Evolutionists claim that running made us human

by , AiG–USA

November 22, 2004

Yet once again the popular media is alive with the sound of evolutionism. This time the story that has them all abuzz is the new claim that “running made us human.” Dennis Bramble, a biology professor at the University of Utah, and Daniel Lieberman, a professor of anatomy at Harvard, are quoted in many news outlets, concerning their featured review article in the current issue of Nature (November 18, 2004), as saying that “we are very confident that strong selection for running—which came at the expense of the historical ability to live in trees—was instrumental in the origin of the modern human body form.”

There have been numerous claims by evolutionists about how and why man came to walk upright on two legs (bipedality). Many, for example, have claimed that bipedality evolved to free up our hands for the use of tools or weapons while others claimed it was an adaptation that allowed man to pick heads of grain while walking through a field. Now Bramble and Lieberman speculate that “endurance running may have made possible a diet rich in fats and proteins thought to account for the unique human combination of large bodies, small guts, big brains and small teeth.” One of the great advantages of all such imaginative evolutionary scenarios, as opposed to the theories of empirical science, is that no matter how outrageous they might be, they can never be proven wrong.

In the absence of any actual evidence for the origin of endurance running, the authors discuss a long list of those anatomical features and functions of man (but lacking in apes) that are useful or essential for distance running. These human features, compared to chimps, include shorter arms, longer legs, springy calf and foot tendons, shoulders that rotate, larger buttocks, wider vertebrae with better developed disks, enlarged heel bones, shorter toes and control of body temperature by sweating.

While all of these features do play a role in our ability to run on two legs, they hardly serve as evidence for how they have evolved—at best, they serve as an evolutionary wish list for just some of the things an ape would need to run like a human. Still, the authors believe their “hypothesis” is supported by the fact that none of these features that permit running are found in fossils of the ape-like australopithecines (believed by evolutionists to be the first bipeds), but rather are first found in early Homo erectus which they admit has an “essentially modern human-like body shape.” This will come as no surprise to creationists, who consider the australopithecines to be merely apes and most Homo erectus fossils to be fully human. The essential results of this study are that both living and fossil apes were incapable of endurance running but both living and fossil humans are capable of such running ability.

A point that gets scant attention from Bramble and Lieberman is that one must first learn to walk before one can run. They seem to accept without question that Australopithecus afarensis (commonly known as “Lucy”) was capable of bipedal walking with a human-like gait but there is no compelling evidence to support this. Both the pelvis and feet of the australopithecines closely resemble those of pygmy chimps and neither is suitable for the distinctive human stride.

Published: 8 February 2006