No groups will be expelled on the evidence so far. The real lesson, says Wood, is that appearance are a bad guide to evolutionary relations. Hominid and ape species probably mixed and matched from a set of features, he says, with the same traits evolving independently on multiple lineages.
Toumaï has other features that are just strange. "It's got a massive brow ridge, the size of a large male gorilla, and yet it's just a little hominid," says Lieberman. This heavy brow leads many to believe that Toumaï was male.
Where then does Toumaï fit on the family tree? He could belong on the chimp or hominid lines, or he could be part of a different branch of the family, more distant from both chimps and humans that either is from the other.
"I'm willing to bet some money that this is a hominid," says Lieberman.
Palaeoanthropologist Tim White of the University of California, Berkeley, agrees. He thinks that Toumaï might belong to Ardipithecus, a group defined by fossils dating from about 5.5-4.5 million years ago.
“I'm willing to bet some money that this is a hominid”
But Wood takes a different view. "My guess is that it's neither a chimp nor a human ancestor - it's a creature that was living at the same time."
To solve the mystery we need more fossils from the same period. Unfortunately, our relatives' habits may be against us. The forests favored by chimps, and apparently by early hominids, are not conducive to fossil formation. Chimps, for example, have no fossil record.
On the bright side, Toumaï's discovery suggests that, even if they were rarely fossilized, ancient apes and hominids roamed right across Africa. "Finding hominids in the Sahara was a bit of a long shot," says Wood. So far, most fossil hominids have turned up in the east, with a few further south.
But desert-bound paleontologists be warned: "There are brutal field conditions," says Lieberman



http://www.nature.com.sci-hub.bz/nature/journal/v418/n6894/full/nature00879.html

1. http://humanorigins.si.edu/evidence/human-fossils/species/sahelanthropus-tchadensis
2. http://www.nature.com/news/2002/020711/full/news020708-12.html



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3 Orrorin tugenensis on Sun Aug 20, 2017 2:21 pm

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Is Human Evolution a Fact? 5

The controversies at the cutting edge of paleoanthropology are often philosophical and methodological rather than scientific. The lumper-splitter debate ultimately undermines confidence in the evolutionary scenarios advanced to explain human origins. When philosophical issues define a controversy, additional research usually can’t bring resolution. Over the last several years, hominids that date to between 7 and 3.5 million years of age have been discovered and assigned to new genera: Ardipithecus, Kenyanthropus, Orrorin, and Sahelanthropus. These four categories add to the two well-established genera, Australopithecus and Homo, and the sometimes-disputed genus
Paranthropus. Evolutionary biologist Francisco Ayala recently argued that the creation of these four new genera is not justified. He proposed a novel classification scheme for the hominids. Ayala replaces the current seven genera with four others: (1) Preanthropus, which includes Orrorin tugenensis, Australopithecus anamensis, A. bahrelghazali, A. garhi, and A. afarensis; (2) Ardipithecus, which includes A. ramidus; (3) Australopithecus, which includes A. africanus, A. aethiopicus, A. robustus, and A. boisei; and (4) Homo, which includes K. platyops. Currently Ayala holds Sahelanthropus in reserve (as a fifth genus) until more work can be done. To arrive at this new scheme, Ayala dropped the genera Kenyanthropus, Orrorin, and Paranthropus and redefined the membership of the traditional genera Homo and Australopithecus. Ayala also proposed a novel evolutionary tree rooted in Preanthropus. The new Ardipithecus and Australopithecus genera are evolutionary side branches and dead ends. According to Ayala, Homo emerged just before Preanthropus terminated. How paleoanthropologists will respond to this new proposal remains unclear. But one thing is certain—extensive confusion surrounds hominid classification at both the species and the genus levels. This chaos renders any proposed hominid evolutionary tree as speculative. 6

Orrorin tugenensis

7 Ma  The earliest known representative from the ancestral human line post-dating the separation with the chimpanzee lines is Orrorin tugenensis (Millennium Man, Kenya; c. 6 Ma).





Living around 6 million years ago, Orrorin tugenensis is the one of the oldest early humans on our family tree. Individuals of this species were approximately the size of a chimpanzee and had small teeth with thick enamel, similar to modern humans. The most important fossil of this species is an upper femur, showing evidence of bone buildup typical of a biped - so Orrorin tugenensis individuals climbed trees but also probably walked upright with two legs on the ground. 4

Unanswered questions :
Is Orrorin a direct human ancestor to Homo sapiens? If so, does this make Au. afarensis a side branch of our of hominin family tree that eventually hit a dead-end?
Did Orrorin routinely walk on two legs? Orrorin’s fossil evidence indicates that Orrorin was possibly capable of bipedalism, but not necessarily that Orrorin  routinely walked bipedal.
How did bipedalism originate? One hypothesis suggests early apes walked on branches while using their arms for balance and this technique eventually made its way to the ground.
What is the relationship between this species and Sahelanthropus tchadensis, the other current contender for the title of earliest human?




The Orrorin fossil was announced in Science in 2001; see 02/23/2001 headline).  In the final paragraph, Begun gives his opinion on the problem and the solution: 1

Why the different interpretations?  Evidence is scarce and fragmentary, and uncertainty predominates.  Interpretations rely especially heavily on past experience to make sense of incomplete evidence.  Haile-Selassie and colleagues interpret diversity in fossil hominids in terms of variability and gradual evolutionary change in an evolving lineage.  Others see cladistic diversity as opposed to ancestor-descendant relations....  Ancestor-descendant relations must exist , but adaptive radiation and cladogenesis also must exist , or organic diversity would be the same today as it was at the beginning of biological evolution.  Rather than a single lineage, the late Miocene hominin fossil record may sample an adaptive radiation , from a source either in Eurasia or yet undiscovered in Africa, the first of several radiations during the course of human evolution....  Regardless, the level of uncertainty in the available direct evidence at this time renders irreconcilable differences of opinion inevitable.  The solution is in the mantra of all paleontologists: We need more fossils!

Ape-Man Believers Fight It Out  02/23/2001
Claims by French paleoanthropologists of the discovery of a 6-million-year-old fossilized human ancestor in Kenya named Orrorin are causing strife among their colleagues, says the journal Science.  If accepted, this fossil predates the famed Lucy and other leading candidates by two million years.  The fossil fragments consist of a few fragments of leg bone, jaw and teeth.  It’s the teeth the discoverers claim are most human-like, and in their opinion, relegates all the other candidates to side-show freaks.  Naturally, other scientists disagree.  One researcher says he can’t tell whether Orrorin was “on the line to humans, on the line to chimps, a common ancestor to both, or just an extinct side branch.”  (See our Feb 7 report on this find.) 2
Paleoanthropology is more like sports than science.  Rival teams are waiting for their chance to go out on the field and score points in the media.  Now another team is claiming “Everything you know is wrong.”  Considering paleoanthropology’s shameful history (Piltdown Man, Nebraska Man, Peking Man, Ramapithecus, etc.), stories like this make it look like a free-for-all without rules or referees.  Maybe they should take up a sport that’s more sensible and honest, like professional wrestling. 

3







1. http://www.creationsafaris.com/crev200403.htm#earlyman87
2. http://www.creationsafaris.com/crev02.htm#earlyman2
3. http://www.nature.com.sci-hub.bz/nature/journal/v410/n6828/full/410526a0.html
4. http://humanorigins.si.edu/evidence/human-fossils/species/orrorin-tugenensis
5. Who was Adam? : a creation model approach to the origin of man / Fazale Rana ; with Hugh Ross. -- Second expanded edition. page 109
6. http://www.pnas.org/content/100/13/7684.full



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4 Ardipithecus on Mon Aug 21, 2017 5:27 pm

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Ardipithecus 

4.4 Ma   Ardipithecus is, or may be, a very early hominin genus (tribe Hominini and subtribe Hominina).

The fossil Ardipithecus ramidus is dated to near the branching node of humans and African apes, and may well resemble that common ancestor. Ardipithecus ramidus lacks adaptations for terrestrial locomotion, specifically dorsal ridges on their knuckles, making them more like gibbons or orangutans. The first stage in the evolution of bipedalism was a gibbon- or orangutan- like facultative or part-time bipedalism.

Ardipithecus kadabba (5.8–5.2 mya), and Ardipithecus ramidus (4.4–4.2 mya). None of these species has been accepted unequivocally by the paleontological community as a human ancestor; rather, most experts agree that the first indisputable hominin is the 4.2 mya Australopithecus anamensis

Ar. ramidus provides only limited evidence about the nature and timing of crucial early events in hominid evolution. 5

Ethiopian Missing Link: Location, Location, Location    04/19/2006       
The Associated Press reported that a new fossil discovery proves the link between two ancestral species of man, and shows the change happening right before our eyes:

Fossils have long provided snapshots of the human family tree, but a new find in Africa gives scientists a kind of mini home movie showing man’s primal development.Because the 4.2-million-year-old fossil is from the same human ancestral hot spot in Ethiopia as remains from seven other human-like species, scientists can now fill in the gaps for the most complete evolutionary chain so far.“We just found the chain of evolution, the continuity through time,” said Ethiopian anthropologist Berhane Asfaw, co-author of the study being reported Thursday in the journal Nature.  “One form evolved to another.  This is evidence of evolution in one place through time.”  

So what did they actually find?  Not a missing link or an intermediate form, but just another Australopithecus anamensis fossil, but in a location intermediate in the rock layers between Australopithecus and its supposed ancestor Ardipithecus:

The species, Australopithecus anamensis is not new, but its location is what helps explain the giant leap from one early phase of human-like development to the next, scientists say. All eight species were found in a region called the Middle Awash.“It’s like 12 frames of a home movie, but a home movie covering 6 million years,” said study lead author Tim White, co-director of Human Evolution Research Center at University of California at Berkeley.  Fossils in the region cover three major phases of human development.“The key here is the sequences,” White said.  “It’s about a mile thickness of rocks in the Middle Awash and in it we can see all three phases of human evolution.“Modern man belongs to the genus Homo, which is a subgroup in the family of hominids.  What evolved into Homo was likely the genus Australopithecus (once called “man-ape”), which includes the famed 3.2 million-year-old “Lucy” fossil found three decades ago. A key candidate for the genus that evolved into Australopithecus is called Ardipithecus.  And Thursday’s finding is important in bridging – but not completely – the gap between Australopithecus and Ardipithecus. In 1994, a 4.4 million-year-old partial skeleton of the species Ardipithecus ramidus – the most recent Ardipithecus species – was found about six miles from the latest discovery. “This appears to be the link between Australopithecus and Ardipithecus as two different species,” White said.  The major noticeable difference between the phases of man can be seen in Australopithecus’ bigger chewing teeth to eat harder food, he said.

Finally we get to the fine print and disclaimers.  It turns out they aren’t so sure as the headline would like you to believe:

While it’s looking more likely, it is not a sure thing that Ardipithecus evolved into Australopithecus, he said.  The finding does not completely rule out Ardipithecus dying off as a genus and Australopithecus developing independently. The connections between Ardipithecus and Australopithecus have been theorized since an anamensis fossil was first found in Kenya 11 years ago.  This draws the lines better, said Alan Walker of Penn State University, who found the first anamensis and is not part of White’s team. Rick Potts, director of the Smithsonian Institution’s Human Origins Program, agreed: “For those people who are tied up in doing the whole human family tree, being able to connect the branches is a very important thing to do.”

This story was widely circulated in newspapers.

In yet another example of circular reasoning, White and team have assumed evolution, fit the data to the evolutionary just so story, and paraded the result as “proof” that evolution happened.  Evolutionists are so desperate to deal with the lack of intermediate fossils that now the location of a fossil qualifies it as somehow being intermediate.  Arranging fossils in some increasing order of complexity to prove evolution has been around for a long time, for example, the horse evolution series, but it doesn’t prove that evolution happened any more than arranging old cars in a junkyard in order of complexity proves they evolved. For an analysis of the human fossil data from a different worldview, read Marvin Lubenow’s classic book, Bones of Contention,  available from AIG.  Also, AIG has an excellent video critically analyzing the Lucy fossil, “Lucy, She’s No Lady,” by Dr. David Menton. 

Ardipithecus kadabba

Ardipithecus kadabba was bipedal (walked upright), probably similar in body and brain size to a modern chimpanzee, and had canines that resemble those in later hominins but that still project beyond the tooth row. This early human species is only known in the fossil record by a few post-cranial bones and sets of teeth. One bone from the large toe has a broad, robust appearance, suggesting its use in bipedal push-off. 6

Unanswered questions:
Was Ar. kadabba routinely bipedal? So far, the evidence for Ar. kadabba’s upright walking comes from an single toe bone that dates to 5.2 million years old and was found 10 miles away from the other Ar. kadabba specimens.
If Ar. kadabba walked upright, what was its gait like?
DId bipedalism independently develop in the Ardipithecus lineage? Or is Ar. kadabba somehow related to Orrorin tugenensis and Sahelanthropus tchadensis, two earlier human species?
How is the Ardipithecus lineage related the Australopithecus lineage?
How big were the average male and female Ar. kadabba individuals? Was there a high level of sexual dimorphism in this early human species?  

Ardipithecus kadabba is "known only from teeth and bits and pieces of skeletal bones", and is dated to approximately 5.6 million years ago. It has been described as a "probable chronospecies" (i.e. ancestor) of A. ramidus. Although originally considered a subspecies of A. ramidus, in 2004 anthropologists Yohannes Haile-Selassie, Gen Suwa, and Tim D. White published an article elevating A. kadabba to species level on the basis of newly discovered teeth from Ethiopia. These teeth show "primitive morphology and wear pattern" which demonstrate that A. kadabba is a distinct species from A. ramidus.

The specific name comes from the Afar word for "basal family ancestor".















Ardipithecus ramidus

Ardipithecus ramidus was first reported in 1994; in 2009, scientists announced a partial skeleton, nicknamed ‘Ardi’. The foot bones in this skeleton indicate a divergent large toe combined with a rigid foot – it's still unclear what this means concerning bipedal behavior. The pelvis, reconstructed from a crushed specimen, is said to show adaptations that combine tree-climbing and bipedal activity. The discoverers argue that the ‘Ardi’ skeleton reflects a human-African ape common ancestor that was not chimpanzee-like. A good sample of canine teeth of this species indicates very little difference in size between males and females in this species. 6

Unanswered questions:
Does the pelvis of Ar. ramidus support the hypothesis that this early human species was bipedal? The pelvis was reconstructed from crushed fossils and, according to some scientists, is only suggestive of bipedalism.
What is the average size of male Ar. ramidus individuals? If more fossils support the original finding of relatively low sexual dimorphism, how does this relate to male and female size differences in other early humans at the base of our family tree -- and what does it mean?

Step Aside Lucy; It’s Ardi Time   10/02/2009     
Oct 2, 2009 — A new fossil human ancestor has taken center stage.  Those who love Lucy, the australopithecine made famous by Donald Johanson (and numerous TV specials), are in for a surprise.  Lucy is a has been.  Her replacement is not Desi Arnaz, but is designated Ardi, short for Ardipithecus ramidus – the new leading lady in the family tree.  Actually, she has been around for years since her discovery in Ethiopia in 1992.  It has taken Tim White and crew 15 years to piece together the bones that were in extremely bad condition.  But now, Ardi has made her debut and is stealing the limelight. The special issue of Science published this week had no less than 16 articles on this one fossil – an exceptional amount of coverage for any topic.  In the lead Editorial,1 Bruce Alberts proclaimed, “Darwin was certainly right” to predict that science would solve the mystery of human origins.  Popular science reporters, by habit, are going ape with “Read all about it!” headlines announcing the latest saga of human evolution.2  But wait – wasn’t Lucy the last word back in the 1970s?

A completely new paradigm is emerging alongside the unveiling of Ardi.  The scoop is this: Lucy had nothing to do with our family tree after all.  She and her kinds were on a separate branch that did not lead to us.  In fact, all chimpanzees and great apes are now on different branches.  There goes a lot of storytelling.  The century and a half since Darwin commonly portrayed humans as higher up the family tree on a continuous lineage with chimpanzees our nearest living relatives.  Not any more.  Now we are to see all the great apes as highly-evolved (“derived”) mammals on separate branches from a more distant common ancestor that was probably more like small monkeys.  Getting tossed out with the housecleaning are some other popular notions: that humans came down out of the trees to hunt in the savannah (Ardi appears to have inhabited a woodland), and that hominids remained on the ground (it appears Ardi still had the feet for tree grasping).

Most important, the new paradigm changes the mechanism of evolution itself.  In classical neo-Darwinism, traits evolve in a stepwise fashion through mutations and natural selection (the “referential model”).  Some evolutionists are now moving toward a more nuanced view called “adaptive suites.”  These are groups of traits that emerge together and evolve together as a package.  C. Owen Lovejoy (Kent State U) explained this idea in his Science article “Reexamining Human Origins in Light of Ardipithecus ramidus.”3  (Since reporting on all 16 articles about Ardi would be excessive, we will focus on this one article that surveys the broad issues.)  Before proposing his adaptive suite model, Lovejoy described how wrong all his predecessors had been:

An essential goal of human evolutionary studies is to account for human uniqueness, most notably our bipedality, marked demographic success, unusual reproductive physiology, and unparalleled cerebral and technological abilities.  During the past several decades, it has been routinely argued that these hominid characters have evolved by simple modifications of homologs shared with our nearest living relatives, the chimpanzee and bonobo.  This method is termed referential modeling.  A central tenet has been the presumption (sometimes clearly stated but more often simply sub rosa) that Gorilla and Pan are so unusual and so similar to each other that they cannot have evolved in parallel; therefore, the earliest hominids must have also resembled these African apes.  Without a true early hominid fossil record, the de facto null hypothesis has been that Australopithecus was largely a bipedal manifestation of an African ape(especially the chimpanzee).  Such proxy-based scenarios have been elevated to common wisdom by genomic comparisons, progressively establishing the phylogenetic relationships of Gorilla, Pan, and Homo.

Out with the old referential model, in with the new adaptive suites model:

An alternative to referential modeling is the adaptive suite, an extrapolation from optimization theory.  Adaptive suites are semiformal, largely inductive algorithms that causally interrelate fundamental characters that may have contributed to an organism’s total adaptive pattern.  One for the horned lizard (Phyrnosoma platyrhinos) of the southwestern U.S. serves as an excellent example (Fig. 1).  For this species, the interrelation between a dietary concentration on ants and its impact on body form imply, at first counterintuitively, that elevation of clutch size and intensification of "r" strategy (maximize the number of offspring by minimizing paternal care) are the ultimate consequences of this specialization.

So when we look at upright human bodies with all their specializations, we are to see them as suites of adaptations that evolved together out of some initial lifestyle change.  In the case of the horned lizard, some normal-looking lizard ancestor took on a taste for ants.  That made it consume more of its new prey because of the large amounts of chitin that had to be digested.  This, in turn, changed its body plan and made it more fat and sluggish.  Now it had to evolve armor (spines and horns) and camouflage for protection from predators.  So from one lifestyle change, a whole suite of adaptations evolved together.
What, then, was the stimulus that made some unknown monkey begin its path to humanity?  Lovejoy looked at Ardi for clues.  The discoverers claim three traits stand out: (1) less sexual dimorphism (body size differences between males and females), although this is speculative; (2) reduced canine teeth; and (3) evidence Ardi walked upright (though this is disputed).  To him, this means the common ancestor changed its reproductive habits.  Sparing our readers the lurid details Lovejoy discussed about genitalia shapes and sizes, promiscuous behaviors and Darwinian concepts like “sperm competition” and “ovulatory crypsis”) he deduced that Ardipithecus had a suite of adaptations that would emerge in full flower in the human race – monogamy, straight teeth and upright stance.  Maybe it began as a sex-for-food deal.  This required explaining away some of the peculiar characteristics of male genitalia, but whatever: the adaptive suite is now the preferred explanatory model.  Along with the human adaptive suite came big brains, tool use, fire, language, spear-throwing, food hauling, hugging, and eventually, abstract mathematics and music. Lovejoy concluded that Lucy was an unfortunate detour in our understanding of where we came from:

Even as its fossil record proliferated, however, Australopithecus [Lucy and her friends] continued to provide only an incomplete understanding of hominid origins.  Paradoxically, in light of Ardipithecus, we can now see that Australopithecus was too derived—its locomotion too sophisticated, and its invasion of new habitats too advanced—not to almost entirely obscure earlier hominid evolutionary dynamics.
Now, in light of Ar. ramidus, there are no longer any a priori reasons to suppose that acquisition of our unique reproductive anatomy and behavior are unconnected with other human specializations....
When viewed holistically, as any adaptive suite requires, the early hominid characters that were probably interwoven by selection to eventually generate cognition now seem every bit as biologically ordinary as those that have also affected the evolution of lizards, frogs, voles, monkeys, and chimpanzees.  Comparing ourselves to our closest kin, it is somewhat sobering that the hominid path led to cognition, whereas that leading to Pan, our closest living relatives, did not, despite the near-synonymy of our genomes.


By closest living relatives, Lovejoy means close on different branches.  The old picture that they were closer down the same branch.  One notices that Lovejoy still employed the word “selection.”  That’s right; he is not abandoning Darwin.  “As Darwin argued, the ultimate source of any explication of human acumen must be natural selection,” he explained.  “The adaptive suite proposed here provides at least one evolutionary map by which cognition could have emerged without reliance on any special mammalian trait.”  Ostensibly this means that now evolutionists do not have to explain cognition by the sudden emergence by mutation of just one the “neural substrate” (big brain; see 09/24/2009).  Now they can employ the word “emergence” to an interwoven suite of adaptive traits that makes us human.

The popular media are all echoing this line that chimpanzees are no longer on our branch of the family tree.  The image of Lucy’s famous skeleton has been supplanted by artwork from J.H. Matternes showing a hairy, upright female with Mona-Lisa-like cheeky smile.  Surely Johanson is not taking this sitting down, is he?  According to the U.C. Chronicle of Higher Education, he conceded that this fossil is “terribly important for all of our thinking” about human origins (emphasis on terribly), but “will undoubtedly generate widespread debate” in days to come.  The Chronicle added that the debate will include “the question of whether Ardi is actually a human ancestor.
One point not emphasized in the popular reports is the fragmentary condition of the bones.  Casey Luskin of the Discovery Institute, writing for Evolution News and Views uncovered statements that the specimen was “crushed nearly to smithereens.”  The substrate was chalky and squished, resembling an “Irish stew” that would turn to dust at the slightest touch.  This included the critical pelvic bones necessary to establish whether the creature walked upright.  Six years ago, Tim White himself had cautioned fellow scientists that geological deformation of fossil fragments can produce misleading impressions of species diversity (03/28/2003).  Now it’s clear he was working on these badly-damaged Ardipithecus fragments at the time he said that (see, for example,04/19/2006 and especially the 10/29/2002 and 09/23/2004 fights).

In a second article for Evolution News, Luskin commented on the game-changing nature of this find.  Actually, Luskin pointed out, it’s another episode out of an old playbook – claiming that the new find “overturns the prevailing views on human evolution.”
Perceptive readers may also take note of the fact that White dates Ardi at 4.4 million years BP (before present), while Johanson’s Lucy was found not far away and dated at 3.2 million years BP.  Some questions not being asked are (1) which way was evolution going for 1.2 million years between Ardi and Lucy, (2) how much did the landscape change geologically in that time, and (3) is it possible these species were contemporaneous.  Only Biblical creationists seem to be asking the other overlooked question: how can they prove those dates without assuming evolution?  For some creationist responses to Ardipithecus in particular and human evolution in general, see articles 12, and 3 on CMI.


