Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Lucy the missing link? (Australopithecines)

Recent comments of this blog claim Lucy (or Australopithecines) to be a valid representation of a missing link between man and animal evolution. But is this really so? (please note, all quotes here are from evolutionary scientists) 


University of California professor of anthropology Adrienne Zihlman states that Lucy's fossil remains match up remarkably well with the bones of a pygmy chimp.
Adrienne Zihlman, "Pygmy chimps, people, and the pundits," New Scientist, 15 November 1984, p. 39

Whats the most important thing about Lucy?

From the person who discovered Lucy:

Donald Johanson, the discoverer of Lucy near Hadar, Ethiopia, reflects on the significance of walking upright:
‘In 1973, when I was barely out of graduate school, I found a humanlike knee joint that proved beyond doubt that our ancestors walked erect close to three and a half million years ago—long before they developed the big brains that had once been thought to be the hallmark of humanity.’
Which one of the following is right?

Richard Dawkins says that Lucy “walked upright on her hind legs, as we do... on two feet which were pretty much like ours although its brain was the size of a chimpanzee's” (pp. 188-9 The greatest show on earth: the evidence for evolution).

Dr Fred Spoor (http://www.ucl.ac.uk/cdb/research/spoor), Professor of evolutionary anatomy at university college London, UK, (and joint editor of the journal of Human Evolution) performed a CAT scan of australopithecine inner ear canals, the organs of posture and balance. The results showed that they did not walk habitually upright (Spoor F, Wood B and Zonneveld F (1994) Implications of early hominid labyrinthine morphology for the evolution of human bipedal locomotion. Nature 369:645 648.).


A conflict of information?

In 'Evidence that humans evolved from a knuckle-walking ancestor, Nature 404(6776):382, 2000 by Brian G. Richmond (& David S. Strait)
(http://departments.columbian.gwu.edu/anthropology/people/182),
In an interview, Richmond stated that after they analyzed the wrist characteristics of living knuckle-walkers, he and Strait walked across the hall to check plaster casts at the National Museum of Natural History: ‘I walked over to the cabinet, pulled out Lucy, and—shazam!—she had the morphology that was classic for knuckle walkers .’
Former professor of Anatomy and biological sciences at the University of Southern California, now professor of Human anatomy and Human Biology, university of Western Australia – Dr Charles Oxnard (full biography here: http://www.uwa.edu.au/people/charles.oxnard)

In 'The Order of Man', 1984 (Yale University Press, New Haven). Charles Oxnard said:
“It is now recognized widely that the australopithecines are not structurally closely similar to humans, that they must have been living at least in part in arboreal (tree) environments, and that many of the later specimens were contemporaneous (living at the same time) or almost so with the earlier members of the genus Homo”


Sounds a bit like more contradictions in one of the highest regarded missing links between man and animal evolution. How can you trust these claims? What conclusion can you reach about this?...........



"ADIEU, LUCY"
Scientific findings have shown that evolutionist hypotheses regarding "Lucy," the best-known specimen of the class Australopithecus, are quite groundless. In its February 1999 issue, the famous French magazine Science et Vie admitted this under the headline "Adieu, Lucy" and agreed that Australopithecus couldnot be regarded as an ancestor of man.
  Isabelle Bourdial, "Adieu Lucy," Science et Vie, May 1999, No. 980, pp. 52-62.



quote from the magazine:-
"A new theory states that the genus Australopithecus is not the root of the human race. . . . The results arrived at by the only woman authorized to examine St W573 are different from the normal theories regarding mankind's ancestors This destroys the hominid family tree. Large primates, considered the ancestors of man, have been removed from the equation of this family tree. . . . Australopithecus and Homo (human) species do not appear on the same branch. Man's direct ancestors are still waiting to be discovered." 

What exactly is Lucy?

University of California professor of anthropology Adrienne Zihlman states that Lucy's fossil remains match up remarkably well with the bones of a pygmy chimp
("Pygmy chimps, people, and the pundits," New Scientist, 15 November 1984, p. 39)

"Lucy's scientific name is Australopithecus afarensis. She looked very similar to a modern bonobo chimpanzee, with a small brain, a protruding face and large molar teeth. But Lucy has been losing favor over the past 10 years as the direct ancestor of the genus homo. Lucy has ape-like features not found in supposed descendants."
source: http://www.usatoday.com/news/science/2001-03-21-skull.htm

The article also devotes some space to the views of Smithsonian Museum of Natural History's "Origin of Man" program head Richard Potts, according to which Potts and a great many other evolutionists now accept the need for Lucy to be removed from the human family tree.


