Exploring the Question of Origins
Man’s origin has always been the most intriguing question for those studying fossil evidences. How did he come on the scene? From what kind of ape did he evolve? Was he the abrupt creative act of an intelligent designer?
These are legitimate questions and worthy of exploration. Unfortunately, the information from most textbook sources is biased toward evolution only. Our objective in this article will be, once again, to bring the significant parts of the evolution and creation models into focus.
“The Missing Links”
Once some scientists believed that they evolved from ape ancestors, they began searching for fossil evidence. Unscientific approaches to this question have resulted in virtually every fossil ape discovered being touted as a discovered “missing link,” an evolutionary ape ancestor of man. This approach has also resulted in frauds and faked data being accepted as “missing links.”
Nebraska Man was reconstructed from what was later found to be the tooth of an extinct pig. This evidences was used by Clarence Darrow at the famous Scopes Trial to try to force the teaching of evolution in public schools in Tennessee in 1925. Another fraud, Piltdown Man, was constructed from faked fossils placed in a gravel pit. Both Nebraska Man and Piltdown Man were widely hailed as “missing links” by the scientific community.1
If a scientist believes that men came from apes, he must imagine these “apemen” into existence. As a science writer recently admitted, “Bones say nothing about the fleshy parts of the nose, lips or ears. Artists must create something between an ape and a human being; the older the specimen is said to be, the more apelike they make it.“2
The Fossil Apes
According to the scientific creation model men and apes were created as separate kinds. Biological variations occur within these created kinds, but nowhere does there exist evidence that apes evolved into humans. The creation model predicts that all ape fossils would be either fossils of living (extant) apes or fossils of extinct apes, which for some reason could not survive. What does the fossil evidence show?
Fossils classified as ramapithecines are of two types: Ramapithecus (Rama is named for a Hindu god – and Pithecus means ape) and a larger ape, Sivapithecus (Siva also being the name of a Hindu god). Until recently, only a few teeth and small fragments of fossil skulls had been found.
Based on this limited fossil evidence scientists believed they could recognize human-like characteristics in the teeth and skull fragments. In 1979 the crushed skull of Sivapithecus was discovered in the foothills of the Himalayan mountains. The new evidence resulting from the reassembled fragments suggests that the ramapithecines are very similar or identical to the modern orangutan apes.3
The extinct australopithecine apes are believed to have evolved form the ramapithecines. Now that the ramapithecines appear in the fossil orang-utans, no evolutionary ancestor for australopithecines has been found. Some scientists believe that Australopithecus, which means “southern ape,” consists of a single species. They figure that the range of fossil skeletal types found can be due to normal individual differences and to differences in the sexes – a larger skeleton for the male and a smaller one for the female.4
The opposite view is that there were many australopithecine species. Where fossil skeletons of different sizes are found together it is suggested that the different species lived together in the same habitat. The generally accepted names following the many-species hypothesis are Australopithecus afarensis, Australopithecus robustus (also known as boisei) and Australopithecus africanus.5
What happened to the australopithecines? Suddenly they appear as fossils in the sediments of Africa and just as suddenly they disappear. Did they simply become extinct like the dinosaur? Did they evolve and change into humans? Or were the australopithecines ancient apes whose surviving descendants can be found among the modern apes?
The creation model affirms that apes have always been apes. Australopithecines were not gorillas or chimps. They were apes, but not the same as any modern apes. The well known fossil hunter Richard Leakey has observed that the size of the australopithecine brain was not very different from that of a chimpanzee or gorilla.6
The wear pattern on the teeth enamel of Australopithecines is that of a fruit-eater like modern chimpanzees.7 The foot bones of Australopithecus afarensis are slightly curved, i.e., a bone structure expected in a tree dwelling ape.8 Another famous fossil ape hunter, Donald Johanson, has recently observed that the skull of Australopithecus afarensis looks like a small female gorilla.
In 1946, a fossil australopithecine was discovered which appeared to be different from other australopithecines. It was excavated from a prehistoric butchering site. The site was littered with stone tools and animal fossils such as pig, horse, catfish and tortoise. The australopithecine fossil was scattered: foot bones were among bones of a fossil horse and hand bones were among bones of a fossil pig.
Again the evolution model insists that this butchering site must have been occupied before man evolved. Since evolutionists could not accept that the stone tools were made by the horse or the pig, the fossil ape was elected as the tool maker. This ape was named Homo habilis which means “handy man.” However, more recent re-examination of the finger bones of this fossil ape has led scientists to conclude that the Homo habilis hand was “similar in overall configuration to chimpanzee and female gorillas.“9
Some scientists believe that the australopithecines walked upright like humans, rather than like chimpanzees, for example. Richard Leakey recently admitted that evolutionists do not know whether or not Australopithecus walked upright because no one has yet discovered a complete skeleton associated with an Australopithecus skull. It is necessary to know exactly how the spine is attached at the base of the skull for an accurate interpretation of upright walking. That evidence is inconclusive.10
The most convincing evidence of upright walking comes not from fossil skeletons, but from footprints. While the Great Rift Valley was opening along the eastern length of Africa, volcanic activity was increasing. A layer of ash covered the surrounding landscape with each episode of volcanic explosions. When an animal walked across the ash, it left its track. Rain cemented the ash and new ashfalls protected the tracks from further erosion. Human-like tracks occurred along with the numerous animal tracks. The footprints were of an adult and child. The site is Laetoli in northern Tanzania.11
According to the evolution model these tracks were made before man had evolved. Therefore, the tracks must have been made by an ape walking upright like humans. Human fossils are found in this region, but evolutionists believe these humans must have lived much later.