1.  Bruce Alberts, “Understanding Human Origins,” Science, 2 October 2009: Vol. 326. no. 5949, p. 17 DOI: 10.1126/science.1182387.
2.  A short list of popular reports: National Geographic NewsScience DailyLive SciencePhysOrg and the BBC News.
3.  C. Owen Lovejoy, “Reexamining Human Origins in Light of Ardipithecus ramidus.” Science, 2 October 2009: Vol. 326. no. 5949, pp. 74, 74e1-74e8, DOI: 10.1126/science.1175834.


OK, so Tim White is getting his 15 minutes of fame (see 04/27/2006).  If you have been following the Early Man stories in CEH for any length of time, you know the rivalries that exist between the fossil hunters.  Every year or so, as if on cue, the news media go berserk with euphoria over the latest human ancestor fossil, essentially declaring EYKIW (everything you know is wrong).  Rewrite the textbooks; all the stuff taught up till now has been overturned and revised by this latest fossil.  There’s the Leakey group, the Haile-Selassie Group, the Johanson group, the Spaniards, the Georgians and others, all competing for the spotlight.  With a successful media blitz comes speaking tours, book deals and fame.  The competition is especially effective when you can give a cute name to your fossil – Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, Ardi, or Ida.  (Speaking of Ida, that attempt at EYKIW last May flopped badly – see 05/19/2009.  Even the shameless overboard paleoanthropology crowd thought that was a little too shameless and overboard.)
    If you enjoy comedy, read through the 271 Early Man stories we have published here over the last 9 years.  You see the playbook played out over and over again.  The latest contender promises that the new find “sheds light on evolution” and is helping us “understand our origins.”  Each time, numerous miracles are required to get humans their cognition and “unparalleled cerebral and technological abilities” (e.g., 03/29/2004).
    This time they are trying to forestall criticism with the sheer volume of words being written.  It’s like launching a hundred decoy missiles to get the enemy to waste all their interceptors.  You can go read all those papers if you wish, but there’s no sense in taking any of it seriously, because as we have pointed out repeatedly, it’s self-refuting nonsense to begin with.  If Tim White’s brain is a product of some ancient sex-for-food game played by Ardi’s genes, without her cognitive choice in the matter, then we have no way of knowing that Tim White’s brain is a product of some ancient sex-for-food game played out by Ardi’s genes.  Get it?  It undermines his whole reasoning apparatus.  We can’t believe a word he said.  His scenario crumbles to dust like Ardi’s bones.  If he really wants to reason, if he cares about finding the truth, then he has to abandon Darwinism and become a creationist.  Then he will have the causal resources to employ reason, logic, evidence and rhetoric – not until.
    What is most sad about all this is the deception to our young people.  How many of you were taught one of these tales in school?  Maybe it was Java Man (if you are getting into your senior years), or one of Louis Leakey’s National Geographic cover stories (if you are middle-aged), or OrrorinKenyanthropus, Toumai, Lucy or any number of other more recent tales.  The artwork is so deceiving.  Tim White cannot possibly know what that creature looked like in the condition those bones were in (don’t forget his statements from 2003).  Artists take the fragments and emphasize some traits and de-emphasize others to communicate the desired message, that this fossil has something to do with our origins.  The hair, the soft tissues, and the facial expressions are all imaginary.  National Geographic has been one of the worst offenders over the years.  The charts these people make up, placing each fossil into an artificial timeline and connecting dots between them, are just as bad.  Don’t trust any of it (e.g., 03/05/2004).   Would you follow one of these blind guides up ten floors of a house of cards so he can show you a steel girder he claims is holding up a ceiling, or a light fixture that is shedding light on a dark closet?  Their superstructure of paper, no matter how elaborate their origami, lacks substance.  What’s more, it sits on quicksand in a windstorm.  Get out of the away.
    It is alarming to look at old textbooks and NG mags and see how much revision there has been.  Paleoanthropology is not converging on a progressive, steadily-improving story coming into sharper focus.  It’s stanza after stanza of the EYKIW dirge.  Playing a dirge with a hip-hop rhythm doesn’t help.


At the site of Aramis in Ethiopia, fossils of the early hominin Ardipithecus ramidus were associated with the bones of a number of large and small animals including monkeys, closed-habitat antelope, as well as a variety of small mammals, birds, and invertebrates 3

Even in the wake of the Aramis and Gona discoveries, the morphological envelopes, phylogenetic relationships, and evolutionary dynamics of early hominid species remain incompletely understood. 1 Unfortunately, the phylogeographic
details remain obscure given the poor spatial and temporal resolution of the current fossil record.  Currently, Australopithecus appears relatively abruptly in the fossil record at about 4.2 Ma










2.






The Ardipithecus ramidus Skull and Its Implications for Hominid Origins 4
The highly fragmented and distorted skull of the adult skeleton ARA-VP-6/500 includes most of the dentition and preserves substantial parts of the face, vault, and base. Anatomical comparisons and micro-computed tomography-based analysis of this and other remains reveal pre-Australopithecus hominid craniofacial morphology and structure. The Ardipithecus ramidus skull exhibits a small endocranial capacity (300 to 350 cubic centimeters), small cranial size relative to body size, considerable midfacial projection, and a lack of modern African ape-like extreme lower facial prognathism. Its short posterior cranial base differs from that of both Pan troglodytes and P. paniscus. Ar. ramidus lacks the broad, anteriorly situated zygomaxillary facial skeleton developed in later Australopithecus. This combination of features is apparently shared by Sahelanthropus, showing that the Mio-Pliocene hominid cranium differed substantially from those of both extant apes and Australopithecus.

The Ardipithecus ramidus Skull and Its Implications for Hominid Origins (PDF Download Available). Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/40446787_The_Ardipithecus_ramidus_Skull_and_Its_Implications_for_Hominid_Origins [accessed Aug 22, 2017].


The cover story of Science that announced Ardipithecus as “Breakthrough of the Year” for 2009,3 complete with new artist rendition of a furry upright walking creature.  (See 11/25/2009 and 10/02/2009 for earlier reports on Ardi).  PhysOrg celebrated this “breakthrough” without question.  It won out over nine other contenders dealing with physics, astronomy, genetics, cell biology and medicine.






Ardipithecus ramidus and the Origins of Bipedality 7 

The origins of bipedality have traditionally been understood as having evolved at the end of the Miocene epoch, around 6 to 8 million years ago (Crompton, Sellers and Thorpe 2010) when the climate began to dry out and cool. Unfortunately, there are only scattered presumed hominin remains from this time period, all of which are taxonomically controversial and fragmentary and none of which have diagnostic postcranial remains. It has also been thought that the transition to bipedality likely did not happen all at once but in mosaic fashion (as evolution often proceeds) and this has recently supported by the fossil record. Up until a few years ago, the most widely-accepted model was that bipedality originated among a group of large-bodied hominoids that had adapted to the savannah-jungle fringe. The jungle, itself, was ceded to the precursors of the modern chimpanzees and gorillas and the savannah to the precursors of the modern baboons and other terrestrial monkeys. As a result, some workers (Crompton et al. 2010) suggested that both arboreal (tree-dwelling) and terrestrial locomotion might have been present in our earliest ancestors. Recent evidence has corroborated some parts of this model, but not others.





In 1994, the remains of a remarkable hominin, dated to 4.4 million years ago, were unearthed in the Afar Triangle of Northeastern Ethiopia. Examination of the surrounding deposits, however, yielded a conclusion that this hominin lived in a woodland environment, rather than a savannah/forest fringe environment (White et al. 2009a). Requiring over ten years of extrication from the surrounding rock and painstaking reconstruction, this fossil form, Ardipithecus ramidus (now represented by 110 individuals) yields diagnostic parts of the pelvis (Figure 4), as well as sections of the arms and skull (Figure 5) (White et al. 2009b). Although the base of the skull is not preserved, one striking aspect of humanity is present in the teeth. The canine (eye tooth) does not extend beyond the tooth row. Humans are the only hominins for which this is the case. In all other ape species, fossil and extant, the canine projects well beyond the tooth row.
Biomechanics specialist Owen Lovejoy and colleagues (Lovejoy et al. 2009) write about this species:


“The gluteal muscles had been repositioned so that Ar. Ramidus could walk without shifting its center of mass from side to side. This is made clear not only by the shape of its ilium, but by the appearance of a special growth site unique to hominids among all primates (the anterior inferior iliac spine). However, its lower pelvis was still almost entirely ape-like, presumably because it still had massive hindlimb muscles for active climbing.”


Figure 6 shows the intermediate nature of the pelvis of Ardipithecus ramidus compared to later hominins (Homo sapiens, Au. Afarensis) and chimpanzees (P. troglodytes).
Ardipithecus, then, represents a shift away from the primitive locomotion employed by the last common ancestor of our line and that of modern chimpanzees. Here is a hominin that maintained a link with its tree-dwelling past and yet had progressed toward the bipedal future. This evidence is striking because it firmly demonstrates that a species had arisen that was advanced in the human direction. Whether or not it led to the hominin forms that followed is not known but it clearly represents a phenomenal example of a transitional form in the human fossil record. From this point on, the forms become noticeably more human in appearance, leading eventually our own species some four million years later. In his infinite wisdom, God had set us on a path toward our eventual communion with Him. That this path took such a long period of time and through so many varied forms of humanity is a testament to His creative power and patience.

1. http://science.sciencemag.org.sci-hub.bz/content/326/5949/64
2. http://www.nature.com.sci-hub.bz/nature/journal/v412/n6843/full/412178a0.html?foxtrotcallback=true
3. Basics in Human Evolution, Michael P. Muehlenbein, page 92
4. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/40446787_The_Ardipithecus_ramidus_Skull_and_Its_Implications_for_Hominid_Origins
5. http://www.pnas.org/content/112/16/4877.full.pdf
6. http://humanorigins.si.edu/evidence/human-fossils/species/ardipithecus-ramidus
7. http://biologos.org/blogs/archive/the-human-fossil-record-part-2-bipedality



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Australopithecus

3.6 Mio A member of the Australopithecus afarensis left human-like footprints on volcanic ash in Laetoli, Kenya (Northern Tanzania), providing strong evidence of full-time bipedalism. Australopithecus afarensis lived between 3.9 and 2.9 million years ago, and is considered one of the earliest hominins those species that developed and comprised the lineage of Homo and Homo's closest relatives after the split from the line of the chimpanzees.

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Australopithecus anamensis

Australopithecus anamensis has a combination of traits found in both apes and humans. The upper end of the tibia (shin bone) shows an expanded area of bone and a human-like orientation of the ankle joint, indicative of regular bipedal walking (support of body weight on one leg at the time). Long forearms and features of the wrist bones suggest these individuals probably climbed trees as well. http://humanorigins.si.edu/evidence/human-fossils/species/australopithecus-anamensis

Unanswered questions:
Is Au. anamensis a separate species from Au. afarensis? Many scientists think the fossil material of Au. anamensis and Au. afarensis represents a single lineage that evolved through time.
Is Au. amanensis a direct descendant of the 4.4 million year old species Ardipithecus ramidus?

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Walking Tall: Earth Pushed Hominids Out of Africa   12/19/2007     
Why did humans evolve from stoop-shouldered apemen into tall, proud, big-brained Europeans?  Africa pushed them out.  That seems to be the idea behind a story spreading throughout the popular science media, such as on Science Daily, entitled, “Geologists Say ‘Wall Of Africa’ Allowed Humanity To Emerge.”  The idea is based on circumstantial evidence that, according to evolutionary dating, the African Rift zone was creating mountains and valleys at about the same time hominids were thought by paleoanthropologists to be emerging into manhood. According to the Science Daily article, the husband and wife team of Royhan and Nahid Gani claim, “Tectonics [movement of Earth’s crust] was ultimately responsible for the evolution of humankind.”  Why?  Because it dried up the trees and created grasslands.  The apes had to climb down and learn how to walk on two feet, “an energy-efficient way to search larger areas for food in an arid environment.”  The Ganis did not explain why the other mammals didn’t follow the human leader. The following quotes by the Ganis were gleaned from reports on Science Daily, and EurekAlert, an PhysOrg, which regurgitated a press release from University of Utah.


  • Because of the crustal movement or tectonism in East Africa, the landscape drastically changed over the last 7 million years,” says Royhan Gani (pronounced rye-hawn Go-knee), a research assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering.  “That landscape controlled climate on a local to regional scale.  That climate change spurred human ancestors to evolve from apes.
  • “Although the Wall of Africa started to form around 30 million years ago, recent studies show most of the uplift occurred between 7 million and 2 million years ago, just about when hominins split off from African apes, developed bipedalism and evolved bigger brains.”
  • Nature built this wall, and then humans could evolve, walk tall and think big,” says Royhan Gani.  “Is there any characteristic feature of the wall that drove human evolution?”
        The answer, he believes, is the variable landscape and vegetation resulting from uplift of the Wall of Africa, which created “a topographic barrier to moisture, mostly from the Indian Ocean” and dried the climate.
    “Clearly, the Wall of Africa grew to be a prominent elevated feature over the last 7 million years, thereby playing a prominent role in East African aridification by wringing moisture out of monsoonal air moving across the region,” the Ganis write.  That period coincides with evolution of human ancestors in the area.


  • Royhan Gani says the earliest undisputed evidence of true bipedalism (as opposed to knuckle-dragging by apes) is 4.1 million years ago in Australopithecus anamensis, but some believe the trait existed as early as 6 million to 7 million years ago.
        The Ganis speculate that the shaping of varied landscapes by tectonic forces -- lake basins, valleys, mountains, grasslands, woodlands -- “could also be responsible, at a later stage, for hominins developing a bigger brainas a way to cope with these extremely variable and changing landscapes” in which they had to find food and survive predators.



The only hint of doubt about this hypothesis is in the last paragraphs from the press release: “For now, Royhan Gani acknowledges the lack of more precise timeframes makes it difficult to link specific tectonic events to the development of upright walking, bigger brains and other key steps in human evolution.  ‘But it all happened within the right time period,’ he says.  ‘Now we need to nail it down.’”

Of course, these Charlietans had to include a little bit of doubt to let their sponsors know this is an important work in progress, so that the funds will keep flowing. The secular science reporters echo this nonsense without any critical thinking.  If we don’t expose the fallacies in these ridiculous ideas for the public, who will?  Even ardent evolutionists should be ashamed of the kind of illogic that went into this claim.  Tectonic forces and climate change make apes walk tall and think big.  Right on, dude.  It’s a shame this didn’t happen back in the Cambrian or Ordovician; we might have had written records for more time telling us how meteor impacts created brickmasons, earthquakes created architects, and tsunamis created surfers. Evolutionists should be the first in line to award the Ganis with Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week.  Instead, they give any imposters claiming to be scientists license to say any stupid things they want, as long as they swear allegiance to Darwin (e.g., 07/17/2007).  Alan Boyle listed 30 nominations for Weird Science of 2007 on MSNBC, but not one highlighted the silly claims of Darwinists.  The only one that came close was the story about redhead Neanderthals—but that was not questioning evolution.  Why didn’t the evolutionary claims in our 08/10/2007 entry make his list?  Look back through the “Dumb” entries for 2007 in these pages (e.g., 06/14/200704/20/200703/31/2007).  Any one of them would trounce Boyle’s nominations about radiation-proof underwear and glow-in-the-dark kittens.  Much of the evolutionary silliness would insult the intelligence of children (see 11/22/200707/03/2007).  Remember the dandy display of logic from 10/14/2007?  or from 08/20/2007, or from 04/11/2007?  We should stage a contest for Stupidest Evolution Quote of 2007.
Evolutionists are the funniest comedians on earth, and they don’t even know it.  That’s what makes them so funny.  Save the SEQOTW quotes up for the day the Darwin idol falls.  We’ll have a merry good time. 


Gorilla-like anatomy on Australopithecus afarensis mandibles suggests Au. afarensis link to robust australopiths
Mandibular ramus morphology on a recently discovered specimen of Australopithecus afarensis closely matches that of gorillas. This finding was unexpected given that chimpanzees are the closest living relatives of humans. Because modern humans, chimpanzees, orangutans, and many other primates share a ramal morphology that differs from that of gorillas, the gorilla anatomy must represent a unique condition, and its appearance in fossil hominins must represent an independently derived morphology. This particular morphology appears also in Australopithecus robustus. The presence of the morphology in both the latter and Au. afarensis and its absence in modern humans cast doubt on the role of Au. afarensis as a modern human ancestor. The ramal anatomy of the earlier Ardipithecus ramidus is virtually that of a chimpanzee, corroborating the proposed phylogenetic scenario.
http://www.pnas.org/content/104/16/6568.abstract

Of course, only a very few stop to consider the possibility that perhaps there is no evolutionary relationship between humans and apes at all.  Perhaps certain of these unique "traits" were designed specifically for particular creatures with particular needs?  Perhaps humans did not evolve from apes after all? [url=http://www.detectingdesign.com/earlyman.html#in the Right Ballpark]8[/url]

Lucy the Gorilla?   04/10/2007     
Three scientists from Tel Aviv found a “gorilla-like” jaw structure on a recently discovered specimen of Australopithecus afarensis, of which “Lucy” is the best-known example.  This is a problem, because Lucy was supposed to be transitional between chimpanzees and humans, not gorillas. Publishing in PNAS,1 they said, “The presence of the morphology in both the latter and Au. afarensis and its absence in modern humans cast doubt on the role of Au. afarensis as a modern human ancestor.”  How did the gorilla-like mandibular ramus end up on Lucy?  Their conjecture was “its appearance in fossil hominins must represent an independently derived morphology.” In other early-man news, Science reported that certain paleoanthropologists are claiming “Hobbit Man” (cf. 10/11/2006) is a unique species, not a microcephalic human.2  At a meeting of the Paleoanthropology Society, Matthew Toucheri (Smithsonian) based his opinion on the “primitive” appearance of some wrist bones.  Critics are countering that it’s part of the pathology of the individual.

1Yoel Rak, Avishag Ginzburg, and Eli Geffen (edited by David Pilbeam), “Gorilla-like anatomy on Australopithecus afarensis mandibles suggests Au. afarensis link to robust australopiths,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 10.1073/pnas.0606454104, published online before print April 10, 2007.
2Ann Gibbons, “Hobbit’s Status as a New Species Gets a Hand Up,” Science, 6 April 2007: Vol. 316. no. 5821, p. 34, DOI: 10.1126/science.316.5821.34.

So all this Lucy talk was for Peanuts.  Charlie, Browne indicated (01/06/2004), was frequently ill and relied on a propaganda squad to promote his book.  Now he’s looking like a wishy-washy blockhead.  Instead of acting Snoopy about human origins, he should have learned something useful, like Linux. Speaking of cartoons, our warmest wishes to the family of Johnny Hart, creator of the unforgettably funny strip B.C., who died yesterday (see tribute cartoon on TownHall.com).  Hart was a strong Christian who gave increasingly overt religious themes to his later cartoons despite criticism from some quarters.  Collections of Hart’s work will warm your heart and tickle your funnybone. As for hobbitses, go read Tolkien’s version instead of listening to evolutionary fiction.  At least the original novel was written by intelligent design. 

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Australopithecus afarensis

Australopithecus afarensis is one of the longest-lived and best-known early human species—paleoanthropologists have uncovered remains from more than 300 individuals! Found between 3.85 and 2.95 million years ago in Eastern Africa (Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania), this species survived for more than 900,000 years, which is over four times as long as our own species has been around.  It is best known from the sites of Hadar, Ethiopia (‘Lucy’, AL 288-1 and the 'First Family', AL 333); Dikika, Ethiopia (Dikika ‘child’ skeleton); and Laetoli (fossils of this species plus the oldest documented bipedal footprint trails). 11

Similar to chimpanzees, Au. afarensis children grew rapidly after birth and reached adulthood earlier than modern humans. This meant Au. afarensis had a shorter period of growing up than modern humans have today, leaving them less time for parental guidance and socialization during childhood.

Au. afarensis had both ape and human characteristics: members of this species had apelike face proportions (a flat nose, a strongly projecting lower jaw) and braincase (with a small brain, usually less than 500 cubic centimeters -- about 1/3 the size of a modern human brain), and long, strong arms with curved fingers adapted for climbing trees. They also had small canine teeth like all other early humans, and a body that stood on two legs and regularly walked upright. Their adaptations for living both in the trees and on the ground helped them survive for almost a million years as climate and environments changed.

Unanswered questions :
A fossil similar to Au. afarensis and dating to 3.5 million years ago has been found in Chad—did this species extend so far into central Africa?
We know Au. afarensis were capable of walking upright on two legs, but they would have walked differently than modern humans do today; so, what did their bipedal locomotion look like?
Did Au. afarensis usually walk upright like modern humans, or did they spend more time climbing trees like other living African apes?
The species Au. afarensis existed through a period of environmental fluctuation yet showed no adaptations to the changing environment—why? Was it because they were able to migrate to where their usual food sources were located? Or were their food sources somehow unaffected?
Au. afarensis shows strong sexual dimorphism in that the body sizes between males and females are quite different; however, sexual dimorphism in other primates is usually characterized by size differences in bodies and teeth. Fossil evidence shows that male Au. afarensis individuals had canine teeth comparable in size to those of females. Did male dominance in Au. afarensis individuals not include the need to bear large canine teeth, as it does in many other male primates?
The teeth and jaw of Au. afarensis are robust enough to chew hard foods, but dental microwear studies show Au. afarensis individuals ate soft foods like plants and fruit instead. While most scientists think that Au. afarensis ate hard, brittle foods during tough times when vegetation was not easily found, further microwear studies show that eating hard foods did not coincide with dry seasons of little vegetation. So how do properties of Au. afarensis teeth relate to their diet?

Press Goes Ape Over Baby Lucy    09/20/2006   
The news media, especially National GeographicBBC Newsand Associated Press (see Fox News) have new fodder for human-evolution stories and artwork, now that a partial skeleton of Australopithecus afarensis has been reported in Nature.1  The teeth, cranium, shoulder blades, fingers, inner ear, hyoid bone and other well-preserved parts match “typical African ape morphology.”  This is not a new discovery.  The research team has been gently extracting the pieces of bone from cemented sandstone for five years.  They submitted their initial paper in for publication in April, but estimate it will take several more years to extract remaining fragments from the matrix.

  Based on tooth morphology, they estimate this specimen to have been a 3-year old female.  Because of the species affinity with “Lucy” (though found some 10 km from Johanson’s famous fossil), some are nicknaming this skeleton “Lucy’s baby” (but the discoverers have nicknamed her Salem, “peace”).  The skeleton from the waist up is very ape-like, indicating a life in the trees, they claim.  Though more complete than previous A. afarensis fossils, it lacks the pelvis; only a foot, pieces of leg bones, kneecaps “as small as a dried pea” provide anatomists with evidence to claim she walked upright – one of the most contentious parts of the debate over the older Lucy fossil.