The nail on the coffin?

Donald Johanson (the guy who discovered Lucy) and T. D. White, issued the following statement in Science magazine:

Fossils of Australopithecus have been studied in painstaking detail: their manner of walking, the structure of their ear, pattern of tooth development, their long and powerful forearms, short hind limbs, structure of their feet, small sized brains, and very ape- like skulls, jaws, and faces. These prove that Australopithecus was an ape and no way related to man. Donald Johanson himself, the discoverer of Lucy, later concluded that Australophitecus africanus (Lucy) was not related to humans at all.
 source: D. Johanson - T. D. White, Science, 203:321, 1979, 207:1104, 1980 - Nicholas Comninellis, Creative Defense, Evidence Against Evolution, Master Books, 2001, s. 187-188

Does the story end there? No, further to comments below this article, it is clear that Donald Johanson has changed his position regarding Lucy due to some more recent discoveries. These I will look at in the next article on the subject. (link to follow)

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something more for you to read as a footnote regarding scientists who have abandoned evolution as a theory:
http://theevolutioncrisis.org.uk/ - an interesting website - scientists who have left the theory of evolution alone because of lack of evidence for the theory. Something for you to research while I continue compiling this website.

19 comments:

  1. Frogflydandelion25 January 2012 at 16:31

    This is an antiquated and completely outdated debate within the scientific community. It occurred before the discovery of Lucy and A. afarensis. Only a few hominids had been recovered and Richard Leakey was referring to a different and parallel lineage that is known not to be ancestral to humans. He has since retracted the view that any Australopithecines were knuckle walkers.

    As for the parallel existence of humans and australopithecines, that is long known and nothing worrying to any evolutionist. Humans originated from a particular lineage of australopithecines. In fact we really should say that we are ourselves a lineage of australopithecines. The others went extinct but there was some time when our lineage overlapped with others. The point is that if you look at some species of australopithecines (especially those around just before the emergence of Homo) they practically blend in to Homo. The divide between our genus and the preceding one is arbitrary. Early homo is extremely similar to some (but definitely not all) australopithecines. So therefore it would be more correct to think of oursleves as one branch of australopithecines that survived while the others died off.

    If I may say the sources you are quoting are very out of date. None are even close to contemporary (1970s and 1980s). We have found a number of fossils since then (including A. sediba) that clearly show a high degree of similarity in form between Homo and some other australopithecines. Although A. sediba may not be directly ancestral to us, it probably cannot have branched away from our line of descent very long before our transition to Homo from Australopithecus. So we probably share a more recent common ancestor with A. sediba than we do with say A. robustus. But other species have been found too that also look promising and more and more transitory fossils keep getting found.

    It is now patently absurd (amongst palaeontologists and physical anthropologists) to talk about an Australopithecine not being ancestral to humans. If there was doubt back in the 70s and early 80s it was because we still had few fossils. (Australopithecus has only first been discovered a few decades before then). But the evidence is stronger today than ever before.

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    1. hello, finally with two kids in bed i have time to write a reply to you. First point, who mentioned Richard Leakey?
      I guess you meant Oxnard :-)

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  2. Frogflydandelion25 January 2012 at 16:46

    Oh, and with regard to the Spoor article (the most recent one you found) the argument he made was that australopthecines were part bipedal and part quadraped and did not spend all their time on two legs, but a lot more time than other extant apes (which can barely walk). So they may not have been as efficient walkers as us (as is still commonly believed) and led a partly arboreal existence (as is also commonly believed). This actually complements the theory of evolution by showing an intermediate character state of part time walking. This is how Spoor himself interpreted these results. It is a misnoma to think that this falsifies that they are our ancestors. It is the exact opposite.

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    1. And why they could not be just another type of ape like you find today that went extinct perhaps? given that apes today do pretty much the same as what you are describing...

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  3. Frogflydandelion25 January 2012 at 16:58

    One more thing. I noticed that you have a slightly more recent article. One from 2000 by Brian Richmond. I am afraid you have totally misinterpreted what it is saying. Read a quote from the abstract.

    "Here we present evidence that fossils attributed to Australopithecus anamensis (KNM-ER 20419) and A. afarensis (AL 288-1) retain specialized wrist morphology associated with knuckle-walking."