A creation model would not reject the hypothesis that the Laetoli tracks could have been made by humans. Man existed during the time of the australopithecine apes. Fossil human bones and stone tools have been discovered along the Great Rift Valley and it is possible that these “human-like” tracks were actually made by humans.12
The early evolutionists, not having any fossils showing a transition between ape and humans, still imagined what the“missing links” must have looked like. When human fossil skulls were discovered which show extended brow ridges or brain size, artists gave them apelike features and mannerisms. Human fossils labeled Homo erectus, which means “erect man,” were initially thought to be the missing link. However the early Homo erectus fossils were known only from missing mystery fossils (Peking Man) and hoaxes (Java Man).
Some African and Asian human fossils are the remains of individuals whose brain size ranged from 775 to 1300 cubic centimeters (cc). This range is smaller than the average for modern humans, which is typically reported as 1450 to 1500 cc. However, the smaller brain sizes of some Homo fossils are within the range of brain sizes known for modern human populations. This range is approximately 830cc to 2300cc.13
An apparently normal woman with a brain size of 720cc has been documented.14 Also, caution should be used when associating brain size with intelligence. It is popular to believe that a larger brain size corresponds with greater intelligence. This assumption is incorrect. Here are several examples why brain capacity is not a satisfactory measure of intelligence:
1. Individual human brain capacities widely vary (e.g., ranges from 830cc to 2800cc in modern peoples) without a corresponding variation in intelligence;
2. Men average a larger brain capacity than women without a corresponding advantage in intelligence; and
3. Whales, dolphins and elephants all have larger brains than humans.
Some Homo fossils were small in stature averaging around 153 centimeters (5-feet) in height. There are people living whose average height is less than the height of these ancient peoples. The Negritos of Oceania have an average height of 147 centimeters and the Pygmies of highland New Guinea are 150 to 157 centimeters in height.15
Both the variation in height and variation in brain sizes observed in fossil humans can still be found in today’s population. A recent Homo fossil discovery reported by Richard Leakey is that of a male youth (estimated to be twelve years old) who, when fully developed, would have been about six feet tall!16
The picture of dull-witted, shambling, frowning Neanderthal was popular until recently. Now, as an evolutionist has written, “Most paleoanthropologists and the artists working under their direction have given the Neanderthals a shower and a shave and straightened up their shoulder. Neanderthal men and women no longer shuffle along on bent legs, staring vacantly. Now they stride erect and with purpose – not exactly like us in the face, but clearly a race of our own kind.“17
The evolution model holds that increasing brain size is a characteristics of human evolution. The larger the fossil brain size is calculated to be, the closer it is assumed to be to modern humans.18 It is often taught that a characteristic of future man will be a larger brain size than humans of today. This story is popular, but the scientific evidence is against it.
The average brain size for modern humans is around 1500cc, but the average brain size calculated for Neanderthal-type people is larger – around 1600cc. According to the evolution model, this data would imply that Neanderthal peoples evolved from modern man. Or perhaps the human brain is actually shrinking! A better explanation is that the variation in brain size in human fossils is consistent with the variation predicted by genetics and the creation model.
What You Believe Does Matter
A model is important in that it affects the way people live and plan for the future. When a society believes that evolution is true, evolution becomes the model which people use to organize society and prepare for the future. Combining belief in evolution with powerful social institutions such as business (for example, the abortion industry) and politics (for example, racism) is especially dangerous and far reaching.
As an extreme example, there are people who believe that human development must be controlled. They argue that during human evolution from ape to man, weaker individuals either died, or in other ways were prevented from having offspring. Their weaknesses could not be passed to future generations.
Today we have developed technology and social welfare systems which prevent this “natural selection” from occurring. Therefore, society must control the lives of inferior people to prevent endangering the quality of life for future generations.19 Studies concerning the control of human heredity are called eugenics. These studies are directly related to evolution. The eugenics-evolution connection could be a force to control the lives of people that might be considered inferior or genetically weaker.
The creation model, on the other hand, provides for the sanctity of human life, and those adhering to this model strongly object to genetic manipulations. Truly, what you believe about human origins does matter!
Less than forty years ago the Nazis gained control of Germany. Believing in evolution, they wanted to produce a “Super Race.” To do this they developed programs to separate this “Super Race” from the people they considered inferior. Many people considered inferior were isolated in work camps and many more were horribly murdered in death camps. What you believe about human origins does matter!
Authors and dates of the source documents noted in this article:
1 Gish, 1986. 2 Rensberger, 1981. 3 Leaky, 1982; Bleibtreu, 1985. 4 Johanson and Edey, 1981. 5 Leakey, 1981; Mahlert, 1980. 6 Gribbin and Cherfas, 1981. 7 Leakey, 1981. 8 Ibid. 9 Susman and Stern, 1982. 10 Cherfas, 1982. 11 Reader, 1981. 12 Parker and Morris, 1987. 13 Gish, 1986. 14 Mehlert, 1979. 15 Bellwood, 1979. 16 Understanding Genesis, 1987. 17 Rensberger, 1981. 18 Lewin, 1982. 19 Crow, 1966; Osborn, 1960.