The authors indicated that several parts of the skeleton have been distorted in the burial process: “The cranium is intact except for parts of the frontal squama and significant parts of both parietals, which have broken away to reveal the complete natural brain endocast (Fig. 1d),” the paper states.  “The back of the calvaria is slightly distorted, pushing the nuchal region forward (Fig. 1f).”  Later, “The articulated postcranial elements in the primary sandstone block include both scapulae and clavicles, the cervical, thoracic and the first two lumbar vertebrae, and many ribs.  They are displaced from their original anatomical positions, and are compressed superiorly under the cranial base and the palate, making preparation difficult (Fig. 1b, c).”  The scientific papers, furthermore, tend to be less dogmatic than the press releases.  The authors only say that this skeleton resembles Lucy, and are tentative about the age, which the popular press state confidently as 3 years old.  Furthermore, the authors understand that interpretations of life habits based on bones is not an exact science:[/size]

Now that the scapula of this species can be examined in full for the first time, it is unexpected to find the strongest similarities with Gorilla, an animal in which weight-bearing and terrestrial knuckle-walking predominately characterize locomotor use of the forelimbs.  Problematic in the interpretation of these findings is that the diversity of scapula architecture among hominoid species is poorly understood from a functional perspective.

Most surprising, this specimen was apparently buried suddenly in a watery flood along with many other animals:

This depositional setting, combined with the remarkable preservation of many articulated faunal remains lacking evidence of preburial weathering, most likely indicates that the juvenile hominin was buried as an intact corpse shortly after death during a major flood event.

This is echoed by Wynn et al. who, in the same issue of Nature,2 described the geological setting of the fossil:

This depositional setting, combined with the remarkable preservation of many articulated faunal remains lacking evidence of preburial weathering, most probably indicates rapid deposition during major flood events, burying many fossils as intact corpses (including the juvenile hominin).

In the vicinity of the skeleton were found bones of catfish, mouse, rat, monkey, baboon, mongoose, elephant, extinct horse, rhino, hippo, pig, bushbuck, giraffe, antelope, impala, gazelle, crocodile, coral snake, tortoise, and other animals.
In the same issue of Nature,3 Bernard Wood called Lucy’s baby “a precious little bundle.”  He agrees, “The corpse of the infant was buried more or less intact, and the sediment in flood waters must have swiftly covered it.”  As to this species’ ability to walk upright, Wood is equivocal:
There remains a great deal of controversy regarding the posture and locomotion of A. afarensis.  Most researchers accept that it could stand upright and walk on two feet, but whether it could climb up and move through trees is still disputed.  Some suggest that its adaptations to walking on two feet preclude any significant arboreal locomotion, and interpret any limb features that support such locomotion as evolutionary baggage without any useful function.  Others suggest that a primitive limb morphology would not have persisted unless it served a purpose.


Wood leaves any complete understanding to the future.  After exploring several questions this fossil opens, he ended, “Whatever the answers to such questions, the Dikika infant has the potential to provide a wealth of information about the growth and development, function and taxonomy of A. afarensis.”  He told Associated Press that this find won’t settle the debate among scientists, which he said “makes the Middle East look like a picnic.”  National Geographic, though, was all ready with artwork, videos and special features about Lucy on the day of the announcement, and Scientific American went all-out with a special feature, including a clickable diagram of each bone fragment.  On the other hand, Carl Wieland, a creationist with Creation Ministries International, considers this good news.  The more complete skeleton confirms what critics have alleged for years, that Lucy was a tree-climbing, knuckle-walking ape that did not walk upright.

1Alemseged et al., “A juvenile early hominin skeleton from Dikika, Ethiopia,” Nature 443, 296-301(21 September 2006) | doi:10.1038/nature05047; Received 22 April 2006; Accepted 6 July 2006.
2Wynn et al., “Geological and palaeontological context of a Pliocene juvenile hominin at Dikika, Ethiopia,” Nature 443, 332-336(21 September 2006) | doi:10.1038/nature05048; Received 24 April 2006; Accepted 6 July 2006.
3Bernard Wood, “Palaeoanthropology: A precious little bundle,” Nature 278-281(21 September 2006) | doi:10.1038/443278a; Published online 20 September 2006.

When you scrape away the hype and artistic license, most of the details of the actual bones seem to back up criticisms by creationists that this is nothing more than an extinct ape.  The only portions of the skeleton that evolutionists use to claim this creature had something to do with human evolution are the least preserved: the leg and foot bones.  They interpret these to mean it walked upright, as if walking upright is the main human distinctive.  The best-preserved parts of the skeleton, by contrast, are clearly ape-like and argue against this extinct ape being a walker.  Read the articles skeptically, without assuming what the evolutionists assume, and the evidence is profoundly unconvincing for the claims made about it.  Everything from the backbone up is well within the charts for an ape, not a human wannabee.


The paleontologists admitted, also, that the skeleton has been deformed; how does that affect the interpretation, when assessing function from structure is “poorly understood” under the best of conditions? This fossil also creates other problems for the evolutionists.  Consider, for instance, how the evidence for arboreal (tree-climbing) behavior, based on the fingers and shoulder blades, scrambles the Lucy story: “The foot and other evidence from the lower limb provide clear evidence for bipedal locomotion [sic], but the gorilla-like scapula and long and curved manual phalanges raise new questions about the importance of arboreal behaviour in the A. afarensis locomotor repertoire.”  This means that evolutionists must now either consider the tree-climbing equipment as “evolutionary baggage” or believe that this creature climbed trees half the time and walked upright the other half.  (Only human boys exhibit this behavior today, but they quickly grow out of it.)  If Darwin’s mechanism could produce instant phyla at the Cambrian, why couldn’t it get rid of its baggage just as quickly?

On the other hand, if Baby Lucy was happy in the treetops, why was there evolutionary pressure to make her strut on the ground, when other primates found buried with her did not feel the same pressure?  And how can minorities endure the racism implicit in the artwork (see Yahoo) that always shows these alleged primitives with dark skin? The Darwin Party baby shower for Salem is, therefore, highly overblown, as is usual for human-evolution celebrations.  They don’t seem to be focusing quite as much on the remarkable collection of animals buried with the little she-ape.  If a sudden flood of this magnitude occurred today, burying this many animals in the same graveyard all at once, wouldn’t it be international news?  This was not a volcanic landslide; it was a watery catastrophe.  Notice how much the media are going out of their way to characterize this ape as a child and a baby when they won’t even afford that dignity to a human embryo.  It is time to get rid of the evolutionary baggage and discover the real Peace Child







Lucy (Australopithecus)

Lucy is the common name of AL 288-1, several hundred pieces of bone fossils representing 40 percent of the skeleton of a female of the hominin species Australopithecus afarensis. In Ethiopia, the assembly is also known as Dinkinesh, which means "you are marvelous" in the Amharic language. Lucy was discovered in 1974 in Africa, near the village Hadar in the Awash Valley of the Afar Triangle in Ethiopia, by paleoanthropologist Donald Johanson of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. 5

Arguably the most famous paleoanthropologic find in history, Lucy (A. afarensis) is the standard by which all early hominid anatomy is compared. In 1974, an expedition led by Donald Johanson at Hadar in the Ethiopian Awash Valley uncovered the fossilized remains of an approximately 3.2 myo female skeleton. “Lucy” (named so after the Beatles song “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”) has a mosaic of anatomical traits featuring both human and apelike features. She was the most complete and primitive fossil hominid discovered to that time (Stanford).
Represented by fossils making up over 70 individuals from at least 6 different sites in east Africa, this species existed from about 3.9 – 2.9 mya. A. afarensis shares a number of primitive traits with Ardipithecus and A. anamensis (Fuentes). The cranium and teeth of A. afarensis are intermediate in appearance between living apes and modern humans. The face is more prognathic than modern humans but less so than apes. The dental arcade is U-shaped, the canines are fairly large, the lower first premolar is semisectorial (partially compressed from side to side due to a reduction of the shearing complex), and the tooth rows are quite parallel. The large size and thick enamel of the molars are characteristics that reflect similarities to earlier forms. The size of the cranium is relatively small with a 420 cc brain.
The short pelvis and broad iliac blades which curve around the side forming the area of gluteal muscle attachment confirm that A. afarensis was a biped (Stanford). In addition the femur is angled in toward the knee which keeps the foot positioned under the center of gravity and the distal femoral condyles are enlarged with a greater groove for the patella. The tibia is more robust than in its predecessors and the hallux (big toe) is in-line with the other toes providing greater balance. The famed Laetoli footprints are thought to have been made by this species. The bones of the upper extremities are longer than those in later hominids and some researchers suggest that the phalanges are relatively curved as in earlier hominids (Fuentes). This species is believed to exhibit one of the highest degrees of sexual dimorphism with males standing approximately 5.0 feet tall weighing 99 lbs and females 3.4 feet and 64 lbs.



Evolutionary Embarrassment: Part of Famous ‘Ape-Man’ Skeleton Actually Came from Baboon
“Even though Lucy is fairly complete for a mammal fossil (47 of 207 bones found), the bones are mostly small fragments with many pieces missing,” Henderson wrote. “Other specimens have been found, but they are far more fragmentary. No matter how complete, all fossils must be interpreted. Some interpretation is always left to the imagination of the person doing the reconstruction.” Last week, scientists announced that the famous skeleton includes at least one bone that likely came from a baboon. According to New Scientist, Gary Sawyer and Mike Smith at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, along with New York University’s Scott Williams, came to this conclusion after they analyzed the Lucy specimen and “noticed something odd.” “Mike pointed out that one of the [vertebra] fragments, which no one, including me, had really paid close attention to, looked fairly small to fit with the rest of Lucy’s vertebral column,” Williams said. 6


The bone fragment’s size did not match up with the other pieces of the skeleton, the scientists concluded. “It was just too small,” Williams said. Williams then compared the bone fragment to the anatomies of other animals, noticing that it closely resembled baboon vertebrae. “Baboons were a close match, both in shape and size,” Williams explained. “So we think we’ve solved this mystery. It seems that a fossil gelada baboon thoracic vertebra washed or was otherwise transported in the mix of Lucy’s remains.” Though evolutionists are downplaying the discovery as a minor mistake, others say these recent findings undermine the evolutionary dogma.
If the Lucy fragment is indeed from a baboon, the incident would not be the first time evolutionists have misidentified fossils that allegedly prove the existence of ape-men. In the 1920s, a single fossil purportedly originating from a primate nicknamed “Nebraska Man” was described by Science Magazine as “convincing evidence” of human evolution. However, the specimen was later shown to be nothing more than a wild pig tooth.


Australopithecus afarensis "LUCY" -- In 1974, Donald Johanson discovered a half complete skeleton (Locality A.L. 288; Ethiopia's Awash Valley) that he named after the Beetle's song "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" (LSD).  The specimen was only 1.1 meters tall, estimated to weigh 29 kilograms and look somewhat like a common chimpanzee. A year later, thirteen similar skeletons were found.  In his book "Lucy, The beginnings of Human Kind," Johanson said:  "I had no problem with Lucy.  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 way too small and her jaw was the wrong shape. Her teeth pointed away from the human condition and back in the direction of apes. The jaws had the same primitive features." 


Comparison: Chimp left, Lucy middle, human right

However, what set Lucy apart for Johanson was that it appeared that she had a tendency to walk in an upright position. A monkey that could do this would, for Johanson, clearly be some sort of transitional form between apes and man.  The reason for this belief is because Lucy's knee region seemed to match a lone fossilized knee joint that he had found a year earlier in 1973 (locality numbered A.L. 128/129).  The earlier knee was from a creature that appeared to walk in an upright fashion. Even though it was located about 2 km away and in a lower strata from that of Lucy, the match between it and the knee region of Lucy seemed to indicate that both individuals walked mostly upright. The logic for this assumption is based on the fact that humans, because of wider hips than knees, have an angle between the upper leg bone (or femur), and the lower leg bone (or tibia).  This  angle of the bones causes an angle of about 9 degrees to form in the knee joint at the junctions of the bones.  An ape that walks on all fours does not have this angle.  Lucy and the australopithecines have an angle of about 15 degrees.  Since this larger angle is somewhat similar  to the human condition, the obvious assumption is that Lucy spent a lot of time walking upright.  There is just one more interesting fact though. Monkeys that climb trees (ie: orangutans and spider monkeys etc.) also have an angled knee joint like humans.  It is the ground-dwellers that do not have the angle. So, what happens if Lucy tended to climb trees? Is there evidence that she did climb trees? Dave Phillips (a paleoanthropologist) says that A. afarensis in general (Lucy's classification) has long upper limbs with an arm to leg length ratio of approximately 85%.  The toe bones are also curved in an ape-like manner.  This characteristic curve is not seen in human feet.  This seems to indicate that A. afarensis did not habitually walk upright, but rather spent much of their time in trees.  Also, studies of the other bones to include hands, skull (inner ears), and even the teeth indicate a fairly strong similarity to apes. 

1.   General anatomy of Lucy's shoulder blade was characterized as "virtually identical to that of a great ape and had a probability less than 0.001 of coming from the population represented by our modern human sample"  (Susman et al, 1984, pp 120-121)
2.   Lucy's shoulder blade has a shoulder joint which points upwards  This would allow "use of the upper limb in elevated positions as would be common during climbing behavior" . 
3.   Afarensis wrist bones are apelike.  "Thus we may conclude that A. afarensis possessed large and mechanically advantageous wrist flexors, as might be useful in an arboreal setting
4.   Afarensis metacarpals [the bones in the palm of the hand] "have large heads and bases relative to their parallel sided and somewhat curved shafts an overall pattern shared by chimpanzees". This "might be interpreted as evidence of developed grasping capabilities to be used in suspensory behavior
5.   The finger bones are even more curved than in chimpanzees and are morphologically chimpanzee-like. 
6.   Afarensis humerus (upper arm bone) has features that are "most likely related to some form of arboreal locomotion
7.   One of the long bones in the forearm, the ulna, resembles that of the pygmy chimpanzee 
8.   Vertebrae show points of attachment for shoulder and back muscles "massive relative to their size in modern humans" (Cook et al 1983, p.86) These would be very useful for arboreal activity 
9.   "Recently Schmid (1983) has reconstructed the A.L. 288-1 rib cage as being chimpanzee-like" 
10. Blades of hip oriented as in chimpanzee .Features of afarensis hip therefore  "enableproficient climbing
11. In 1987, Dr. Charles Oxnard (University of Western Australia) analyzed certain australopithecines (such as Lucy is classed as).  He concluded that they were not ancestral to humans, but are instead an extinct form of arboreal ape.   Of course, this analysis was done before Lucy came on the scene and changed everything.

 So, it seems like Lucy really did not need or wish to do a lot of walking around on the ground.  It seems more likely that she spent much of her time in trees.  Since  the angle of her knee joint is a key factor in turning her into a "missing link" in human evolution, what happens to this argument when one finds out that such an angled knee joint is owned by tree dwelling chimps?  It it not something new.  Where is the evolution here?  

  Of course Darwinists are well aware of these "standard creationist arguments."  A common rebuttal is to argue that the authors of many of the comments I just quoted above are themselves believers in Lucy's role as a "missing link" between chimps and humans.  Consider the following comments by Stern and Susman:

 "In our opinion A. afarensis is very close to what can be called a "missing link". It possesses a combination of traits entirely appropriate for an animal that had traveled well down the road toward full-time bipedality ..."  "That bipedality was a more fundamental part of australopithecine behavior than in any other living or extinct nonhuman primate is not in serious dispute."  "... we must emphasize that in no way do we dispute the claim that terrestrial bipedality was a far more significant component of the behavior of A. afarensis than in any living nonhuman primate." (Stern, Jr. and Susman 1983)

So, how can Stern and Susman believe that A. afarensis spent so much time running around on two legs after they just detailed many physical attributes of classic tree climbing behavior?  Some of the reasons are as follows:

 "The most significant features for bipedalism include shortened iliac blades, lumbar curve, knees approaching midline, distal articular surface of tibia nearly perpendicular to the shaft, robust metatarsal I with expanded head, convergent hallux (big toe), and proximal foot phalanges with dorsally oriented proximal articular surfaces. (McHenry 1994)

This is an example of interpreting the same characteristics in different ways.  For example, the perpendicular tibia and angled knee joints that are "approaching midline" are seen in modern tree-climbing monkeys.  The "robust" first metatarsal with an expanded head is also consistent with Stern and Susman's comment that the hand bones (and reasonable the foot bones as well), "have large heads and bases relative to their parallel sided and somewhat curved shafts, an overall pattern shared by chimpanzees."  and that this, "might be interpreted as evidence of developed grasping capabilities to be used in suspensory behavior
."  This might especially be true if the first digit was favored by Lucy to carry most of her body weight during suspension.

This is an example of picking morphological traits that agree with a favored hypothesis and forgetting about the ones that do not agree or even contradict the hypothesis of the day.  For instance, fairly recent papers have been published that suggest that Lucy was in fact a "knuckle walker" like some apes living today.  Of course knuckle walking is a distinctly quadruped specialization characteristic that is quite different from bipedalism.  The authors of this paper, Richmond and Strait, identified four skeletal features of the distal radius of living knuckle-walking apes, chimps and gorillas.  What is interesting is that they found similar morphologic features on Lucy as well as on another australopithecine. 


1.  Our Origins: Discovering Physical Anthropology [3rd ed.]
http://libgen.io/search.php?&req=Physical+Anthropology&phrase=1&view=simple&column=def&sort=year&sortmode=DESC
2. http://www.nature.com.sci-hub.bz/nature/journal/v410/n6827/full/410433a0.html
3. http://www.nature.com.sci-hub.bz/nature/journal/v393/n6680/full/393062a0.html
4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australopithecus_deyiremeda
5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucy_(Australopithecus)
6. http://christiannews.net/2015/04/23/evolutionary-embarrassment-part-of-famous-ape-man-skeleton-actually-came-from-baboon/
7. http://hominoid1101.com/portfolio-item/australopithecines/
8. http://www.detectingdesign.com/earlyman.html#in the Right Ballpark
9. https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/discoverer-of-lucy-raises-questions-about-australopithecus-sediba-the-new-human-species-from-south-africa/
10. http://humanorigins.si.edu/evidence/human-fossils/species/australopithecus-anamensis
11. http://humanorigins.si.edu/evidence/human-fossils/species/australopithecus-afarensis
12. http://www.detectingdesign.com/earlyman.html#in
13. http://www.donsmaps.com/lucysbaby.html



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6 Australopithecus deyiremeda on Thu Aug 31, 2017 12:03 pm

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Australopithecus deyiremeda  1

Australopithecus deyiremeda is a proposed species of early hominin[1][2][3] among those who lived about 3.5–3.3 million years ago in northern Ethiopia, around the same time and place as several discovered specimens of Australopithecus afarensis, including the well-known "Lucy", a juvenile specimen.
The discoverers believe A. deyiremeda is a new species.[3] If true, some fossils identified as A. afarensis may more properly belong to A. deyiremeda. Some anthropologists have suggested that the identification of A. deyiremeda as a new species requires more evidence than has been obtained thus far.  4



Australopithecus platyops or Kenyanthropus

Kenyanthropus platyops is a ( supposedly ) 3.5 to 3.2-million-year-old (Pliocenehominin fossil discovered in Lake TurkanaKenya in 1999 by Justus Erus, who was part of Meave Leakey's team.[1] Leakey (2001) proposes that the fossil represents an entirely new hominin species and genus, while others classify it as a separate species of Australopithecus, Australopithecus platyops, and yet others interpret it as an individual of Australopithecus afarensisArchaeological discoveries in Kenya in 2015, identifying possibly the oldest known evidence of hominin use of tools to date, have indicated that Kenyanthropus platyops may have been the earliest tool-users known.[2]






New Hominid Fossil Found in Kenya  03/21/2001
National Geographic reports that Meave Leakey’s team has uncovered a hominid fossil they have named Kenyanthropus platyops (flat-face), representing a new line unrelated to Lucy and other alleged human ancestors.  They date the fossil at 3.5 million years old.  This story made Nature’s Feature of the Week, but the journal Science laments that this find scrambles a once-simple story of early human ancestry: “Experts are unanimous that the find will complicate efforts to trace the convoluted course of human evolution.  Indeed, experts say the importance of the new discovery lies in its demonstration that the roots of the human evolutionary tree are pretty tangled.”

As predicted here, the rivals are getting their first down on the field.  National Geographic, which has funded the Leakeys for decades, is not about to let the French score a touchdown.  How can perceptive observers of this contest believe a word they say?  No matter how badly the next find disagrees with previous beliefs, there is always a rationalization for how it is improving our understanding of our origins.  Consider this sentence from the article: “Though the discovery seems to blur the lines of humankind’s family tree, according to Daniel Lieberman, an anthropologist at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., ‘This is part of a trend. We’re getting to know our ancestors better.’”  This is like claiming victory from under the dogpile.  Yet in spite of the morass of conflicting stories, and how every year a new find upsets the whole applecart, the Discovery Channel and National Geographic TV using computer graphics and actors in monkey suits continue to produce documentaries making it appear the scientists have it all figured out.  Follow the chain links here and see all the conflicting opinions just in the last few months.








2










1. http://www.nature.com.sci-hub.bz/nature/journal/v521/n7553/full/nature14448.html?foxtrotcallback=true
2. http://science.sciencemag.org.sci-hub.bz/content/295/5558/1214.full



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7 Australopithecus garhi on Fri Sep 01, 2017 5:11 pm

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Australopithecus garhi

Australopithecus garhi is a 2.5-million-year-old gracile australopithecine species whose fossils were discovered in 1996 by a research team led by Ethiopian paleontologist Berhane Asfaw and Tim White, an American paleontologist.[1] The hominin remains are believed to be a human ancestor species and possibly the direct ancestor to the human genus, Homo.

This species is not well documented; it is defined on the basis of one fossil cranium and four other skull fragments, although a partial skeleton found nearby, from about the same layer, is usually included as part of the Australopithecus garhi sample. The associated fragmentary skeleton indicates a longer femur (compared to other Australopithecus specimens, like ‘Lucy’) even though long, powerful arms were maintained. This suggests a change toward longer strides during bipedal walking. 2

Unsolved issues :
Will scientists recover more individuals from this species? Until they do, it is hard to determine exactly where this species fits on the human family tree.
Did Au. garhi actually make and use the stone tools found nearby?
Is it possible the Au. garhi skull BOU-VP-12/130 is really a female Paranthropus aethiopicus or a late Australopithecus afarensis specimen?




1






Cranial parts of BOU-VP-12/130. (Top) Superior view of the original fossil. Nonstandard orientation (rotated posteriorly ∼10° from Frankfurt horizontal) to show maximum anatomy. (Bottom) Lateral view of casts to show cranial and maxillary profiles. Note that neither Frankfurt horizontal nor placement of the maxilla relative to the vault can be accurately determined and that reconstructed portions (indicated by oblique lines) are speculative.

1. http://science.sciencemag.org/content/284/5414/629.full
2. http://humanorigins.si.edu/evidence/human-fossils/species/australopithecus-garhi



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8 Paranthropus aethiopicus on Sat Sep 02, 2017 7:01 am

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Paranthropus aethiopicus








4


The first specimen of Australopithecus aethiopicus that was discovered is known as Omo 18. Omo 18, also known as Paraustralopithecus aethiopicus was discovered in southern Ethiopia by French archeologists Camille Arambourg and Yves Coppens in 1967. Omo 18 serves as a predecessor to KNM-WT 17000, which was discovered by Alan Walker. The finding discovered in 1985 by Alan Walker in West TurkanaKenyaKNM WT 17000(known as the "Black Skull" due to the dark coloration of the bone, caused by high levels of manganese), is one of the earliest examples of robust pliocene hominids.[1] A key feature of Omo 18 is that it has a v-shaped jaw unlike the other Australopithecus species found. Although Omo 18 was the first skull discovered of these species, many paleoanthropologists ignored the finding on the basis that it was similar to the other species of australopithecines. Once KNM-WT 17000 was discovered, interest renewed in Omo 18 and it was reclassified. 1

Paranthropus aethiopicus is still much of a mystery to paleoanthropologists, as very few remains of this species have been found. The discovery of the 2.5 million year old ’Black Skull’ in 1985 helped define this species as the earliest known robust australopithecine. P. aethiopicus has a strongly protruding face, large megadont teeth, a powerful jaw, and a well-developed sagittal crest on top of skull, indicating huge chewing muscles, with a strong emphasis on the muscles that connected toward the back of the crest and created strong chewing forces on the front teeth. 2

Unanswered questions:
What kind of environments did it prefer to live in?
Is it actually more closely related to Au. afarensis, with which it shares many features, or the other “robust” australopithecines like P. boisei, which many scientists think is a direct descendant of P. aethiopicus?
How big were this species (body size)?
Did it exhibit body size sexual dimorphism, like most other australopithecines from this time period?