    What they are saying is that they still have some of the morphological features associated with knuckle walking, but that these are residual and reduced. They even point out (earlier in the abstract) that by this time the transition to bipedalism had been made. Of course they may have still spent some time knuckle walking while not yet making the full transition to bipedalism. But I don't think that even that is implied by the article.

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    1. But to be blunt, that requires your imagination to think that, because you don't know that for sure and it sounds more like they found fossils that could fit into a pre-concieved idea. Because lets face it, i am pretty sure there are some apes today that could look like they are a transitional too. Given like i said above, there are apes who do what you describe around today...

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  4. Frogflydandelion25 January 2012 at 17:14

    OK. I promise this is the last. Then I have to get on with some work and will not be able to reply to your comments for a few days or so as out of town.

    This is actually a quote from the Brain Richmond article you referenced stating that most features of these australopithecines were actually in line with full bipedalism, but that some features are classically associated with knuckle walking due to being residual but also redundant. This is I think the exact opposite of the argument you would like them to be making.

    "Previous studies19 have noted that early hominids lack other distinctive knuckle-walking features, such as pronounced dorsal metacarpal ridges, and dorsally expanded and widened articular surfaces of the metacarpal heads20, that increase the stability and range of extension in metacarpophalangeal joints. However, because these features are not always present in extant knuckle-walkers20, their absence in hominids does not rule out knuckle-walking ancestry. Rather, the absence of these features in early hominids, in conjunction with clearly derived morphological evidence for bipedalism1, 12, 19, suggests to us that early hominids did not themselves practise knuckle-walking."

    I don't like to point fingers, but this is a typical example of how creationists use our evidence against us when it actually shows the very opposite. It is manipulation of the data, which shows intermediary characters between being fully arboreal and full erect and bipedal.

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    1. Thanks for your comments, I will reply as soon as I can.

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    2. So what specifically tells you these were something that evolved into humans? especially given humans were around? what tells you these were not some extinct type of ape that had nothing to do with humans.

      I just don't see how you can make the statement that we evolved from them without a) an agenda that wants to find human evolution and will fit into it whatever fossils it can. b) Using imagination fueled by artists impressions to make the connection between man and apes.

      I am still far from convinced, I still think the phrase I have at the very top of this website is what you and all these evolutionists are doing, merely forcing evolution into what they find. Exactly what Dawkins did in the giraffe video on the other article I wrote here: http://theevolutionhoax.blogspot.com/2011/07/modern-example-of-evolutionary-hoax_26.html

      take care, - Nigel

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  5. Frogflydandelion26 January 2012 at 14:41

    "But to be blunt, that requires your imagination to think that, because you don't know that for sure and it sounds more like they found fossils that could fit into a pre-concieved idea."

    They found many attributes that are associated with bipedalism and one residual feature of knuckle walking. This is only one attribute that indicates they walked on all four and it is not as pronounced as it is for actual knuckle walkers (it is again intermediate). If you look at the list of attributes that indicate they are walking you will see this. It is not trying to push this stuff into preconceived ideas. When you see how closely some Austalopithecines resemble early Homo you will see this yourself.

    "Because lets face it, i am pretty sure there are some apes today that could look like they are a transitional too. Given like i said above, there are apes who do what you describe around today..."

    Please name one. The closest looking apes to us are the african great apes. How exactly are they transitional. Look at the skull of one and then compare it to ours. Now go look at the image you published. Do you honestly think that a chimpanzee or gorilla skull resembles us more closely.

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    1. Hi again, sorry I have taken so long to reply. I have updated the article above with more information including the following, which answers your question (as does more than just this, but read above)

      "Lucy's scientific name is Australopithecus afarensis. She looked very similar to a modern bonobo chimpanzee, with a small brain, a protruding face and large molar teeth. But Lucy has been losing favor over the past 10 years as the direct ancestor of the genus homo. Lucy has ape-like features not found in supposed descendants."

      source: http://www.usatoday.com/news/science/2001-03-21-skull.htm

      The article also devotes some space to the views of Smithsonian Museum of Natural History's "Origin of Man" program head Richard Potts, according to which Potts and a great many other evolutionists now accept the need for Lucy to be removed from the human family tree.

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  6. Frogflydandelion26 January 2012 at 15:22

    "And why they could not be just another type of ape like you find today that went extinct perhaps? given that apes today do pretty much the same as what you are describing..."

    No, apes spend all their time on all fours and occasionally stand for a better view. Bipedal walking is clearly less developed than for other apes.

