This article is from
Creation 12(3):21, June 1990

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Editor’s note: As Creation magazine has been continuously published since 1978, we are publishing some of the articles from the archives for historical interest, such as this. For teaching and sharing purposes, readers are advised to supplement these historic articles with more up-to-date ones suggested in the Related Articles and Further Reading below.

Darwin’s Bodysnatchers

… So runs the bold caption tor a feature article in The Sydney Morning Herald of March 3, 1990. It details the horrors inflicted on Australian Aborigines, particularly the Tasmanians, because of the desire to prove they were the “missing link”. Particularly distressing to modern- day Aborigines is the fact that so many thousands of Aboriginal bodies were shipped off to overseas museums, often against their last wishes and over the protests of the deceased’s kinsfolk.


Investigations by the Herald show that it is likely that the remains of more than 3,000 Aborigines are held in Britain alone. Perhaps as many as another 7,000 were destroyed in World War II bombing raids. In trying to find out the exact details, the newspaper encountered “widespread refusal” to co-operate, and found that “secrecy and deceit” were commonplace.

According to the article, this ‘scientific’ endeavour began as far back as 1803, but received a real boost when Darwin used the Australian native as an example of a living link to the animal. Later, Darwin’s ‘bulldog’, T.H. Huxley, superimposed an Aboriginal skull on to a Neanderthal skull to start what the newspaper calls an “Australian growth industry”, a “frantic attempt” to prove Darwin right.

These were ‘mainstream’ scientists; the report makes it clear that their bias led them to ignore all contrary evidence and highlight only that which would ‘prove’ what they already believed. Present-day paleoanthropologists vehemently insist that their own a priori commitment to evolution in no way influences their assessments of various ape-like skulls, yet the history of science gives us no reason to believe that the effects of bias and presupposition will suddenly be absent in human reasoning because it is 1990.

Of course, these racist ‘findings’ of Aborigines’ being ‘less evolved’ have been totally discredited. This probably has less to do with noble progress in science as such than with the swing of society’s pendulum away from racism—for the moment.

While these evils were happening, was the Church standing against them on the basis of God’s Word (that all men are close blood relatives), or was it falling over itself to accommodate the new evolutionary ‘science’, as the majority still do today?