At around 2.5 million years ago, a new form was found in Ethiopia that appeared to be a scaled up version of A. afarensis. Called Australopithecus aethiopicus, this species had a long, low cranium with flared cheekbones and attachment areas for very powerful chewing muscles on its face (See Figure 3). To go with this, A. aethiopicus also had, on the top of its head, a large sagittal crest. Work with modern-day gorillas, which also have this feature, has shown that this is not a genetic trait but appears as a result of bone deposition on the top of the head through continuous grinding of nut and plant substances. Unlike the gorilla version, however, which is focused directly on the top of the cranium (vertex), the A. aethiopicus manifestation is toward the back of the cranium. This form had an average cranial capacity of around 410 cubic centimeters. For comparison purposes, the average modern human cranium is approximately 1450 cubic centimeters in capacity while chimpanzees average 375 cubic centimeters. 3

Also from this time period is a form similar to A. afarensis in brain size and gracility, Australopithecus garhi (“surprise” in the Afar language). The teeth are slightly larger than those of afarensis . In overall body shape, however A. garhi was far more modern, with the ratio of upper arm length to upper leg length much closer to those of later hominins (Asfaw et al. 1999).

Slightly later in time, from around 2.2 million years ago, cameAustralopithecus boisei. This form was originally found in 1959 by Mary Leakey, in the Olduvai Gorge area near the Serengeti Plains, in Tanzania, where she and her husband, Louis, had been digging since 1951. This is known as a hyper-robust australopithecine. Comparisons with A. aethiopicus strongly suggest that the facial architecture of A. boisei is very similar, yet larger in size. This has led researchers to surmise that there is an ancestor/descendent link between the two species. A. boisei has a slightly larger cranial capacity of 510 cubic centimeters but otherwise retains all of the characteristics of A. aethiopicus, including the sagittal crest, the scooped-out facial appearance and wide, flaring cheek bones (see Figure 5). It has been hypothesized that these forms subsisted primarily on a vegetative diet consisting of hard nuts, roots and berries because the rear teeth were much larger than the front ones and considerably larger than those ofA. afarensis. This eventually led to the nickname “nutcracker man.” This hypothesis has recently been challenged, however, by research that suggests that the primary diet of this hominin was grasses (Cerling et al. 2011). A. Boiseiis found down to approximately 1.2 million years ago.

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paranthropus_aethiopicus
2. http://humanorigins.si.edu/evidence/human-fossils/species/paranthropus-aethiopicus
3. http://biologos.org/blogs/archive/the-human-fossil-record-part-5-the-dispersal-of-the-australopithecines
4. http://www.donsmaps.com/aethiopicus.html



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9 Australopithecus africanus on Sat Sep 02, 2017 7:02 am

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Australopithecus africanus

Australopithecus africanus is an extinct (fossilspecies of the australopithecines, the first of an early ape-form species to be classified as hominin (in 1924). Recently it was dated as living between 3.3 and 2.1 million years ago, or in the late Pliocene and early Pleistocene times; it is debated as being a direct ancestor of modern humans.[2] A. africanus was of slender, or gracile, build and has been found only in southern Africa at four sites: Taung (1924), Sterkfontein (1935), Makapansgat (1948) and Gladysvale (1992).[1]

Au. africanus was anatomically similar to Au. afarensis, with a combination of human-like and ape-like features. Compared to Au. afarensis, Au. africanus had a rounder cranium housing a larger brain and smaller teeth, but it also had some ape-like features including relatively long arms and a strongly sloping face that juts out from underneath the braincase with a pronounced jaw.  Like Au. afarensis, the pelvis, femur (upper leg), and foot bones of Au. africanus indicate that it walked bipedally, but its shoulder and hand bones indicate they were also adapted for climbing.

Unanswered questions:
Au. africanus is currently the oldest known early human from southern Africa. Where did it come from? Was it a descendent of Au. afarensis from Eastern Africa?
Is Au. africanus part of the lineage that led to our own species, Homo sapiens?
In 1994, scientist Ron Clarke found four left early human foot bones while searching through boxes of fossils at Sterkfontein, a site in South Africa where most Au. africanus fossils come from. He dubbed this fossil "Little Foot", and has since found that it comes from a 3.3-million-year-old partial skeleton, most of which is still embedded in the cave sediments. When this fossil is completely excavated, it will shed light on several questions about this species (if it is designated as an Au. africanus individual): How big was it? What did its post-cranial skeleton look like? How does it compare to STS 14, another partial skeleton of Au. africanus? 2

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Australopithecus africanus-- The word "Australopithecus" means "southern ape."  3 This name is used because the first fossils were found in South Africa. Dr. Raymond Dart, professor of anatomy at Witwatersrand University in Johannesburg, was the first to study these fossils. In 1924 at Taung in South Africa, Dart discovered a fossil skull consisting of a full face, teeth and jaws, and an endocranial cast of the brain. The brain size was 410cc.  Its age is currently felt to be around two to three million years old.  Dart was convinced that some teeth were man-like and thus concluded a transition between apes and man.   His opinions on the matter of this particular skull were largely scorned by the scientists of this time (1924) who considered it nothing more than a young chimpanzee (now considered to be about three years of age). The skull was soon known derisively as "Dart's baby."     Sir  Solly Zuckerman, an expert on australopithecines, commented that, "There is indeed no question what the australopithecine skull resembles when placed side by side with specimens of humans and living ape skulls. It is the ape so much so that  only detailed and close scrutiny can reveal any difference between modern ape and Australopithecus."   This opinion was generally held by scientists until the mid-1940's when similar skulls were found.  Dart had made his discovery during the time that Piltdown Man was widely  accepted as a human ancestor.  With Piltdown Man's human cranium and apelike jaw, it was hard to reconcile it to the Taung Child.  Then in the 1930's Peking Man became famous, again overshadowing Dart and his Taung Child. Although Dart gave up fossil hunting for some time, all was not lost.

Years after the discovery of the "Taungs child", as it is known today, Dart and Broom found other Australopithecines at Kromdraii, Swartkrans and Makapansgat.  These finds of similar creatures seemed to vindicate Dart and Broom, and the scientific community again accepted their finds as they do today. These new fossil Australopithecines 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 the 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 these traits are typical of sexual dimorphism in male apes.  What is also felt to be a more human trait is that foramen magnum (the opening in the skull above the attachment of the spinal column) in Australopithecines seems to be placed in an intermediate forward position between that of modern apes and man.  Although not as far forward as in man, this more forward position is felt to indicate a more upright posture for the Australopithecines.

The australopithecines have often been found in association with other animals, such as baboons, and often show evidence of bashed-in skulls.  Tools in the form of clubs, knives, and choppers have been found in association, 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, which popularized the view of the "killer ape." This view was even used in the movie, "2001, A Space Odyssey." Although the view did reach a mild degree of popularity, it has since been widely discredited.   It does seem rather hard to imagine how such primitive creatures could actually make all those weapons and use fire as well. Not bad for a primitive man who is still not yet walking completely upright and has a head the size of a chimp (less than 500cc max).
Although modern scientists do generally accept that Australopithecines had a generally upright gait and human-like posture, this notion has not gone uncontested. Although evolutionists predictably discount Zuckerman's work, arguing that it is no longer accepted , one must still at least consider the fact that in the 1950s the famous British anatomist, Lord Solly Zuckerman, aggressively rejected the notion that Australopithecines are closely related to humans and completely discounted the notion that they walked upright like humans. Rather, Zuckerman suggested that they be classified as apes, not hominids (Evolution as a Process, 1954):

As for the notion of "bipedal posture", Zuckerman said:

"In short, the evidence for an erect posture, as derived from a study of the inanimate bones, seems anything but certain."

Anatomist Dr. Charles Oxnard of the University of Chicago, who's work modern evolutionists also reject (see below), claimed in a paper published in a 1975 edition of Nature that:

"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 (Nature 258:389).


1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australopithecus_africanus
2. http://humanorigins.si.edu/evidence/human-fossils/species/australopithecus-africanus
3. http://www.detectingdesign.com/earlyman.html#in the Right Ballpark
4. http://www.donsmaps.com/africanus.html



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10 Homo rudolfensis on Sat Sep 02, 2017 7:02 am

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Homo rudolfensis ( habilis )

Homo rudolfensis (also Australopithecus rudolfensis) is an extinct species of the Hominini tribe known only through a handful of representative fossils, the first of which was discovered by Bernard Ngeneo, a member of a team led by anthropologist Richard Leakey and zoologist Meave Leakey in 1972, at Koobi Fora on the east side of Lake Rudolf (now Lake Turkana) in Kenya. 1

The scientific name Pithecanthropus rudolfensis was proposed in 1978 by V. P. Alekseyev[1] who later (1986) changed it to Homo rudolfensis[2] for the specimen Skull 1470 (KNM ER 1470). It remains an open question whether the fossil evidence is sufficient for postulating a separate species, and if so whether this species should be classified as within the Homo or Australopithecus genus.

There is only one really good fossil of this Homo rudolfensis: KNM-ER 1470, from Koobi Fora in the Lake Turkana basin, Kenya. It has one really critical feature: a braincase size of 775 cubic centimeters, which is considerably above the upper end of H. habilis braincase size. At least one other braincase from the same region also shows such a large cranial capacity.

Originally considered to be H. habilis, the ways in which H. rudolfensis differs is in its larger braincase, longer face, and larger molar and premolar teeth. Due to the last two features, though, some scientists still wonder whether this species might better be considered an Australopithecus, although one with a large brain! 2

Unsolved questions:
Was Homo rudolfensis on the evolutionary lineage that evolved into later species of Homo and even perhaps our species, Homo sapiens?
Are Homo rudolfensis and Homo habilis indeed different species, or are they part of a single, variable species? Or was one the ancestor of the other?
Are Homo rudolfensis fossils more like australopithecines than other Homo fossils, as some scientists have suggested?
How big was Homo rudolfensis? Was this species sexually dimorphic?

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H. habilis found on the eastern side of Kenya’s Lake Turkana is sometimes called Homo rudolfensis (Figure 11.5).











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Homo habilis Contemporary with Homo erectus   08/09/2007      3
Homo habilis couldn’t have been the ancestor of Homo erectus, because they lived side by side.  This has been all over the news since it was announced in Nature yesterday: see the Times UKPhysOrg, the BBC NewsReuters AfricaNational Geographic, and MSNBC News, which says the new discovery paints a “messy” view of human origins: “Surprising fossils dug up in Africa are creating messy kinks in the iconic straight line of human evolutionwith its knuckle-dragging ape and briefcase-carrying man.” OK, what happened?  Meave Leakey found a small female Homo erectus skull in Kenya that dates from the same period as Homo habilis, or “handy man,” long thought to have been a predecessor:

In 2000 Leakey found an old H. erectus complete skull within walking distance of an upper jaw of the H. habilis, and both dated from the same general time period.  That makes it unlikely that H. erectus evolved from H. habilis, researchers said. It’s the equivalent of finding that your grandmother and great-grandmother were sisters rather than mother-daughter, said study co-author Fred Spoor, a professor of evolutionary anatomy at the University College in London.... Overall what it paints for human evolution is a “chaotic kind of looking evolutionary tree rather than this heroic march that you see with the cartoons of an early ancestor evolving into some intermediate and eventually unto us,” Spoor said in a phone interview from a field office of the Koobi Fora Research Project in northern Kenya.


But this should not cast evolutionary science into doubt, the article A.P. article was quick to point out: “All the changes to human evolutionary thought should not be considered a weakness in the theory of evolution, [Bill] Kimbel [Arizona State] said.  Rather, those are the predictable results of getting more evidence, asking smarter questions and forming better theories, he said.”
Yet it is hard to see how this helps the evolutionary story of progress between apes and humans.  This upset is similar, Kimbel said, to the revised story of Neanderthals, which also used to be considered human ancestors.  This effectively removes Homo habilis from consideration as an ancestor, leaving a gap where paleoanthropologists thought they had a link.  National Geographic speculated that the two hominid forms might have originated “two and three million years ago, which is a well-known gap in the fossil record.  The evidence for human evolution, therefore, has been reduced, not just messed up.
Although the skull was found in 2000, it often takes years for a research team to clean, date, and document the find.  Another claim from the announcement is that apparently males were larger than females (sexual dimorphism), but see commentary and picture from the 08/02/2007 entry about the flaw of drawing conclusions from limited samples.  Leakey and team believe the two forms lived contemporaneously and in proximity, as do chimpanzees and gorillas, for half a million years.
Ann Gibbons wrote in Science2 the next day about this find.  She noted that the blurring of distinctions between H. habilisH. erectus[/i] makes ripples with another famous fossil, too: Homo ergaster:[/size]

The skull also shows features that had previously been seen only in Asian fossils of H. erectus, such as a keeling (or ridge) on its frontal and parietal bones.  These traits had persuaded a growing number of researchers in recent years to split the fossils of H. erectus into two species, with H. erectus from Asia and H. ergaster from Africa.  But the skull's mix of traits shows H. erectus cannot be “easily divided between two species from Africa and Asia,” says Spoor.  Kimbel and Arizona State graduate student Claire Terhune reached a similar conclusion after studying the temporal bones of 15 H. erectus skulls, in a paper published in the July issue of the Journal of Human Evolution.
    Others who have championed H. ergaster are taking note.  “The new cranium blurs the distinction between H. erectus and H. ergaster,” says Wood.  “I am not willing to sell my shares in H. ergaster just yet, but I am not relying on them for my retirement!”

1Leakey et al, “Implications of new early Homo fossils from Ileret, east of Lake Turkana, Kenya,” Nature 448, 688-691 (9 August 2007) | doi:10.1038/nature05986.
2Ann Gibbons, “New Fossils Challenge Line of Descent in Human Family Tree,” Science, 10 August 2007: Vol. 317. no. 5839, p. 733, DOI: 10.1126/science.317.5839.733.

These people do not know who begat whom, and they can’t tell dates with any credibility; they keep losing links into gaps and moving things around, yet they expect us to believe they are the Masters of Enlightenment when telling us where we came from. It’s important to remember that the bones aren’t talking.  Data don’t just jump up into a scientist’s hands and explain themselves.  Instead, picture a group of scientists at a large, blank game board, with a few fossils as game pieces, but no instructions.  They approach the game with a mental picture of how the game should be played and where the pieces go, but they are free to move them around.  Depending on how committed they are to their mental picture, they can compromise here or there and keep the picture intact.  The compromises make the game confusing and even chaotic at times.  Still, the commitment to the mental picture is paramount: it was carefully selected to conform to the Official Myth of the Culture. 

We spectators might look with bewilderment at how they can keep playing such a confusing game, but, as outsiders, we are not permitted by the ruling elite to have an opinion, or to holler in suggestions to them.  They are all sworn to keep a straight face and maintain the appearance that everything is under control and that progress is being made. Appearances are not realities, however.  If the mental picture is incorrect, the chaos is real.  Don’t be distracted by the elaborate canopy the game players have erected over their board, and all the concession stands, reporters and public announcements that “they’re getting warmer” and the latest find “sheds new light on evolution.”  It’s all just a sport with no necessary connection to reality. The picture on the game board could be totally different, with a much better fit of the pieces.  No matter; if such a picture has been disqualified by an arbitrary consensus of the players, it will never be found, but the players will get to keep their jobs.  After all, a complex game with lots of twists and turns is more fun than a linear one.  And horrors, being told what the picture was supposed to be would spoil the party. 

Evolution of the Genus Homo 4


1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homo_rudolfensis
2. http://humanorigins.si.edu/evidence/human-fossils/species/homo-rudolfensis
3. http://creationsafaris.com/crev200708.htm#20070809a
4. http://www.annualreviews.org/doi/10.1146/annurev.earth.031208.100202
5. http://www.donsmaps.com/habilis.html
6. http://www.donsmaps.com/rudolfensis.html



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11 Australopithecus sediba on Sat Sep 02, 2017 7:02 am

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Australopithecus sediba

Australopithecus sediba 3  is a species of Australopithecus of the early Pleistocene, identified based on fossil remains dated to about 2 million years ago. The species is known from six skeletons discovered in the Malapa Fossil Siteat the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site in South Africa, including a juvenile male (MH1 also called "Karabo",[2] the holotype), an adult female (MH2, the paratype), an adult male, and three infants.[1][3] The fossils were found together at the bottom of the Malapa Cave, where they apparently fell to their death, and have been dated to between 1.980 and 1.977 million years ago.[4][5]
Over 220 fragments from the species have been recovered to date.[1] The partial skeletons were initially described in two papers in the journal Science by American and South African palaeo-anthropologist Lee R. Berger from the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg and colleagues as a newly discovered species of early human ancestor called Australopithecus sediba ("sediba" meaning "natural spring" or "well" in the Sotho language).[1] MH1 is disarticulated and 34% complete if skeletal elements known to be in an unprepared block are included (59.6% if small elements are excluded) while MH2 is 45.6% complete (again 59.6% excluding small elements) and exhibits partial articulation.[6]

The fossil skeletons of Au. sediba from Malapa cave are so complete that scientists can see what entire skeletons looked like near the time when Homo evolved. 1 Details of the teeth, the length of the arms and legs, and the narrow upper chest resemble earlier Australopithecus, while other tooth traits and the broad lower chest resemble humans. These links indicate that Au. sediba may reveal information about the origins and ancestor of the genus Homo. Functional changes in the pelvis of Au. sediba point to the evolution of upright walking, while other parts of the skeleton retain features found in other australopithecines. Measurements of the strength of the humerus and femur show that Au. sediba had a more human-like pattern of locomotion than a fossil attributed to Homo habilis. These features suggest that Au. sediba walked upright on a regular basis and that changes in the pelvis occurred before other changes in the body that are found in later specimens of Homo. The Australopithecus sediba skull has several derived features, such as relatively small premolars and molars, and facial features that are more similar to those in Homo. However, despite these changes in the pelvis and skull, other parts of Au. sediba skeleton shows a body similar to that of other australopithecines with long upper limbs and a small cranial capacity. The fossils also show that changes in the pelvis and the dentition occurred before changes in limb proportions or cranial capacity.  

Unsolved questions:
What is the time range and geographic range of Australopithecus sediba? This question can only be answered by the finds of more specimens.
Will the close relationship between Au. sediba and Homo be confirmed by future finds?

The combination of primitive and derived traits in Australopithecus sediba shows part of the transition from a form adapted to partial arboreality to one primarily adapted to bipedal walking. but the legs and feet point to a previously unknown way of walking upright. With each step, Australopithecus sediba turned its foot inward with its weight focused on the outer edge of the foot. This odd way of striding may mean that upright walking evolved on more than one path during human evolution.

The fossil skeletons of Au. sediba from Malapa cave are so complete that scientists can see what entire skeletons looked like near the time when Homo evolved.  1 Details of the teeth, the length of the arms and legs, and the narrow upper chest resemble earlier Australopithecus, while other tooth traits and the broad lower chest resemble humans. These links indicate that Au. sediba may reveal information about the origins and ancestor of the genus Homo. Functional changes in the pelvis of Au. sediba point to the evolution of upright walking, while other parts of the skeleton retain features found in other australopithecines. Measurements of the strength of the humerus and femur show that Au. sediba had a more human-like pattern of locomotion than a fossil attributed to Homo habilis. These features suggest that Au. sediba walked upright on a regular basis and that changes in the pelvis occurred before other changes in the body that are found in later specimens of Homo. The Australopithecus sediba skull has several derived features, such as relatively small premolars and molars, and facial features that are more similar to those in Homo. However, despite these changes in the pelvis and skull, other parts of Au. sediba skeleton shows a body similar to that of other australopithecines with long upper limbs and a small cranial capacity. The fossils also show that changes in the pelvis and the dentition occurred before changes in limb proportions or cranial capacity.  

As reported by Gibbons (2017)Australopithecus sediba, another failed “missing link,” was refuted as an ancestor in the Homo lineage by paleoanthropologist Bill Kimble in a new phylogenetic analysis, and instead attributed to a far removed South African australopithecine clade of more ape-like beasts (Evolution News 2017). 5

Spectacular South African Skeletons Reveal New Species from Murky Period of Human Evolution 2
Scientists working in South Africa have unveiled fossils of a human species new to science that they say could be the direct ancestor of our genus, Homo. Discovered in Malapa cave—just 15 kilometers from the sites of Sterkfontein, Swartkrans and Kromdrai, which have yielded a number of important human fossils—the finds comprise two partial skeletons that are nearly 1.95 million years old. The researchers have given them the name Australopithecus sediba.

The pair—an adult female and juvenile male that may have been mother and son—appear to have fallen into the cave through a hole in the cave ceiling, perhaps while attempting to access a pool of water inside. So exceptional is the preservation of the skeletons, particularly the male, that the discovery is being likened to that of the famous Lucy fossil from Ethiopia and the Turkana boy from Kenya. But the startling mix of primitive and advanced traits evident in the remains is sparking debate over where on the family tree the new species belongs and raising important questions about the dawning of Homo.
The study of human origins has come a considerable way since German quarry workers discovered in 1856 the first fossil to be recognized as an early human (it was a Neandertal). Investigators have traced our roots back to perhaps seven million years ago, close to the point at which the human lineage diverged from that of our closest living relative, the chimpanzee; they have recovered extensive remains of australopithecines such as Lucy and her ilk, creatures that are transitional between apes and us; and they have unearthed fossils representing quite an array of species documenting the evolution of Homo. Considering the virtually nonexistent fossil trails of our cousins  the chimps, bonobos and gorillas, the human fossil record is extraordinary.

There are, however, significant gaps in researchers' knowledge of how we came to be. One such blind spot is the origin of Homo. Most experts agree that Homo evolved from a species of Australopithecus—either A. afarensis (Lucy's species) or A. africanus. Connecting the dots between one of these australopithecine species and Homo has been difficult, though, because the oldest known Homo remains are so few and fragmentary.
Scientists’ best guess has been that Homo habilis, which lived between perhaps 2.3 million and 1.5 million years ago, signaled the debut of Homo and subsequently gave rise to H. erectus, the first hominin (member of the human lineage) to spread out from Africa across the globe and the one that is thought to have spawned later human species, including H. sapiens. But H. habilis is a relatively poorly understood species because the known specimens preserve few bones from below the head. In fact, some researchers wonder whether some of the fossils assigned to H. habilis might in fact belong to other species. "H. habilis has been on shaky footing for a long time," observes paleoanthropologist Leslie Aiello, president of the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research.