    "So what specifically tells you these were something that evolved into humans? especially given humans were around? what tells you these were not some extinct type of ape that had nothing to do with humans."

    The skulls are incredibly similar to early Homo. So take Homo habilis or Homo erectus and compare them to later finds of Australopithecus africanus or A. sediba (it is not clear which is our ancestor but both are very strong contenders and are very certain to be closely related to oneanother). You can barely see a difference between either of them and Homo habilis. The size of the craniums are very similar and only very slightly larger in Homo habilis, Homo ergaster and Homo erectus. The similarly proportioned brow ridges and the similarly shrunken zygomatic arches. The absence of a saggital crest for both whereas this is present in other extant apes. This shows they are extremely similar. So what you have is an ape that almost belongs in our genus. But we had to make an arbitrary diving line somewhere. We made it here. Please look at the images closely. This is images of skulls, not artist impressions of the fully fleshed apes.

    Check the images on this site
    http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=6024&page=24

    and this site

    http://www.boneclones.com/BH-KRO-1.htm

    This is not about an agenda. Please look at the images and look at them closely. Now compare this Homo habilis (dated at 1.8 mya)

    http://www.boneclones.com/BH-011.htm

    to this Australopithecus africanus (dated to 2.5 mya)

    http://www.boneclones.com/BH-007.htm#BH-007-C

    This is a very close resemblance.

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    1. sorry, meant to say i will reply to these recent comments when I can. Thanks

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    2. I want to thank you for taking the time to reply to me about this. I am now prepared, giving the recent additional information I have placed in the article above, to let the readers make their mind up about who Lucy is. To me Lucy is a closed issue really. (I will respond however if you have more comments, but I don't see the need to spend large amounts of time on something that is so clearly not what evolutionists make it out to be)

      God bless - Nigel

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  7. Frogflydandelion30 January 2012 at 21:54

    On what basis? It is clear that Australopithecus is our ancestor and no matter how many out of context quotes you provide on this, it does not change the issue. Believe what you want if it is important to you. But biologists (the people who study this stuff) believe this genus was ancestral to us. They base this on numerous morphometric analyses and fossils, not the opinion of Johansen in 1979 (which has since changed) and an obscure and outdated reference from a french magazine. The opinion is unanimous and you can always paint it as something that is contentious or obsolete when all you provide is outdated quotes. What about what is current in the field? What is the opinion of today? What does Johansen think today? I have provided the evidence. And you choose to ignore it because of your preconceived views. I am not the sort of person who believes the things I do for ideological reasons. I work hard, I have hardly any time for social enjoyment. I do not anticipate an afterlife of bliss. I just want to do my bit to help, to make a difference to the sum total of human knowledge. I want to make a contribution to human knowledge for its own sake, I don't want to be a slave to a religion or a political ideology. I am not especially liberal or atheist. I am a biologist who cannot deny the undeniable. I study the evidence and I have only one thing to conclude. Evolution is true!!!! It is resoundingly true and no matter how hard you bury your head in the sand, if you only look at the evidence without wishing too hard about what you want to believe you will see it. You will see how obvious it is. But as long as you decide on what must be true then you will not. As long as you pretend that no matter how many fossils are found or how many speciation events are witnessed that the world must be the way you have been taught, then you will forever live in darkness. Instead of replying with outdated texts, try looking at those images. Compare them with all extant apes. They're pretty intermediate aren't they? Nothing like them. Nothing at all.

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    1. Thank you for your reply. I have placed a footnote at the base of the article above now, that mentions your point about Johansen. Stay tuned. :-)

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  8. I'm all for freedom of speech but this website it the biggest load of crap I've come across. You actually think you've going to convert people to religion using this? Maybe you could trick the uneducated and less intelligent but please don't insult me with this! You're trying to claim that this is fact, when there is no actual evidence that religion is real! Sorry but organised religion is a complete and utter scam!

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  9. On another point evolution is happening all the time, that is true evidence that it is very real! Look into the evolution of elephants and tusk size.

    I don't like how you can't answer questions with actual knowledge and fats. You are using tactics that I've seen a lot of politicians use.

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    1. I know the article/video you are talking about with the Elephants tusks changing size because of poachers, however this is not proof (nor any other form of adaptation/micro evolution) of macro evolution. That's like saying a long-haired dog giving birth to a short-haired dog is real time proof of evolution. If we want to argue the legitimacy of evolution, we all need to be more clear as to what exactly we are talking about.

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