Evolution/Creation: The Truth e-newsletter
2. Today's Factoid: "Lucy" the amazing, "half-ape, half-man" skeleton!
C'mon - what's the REAL scoop?
Donald Johanson found this famous skeleton in 1973 - a surprisingly complete skeleton claimed to be a "hominid" or ancient ancestor to the human race.
When it was found, the hip bone was smashed in about 40 different pieces, there were no feet found, and the knee was found over two kilometers away from the rest of the skeleton!
Owen Lovejoy took the forty hip-bone pieces and carefully put them back together "without distortion." Question: This guy is an evolutionist, he is expecting a hip bone that is half-way between ape and man. How do we know he put it back together "without distortion?"
Even more interesting is the comments from Johanson's book "Ancestors" from 1994:
"Over this considerable span of time the fossil remains of Australopithecus afarensis [that would be "lucy" - I.J.] reveal a unique but constant mosaic of
features: from the neck up, chimpanzee; from the waist down human."
So this very fragmented skeleton gives us a picture of a chimpanzee... except for these parts that suggest it's slightly human: The hipbone (smashed into forty pieces and glued back together "without distortion", by an evolutionist who expects a "hominid"), a leg bone which tells us very little about the creature, and a knee bone that probably was not even a part of the rest of the skeleton!
When I ask for evidence of evolution, this is one of the most commonly cited evidences. It is a non-evidence - merely an extinct ape. Fossil evidence is
*highly* subjective in the least, and in the words of Scientific American, "The fossils are set in stone, their interpretation is not."
The folks at ScienceAgainstEvolution.org did an excellent write-up on this very skeleton, and their website is one of many featured on the "Creation Science links" page on my website, www.ianjuby.org.
See their in-depth report at:
New insight into horse evolution By Helen Briggs
BBC News science reporter
Horses were widespread during the Pleistocene, about 1.8 million to 10,000 years ago Science
Genetic evidence is shedding new light on the origins of horses in the New World, during a particularly hazy period in their evolution. As the Great Ice Age came to an end, some 11,000 years ago, North America was thought to be home to as many as 50 species and subspecies of horse. But studies of ancient DNA tell a rather different story, suggesting the horses belonged to just two species. These are the stilt-legged horses, now extinct, and the caballines. The caballines are thought to be the ancestors of today's domestic horse. "It looks like, as far as we can tell from the DNA, there is only evidence of two species in North America," Dr Alan Cooper from the University of Adelaide, Australia, told the BBC News website. "We think that, in fact, people have been looking at these fossils and over-interpreting signs of changes in shape and size," he added. "Probably these animals are adapting to local environments and perhaps they are [anatomically] more [changeable] than the palaeontologists had perhaps thought."
The work has implications for understanding other animals because horses are a textbook example of using fossil evidence to explain evolution. Although the horse fossil record is very rich, our picture of when and where different species arose is clouded. Analysis of mitochondrial DNA from fossilised bones, only possible in recent years, gives scientists a new tool to study evolution. In research published in the open access journal Plos Biology, Dr Cooper and colleagues at Oxford University, UK, analysed mitochondrial DNA from fossilised horse bones. Mitochondria, the powerpacks of the cell, have their own DNA and are inherited along the maternal line. Their DNA mutates at a stable rate, allowing researchers to look back in time at when different species diverged.
The Oxford research suggests that the stilt-legged horse, which was thought to have migrated into North America from Asia, at a time when the continents were linked by a land bridge, appears, in fact, to be native to North America. And the Patagonian Hippidion horse found in South America appears to be much younger than previously thought. It probably moved into South America about 3 million years ago, when the gap between North and South America closed up. This was a seminal period of evolution, when animals from the two continents were able to mix after a long period of isolation.