Into this morass falls A. sediba. In the paper describing the fossil remains, which will be published in the April 9 issue of Science along with a second paper detailing the geological context and age of the finds, Lee Berger of the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg and his colleagues suggest that A. africanus gave rise to A. sediba, which in turn gave rise to the genus Homo. Intriguingly, the team hints that A. sediba might even be more closely related to H. erectus than H. habilis is, thus potentially relegating H. habilis to a side branch of the family tree, rather than a coveted spot on the line leading to us.
Berger and his collaborators based their conclusions on A. sediba's distinctive amalgam of primitive and derived traits. Features such as its small brain, small body, and very long arms link the creature to the australopithecines, especially A. africanus, whom A. sediba resembles in details of the face and teeth. Yet the new species also exhibits a number of characteristics seen only in Homo, including its flatter face, robust pelvis and long, striding legs. Similarities to H. erectus in particular, according to the team, are evident in details of the skull and pelvis.

Paleontologists not involved in the new work agree that the two South African skeletons represent a major discovery. But they are very much divided on the issue of where this new hominin belongs on the family tree. "It is truly an incredible find," comments Meave Leakey of the National Museums of Kenya, who recently traveled to South Africa and looked at the A. sediba remains. "I found it was hard to believe what we saw in view of the quantity and quality of the fossils. However, I do not think that they are ancestral to Homo or have anything to do with Homo." Rather, she says, "these fossils reinforce my view that the australopithecines in South Africa underwent a separate radiation that had little to do with East African species that have been called Australopithecus, other than that they share a common ancestor." In 2001 Leakey and her colleagues announced their discovery of a hominin they called Kenyanthropus platyops, and suggested that it could be another possible ancestor of Homo.
William Jungers of Stony Brook University concurs with the discovery team's interpretation of the new skeletons as a new species of Australopithecus that is probably descended from A. africanus. But he disputes the ties to Homo. "The proposed link between A. sediba and early Homo is forced and tenuous at best," he asserts, noting that the alleged postcranial similarities between the two groups are not very compelling.

William Kimbel, director of the Institute of Human Origins at Arizona State University, has a different take. Considering the advanced features of the face and pelvis, the new fossils "probably belong in the Homo genus." They do not illuminate its origin, however. Kimbel points out that a site in Hadar, Ethiopia, where he works, has yielded a Homo specimen that, at around 2.3 million years old, predates the A. sediba fossils by hundreds of thousands of years. For their part, Berger and his co-authors contend that the Malapa fossils represent neither the first nor the last instances of A. sediba, and that they could be a late-surviving population of a species that originated rather earlier. "That's a suggestion that further finds would need to clarify," Kimbel counters.
Kimbel is not the only paleoanthropologist who thinks the new fossils belong in Homo instead of Australopithecus. Susan Antón of New York University observes that characteristics of the teeth, in particular, align them with our genus. But exactly how the skeletons relate to known Homo species is difficult to establish given the paucity of early Homo remains. "In many cases we don't know what some elements look like at all in some taxa," she says. The absence of any H. habilis hip bones to compare to A. sediba's is one such example. Antón suspects that A. sediba may be a dead-end branch of Homo, rather than an ancestor of later species such as H. erectus.

The level of disagreement about how to classify the Malapa fossils is perhaps to be expected, because the closer paleontologists get to the transition between Australopithecus and Homo, the harder it is going to be to determine which side of the divide a specimen falls on. Either way, the fossils illuminate a very mysterious chapter of human evolution. "They are going to be a remarkable window, a time machine of morphology into the evolutionary processes and evolutionary stresses that were going on at that period between 1.8 and 2 million years ago," Berger said at a press teleconference on April 7.
For instance, the combination of primitive and derived traits evident in A. sediba shows that different parts of the body were changing at different times during this phase of human evolution—the legs changed before the arms; the pelvis changed before the brain.

"A. sediba does give intriguing insights into the co-expression of traits associated with Homo and Australopithecus," remarks Fred Spoor of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig. He observes that whereas it has Australopithecus-like brain size and molar shape, it calls to mind Homo in its brain case shape and molar size. These traits of A. sediba show that "brain size and certain features of the brain case are not necessarily linked, and molar size and morphology and not necessarily linked either."

That A. sediba exhibits such a mix of old and new traits both in the skull and throughout the body underscores to Jungers that the primitive features seen in australopithecines were not just evolutionary baggage from an ancestor that lived in the trees, as some scientists have argued. Rather, he says, such characteristics were major contributors to the success of the australopithecines, hence their persistence over millions of years. "It’s the ultimate loss [of these traits] with the emergence of Homo that begs explanation." In his view, selection for traits that enhanced our ability to run long distances can explain the transformation.
The Malapa skeletons seem unlikely to resolve the origin of Homo on their own. But clarification of how they should be classified—Australopithecus or Homo, side branch or main line—may not be far off: Berger told the press teleconference that since submitting his initial findings to Science, he has found at least two more hominin skeletons in the cave. He is currently excavating these, and has assembled a team of about 60 experts to analyze all of the material from the site in detail. Their to-do list includes determining whether the fossils might contain proteins or DNA suitable for sequencing, reconstructing the environment the hominins lived in, and studying the aging process and disease process in this ancient relative. Such efforts will no doubt reveal an incredibly detailed portrait of this newest addition to the human family.

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9


Another Fossil “Human Ancestor” Claimed     04/08/2010     
April 08, 2010 — Meet Australopithecus sediba – or is it Homo something?  Scientists are arguing over how to classify new fossils found in a cave at Malapa, South Africa.  Announced today in Science,1 the fossils, alleged to be just under 2 million years old, are producing a strange mixture of hopeful headlines and cautionary counsels from experts. As could be expected, headlines in the popular press tease their readers with tantalizing titillations: “Fossil Skeletons May Be Human Ancestor” wrote Charles Q. Choi for Live Science.  Ker Than wrote “‘Key’ Human Ancestor Found: Fossils Link Apes, First Humans?” for National Geographic.  And Jeff Hecht wrote “Almost human: closest australopithicine [sic] primate found” for New Scientist.  And anything that might please Darwin has to include the shedding-light motif: Science Daily’s long headline proclaimed, “New Hominid Shares Traits With Homo Species: Fossil Find Sheds Light on the Transition to Homo Genus from Earlier Hominids.”  True to tradition, PhysOrg dutifully paraded the iconic image of the march of progress from ape to man, complete with racist skin colors and sexist depictions of naked males only, their right legs or arms artfully concealing their private parts.  It’s not quite clear why most of these charts leave the highest man beardless, unless the chart is Lamarckian, in which case a spare tire should also be evident.


    Yet a closer look at the articles reveals a great deal of doubt about many aspects of the story.


  • Taxonomy: Experts disagreed strongly on whether these specimens should be classified within Australopithecus or Homo.  If it had been classified within Homo, it would have represented a dead-end lineage of no consequence to human evolution.  There appears to have been a strong controversy between the discoverers and other experts about which taxon to use.
  • Traits: The skeletons appear to have a mosaic of traits: long limbs and small brain capacity, but indications of upright posture and human-like teeth.
  • Provenance: Experts disagreed whether the bones were buried together, or fell through to other levels after burial.
  • Dating: The dating depends on the provenance, yet was measured with U-Pb dating of materials below the bones.  Assigning a date is critical to how evolutionists perceive the specimen’s relationship to human ancestry.
  • Hope: No one is claiming these fossils clarify a human evolution story.  Hopes that it might are put in future tense: “This new Australopithecus sediba species might eventually clear up that debate, and help to reveal our direct human ancestors.”
  • Credibility: Lee Berger, the lead author of the paper, has been involved in sharp controversies with other paleoanthropologists about which hominids represent human ancestors.  Michael Balter wrote for Science,2 “Some of Berger’s other past claimshave sparked strong criticism, including a highly publicized 2008 report of small-bodied humans on Palau, which Berger thought might shed light on the tiny hobbits of Indonesia.  But other researchers say the Palau bones belong to a normal-sized modern human population.”  Berger gave this new fossil a suggestive name: sediba is local lingo for “wellspring” – as if his discovery can garner significance merely by naming it that way.
  • Candidacy: Michael Balter’s headline in Science accompanying the paper is more guarded than the popular press: “Candidate Human Ancestor From South Africa Sparks Praise and Debate.”
  • Dispute: Balter quoted Tim White’s opinion: “Given its late age and Australopithecus-grade anatomy, it contributes little to the understanding of the origin of genus Homo.”
  • Burial: The authors’ hypothesis about how the bones were buried contains many ad-hoc elements (see below).
  • Sequence: Balter considered the opinion of Chris Stringer of the London Natural History Museum: in summary, “At no earlier than 2 million years old, A. sediba is younger than Homo-looking fossils elsewhere in Africa, such as an upper jaw from Ethiopia and a lower jaw from Malawi, both dated to about 2.3 million years ago.”
  • Deflation: Even Lee Berger, the discoverer, made this admission: “Berger and his co-workers agree that the Malapa fossils themselves cannot be Homo ancestors but suggest that A. sediba could have arisen somewhat earlier, with the Malapa hominins being late-surviving members of the species.”
  • Meaning: All Balter could say in conclusion is confusion: “However they are classified, the Malapa finds ’are important specimens in the conversation’ about the origins of our genus, says [Susan] Antón [New York U], and ‘will have to be considered in the solution.’”  The statement implies that the conversations do not include solutions – only questions.


A second paper accompanying the discovery announcement considered the geological context of the fossils.3  It defends a hypothesis that the skeletons were buried in a debris flow into the cave before scavengers could harm them.  Others, however, are not so sure: “Geochemist Henry Schwarcz of McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada, notes that the team suggests that the hominin bodies might have been moved by river flows after they fell into the cave from holes in the earth above,” explained Michael Balter.  “If so, the fossils may not be tightly associated with the dated deposits below and above them.”  Dirks et al dispute that, calling attention to the fact that “the bones were partly articulated with each other, implying that they were buried soon after death.”  A lot of interpretation depends, however, on the dating of the sediments above and below the bones.  The paper’s hypothesis includes many ad-hoc elements: carnivores were attracted to vertical shafts where prey animals had fallen to their deaths: “These factors could have operated to accumulate a diverse assemblage of carcasses in the chamber below, away from carnivore activity,” the authors speculated.  “The sediments imply that subsequent high-volume water inflow, perhaps the result of a large storm, caused a debris flow that carried the still partially articulated bodies deeper into the cave, to deposit them along a subterranean stream.”  It would seem this complex sequence of happenstance occurrences would obfuscate any conclusions about dating.
Update 04/09/2010: True to tradition, the counter-claims quickly ensued.  “Please, please, not again,” moaned Carl Zimmer in Slate, recalling the hype about Ida last year (05/19/200903/03/2010).  Zimmer accepts evolution but denies (with Berger) that the term “missing link” have any validity.  As for this fossil, “None of the experts I spoke to this week were ready to accept Berger’s hypothesis about A. sediba’s special place in the hominin tree,” he said.  “It might actually belong to a different branch of hominin evolution.  It may have evolved its Homo-like traits independently of our own ancestors.”  It would seem its ability to illuminate much of anything about human history is dubious.  Zimmer quoted Daniel Lieberman of Harvard admitting, “The origins of the genus Homo remain as murky as ever.”
    Meanwhile, Nature News weighed in on the significance (or lack of it) of this fossil.  “Claim over 'human ancestor' sparks furore,” headlined Michael Cherry: “the researchers’ suggestion that the fossils represent a transitional species in human evolution, sitting between Australopithecus and Homo species, has been criticized by other researchers as overstated.”  Quotes from Tim White (UC Berkeley) were especially harsh.  He said the Berger team’s claim that these skeletons had anything to do with the rise of Homo is “fossil-free speculation” adding with Ida overtones, “the obsession with Homo in their title and text is difficult to understand outside of a media context.”  Another said the bones could represent nothing more than variation within other known species.  Another noted that the earliest Homo skeleton predates this find by half a million years.  Berger countered that the earlier fossils are less complete.  A supporter of Berger’s classification may have taken more than he gave when he said, “The Malapa specimens will rekindle the debate about the validity of the taxon Homo habilis, and will make us look more carefully at the variability of Australopithecus africanus and her sister species.”  (For info on Homo habilis, see 08/09/200705/27/2009, and09/21/2009).  Cherry ended his article with doubt: “the latest finds raise important questions about the ancestry of humans.”  That statement raises the possibility that Berger’s fossil is a step backwards in understanding.  For difficulties with the Homoclassification, see the 05/27/2009 entry.






1.  Berger et al, “Australopithecus sediba: A New Species of Homo-Like Australopith from South Africa,” Science, 9 April 2010: Vol. 328. no. 5975, pp. 195-204, DOI: 10.1126/science.1184944.
2.  Michael Balter, “Candidate Human Ancestor From South Africa Sparks Praise and Debate,” Science, 9 April 2010: Vol. 328. no. 5975, pp. 154-155, DOI: 10.1126/science.328.5975.154.
3.  Dirks et al, “Geological Setting and Age of Australopithecus sediba from Southern Africa,” Science, 9 April 2010: Vol. 328. no. 5975, pp. 205-208, DOI: 10.1126/science.1184950.

If the storytellers cannot agree on their own story, why should the audience judge the performance a history class rather than a comedy?  The bones are real; the interpretations are highly questionable and fallible.  Most likely this is another extinct ape out of many extinct apes that lived not so long ago.  Wishful-thinking Darwinian paleoanthropologists are eager to divine human attributes in whatever bones they find.  They fight and squabble over where the bones fit into their mental picture of how philosophers emerged from screeching monkeys in the trees.  Pay them no mind; we’ve seen this comedy show so many times before, and we know the eventual outcome.  Someone else will appear on stage with a new bone and announce, “Everything you know is wrong.” (02/23/200102/19/2004). 









1. http://humanorigins.si.edu/evidence/human-fossils/species/australopithecus-sediba
2.  https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/south-african-hominin-fossil/
3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australopithecus_sediba
4. http://www.donsmaps.com/sediba.html
5. https://evolutionnews.org/2017/09/fossil-footprints-from-crete-deepen-controversy-on-human-origins/



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12 Paranthropus robustus on Sat Sep 02, 2017 7:47 pm

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Paranthropus robustus

Paranthropus robustus (or Australopithecus robustus) is an early hominin, originally discovered in Southern Africa in 1938. Particularly regarding cranial features, the development of P. robustus seemed to be in the direction of a "heavy-chewing complex". On account of the definitive traits associated with this "robust" line of australopithecineanthropologist Robert Broom established the genus Paranthropus and placed this species in it.
Paranthropus robustus is generally dated to have lived between 2.0 and 1.2 million years ago. It had large jaws and jaw muscles with the accompanying sagittal crest, and post-canine teeth that were adapted to serve in the dry environment they lived in. 1

Paranthropus robustus is an example of a robust australopithecine; they had very large megadont cheek teeth with thick enamel and focused their chewing in the back of the jaw. Large zygomatic arches (cheek bones) allowed the passage of large chewing muscles to the jaw and gave P. robustus individuals their characteristically wide, dish-shaped face. A large sagittal crest provided a large area to anchor these chewing muscles to the skull. These adaptations provided P. robustus with the ability of grinding down tough, fibrous foods. It is now known that ‘robust’ refers solely to tooth and face size, not to the body size of P. robustus. 2

Unsolved issues:
Which species did Paranthropus robustus evolve from? Did P. robustus evolve from P. aethiopicus, or were there regionally distinct robust australopithecine lineages - meaning P. robustus evolved from the other southern African species Au. africanus?
Bone tools presumably used by P. robustus to dig into termite mounds have been found at several South African sites. Was this tool-making, termite-mound-digging behavior something shared by all populations of this species, or was it a regional behavior?











Later “Robust” Hominins: Chewing On a Problem 3
A fascinating story has emerged in recent years, comparing two species of hominin that share many adaptations to a heavily chewed diet including very robust skulls, large chewing muscles, and very large, heavily worn cheek teeth. Many researchers assign these species to the genus Paranthropus, suggesting that they represent one robust lineage that spread and diversified between southern (Paranthropus robustus) and eastern (Paranthropus boisei) Africa (both Hunt and Ward in the present volume retain these robust specimens within the genus Australopithecus). Other researchers would argue, however, that the robust masticatory adaptations of these two taxa developed independently: parallel East African and South African lineages responding to Plio-Pleistocene environmental changes. In either case, researchers assumed for many years that the diets of these “robust” taxa were similar, and debated whether they lived in open or closed habitats around the continent (Wood and Constantino, 2007). As discussed earlier, a major difficulty in determining the preferred habitat of such species is that their fossils are rarely preserved in primary context living sites, and more often found in locations where their remains were transported after death, whether by carnivores or by river waters (Behrensmeyer and Reed, 2013). Measuring the isotopic signatures and dental microwear patterns of these fossil taxa has made this taphonomic issue less problematic, however, because both types of dental evidence document aspects of the diets of these individuals while they were alive. These behavioral signatures provide a valuable comparison with interpretations of the masticatory morphology of the specimens, in particular since the anatomical adaptations a hominin was born with may both have been affected by developmental processes and also provide evidence of capability, while not necessarily indicating a biological role (Daegling et al., 2013). 




1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paranthropus_robustus
2. http://humanorigins.si.edu/evidence/human-fossils/species/paranthropus-robustus
3. Basics in Human Evolution ,  Michael P. Muehlenbein page 97



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13 Paranthropus boisei on Tue Sep 05, 2017 8:50 am

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Paranthropus boisei

Au. boisei and was likely ancestral to Au. robustus.

Paranthropus boisei or Australopithecus boisei was an early hominin, described as the largest of the Paranthropus genus (robust australopithecines). It lived in Eastern Africa during the Pleistocene epoch from about 2.4 until about 1.4 million years ago. 1

Like other members of the Paranthropus genus, P. boisei is characterized by a specialized skull with adaptations for heavy chewing. A strong sagittal crest on the midline of the top of the skull anchored the temporalis muscles (large chewing muscles) from the top and side of the braincase to the lower jaw, and thus moved the massive jaw up and down. The force was focused on the large cheek teeth (molars and premolars). Flaring cheekbones gave P. boisei a very wide and dish-shaped face, creating a larger opening for bigger jaw muscles to pass through and support massive cheek teeth four times the size of a modern human’s. This species had even larger cheek teeth than P. robustus, a flatter, bigger-brained skull than P. aethiopicus, and the thickest dental enamel of any known early human. Cranial capacity in this species suggests a slight rise in brain size (about 100 cc in 1 million years) independent of brain enlargement in the genus Homo. 2

Unsolved issues:
What, specifically, did P. boisei eat? The morphology and microwear of their teeth indicate different things.
Did P. boisei use stone tools? While we don’t think they did, P. boisei individuals have been found in stratigraphic layers with tools, and also with Homo specimens who often made tools, so there’s always a possibility.
What was the advantage of the big jaws and teeth of P. boisei?
These early humans flourished for a million years, over four times as long as our own species Homo sapiens have been around, and then went extinct---why? Scientists have one prevailing hypothesis: P. boisei was unable to adapt to a rapidly changing environment.  When Earth’s climate intense irregular with fluctuating hot and cold spells, there may have been changes in the proportions of food resources available to P. boisei.  Certain plants could have dwindled or died out. A species’ ability to adapt to changing resources, like food, is critical to their survival. Was highly specialized P. boisei unable to adapt if some of their favored plant foods disappeared due to climatic changes?

3



Veggie Tales of Human Evolution   04/30/2008     
April 30, 2008 — Evolutionists may not know who our human ancestors were, but they know they were vegans.  That seems to be the essence of a couple of new twists on the human evolution saga.

Pear-shaped tones:  Paranthropus has been called the “Nutcracker Man” because of robust teeth assumed strong enough to munch on nuts and seeds.  Enter the Sugar-Plum Fairy into this Nutcracker Suite.  Science Dailyreported it more likely that this “ancient hominin” (roughly a homonym for hominid) ate fruit.  Researchers at University of Arkansas examined microscopic scratches on the teeth and deduced that Paranthropus wasn’t eating nuts, even if he had the jaws and skull for them.  Instead, it appeared he had been dining on a kind of tutti-fruity jell-o.  The article is accompanied by an artist’s conception of the furry father figure sucking on a big juicy fruit.
    Gorillas, for instance, have the equipment for chewing tough leaves, but will take fruit every time if given the choice.  “The morphology suggests what P. boisei could eat, but not necessarily what it did eat,” said the lead researcher.  He explained why this change in thinking is more than a fad diet:

These findings totally run counter to what people have been saying for the last half a century,” said Peter Ungar, professor of anthropology in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences.  “We have to sit back and re-evaluate what we once thought.”...This finding represents a fundamental shift in the way researchers look at the diets of these hominins.“This challenges the fundamental assumptions of why such specializations occur in nature,”Ungar said.  “It shows that animals can develop an extreme degree of specialization without the specialized object becoming a preferred resource.

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paranthropus_boisei
2. http://humanorigins.si.edu/evidence/human-fossils/species/paranthropus-boisei
3. http://www.donsmaps.com/boisei.html#reference



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14 Homo heidelbergensis on Tue Sep 05, 2017 8:50 am

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Homo heidelbergensis

Homo heidelbergensis is an extinct species of the genus Homo that lived in AfricaEurope and western Asia between 600,000 and 200,000 years ago. 1
The skulls of this species share features with both Homo erectus and anatomically modern Homo sapiens; its brain was nearly as large as that of Homo sapiens.[1] Although the first discovery – a mandible – was made in 1907 near Heidelberg in Germany where it was described and named by Otto Schoetensack, the vast majority of H. heidelbergensis fossils have been found after 1996.[2] The Sima de los Huesos cave at Atapuerca in northern Spain holds particularly rich layers of deposits where excavations are still in progress.[3][4][5][6]
NeanderthalsDenisovans, and modern humans are all considered to have descended from Homo heidelbergensis[7][8] that appeared around 700,000 years ago in Africa. Fossils have been recovered in EthiopiaNamibia and South Africa. Between 400,000 and 300,000 years ago a group of Homo heidelbergensis migrated into Europe and West Asia via yet unknown routes and eventually evolved into NeanderthalsArchaeological sites exist in Spain, Italy, France, England, Germany, Hungary and Greece.[9] Another Homo heidelbergensis group ventured eastwards into continental Asia and evolved into Denisovans. The Homo heidelbergensis (Homo rhodesiensis) population that remained in Africa evolved into anatomically modern humans between 300,000 to 200,000 years ago, then migrated into Europe and Asia in a second wave at some point between 125,000 and 60,000 years ago.[10][11][12][13][14]
The correct assignment of many fossils to a particular chronospecies is difficult and often controversies ensue among paleoanthropologists due to the absence of universally accepted dividing lines (autapomorphies) between Homo erectusHomo heidelbergensis and Neanderthals. Some researchers suggest that the finds associated to Homo heidelbergensis are mere variants of Homo erectus.[15][16][17]

This early human species had a very large browridge, and a larger braincase and flatter face than older early human species. 2 It was the first early human species to live in colder climates; their ­­­short, wide bodies were likely an adaptation to conserving heat. It lived at the time of the oldest definite control of fire and use of wooden spears, and it was the first early human species to routinely hunt large animals. This early human also broke new ground; it was the first species to build shelters, creating simple dwellings out of wood and rock.


Unsolved questions:
Did this early human species indeed range in time from 1.3 million to 200,000 years ago, and in geography from Africa to Europe to Asia? Or are there more than one species represented among the fossils that some scientists call H. heidelbergensis (including H. antecessor, H. cepranensis, and H. rhodesiensis)?
Many scientists think this species was ancestral to our own, but which species was the ancestor of H. heidelbergensis?
Did H. heidelbergensis have any cultural or behavioral adaptations that facilitated it living in colder climates?
Did regional groups or populations of H. heidelbergensis exhibit any unique behaviors or anatomical adaptations?

1 mya and a few hundred thousand years ago, H. erectus evolved into a larger brained hominin with robust features of the cranium and face (see chapter by Simpson). In Africa, these larger brained forms included Homo heidelbergensis, Homo helmei (these two taxa were sometimes previously assigned to “archaic Homo sapiens”), and early anatomically modern humans (see chapter by Ahern). In Europe, these forms included H. heidelbergensis
and Homo neandertalensis (Neanderthals). In East Asia, these forms are sometimes assigned to H. heidelbergensis and some more recent archaic form of Homo (species often not named). This later evolution of the genus Homo witnessed the technological transition from the later Acheulean to the Middle Palaeolithic (Middle Stone Age in sub-Saharan Africa) and then the Upper Palaeolithic (Later Stone Age in sub-Saharan Africa). Based on overall morphology, both specimens of H. heidelbergensis and the Neandertals are sometimes referred to collectively as “archaic” humans to contrast with anatomically modern humans 3









1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homo_heidelbergensis
2. http://humanorigins.si.edu/evidence/human-fossils/species/homo-heidelbergensis
3.  Basics in Human Evolution, Michael P. Muehlenbein,  page 195



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15 Homo erectus on Tue Sep 05, 2017 8:50 am

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Homo erectus

Homo erectus (meaning "upright man", from the Latin ērigere, "to put up, set upright") is an extinct species of hominin that lived throughout most of the Pleistocene geological epoch. Its earliest fossil evidence dates to 1.9 million years ago and extends to 143,000 years ago.[1][2] It is generally thought that H. erectus originated in Africa and spread from there, migrating throughout Eurasia as far as GeorgiaArmeniaIndiaSri LankaChina and Indonesia.[3][4] 1
Debate also continues about the classification, ancestry, and progeny of Homo erectus, especially in relation to Homo ergaster, with two major positions: 1) H. erectus is the same species as H. ergaster, and thereby H. erectus is a direct ancestor of the later hominins including Homo heidelbergensisHomo neanderthalensis, and Homo sapiens; or, 2) it is in fact an Asian species distinct from African H. ergaster.[3][5][6]
There is also another view—an alternative to 1): some paleoanthropologists consider H. ergaster to be a variety, that is, the "African" variety, of H. erectus; the labels "Homo erectus sensu stricto" (strict sense) for the Asian species and "Homo erectus sensu lato" (broad sense) have been offered for the greater species comprising both Asian and African populations.[7][8]
A new debate appeared in 2013, with the documentation of the Dmanisi skulls.[9] Considering the large morphological variation among all Dmanisi skulls, researchers now suggest that several early human ancestors variously classified, for example, as Homo ergaster, or Homo rudolfensis, and perhaps even Homo habilis, should instead be designated as Homo erectus.[10][11]

Early African Homo erectus fossils (sometimes called Homo ergaster) are the oldest known early humans to have possessed modern human-like body proportions with relatively elongated legs and shorter arms compared to the size of the torso. 2 These features are considered adaptations to a life lived on the ground, indicating the loss of earlier tree-climbing adaptations, with the ability to walk and possibly run long distances. Compared with earlier fossil humans, note the expanded braincase relative to the size of the face. The most complete fossil individual of this species is known as the ‘Turkana Boy’ – a well-preserved skeleton (though minus almost all the hand and foot bones), dated around 1.6 million years old.  Microscopic study of the teeth indicates that he grew up at a growth rate similar to that of a great ape. There is fossil evidence that this species cared for old and weak individuals. The appearance of Homo erectus in the fossil record is often associated with the earliest handaxes, the first major innovation in stone tool technology.

Early fossil discoveries from Java (beginning in the 1890s) and China (‘Peking Man’, beginning in the 1920s) comprise the classic examples of this species. Generally considered to have been the first species to have expanded beyond Africa, Homo erectus is considered a highly variable species, spread over two continents (it's not certain whether it reached Europe), and possibly the longest lived early human species - about nine times as long as our own species, Homo sapiens, has been around!













Evolution of the Genus Homo 3

Definition of the genus Homo is almost as fraught as the definition of Homo sapiens.  We look at the evidence for “early Homo,” finding little morphological basis for extending our genus to any of the 2.5–1.6-myr-old fossil forms assigned to “early Homo” or Homo habilis/rudolfensis.  We also point to heterogeneity among “early African Homo erectus,” and the lack of apomorphies [traits restricted to a single species] linking these fossils to the Asian Homo erectus group, a cohesive regional clade that shows some internal variation, including brain size increase over time.  The first truly cosmopolitan Homo species is Homo heidelbergensis, known from Africa, Europe, and China following 600 kyr ago.  One species sympatric with it included the >500-kyr-old Sima de los Huesos fossils from Spain, clearly distinct from Homo heidelbergensis and the oldest hominids assignable to the clade additionally containing Homo neanderthalensis.  This clade also shows evidence of brain size expansion with time; but although Homo neanderthalensis had a large brain, it left no unequivocal evidence of the symbolic consciousness that makes our species unique.  Homo sapiens clearly originated in Africa, where it existed as a physical entity before it began (also in that continent) to show the first stirrings of symbolism.  Most likely, the biological underpinnings of symbolic consciousness were exaptively acquired [i.e., co-opted from other bodily changes] in the radical developmental reorganization that gave rise to the highly characteristic osteological structure of Homo sapiens, but lay fallow for tens of thousands of years before being “discovered” by a cultural stimulus, plausibly the inventionof language.

The article got bogged down in nomenclature and classification from the get-go. 4  “To understand where we stand on this matter today requires briefly looking at the long history of hominid taxonomy,” they said.  They began with the man who first put man into a taxonomic scheme: Carolus Linnaeus.  The father of taxonomy put Homo sapiens into the Homo genus with the great apes, but by the 19th century, these were divided into their own separate genera.  Who’s in the Homo clade, and who’s out?  Surprisingly, the history of human-primate taxonomy has undergone repeated reversals by lumpers and splitters (i.e., those who desired large inclusive categories vs. those who preferred tighter organization).  In 1856, Homo neanderthalensis was added to our genus.  Controversies have flared up ever since with each new fossil, debating whether it belongs inside or outside of Homo (whatever is meant by that flexible category). A major paradigm about human evolution emerged about the time of the neo-Darwinian synthesis: the lumpers and progressivists carried the day.  Tattersall and Schwartz revealed some inside information about the movers and shakers of this paradigm, and what beliefs moved and shook them:

The prewar superabundance of names ultimately led the ornithologist Ernst Mayr (1950) to propose a radical revision of hominid taxonomy, in which he reduced the entire hominid fossil record to a mere three species.  In Mayr’s view, the three fell into a single time-transgressive lineage, and all were classifiable within the genus HomoH.transvaalensis (for what we often nowadays call the australopiths—the early bipedal apes), H. sapiens (including the large-brained Neanderthals and their like), and H. erectus (everything in between).  A further motivation for Mayr’s dramatic cleaning up of hominid taxonomy was a theme he had picked up from his fellow evolutionary theoretician, the geneticist Theodosius Dobzhansky (1937, 1944).  This was that the hominid ecological niche was simply too “broad” to permit more than one species of the family to exist at any one time: competitive exclusion just would not allow it.  English-speaking paleoanthropologists of the period—whose freewheeling tendency to create a fresh name for almost every new fossil that came along had not been underpinned by any noticeable theoretical framework—rapidly capitulated to Mayr’s onslaught, propelled additionally by their wholesale conversion to the tenets of the Evolutionary Synthesis.  The Synthesis was a reductionist view of the evolutionary process that was then sweeping Anglophone evolutionary biology, and both Mayr and Dobzhansky were principal architects of its central notion that evolutionary change could be ascribed in virtually its totality to slow generation-by-generation change in population gene pools, under the constant supervision of natural selection.

So one year, a plethora of fossils each have their own genus; the next, they are all lumped into a “catch-all” category called Homo erectus, which is defined as everything in between bipedal apes and modern humans.  That paradigm influenced a generation of paleoanthropologists who “capitulated” to the progressive picture of human evolution, but, alas, it was not to last; Louis Leakey “broke the taboo” by naming Homo habilis in 1964, and then came Homo rudolfensis and Homo ergaster.  Some cautiously called their fossil finds “Homo sp.” which means “genus Homo, species uncertain.”  Tattersall and Schwartz are unimpressed by some of these.  “A recent review (Schwartz & Tattersall 2005) has indicated that the australopith resemblances of all of these specimens have quite likely been underestimated; and at best these ‘early Homo’ specimens make up a very motley assortment.”  Paleoanthropologists still disagree over what constitutes the genus Homo.  Tattersall and Schartz take a narrow view, using six criteria outlined by Wood & Collard.  “Effectively, they concluded anything currently known that was more primitive than Homo ergaster ... had to be excluded from Homo for the genus to make morphological and phylogenetic sense.  We accept this conclusion,” they said.  The first entrant they claim for Homo was “Turkana boy,” they said—a fossil “absolutely without precedent” that was the basis for their claim (below) that “our genus was born in a short-term event” with no clear indication why or how.  Strangely, “One might reasonably expect that this radically new physical structure would have been accompanied by changes in lifestyle,” they said, yet “The archaeological evidence available to us does not, however, suggest much change at all.”  Didn’t Turkana Boy and his parents realize the time had come to invent culture? Within the article, which invoked the words controversial and debate six times, Tattersall and Schwartz carved out their own opinions.  These include (their words in blue):

None of the bipedal apes before Homo erectus belong in the genus Homo, and there is such a sharp break between them, the change seems almost miraculous: 


As far as can be told at present, our genus Homo was born in a short-term event, probably involving a modification in gene regulation, that had cascading effects throughout the architecture of the body.
There is no obvious connection between body or brain size and culture or cognition: Despite a significant increase in average hominid brain sizes compared to the bipedal apes, there is no immediate signal in the record of any major cognitive improvement with the advent of the new body form.  Intuitively, this may seem surprising, but in fact, it is a dramatic example of a theme that is found repeatedly throughout the long history of human evolution: that biological and cultural innovations tend not to occur concurrently (Tattersall 1998, 2004).  See the 03/02/2009 entry.
They don’t believe Neanderthals or anyone prior was truly human: “all claimed evidence for symbolic activities among the Neanderthals is highly debatable,” but they only cited references from 1996 and 1999 (cf. 09/23/200808/26/200805/06/2008,03/18/2008).  They also said, Among the Neanderthals, all claimed instances of early symbolism are strongly disputed (Klein 1999), and for Homo erectus, there are no specific claims of this kind at all (although see Holloway et al. 2004 for a general argument for an early establishment of the basis for modern cognition).”

Having carved out their turf among the controversies, they surveyed the fossil evidence for the early bipedal apes, the broad class of Homo erectus, the Neanderthals, and the truly modern humans.
    Homo erectus is particularly controversial, because it is such a broad classification.  Tattersall and Schwartz find no clear connection between the Asian, European and African specimens lumped into this class.  “In his 1950 review, Ernst Mayr placed all of these forms firmly within the species Homo erectus,” they explained.  “Subsequently, Homo erectus became the standard-issue ‘hominid in the middle,’ expanding to include not only the fossils just mentioned, but others of the same general period....”.  They discussed the arbitrariness of this classification:

Put together, all these fossils (which span almost 2 myr) make a very heterogeneous assortment indeed; and placing them all together in the same species only makes any conceivable sense in the context of the ecumenical view of Homo erectus as the middle stage of the single hypervariable hominid lineage envisioned by Mayr (on the basis of a much slenderer record).  Viewed from the morphological angle, however, the practice of cramming all of this material into a single Old World-wide species is highly questionable.  Indeed, the stuffing process has only been rendered possible by a sort of ratchet effect, in which fossils allocated to Homo erectus almost regardless of their morphology have subsequently been cited as proof of just how variable the species can be.


By “ratchet effect,” they appear to mean something like a self-fulfilling prophecy: i.e., “Let’s put everything from this 2-million-year period into one class that we will call Homo erectus.”  Someone complains, “But this fossil from Singapore is very different from the others.”  The first responds, “That just shows how variable the species Homo erectus can be.” After discussing the variations in Homo erectus from Asia, they said the variation in Africa is even worse: “The various African fossils attributed at one time or another to Homo erectus show less morphological homogeneity than we see in eastern Asia, span a very substantial amount of time and space, and fail to exhibit significant morphological similarities with their counterparts in Java and China.”  Do these even belong in the same class, or do they perhaps indicate that upright-walking humans were a diverse lot?  In their effort to distance themselves from Mayr, Tattersall and Schwartz reveal their own bias:

The most recent entrant in this category is a hominid braincase (KNM-ER 42700) from Ileret, dated to 1.55 myr ago, that was attributed to Homo erectus by its describers (Spoor et al.  2007).  However, this braincase is small and lightly built, and possesses none of the major hallmarks that make the Trinil holotype of that species so distinctive.  Instructively, Spoor et al. simultaneously described a penecontemporaneous maxilla, also from East Turkana, as belonging to Homo habilis; and they concluded that multiple species of the genus Homo thus coexisted in the Turkana Basin during the earliest Pleistocene.  Yet allocating the Ileret specimen to Homo erectus could only conceivably make sense in the context of the view that Homo erectus is the middle grade of a single, worldwide, variable, and gradually evolving lineage of Homo through the Pleistocene.  Ironically, this was precisely the construct that these same authors were busy rejecting in adjacent paragraphs—reminding us just how difficult paleoanthropologists are finding it to shake off Mayr’s linear legacy.

What makes sense to one may not make sense to another.  Tattersall and Schwartz continued on, discussing other Homo contenders up to and including the one they felt was the first “cosmopolitan” hominid, Homo heidelbergensis – another group with a “good deal of variation” within that designation.  Trying to make sense of the evidence for tool use and its advancement over time, they mentioned the “disconnect between biological and cultural innovations already noted.”  What does it mean to find evidence of controlled use of fire, carefully shaped spears used as javelins, and even shelters made out of saplings and stones, if these were not human beings with human-like cognitive abilities?  “Clearly, in the heyday of Homo heidelbergensis we encounter evidence of a cognitively much more complex hominid than any known in the earlier record—although, significantly, there is no artifact known in this time frame that can unambiguously be interpreted as a symbolic object.”  Another scientist might respond that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.  How many artifacts from modern hunter-gatherers would remain over the passage of time?

    From their section on Homo erectus, they went on to discuss the “out of Africa” consensus, the Neanderthal phenomenon, and the subsequent domination of modern humans.  Tattersall and Schwartz denied again that Neanderthals were in full possession of the cognitive skills of modern humans: “They were clearly complex beings with a subtle relationship to their environment (and presumably toward each other), but they evidently did not relate to the world around them in the way in which we do.”  They base this on scanty evidence otherwise.  “None of this implies, however, that the Neanderthals were not complex and resourceful beings.”  But were they human beings?  or just animals, as resourceful as squirrels or crows?  To think so raises the question of human nature itself.  What led to the explosion of cognition and culture that has characterized the beings who invented agriculture and civilization?  The question provided another opportunity for a jab at Mayr:

Apart from the advocates of the multiregional hypothesis, who find evidence for the origins of today’s regional groupings of mankind deep in time (e.g., Smith 1984, Wolpoff et al. 1984, Wolpoff & Caspari 1997), there is more or less complete consensus among paleoanthropologists that Homo sapiens originated relatively recently, somewhere in Africa.  And certainly, it is in Africa that we find the first hints not only of hominids with modern anatomy but also (significantly, rather later in time) of hominids showing stirrings of the unique cognitive pattern that makes Homo sapiens so remarkable today.  Today’s single surviving hominid species is strikingly derived in many features that range from its globular cranium and retracted face to its barrel-shaped thorax; but discussion of the origin of this distinctive entity has alas been muddied by a post-Mayr tendency among paleoanthropologists to admit to Homo sapiens virtually any reasonably recent and large-brained hominid, regardless of its morphology.

Who is calling whose views muddied?  It is conceivable that the pendulum of consensus could swing either way again.  Some future day, a writer for Annual Review might bemoan the post-Tattersall tendency to define Homo sapiens too narrowly  It is not clear on what basis Tattersall and Schwartz can make an incontrovertible judgment.
    One thing is clear from the above paragraph: they have disavowed, again, any connection between the anatomy of humans and their cultural abilities – both in time and space.  They just said that the “stirrings” of human cognition appeared significantly later in time once their fully human anatomy had evolved.  What clicked to “turn on” the uniquely human mind?  “Clearly, in Africa, a great deal of innovation was occurring in the genus Homo during the late Pleistocene, and it was out of this ferment that Homo sapiens was born,” they claim, “but the sketchy nature of the fossil record currently at hand makes it possible to glimpse only very dimly the context out of which our species emerged.”  So the human mind, with all its talents, just “emerged”?  How did that happen?  We need only read the next section, “The Emergence of Cognitively Modern Humans.”

Unusual though Homo sapiens may be morphologically, it is undoubtedly our remarkable cognitive qualities that most strikingly demarcate us from all other extant species.  They are certainly what give us our strong subjective senseof being qualitatively different.  And they are all ultimately traceable to our symbolic capacity.  Human beings alone, it seems, mentally dissect the world into a multitude of discrete symbols, and combine and recombine those symbols in their minds to produce hypotheses of alternative possibilities.  When exactly Homo sapiens acquired this unusual ability is the subject of debate (contrast Tattersall 1998, 2004 with McBrearty & Brooks 2000).  How, exactly, this ability was acquired is even more controversial (contrast Deacon 1997 with Wynn & Coolidge 2004).  Symbolic and nonsymbolic cognitive states are clearly separated by a qualitative gulf: The former is not simply an extension of the latter, a little bit more of the same.  How that gulf was bridged in the evolution of Homo sapiens, and what the neural mechanisms are that permitted it, remain unclear.  Still, by looking for evidence of expressly symbolic activities in the archaeological record of early hominid behaviors, it is possible to sketch, at least tentatively, the context in which this astonishing transition took place.

All they can promise is the where and when, not the how, in other words.  They claim evidence for increase in cranial capacity over time among multiple hombres: Homo erectus, Homo neanderthalensis, and Homo sapiens.  “What it was that propelled such independent increase is unknown, and is something that will have to be understood if we are ever to develop a full account of the evolution of human cognition.”  Maybe it was dark matter or dark energy.  Whatever it was, by the end of the trend, human cognition was in evidence – about 100,000 years ago in Africa, they claim, though “The earliest such evidence is highly inferential....”

 We can reasonably take evidence of the kind just quoted that the unique human sensibility had begun to stir in Africa—and possibly beyond—in the period beginning approximately 100–80 kyr ago; and we can be sure that the human creative impulse had bloomed fully by approximately 40 kyr ago, because once in Europe, the Cro-Magnons produced a dazzling record of creativity that included cave paintings, engravings, sculptures, annotated plaques, musical instruments, and much other evidence that they were entirely modern in the cognitive as well as in the physical sense (Marshack 1985, 1991; White 1986, 1989).  But even at 100 kyr, we are well beyond the origin of Homo sapiens as an anatomical entity.


They have just claimed that Homo sapiens spent 60,000 years as virtual zombies in terms of human intellectual and cultural ability.  They had bodies indistinguishable from ours.  What happened 40,000 years ago?  Here, they suggest it was distant latent ability – a proclivity – waiting silently for up to 160,000 years for the right occasion to explode:

Alternatively, though, it is possible to suggest that the potential for symbolic thought was born in Africa, possibly as much as 160–200 kyr ago, in the major developmental reorganization that also gave rise to Homo sapiens as a distinctive anatomical entity (Tattersall 1998, 2004, 2007).  That potential then lay unexpressed until it was discovered through a cultural (nonbiological) innovation, as was suggested by Randy White as early as the 1980s.  Plausibly this behavioral innovation was the invention of language, the ultimate symbol-dependent activity.  Language also has the advantage in this context of being an externalized possession (Tattersall 2007), rather than an internalized one such as theory of mind, another capacity that has been proposed as the essential underpinning of complex human consciousness (see review by Dunbar 1997).
Within this framework, we can see in expressions such as those of Blombos the initial explorations of a preexisting capacity.  The new proclivity could then have been spread culturally via contact with, rather than replacement of, neighboring populations of Homo sapiens.  It may even be that its possessors discovered their new behavioral potential independently in multiple places.  Whatever the case, the unique human capacity was in full flower by Cro-Magnon times—and the subsequent history of mankind has essentially been one of its ongoing exploitation.

We think of a teen-ager saying “whatever” in a droll voice as an expression of apathy or laziness.  Is this intellectual laziness here, to relegate to “whatever it was” as the best scientific explanation for the remarkable flowering of the human mind?  Whatever.

Nevertheless, Tattersall and Schwartz congratulated themselves on offering a scientific theory of the origin of the human mind, not by divine creation, but by evolution (if you’ll pardon the dissing of Darwin):

In light of all this, we can see the origin of our unique form of consciousness not in an improbable process of long-term fine-tuning by natural selection, but rather as the result of a routine evolutionary event of exaptation(Gould & Vrba 1982), and its unusual dimensions as a function of emergence, whereby a long accretionary evolutionary history had culminated in a small modification that gave rise to an entirely unanticipated level of complexity (Tattersall 2004, 2007)

In their view, latent abilities are a “function of emergence” (the unexplained appearance of unanticipated properties from pre-existing materials).  These latent abilities sit idle for sometimes hundreds of millions of years, till after a “long accretionary evolutionary history,” some unknown and unanticipated event switches that potential on.  The latent ability is “exapted” (i.e., adapted without foresight) and evolutionary history takes a new turn.  For a stinger, what do they call the best evidence that modern man had finally arrived?  He wiped out all the contenders: “the spread of symbolic Homo sapiens around the Old World was accompanied everywhere by the rapid demise of resident hominid species.  This, as much as cave art that is as powerful as anything ever wrought since, speaks for the emergent and absolutely unprecedented nature of symbolic Homo sapiens.”  Yes, man the genocidal maniac had finally arrived. The authors end with a Disclosure Statement: “The authors are not aware of any biases that might be perceived as affecting the objectivity of this review.

The authors may not be aware of their biases, but we sure are. If you for a minute think that this hodgepodge of guesswork, ad-hoc speculation, and dogma masquerading as knowledge deserves to be blessed with the appellation of science, you need a serious deprogramming session.  We don’t have to prove it.  We just have to quote what they said, and allow them to prove their own inanity by their own words.  They appealed to mystical forces, happenstance, chance, luck, lack of evidence and lack of knowledge, debate, controversy, dogma and naturalistic miracles to state their case.  This is no better (except for the prestige of the journal in which it got published) than some late night talk show host telling us space aliens planted the human mind in an ape’s body.  Fossils are real, skulls are real, cave paintings are real, and continents are real – but they do not interpret themselves.  What did these guys just tell us?  They did not appeal to scientific facts or evidence so much as to a “framework” (a crystal ball, a tool of divination), in which it becomes possible to “glimpse very dimly” the “light” of mystical understanding.