Alleged Horse Evolution
In a section of his article that is an inexcusable gaffe on his part, and one that surely must represent a terrible embarrassment to his evolutionary colleagues, Quammen resurrected the long-dead concept of “horse evolution.” Several decades ago, the American Museum of Natural History in New York City assembled a famous exhibit of fossil horses, from Eohippus (now known as Hyracotherium) to modern Equus. This exhibit was presented as powerful evidence for Darwinism, with Equus being the ultimate “goal” of equine evolution. Soon thereafter, this story of the horse family was included in practically all biology textbooks—from which no doubt, Mr. Quammen obtained his outdated information. He wrote:
In North America, for example, a vaguely horselike creature known as Hyracotherium was succeeded by Orohippus, then Epihippus, then Mesohippus, which in turn were succeeded by a variety of horsey American critters. Some of them even galloped across the Bering land bridge into Asia, then onward to Europe and Africa. By five million years ago they had nearly all disappeared, leaving behind Dinohippus, which was succeeded by Equus, the modern genus of horse (p. 12).
Interestingly, another editor of a well-known magazine tried this tact several years earlier, and ended up being publicly scolded for it. John Rennie, editor of Scientific American, wrote in the July 2002 issue of that publication: “Actually, paleontologists know of many detailed examples of fossils intermediate in form between various taxonomic groups…. A sequence of fossils spans the evolution of modern horses from the tiny Eohippus” (2002, 287:83).
|The alleged evolutionary succession depicting the rise of modern-day horses|
Evolutionists themselves long ago abandoned horse evolution as an example of transitional forms, since they no longer believe the fossil record represents anything like a straightforward progression, but instead a bush with many varying branches. As Heribert Nilsson correctly pointed out as long ago as 1954:
The family tree of the horse is beautiful and continuous only in the textbooks. In the reality provided by the results of research it is put together from three parts, of which only the last can be described as including horses. The forms of the first part are just as much little horses as the present day damans are horses. The construction of the horse is therefore a very artificial one, since it is put together from non-equivalent parts, and cannot therefore be a continuous transformation series (pp. 551-552, emp. added).
Mr. Quammen apparently does not realize that as far back as the 1950s, scientists already had cast aside the false notion of horse evolution via classic Darwinian changes. [In fact, the vast majority of textbooks (including ones published by National Geographic!) have abandoned the horse in favor of the camel—a species they believe can paint the same picture but that has not been so publicly ridiculed.] David Raup of the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, Illinois, acknowledged:
Well, we are now about 120 years after Darwin, and knowledge of the fossil record has been greatly expanded.... Ironically, we have even fewer examples of evolutionary transition than we had in Darwin’s time. By this I mean that some of the classic cases of Darwinian change in the fossil record, such as the evolution of the horse in North America, have had to be discarded or modified as a result of more detailed information—what appeared to be a nice, simple progression when relatively few data were available now appears to be much more complex and much less gradualistic (1979, pp. 24,25).
The late eminent paleontologist of Harvard, George Gaylord Simpson, summed it up well when he wrote: “The uniform, continuous transformation of Hyracotherium into Equus, so dear to the hearts of generations of textbook writers, never happened in nature” (1953, p. 125, emp. added). Another scientist from Harvard—and a man for whom Dr. Simpson served as mentor—Stephen J. Gould, bemoaned the continued use of what he termed “misinformation” such as horse evolution. He wrote.
Once ensconced in textbooks, misinformation becomes cocooned and effectively permanent, because, as stated above, textbooks copy from previous texts. (I have written two essays on this lamentable practice: one on the amusingly perennial description of the eohippus, or “dawn horse,” as the size of a fox terrier, even though most authors, including yours truly, have no idea of the dimensions or appearance of this breed…) [2000, 109:45; to read his exposure of the fallacy of horse evolution, see Gould, 1991, pp. 155-167].
Creationist Jonathan Sarfati wrote along these lines:
Even informed evolutionists regard horse evolution as a bush rather than a sequence. But the so-called Eohippus is properly called Hyracotherium, and has little that could connect it with horses at all. The other animals in the “sequence” actually show hardly any more variation between them than that within horses today. One non-horse and many varieties of the true horse kind does not a sequence make (Sarfati, Jonathan (2002a), “15 Ways to Refute Materialistic Bigotry,” [On-line], URL: http://www.answersingenesis.org/news/scientific_american.asp.).
Truer words were never spoken: “One non-horse and many varieties of the true horse kind does not a sequence make.” It will require much better evidence than this from evolutionists if they hope to convince knowledgeable people that their theory is correct (much less a “fact” of science). Apparently, however, they have no better evidence, as was evident from Mr. Quammen’s next feeble attempt to produce an intermediate form in the fossil record.