When the exceptions outnumber the rules, you should be alert that something is seriously wrong.  Let’s reinforce the sense of how much rationality you would have to jettison to accept Tattersall and Schwartz’s belief system.  You have to first distance yourself from other eminent evolutionists, like Ernst Mayr (the ornithologist styling himself an expert on human origins), and all the other paleoanthropologists who disagree with them.  Then you have to look at an assemblage of human fossils from all over the world and make arbitrary judgments about who’s in and who’s out (a kind of historical racism).  Then you have to accept uncritically a dating framework that was set up to glorify Charles Darwin.  Then you have to accept the validity of arguing from silence, as well as tossing out the evidence you don’t like.  Then you have to make arbitrary judgments and distinctions about what kinds of bodies are more primitive or advanced (their euphemism is “derived”).  Then you have to separate in your mind any necessary connection between morphology and intelligence, or brain size and intelligence.  Then you have to call your fellow men and women zombies – your equals or superiors in physical fitness – but who, for unknown reasons, for nearly two million years, though talented enough to make spears and hunt wooly mammoths with team effort (could you do that?) couldn’t figure out that their tongues and throats and brains were designed for language, and their hands for art, and their minds for understanding.  Then you have to accept the premise that chance “proclivities” can lay fallow for millions of years, only to be “discovered” by Charlie the cobbler after Tinker Bell zaps some unspecified gene with her mutation wand, producing a whole cascade of effects that produces an instant Homo sapiens.  Then you have to wait for another 35,000 years for your fully modern, clear thinking, artistically-proficient, music-making brethren to think hard enough to realize that they might save a lot of time and energy by learning how to ride a horse, invent a wheel and plant seeds.  On top of all this, after relegating scientific explanation to “whatever it was” that just “emerged” from some unspecified “proclivity” that also just emerged, and telling us they have no bias, they have the gall to tell us what makes sense.  Jargon or no jargon, skull measurements or no skull measurements, this whole belief system is pathetic.  Calling this science is sick.  It is evidence for the decline of the human mind starting around 1859. 

JAVA MAN (PITHECANTHROPUS I ) 10
was the first of at least 280 similar fossil individuals that have been discovered to date. It would be impossible to exaggerate the importance of this group of fossils, known collectively as Homo erectus. For the proponents of evolution, Homo erectus is the major category bridging the gap between the australopithecines (which everyone recognizes as nonhuman) and the early Homo sapiens and Neandertal fossils (which are truly human). Thus Homo erectus is indispensable to the proponent of evolution as the transitional taxon.  Surprisingly, Homo erectus furnishes us with powerful evidence that falsifies the concept of human evolution. Three questions are crucial. First, is Homo erectus morphologically distinct enough to warrant its being classified as a species separate from Homo sapiens? The evidence clearly says no. By every legitimate standard applicable, the fossil and cultural evidence indicates that Homo erectus is fully human and should be included in the Homo sapiens taxon. Homo erectus individuals have lived side by side with other categories of true humans for the past two million years (according to evolutionist chronology). This fact eliminates the possibility that Homo erectus evolved into Homo sapiens. That this two-million-year contemporaneousness has been largely camouflaged is a tribute to the skill of naturalist writers. 

The nonevolutionary factors that adequately explain this morphology are some of the same factors that Darwinists themselves use to explain Homo erectus-like fossils when these fossils mischievously show up in the wrong time frame. In this chapter we will discuss the time frame of Homo erectus.

There has always been evidence that Homo erectus was both very old and very young—spanning the entire time range of humans. About twenty years ago, however, evolutionists were unified as well as in complete denial. Milford Wolpoff, the leading advocate of the Multiregional Model of human evolution, dated Homo erectus from about 400,000 ya to 1.4 Mya.[1] William W. Howells, one of the founders of the African Eve Model (originally called “Noah’s Ark” Model—they seem to like Bible names), dated Homo erectus from about 400,000 ya to 1.5 Mya.[2] They, together with almost all others, tended to ignore both the older and younger Homo erectus fossils. But now there are at least 140 Homo erectus fossil individuals dated younger than 400,000 ya and 32 dated older than 1.5 Mya.

It is ironic that it is the island of Java—the site of the discovery by Dubois of the first Homo erectus, the original Java Man—that is causing so much trouble. Because there have always been questions about the dating of the Java fossils, veteran dating specialist Garniss H. Curtis (University of California, Berkeley) set out to redate them using the latest methods. He dated the oldest Java beds containing the infant skull (calvaria) of the Mojokerto infant at 1.81 Mya.[3] That age was bad enough. The real shock came when Curtis dated the Java Solo Homo erectus fossil skulls from the Ngandong beds. The dates ranged from 27,000 ya to 53,000 ya, almost 400,000 years younger than some previous estimates. The authors of the article in Science then make this absurd statement: “The new ages raise the possibility that H. erectus overlapped in time with anatomically modern humans (H. sapiens) in Southeast Asia.” Possibility? There is absolutely no question that H. erectus overlapped in time with anatomically modern humans (H. sapiens) in Southeast Asia—and in other parts of the world as well.


The problems are: 

(1) For Homo erectus to coexist with modern humans is not the way evolution is supposed to work; and 
(2) For Homo erectus, or any species, to exist for almost 2 million years without any significant evolutionary change is also not the way evolution is supposed to work.

Regarding the problem of coexistence, even a span of one million years of coexistence makes darwinists very nervous, as seen in the following quotation by Susman, Stern, and Rose regarding two Homo erectus innominate (hip) bones from East Africa.

The morphological similarity of O. H. 28 and KNM-ER 3228 supports their assignment to the same taxon but for the large discrepancy in their ages. The age of KNM-ER 3228 is roughly 1.5 m.y. (or greater) while O. H. 28 is dated at around 0.5 m.y. The possibility thus exists that 3228 represents the taxon H. habilis while O. H. 28 represents H. erectus and that locomotor anatomy grades subtly from one taxon to the other. KNM-ER 3228, a male, suggests considerable sexual dimorphism within H. habilis and that dimorphism was subsequently reduced in H. erectus 11 


The fossil hip bones, KNM-ER 3228 and O. H. 28, are very similar and are normally assigned to Homo erectus. The problem is that they are dated one million or more years apart, and they show no evolutionary change over a million-year span.

The solution is to wave the magic wand and turn KNM-ER 3228 into Homo habilis without a shred of supporting physical evidence. However, Homo habilis is now known to be considerably smaller than Homo erectus (about half the size). The solution is to call 3228 a male (without evidence), and to ascribe the large size difference in Homo habilis to sexual dimorphism. The implication then is that all of the other Homo habilis fossils (with the exception of 1470, 1481, and 1590) are female because of their small size. That assumption is also without physical evidence. A further undocumented assumption is that in evolving from Homo habilis to Homo erectus, sexual dimorphism changed a great deal, while the locomotor anatomy of the two taxa changed hardly at all. I will allow my readers to pass judgment on the validity of those assumptions. The most recent dating suggests an even larger time separation of O. H. 28 and KNM-ER 3228 hip bones—1.2 million years. A different type of problem is the date obtained by Curtis of 1.8 Mya for the Mojokerto infant Homo erectus. This date causes Homo erectus to trespass dangerously into the private time domain of Homo habilis, which is dated from about 1.5 Mya to about 2.0 Mya. Nor are evolutionists comfortable in having Homo erectus come all the way up to 27,000 ya. Most evolutionists believe that we have Homo erectuslike genes in us, whether we evolved from the entire erectus population (neo-Darwinism) or from a small segment of that population (punctuated equilibria). With the new view that modern humans originated in Africa at about 200,000 ya, to have Homo erectus dated from 27,000 to 53,000 ya is unacceptable. Some have tried to solve the problem by splitting the Homo erectus taxon, with Homo erectus being strictly an Asian phenomenon and the African Homo erectus fossils being considered a separate and older species, Homo ergaster. Homo ergaster, not Homo erectus, would then be our ancestor in the African Eve Model. The problem is not just the possible 27,000-year-old date for the Java Solo fossils. At the Upper Pleistocene site at Coobool Crossing, New South Wales, Australia, a number of fossils are said to exhibit the robust (erectus-like) morphology similar to other Homo erectus discoveries in Australia.[8] The literature also indicates that about 130 fossil individuals are found at that site and that the fossil population there is a mixture of robust and gracile individuals.[9] Since no published material indicates how many individuals exhibit this robust morphology, I have entered it on the chart as (2+) and counted it as 2, indicating that more than one erectuslike individual is at that site. It is likely that many more than two erectus-like individuals were at that location, but we may never know. Because of demands by the Australian aboriginal community, those remains were reburied in 1985.

There are at least 78 Homo erectus fossil individuals dated more recently than 30,000 years ago, the youngest one being 6,000 years old. Since biblically Homo erectus and modern humans would be interfertile, that also would be more than enough time to go from a Homo erectus morphology to a modern human morphology by genetic recombination. However, 6,000 years is not enough time for Homo erectus to evolve into modern humans. Therefore, proponents of evolution must ignore these fossils, challenge the date, challenge the morphology and claim that they are Homo sapiens, or claim that they were in an evolutionary backwater and became extinct. But those 78 Homo erectus fossil individuals simply will not go away.

On the far end of the Homo erectus time continuum, Homo erectus is contemporary with Homo habilis for 500,000 years. In fact, Homo erectus overlaps the entire Homo habilis population, as the Homo habilis chart in this book shows. The oldest Homo erectus (or Homo ergaster) fossil is dated at 1.95 Mya. The oldest Homo habilis fossil is just a little over 2.0 Mya.[10] Thus the almost universally accepted view that some form of Homo habilis evolved into Homo erectus (or Homo ergaster) becomes impossible. Homo habilis could not be the evolutionary ancestor of Homo erectus (or Homo ergaster) because the two groups lived at the same time as contemporaries.

After Homo habilis has evolved into Homo erectus, Homo habilis must be eliminated by death, because Homo erectus is supposedly the better fit of the two in the intense competition for limited resources. Yet the fossil record shows that (according to evolutionist dating) Homo habilis and Homo erectus existed side by side as contemporaries for half a million years. The fossil record also shows that Homo erectus lived alongside the early Homo sapiens and the
Neandertals for the entire 700,000 years of early Homo sapiens history and the 800,000 years of Neandertal history, and that Homo erectus lived alongside modern Homo sapiens for two million years (according to evolutionist chronology). This does not constitute an evolutionary sequence.




5



9


Update - March 30, 2016 - new dates for Homo floresiensis! 6
Digs and geological dating in Liang Bua Cave, Indonesia, show that Homo floresiensis, nicknamed the “hobbit” for its small size, became extinct around 50,000 years ago – tens of thousands of years earlier than originally thought.  
The new study dated layers of volcanic ash and calcite directly above and below the fossils. The bones of H. floresiensis range in age from about 100,000 to 60,000 years old. Stone tools in the cave used by the “hobbit” are from 190,000 to 50,000 years old.
Homo floresiensis was one of the last early human species to die out. The new analysis means that this evolutionary relative became extinct around 50,000 years ago – just before or at the time when Homo sapiens arrived in the region.
The new findings were announced by Thomas Sutikna, Smithsonian researcher Matt Tocheri, and others in the journal Science on March 30, 2016.

The ‘hobbit’ was a separate species of human, new dating reveals 7
In 2003, scientists made a startling find in a remote cave on the Indonesian island of Flores: The skull and skeleton of an adult female hominin, a group consisting of modern humans and extinct human species, who stood only about a meter tall. That discovery sparked a fierce debate about whether the hominin—officially dubbed Homo floresiensis but often called the “hobbit”—was a separate species or a diseased modern human. Now, many of the same scientists who made the discovery have radically revised their estimate of the fossils' age, based on an exhaustive new analysis of the cave’s geology. Instead of living 18,000 years ago, as they originally reported, the hobbit lived between 60,000 and 100,000 years ago—some 10,000 years before H. sapiens arrived in the region.

Team Claims “Hobbit Man” Is Fully Human    08/21/2006    8
The bones of Homo floresiensis that caused such a stir two years ago (10/27/2004) are human ancestors of the current population of pygmies living on the island today, not a new species, according to a press release from Penn State.  The individual with the small skull (LB1) suffered from microcephaly and the rest of the characteristics represent normal variation within human populations.  The team of Teuku Jacob and Robert B. Eckhardt, publishing their work in PNAS,1 explained that the misidentification of the skulls came from comparing them with Europeans instead of those from the far east.
Based on the earlier announcements, some, including Nature editor Henry Gee, had remarked that the discovery of these small-boned humans would represent a challenge to creationist beliefs; but then, it was difficult for evolutionists to explain what hominid group this population descended from and how they got to the Indonesian island of Flores.  One team member summarized their conclusion: “LB1 is not a normal member of a new species, but an abnormal member of our own.”  See also the review of this story on Live Science.  On the other side of the debate, Science Now claims that opponents of this interpretation are lining up, ready to debunk it.

1T. Jacob, “Pygmoid Australomelanesian Homo sapiens skeletal remains from Liang Bua, Flores: Population affinities and pathological abnormalities,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 10.1073/pnas.0605563103, published online before print August 23, 2006.

Do you think National Geographic will now retract their infamous racist artwork of a black, primitive-looking miniature ape-man with prey over his shoulder?  That piece of fiction was propagated all over the news.  Let’s hear a retraction, NG. 

After years of hot debate, a new phylogenetic analysis by Argue et al. (2017) finally revealed that the “Hobbit,” Homo floresiensis from Indonesia, is not a dwarfed descendent of Homo erectus, as had become the majority view, but a descendent of an archaic African hominin close to Homo habilis that should neither exist at that remote place outside of Africa nor at that late time more than 1.75 million years after the supposed extinction of such forms (Australian National University 2017).



1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homo_erectus
2. http://humanorigins.si.edu/evidence/human-fossils/species/homo-erectus
3. http://www.annualreviews.org/doi/10.1146/annurev.earth.031208.100202
4. http://creationsafaris.com/crev200905.htm#20090527a
5. http://www.nature.com.sci-hub.bz/nature/journal/v431/n7012/full/nature02999.html
6. http://humanorigins.si.edu/research/asian-research-projects/hobbits-flores-indonesia
7. http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/03/hobbit-was-separate-species-human-new-dating-reveals
8. http://creationsafaris.com/crev200608.htm#20060821a
9. http://www.donsmaps.com/hobbitsflores.html
10. Bones of contention, Marvin L.Lubenow , page 86
11. R. L. Susman, J. T. Stern Jr., and M. D. Rose, “Morphology of KNM-ER 3228 and O.?H. 28 innominates from East Africa,” abstract, American Journal of Physical Anthropology 60, no. 3 (February 1983): 259.
12. https://evolutionnews.org/2017/09/fossil-footprints-from-crete-deepen-controversy-on-human-origins/



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16 Homo neanderthalensis on Tue Sep 05, 2017 7:17 pm

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Homo neanderthalensis

Neanderthals, or more rarely Neandertals,[a] (UK/niˈændərˌtɑːl/, also US/neɪ-, -ˈɑːn-, -ˌtɔːl, -ˌθɔːl/;[6][7] named for the Neandertal region in Germany) were a species or subspecies of archaic humans in the genus Homo that became extinct about 40,000 years ago.[8][9][10][11][12][13] Neanderthals and modern humans share 99.7% of their DNA[14] and are hence closely related.[15][16] (By comparison, both modern humans and Neanderthals share 98.8% of their DNA with their closest non-human living relatives, the chimpanzees.)[14] Neanderthals left bones and stone tools in Eurasia, from Western Europe to Central and Northern AsiaFossil evidence suggests Neanderthals evolved in Europe, separate from modern humans in Africa for more than 400,000 years. They are considered either a distinct species, Homo neanderthalensis,[17][18][19] or more rarely[20] as a subspecies of Homo sapiens (H. s. neanderthalensis). 1

Neanderthals (the ‘th’ pronounced as ‘t’) are our closest extinct human relative. Some defining features of their skulls include the large middle part of the face, angled cheek bones, and a huge nose for humidifying and warming cold, dry air. Their bodies were shorter and stockier than ours, another adaptation to living in cold environments. But their brains were just as large as ours and often larger - proportional to their brawnier bodies.

Neanderthals made and used a diverse set of sophisticated tools, controlled fire, lived in shelters, made and wore clothing, were skilled hunters of large animals and also ate plant foods, and occasionally made symbolic or ornamental objects. There is evidence that Neanderthals deliberately buried their dead and occasionally even marked their graves with offerings, such as flowers. No other primates, and no earlier human species, had ever practiced this sophisticated and symbolic behavior.

DNA has been recovered from more than a dozen Neanderthal fossils, all from Europe; the Neanderthal Genome Project is one of the exciting new areas of human origins research. 2

Open questions:
Will more studies of Neanderthal DNA help us identify what is unique about the modern human genome compared with our closest extinct relatives, the Neanderthals?
Is there a close correlation between climate change and the extinction of the Neanderthals, or was competition with modern humans the most important factor?
What was the relative contribution of animal and plant sources to the average Neanderthal's diet?
Were Neanderthals routinely symbolic (e.g. making ornamental or decorative objects, burying the dead), or did this just occur in specific populations? If the latter is the case, why did those populations exhibit these behaviors?
What was the relationship between Neanderthals and the "Denisovans", a population of early humans known mainly from DNA, which overlapped with Neanderthals in time and space in Asia?

“Abhorr’d in My Imagination”  3
Two recent studies conducted by Italian and Spanish scientists employed multivariate statistical analysis to compare the brain shapes and structures of archaic H. sapiens (such as H. heidelbergensis), Neanderthals, and modern humans. The team used both computer-generated models and physical brain endocasts in their analysis. They discovered that the brain shape and structure for Neanderthals and the “archaic” H. sapiens were essentially identical. The only difference? The Neanderthals’ brains were larger. Human brain shape and structure, however, are distinctly different. Compared to Neanderthals’ brains, the human brain has a larger parietal lobe. This brain region plays a vital role in language, math reasoning, sense of self-identity, and religious experience.64 Such a profound biological distinction explains the behavioral difference between Neanderthals and people. The Neanderthals’ brain shape and structure provided no capacity for behaving the way human beings behave. Neanderthals lacked the necessary brain structure to think and act in a way that reflects God’s image. Recent scientific advances have shuffled “Neanderthal man”—one of evolution’s most popular icons—off center stage in the unfolding drama of human origins. 














1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neanderthal
2. http://humanorigins.si.edu/evidence/human-fossils/species/homo-neanderthalensis
3. Who was Adam? : a creation model approach to the origin of man / Fazale Rana ; with Hugh Ross. -- Second expanded edition. page 145

More readings:
http://www.donsmaps.com/mousterian.html



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17 Graecopithecus on Thu Sep 07, 2017 6:11 am

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Graecopithecus freybergi 


Graecopithecus freybergi is a hominid originally identified by a single mandible found in 1944. Since then, analysis of tooth specimens has led to suggestions that Graecopithecus may be the oldest known direct ancestor of modern man,[3][4] though the claim is contested.[5]

FIRST HUMAN ANCESTOR CAME FROM EUROPE NOT AFRICA, 7.2 MILLION-YEAR-OLD FOSSILS INDICATE  2
5/22/17
The first hominin species, a line that eventually leads to humans, may have emerged in Europe 7.2 million years ago and not Africa—the most widely accepted starting point for our ancestors.

An international team of scientists has presented two studies that suggest the divergence point between chimpanzees and humans took place in the Eastern Mediterranean rather than East Africa. Their findings, published in PLOS ONE, are based on two fossils of the species Graecopithecus freybergi, which were discovered in Greece and Bulgaria and have now been dated to between 7.2 and 7.1 million years ago.

Previously, scientists had thought hominins and chimps split between seven and five million years ago, with the first in the hominin line emerging in Africa. But these fossils, scientists say, tell a different story about the onset of human evolution.
This raises the possibility that the fossils represent the oldest hominin ever discovered and that the “major splits in the hominid family occurred outside Africa,” they wrote.

Researchers say environmental changes caused the divergence and used geological analysis to reconstruct the conditions from the Sahara to the Mediterranean during this time. They showed that the desert would have spread far into Southern Europe, creating a barrier between Africa and the locations where Graecopithecus was found.

The study has been met with skepticism because the vast majority of fossil evidence appears to suggest our ancestors emerged in Africa and migrated outwards.

Potential hominin affinities of Graecopithecus from the Late Miocene of Europe 3

The split of our own clade from the Panini is undocumented in the fossil record. To fill this gap we investigated the dentognathic morphology of Graecopithecus freybergi from Pyrgos Vassilissis (Greece) and cf. Graecopithecus sp. from Azmaka (Bulgaria), using new μCT and 3D reconstructions of the two known specimens. Pyrgos Vassilissis and Azmaka are currently dated to the early Messinian at 7.175 Ma and 7.24 Ma. Mainly based on its external preservation and the previously vague dating, Graecopithecus is often referred to as nomen dubium. The examination of its previously unknown dental root and pulp canal morphology confirms the taxonomic distinction from the significantly older northern Greek hominine Ouranopithecus. Furthermore, it shows features that point to a possible phylogenetic affinity with hominins. Gfreybergi uniquely shares p4 partial root fusion and a possible canine root reduction with this tribe and therefore, provides intriguing evidence of what could be the oldest known hominin.

2. http://www.newsweek.com/first-hominin-europe-east-africa-human-evolution-613494
3. http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0177127



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18 Homo naledi on Sat Sep 09, 2017 6:26 pm

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Homo naledi

Homo naledi is an extinct species of hominin, which anthropologists first described in 2015 and have assigned to the genus Homo.[2] In 2013, fossil skeletons were found in the Gauteng province of South Africa, in the Rising Star Cave system, part of the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site about 50 km (31 mi) northwest of Johannesburg.[2][3] Prior to dating, initial judgement based on archaic features of its anatomy favoured an age of roughly two million years old.[3] In 2017, however, the fossils were dated to between 335,000 and 236,000 years ago, long after much larger-brained and more modern-looking hominins had appeared.[1][4] The research team therefore thinks that H. naledi is not a direct ancestor of modern humans, although it is probably an offshoot within the genus Homo1

A new study by Dirks et al. (2017) proved that Homo naledi from a cave in South Africa, which was celebrated as missing link between ape-like australopithecines and our own genus Homo, is really only 250,000 years old and a contemporary of more modern humans. Consequently, it is much too young to be an evolutionary link (Barras 2017a), but on the other hand also much too primitive for its young age. 2

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homo_naledi
2. https://evolutionnews.org/2017/09/fossil-footprints-from-crete-deepen-controversy-on-human-origins/



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I have collected a considerable quantity of information on the supposed evolution of hominids and genus Homo from various sources.

http://reasonandscience.heavenforum.org/t2596-the-origin-of-homo-sapiens-timeline-of-human-evolution#5624

you can click on the names on the list, almost on top of the web page, and be straightforward directed to the post with info of the respective gentlemen/lady.

Each has also a description of unresolved issues and questions of each hominid. It will take time IMHO to research deeper, and find out incongruencies at each node, and fossil comparisons.

My position and belief so far are, that most of these fossils are entirely apes, as for example, famous Lucy is probably a gorilla lady. The similarities do not automatically mean an evolutionary link, but simply a creation by a common designer. Homo floresiensis was most probably a pigmies human, and Neanderthals entirely humans as well.

Of course, if a proponent of evolution can provide hard evidence, that the similarities are best explained through evolution, I am all ears to know why.

Pan Prior - Chimpanzee–human last common ancestor
Pierolapithecus catalaunicus
Sahelanthropus tchadensis
Orrorin tugenensis
Ardipithecus
Ardipithecus kadabba
Ardipithecus ramidus
Australopithecus
Australopithecus anamensis
Australopithecus afarensis
Lucy (Australopithecus)
Australopithecus deyiremeda
Australopithecus garhi
Paranthropus aethiopicus
Australopithecus africanus
Homo rudolfensis ( habilis )
Australopithecus sediba
Paranthropus robustus
Paranthropus boisei
Homo heidelbergensis
Homo erectus
Homo floresiensis
Homo neanderthalensis

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20 Human Evolution, or Not? on Sun Sep 10, 2017 8:35 am

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Peter Berean : Human Evolution, or Not?
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P1.  The following comments are based on the  schematic above.
P2. The Human-Evolution Exhibit-Schematic (mentioned above) lists the following creatures in alleged oldest-to-youngest sequence to provide what appears to be indication of sequential evolution by purely Naturalistic Mechanisms. -> (a) Sahelanthropus tchadensis, (b) Orrorin tugenensis, (c) Ardipithecus, (d) Australopithecus anamensis, (e) Australopithecus afarensis, (f) Australopithecus garhi, (g) Australopithecus africanus, (h) Paranthropus, (i) Homo habilis, (j) Homo erectus, (k) Homo neanderthalensis, (l) Homo heidelbergensis, (m) Homo sapiens.
P3. We will discuss these in turn, below.
P4. Homo Sapiens, Homo Neanderthalensis, Homo Heidelbergensis can ALL be lumped in with human beings (as different races or varieties of humans; evolutionists state that Homo sapiens and Homo neanderthalensis mated with each other and had offspring based on genetic patterns; this indicates we are all ONE species. The same is likely the case with Homo heidelbergensis (ONE species, different races or varieties)). In fact, there is evidence that Homo heidelbergensis is just a form of Homo neanderthalensis.
P5. Notice that with the exception of Homo Erectus (that is listed in the ancestry of Homo Sapiens), ALL of the other branching-nodes have NO fossils listed in them. This means that NONE of the other ape-like creatures are viewed (by evolutionists) as being directly in the line-of-ancestry of humans. They are all viewed as dead-end side-branches and NOT in the line-of-ancestry of human beings. This is Significant.
P6. What P5 means is that EVERY single alleged common ancestor is Mythical (speculative, conjecture). We do NOT have any proof or fossil evidence of ANY of those alleged common ancestors.
P7. Homo Erectus: The exception is Homo Erectus. Notice that in the plot at the link below, Homo Erectus overlapped in time with modern humans (Homo Sapiens). This would argue that Homo Erectus is NOT a direct ancestor of Modern Humans. At the least, this argues against Anagenesis (direct transformation of one species into another).
P8. Homo Erectus: However, a still-viable possibility then, is Cladogenesis (branching transformation of SOME Homo Erectus into modern humans, but NOT other Homo Erectus).
P9. Homo Erectus: So, allegedly, one set of Homo Erectus (set-A) transformed into Homo Sapiens, but the rest of Homo Erectus (set-B) did NOT transform into Homo Sapiens.
P10. Homo Erectus: However, the environment that Homo Erectus lived in was fairly uniform (in Africa). So the SAME evolutionary (selective) pressures (allegedly) that were applied by the environment on Homo-Erectus set-A should have been applied by the environment on Homo-Erectus set-B. Therefore, either both set-A and set-B should evolve into Homo Sapiens, or NEITHER should or did. This would argue against Cladogenesis-speciation of Homo Erectus to form Homo Sapiens.
P11. Homo Erectus: My current (arguable) view is that Homo erectus can reasonably (or NOT unreasonably) be listed with the other ape-like creatures and it can be removed from the genus Homo. It tended towards bipedality, and towards a wide range of brain sizes (650cc-1200cc). In contrast, modern humans have brain-sizes of about 1400cc. The assignment of a fossil to a particular genus is a GREY area, with lots of room for subjective preferences on the part of evolutionists. So, there is NO absolute proof to insist that Homo erectus MUST necessarily be in the genus Homo and that it MUST be a direct-ancestor of modern humans.
P12. Homo habilis: Homo Habilis is anatomically basically an ape-like creature. There is no strong reason to place it in the genus Homo. Homo habilis brain size is within the brain-size range for apes.
P13. Homo habilis: The primary reason to place Homo Habilis in the genus Homo is (a) sociological in the sense of wanting to prove human evolution, and (b) the possible use of stone tools.
P14. Homo habilis: There is some evidence that Homo Habilis used some stone tools. However, Tool usage is NOT proof of direct human ancestry. See below.
P15. Tool Usage: Some Chimps have been observed using tools today. But no evolutionist claims that humans evolved from chimps. Some CROWS have been observed using tools today. But no evolutionist claims that humans evolved from Crows. So, the following creatures have been observed to use tools (a) Chimps, (b) Crows, (c) Orangutans, (d) Elephants, (e) Dolphins, (f) Sea Otters, (g) Gorillas, (h) Octopuses, (i) Macaques, (j) Degus rodents. And yet no evolutionist claims that humans evolved from any of these. So, even if Homo habilis used some stone tools, that does not prove that Homo habilis are ancestral to modern humans.
P16. Homo Habilis: In addition, notice that in the Berkeley link below, Homo Habilis is NOT listed in the direct line of ancestry of modern humans, but rather, is listed as a dead-end side-branch.
P17. Starting from the oldest listed creature... All of the other listed creatures* are basically different kinds of apes, and NONE of them are listed in the direct line of descent of human beings (in the Berkeley schematic and link below). They are ALL listed as dead-end side-branches in the Berkeley schematic and link below. us tchadensis, Orrorin tugenensis, Ardipithecus, Australopithecus anamensis, Australopithecus afarensis, Australopithecus garhi, Australopithecus africanus, Paranthropus).
P18. Homo Habilis: The next listed creature is Homo Habilis which can be reasonably listed as an ape-like creature (and not a human creature). Its inclusion in genus Homo can be validly challenged as a Mistake, based on its anatomy.
P19. Homo Sapiens: The next listed creatures can all be validly be viewed as races or varieties of human beings (Homo sapiens, Homo neanderthalensis, Homo heidelbergensis). There is reason to infer that Homo heidelbergensis is just a form of Homo neanderthalensis.
P20. In addition, take the listed dates in the evolutionary-schematic with a LARGE pinch of salt. As far as I know, there is NO way to directly date any of these human or ape fossils. And often, the fossils are found in geological strata that do NOT contain igneous overlays or underlays or intrusions. So, those strata CANNOT be dated with certainty. AND often, these fossils are found exposed on hillsides, or washed down into gullies. So, their original location is uncertain. AND, the presence of caves, or burials, or wild animal activity can displace the original dead creature, or its bones to layers that are older than or younger than the correct layer. AND, the activity of erosion can move such bones or fossils to other layers than their legitimate layers. SO, we CANNOT trust the dates for fossils very much (as far as I can tell). UNFORTUNATELY, the particular means by which a given fossil was "strata-dated" is very very rarely published in the literature. So the dates can be anyone's guess.
P21. This (P20) means that the dates provided by evolutionists for fossils (particularly in human evolution) CANNOT be trusted. The dates are often biased by the desire of evolutionists to try to tell a consistent story (of human evolution) to match their atheist-faith based Darwinian worldview.
P22. Having said that, human beings are NOT just Homo sapiens, but rather Homo sapiens spiritualis. I.e., We are Spiritual Beings in ADDITION to our intelligence.
P23. In OEC, Adam and Eve were a unique, new creation by God of Homo sapience with Spirit/Soul (the ability to have a relationship with God). None of the previous creatures (Homo erectus, Homo habilis, and the previous ape-like creatures) had a Spirit/Soul that could have a relationship with God.
------------------------------------------
C1. We cannot trust the dates in a human-evolution fossil-based schematic. This destroys the alleged evolutionary logic of evolutionary progress from ape-like ancestors to humans.
C2. Most of the fossil-creatures listed in the schematic are basically different kinds of Apes. They are NOT listed (even by evolutionists) as direct ancestors of human beings. Homo habilis can definitely be listed as an ape (not human). Homo erectus can arguably be listed as an ape (not human).
C3. The most recent Homo-creatures are basically races of human beings (Homo sapiens, Homo neanderthalensis, Homo heidelbergensis which appears to be a form of Homo neanderthalensis).
C4. The fossil-evidence does NOT prove the alleged story of evolution of human beings from ape-like creatures (by random-chance plus natural-selection).
-----------------------------


Anthropology: a Science in Crisis     02/16/2011       
Feb 16, 2011 — Students memorize the different -ologies of science – geology, biology, paleontology and others – often without knowing the history of the fields.  An impression is sometimes given that each branch of science has equal validity.  Some recent articles indicate that anthropology (the study of man) is struggling with internal squabbles and external credibility. Anthropology includes a number of subfields, such as paleoanthropology (fossil man), cultural anthropology, biological anthropology, linguistic anthropology, and archaeology, but it also overlaps with psychology, sociology, evolution, political science, economics, history, and more – making it distinct by having roots in science and the humanities.  Perhaps that is a source of its struggles.  By including too much in its big tent, with varying degrees of epistemic support among its sub-branches, anthropology has always been poised for controversy.

Inside out:  “Too simple” and “not so fast” were complaints made about alleged human ancestor fossils by biological anthropologists from George Washington University and New York University.  According to PhysOrg, “the anthropologists question the claims that several prominent fossil discoveries made in the last decade are our human ancestors.  Instead, the authors offer a more nuanced explanation of the fossils’ place in the Tree of Life.  They conclude that instead of being our ancestors the fossils more likely belong to extinct distant cousins.”  Bernard Wood and Terry Harrison chided fellow paleoanthropologists for their jumping to conclusions: “to simply assume that anything found in that time range has to be a human ancestor is naïve.
    Their article is published in this week’s Nature.1  It should be kept in mind when evaluating the latest claim about human ancestry, such as the claim that a foot bone puts “Prehuman Lucy on a Walking Path” to humanity (e.g., Live Science), or that Lucy, a “human ancestor,” was no “swinger” but walked like us (National Geographic News).  Even in the most favorable possible light (e.g., that Lucy did walk upright), Bernard Wood says it is naïve to jump to conclusions that Australopithecus afarensis had anything to with human ancestry – an assertion the media invariably make (cf. 06/22/2010).
Upside down:  Science Daily’s coverage of the Nature article included a picture of an orangutan as an instance of false identification of human ancestry.  “Ramapithecus, a species of fossil ape from south Asia, was mistakenly assumed to be an early human ancestor in the 1960s and 1970s, but later found to be a close relative of the orangutan.”  A mistake like that could certainly not be made today... could it?
    The debunkers do not question human evolution itself, but their own more “nuanced explanation” requires believing that sister groups acquired human-like characteristics in parallel.  “The authors suggest there are a number of potential interpretations of these fossils and that being a human ancestor is by no means the simplest, or most parsimonious explanation.”  That would seem to leave a lot of room for speculation, to say nothing of upsetting textbook explanations that have been like gospel truth for decades.
In their own blurs:  The paper in Nature1 behind the above two entries contains a strange mix of confidence in human evolution with diffidence about the details:
The relationships among the living apes and modern humans have effectively been resolved, but it is much more difficult to locate fossil apes on the tree of life because shared skeletal morphology does not always mean shared recent evolutionary history.  Sorting fossil taxa into those that belong on the branch of the tree of life that leads to modern humans from those that belong on other closely related branches is a considerable challenge.
A gaping question, though, is how, if the fossils cannot easily be sorted into a tree-like pattern, that one could know that a tree of life exists, without assuming it.  Subtitles in the paper indicative of trouble include Shared morphology need not mean shared history,Simplicity or complexity in phylogenyScale in phylogeny reconstructionCautionary tales from South Asia and Tuscany, and Implications for palaeoanthropology.
    Moreover, in the conclusion, they stated, “There is no reason why higher primate evolution in Africa in the past ten million years should not mirror the complexity observed in the evolutionary histories of other mammals during the same time period,” thus casting the same doubts on other evolutionary stories as well. 
The Geico fallacy:  Another PhysOrg had a paradigm-debunking headline, “Earliest humans not so different from us, research suggests.”  The subtitle reads, “That human evolution follows a progressive trajectory is one of the most deeply-entrenched assumptions about our species.  This assumption is often expressed in popular media by showing cavemen speaking in grunts and monosyllables (the GEICO Cavemen being a notable exception).  But is this assumption correct?  Were the earliest humans significantly different from us?”  The rhetorical answer is: negative.
    Indeed, John Shea of Stony Brook University says his colleagues have all been wrong about the measurement of “behavioral modernity,” the assumed identifier of when Homo sapiens emerged from animal to thinking man.  “There are no such things as modern humans, Shea argues, just Homo sapiens populations with a wide range of behavioral variability,” the article ended, casting doubt on the epistemic foundations of human evolution theories.  “Whether this range is significantly different from that of earlier and other hominin species remains to be discovered.”
Demotion from science:  In a kind of manifesto, Anthropologists, unite!, an appeal went out from Adam Kuper and Jonathan Marks to rescue anthropology as a science in last week’s Nature.2  They were responding to a change of mission announced in December:In December 2010, The New York Times reported that the term ‘science’ had been dropped in a new long-range plan of the American Anthropological Association (AAA).  Where once the association had dedicated itself “to advance anthropology as the science that studies humankind in all its aspects”, it now promised rather “to advance public understanding of humankind in all its aspects”.
Clearly, Kuper and Marks did not like this development.  “Anthropology isn’t in the crisis that parts of the media would have you believe,” Nature assured readers in damage control mode, “but it must do better.”   One internal memo stated, “we evolutionary anthropologists are outnumbered by the new cultural or social anthropologists, many but not all of whom are postmodern, which seems to translate into antiscience.”  So it appears the evolutionary anthropologists are the most concerned about appearing to be scientific.  Within the ranks, some are asking all over: “What is anthropology?”  The authors observe that “anthropology is a nineteenth-century discipline that fragmented, spawning a variety of specializations” with “relationships [that] are often distant.”
    The evolutionary anthropologists are miffed at their postmodern cousins: “Some do seem to feel that if only they could spare the time they would be able to knock some evolutionist sense into cultural anthropology,” Kuper and Marks complained, “But they are too busy.”  Busy doing what might be a good follow-up question: busy doing science?  The authors’ roster of embarrassing studies, from Margaret Mead’s Coming of Age in Samoa (1928) to later questionable depictions of the Yanomami as sex tyrants, and ostensibly racist theories about intelligence, have marred the field.  Recent interdisciplinary efforts, they said, have left anthropologists in a “sadder but wiser default position,” in a “head-down posture,” afraid to embarrass the field further.  Human evolution suffers the most: “Only a handful still try to understand the origins and possible connections between biological, social and cultural forms, or to debate the relative significance of history and microevolution in specific, well-documented instances.”

Man is undoubtedly a dauntingly complex subject of study.  “To be sure, it is not easy to make general statements about human nature, or even to define it,” Kuper and Marks said, especially when human biology has been “co-evolving with technology for millions of years.”  “The most fundamentally hard-wired human adaptations – walking and talking — are actively learned by every person, in each generation,” they noticed.  “So whatever human nature may be, it clearly takes a variety of local forms, and is in constant flux.”  Maybe anthropologists should study fluid dynamics or chaos theory if they want to be scientists.

1.  Bernard Wood and Terry Harrison, “The evolutionary context of the first hominins,” Nature 470 ( 17 February 2011), pp. 347–352, doi:10.1038/nature09709. 7
2.  Adam Kuper and Jonathan Marks, “Anthropologists, unite!”, Nature 470 (10 February 2011), pp. 166–168, doi:10.1038/470166a.

Kuper and Marks made some pretty damaging admissions in their piece that was intended to shore up the scientific status of anthropology.  They thought that interdisciplinary programs might help; but can shared ignorance rise above ignorance?  Look at what they admit:

The obvious conclusion is that interdisciplinary research is imperative.  Yet too few biological anthropologists attend to social or cultural or historical factors.  A minority of cultural anthropologists and archaeologists do apply evolutionary theory, or cognitive science, or adopt an ecological perspective on cultural variation, or play about with the theory of games, but they feel that they are isolated, even marginalized.  And they do not feature in the front line of current debates about cognition, altruism or, for that matter, economic behaviour or environmental degradation, even though these debates typically proceed on the basis of very limited reliable information about human variation.

So where is the science in anthropology?  Is there anything in the above articles that points to something objective, true, and credible?  No; it is a hodgepodge of debunked ideas, ignorance masquerading as explanation, embarrassing episodes, and complex questions evading simplistic answers.  It is clearly a fallible human activity prone to category errors and misplaced priorities. If anthropologists were consistent, they should study themselves as a cultural tribe in evolutionary terms.  That would lead to a quick implosion of any pretences to being objective scientists on some higher plane than the rest of us.  To gain credibility, they should ditch evolution, which tries to explain walking and language emerging by mistake (01/26/2011), and study the Anthropology chapter in a good text on systematic theology, as long as it is consistent with the Operations Manual that came from the Manufacturer. 

Fossil footprints challenge established theories of human evolution
August 31, 2017 11
Newly discovered human-like footprints from Crete may put the established narrative of early human evolution to the test. The footprints are approximately 5.7 million years old and were made at a time when previous research puts our ancestors in Africa -- with ape-like feet. Newly discovered human-like footprints from Crete may put the established narrative of early human evolution to the test. The footprints are approximately 5.7 million years old and were made at a time when previous research puts our ancestors in Africa -- with ape-like feet.
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Deciding whether our ancestors evolved as a single lineage may depend more on philosophy than fossils.
The idea is one of the most contentious in palaeoanthropology. But experts are still bickering over the relationship between the species that have been found.  Theory of relativity:  An understanding of our own species’ lineage
is crucial to building a picture of how early hominids evolved, their gait, diet and tools, and the effects of the environment. Experts have squabbled over the relationship between Ar. ramidus, Au. anamensis and Au. afarensis
ever since they were discovered: some believe each species evolved directly into the next, and others insist that they lie on separate branches of the family tree. “When you find 30 new hominid fossils, you are allowed a certain
amount of conjecture,” says Bernard Wood, a palaeoanthropologist at George Washington University in Washington DC. “ But he and others are unconvinced by the Awash team’s conclusion: “This is only the first half of the rugby match,” says Wood. Meave Leakey, lead author on the Au. anamensis discoveries in Kenya, is more blunt. “I don’t believe this,” she says. “We do not have the specimens to fill the gaps.” “I have to concede these new data are
dramatic. But we should beware coming out with a complete explanation when we don’t have all the evidence.” Similar arguments run for various phases of hominid evolution, for example whether Homo ergaster evolved into H. erectus, or whether they were two coexisting lineages — White advocates the former. But ultimately, the argument comes down to the point that more fossils could always be found, so it is unclear that the two sides will ever agree. 10

Who Were the Hominids? 1
RTB’s model considers hominids to be animals created by God’s direct intervention for His purposes. They existed for a time, then went extinct. These remarkable creatures walked erect. They also possessed limited intelligence and emotional capacity. Such characteristics allowed them to employ crude tools and even adopt a low level of “culture,” much as baboons, gorillas, and chimpanzees do. But while the hominids were created by God’s command, they were not spiritual beings made in His image. This status was reserved for human beings. Furthermore, the RTB model treats hominids as analogous to, yet distinct from, the great apes. For this reason, the model predicts that anatomical, physiological, biochemical, and genetic similarities existed among hominids and human beings to varying degrees. But because the hominids were not made in God’s image, they are expected to be noticeably different from humans, as reflected by their cognitive and communicative capacities, behavior, “technology,” and “culture.” The RTB model maintains that while human beings reflect God’s image in their activities, hominids did not. The model asserts that humans are uniquely spiritual and hominids were not. The archeological record associated with hominid fossils supplies key data to evaluate this prediction.

From the day-age creationist perspective (associated with the Reasons to Believe [RTB] model), the nested clusters could just as easily reflect the handiwork of a Creator who chose to employ a common blueprint and reuse many of the same design elements.

Though some hominid fossils seem to display anatomical continuity with human beings, other features speak of discontinuity. The gap is most clearly evident between H. erectus and the first humans in Asia. Anthropologists Li Jin and Bing Su recently surveyed the Asian fossil record and discovered that a significant divide (60,000 to 70,000 years wide) exists between the last occurrence of archaic hominids (about 100,000 years ago) and the first appearance of human beings (40,000 to 30,000 years ago). A gap of this magnitude shows the unlikelihood that H. erectus or any of its purported evolutionary descendants evolved into Asian, Australian, and Oceanic peoples. This break in the fossil record comports with the genetic evidence that indirectly severs the genetic (and hence evolutionary) link between H. erectus and humans. H. erectus has now been relegated, by both sets of data, to a side branch and dead end in the evolutionary framework. But what about Turkana boy? As an H. ergaster, could that skeleton have once framed an ancient human relative? With H. erectus displaced from human lineage, many paleoanthropologists still consider H. ergaster part of the evolutionary pathway that led to modern humans. According to this view, H. ergaster gave rise to African archaic Homo sapiens, such as H. heidelbergensis, which appeared around 500,000 years ago. Presumably, these hominids gave rise to modern humans. New insights into H. erectus/ergaster development help define its relationship to humanity.

Alu Sequences
Unique to primates, Alu sequences are a subclass of SINE. The human genome contains over 1 million Alu elements, making up about 11 percent of the genetic material. Humans and chimps share large numbers of Alu sequences in common. Identical (or nearly identical) sequences occur in corresponding locations in both genomes. In the last few years, molecular biologists have determined that many Alu sequences influence gene expression. Alu sequences serve as the site for transcription factor binding and promote the degradation of mRNA molecules. (Transcription factors are proteins that bind to specific DNA sequences and then control the rate of transcription—thus influencing gene expression.) Researchers have also discovered that Alu sequences play a role in nucleosome placement by helping establish and maintain chromosomes’ higher order structure.5 Alu sequences and gene expression
In the classification of DNA sequences, transposons (or transposable elements) are pieces of DNA that can move around the genome. Alu sequences, like all SINE DNA elements, belong to a subgroup of transposons known as retrotransposons, which can make copies of themselves. When they do, the copies take up residence in new locations in the genome. In 2013, scientists from Canada published an early attempt to quantify the extent to which
transposable elements impact gene regulation.6 Using ENCODE Project data, the team determined that of the genomic regions accessible to the cell’s machinery for gene expression, 44 percent are transposable elements (which amounts to about 730,000 sequence elements). And of this 44 percent, transcription factor binding sites represent a large proportion. It is believed that the binding of these special proteins to accessible regions initiates gene expression. In other words, transposable elements seem to play a comprehensive role in regulating human gene expression. When only a few examples of transposon function had been reported, neofunctionalization seemed a reasonable explanation for capabilities such as transcription factor binding and toggling gene expression. However, the Canada team uncovered pervasive transposon function that makes it difficult to argue that this feature resulted from neofunctionalization. It makes better sense to think of it as God’s intentional design.

Bottom line
A widespread occurrence of functional pseudogenes and the likely universal distribution of functional pseudogene decoys among eukaryotic organisms undermine the case for biological evolution. It is one thing to say that pseudogenes occasionally acquired function via undirected natural processes, but it is quite another to say that this happened over and over again, until virtually every pseudogene in the genome possessed function. Pseudogenes, therefore, can legitimately be viewed as the work of the Creator who intentionally introduced these features into genomes for a specific purpose.

1. Who was Adam? : a creation model approach to the origin of man / Fazale Rana ; with Hugh Ross. -- Second expanded edition. page 41
7. http://sci-hub.cc/10.1038/nature09709

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