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More evidence Australopithecus was an extinct ape

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lucy

Australopithecus has been hailed as a key missing link between man and apes since the 1920s, despite a large amount of data that shows it is a unique, extinct ape.1,2 Sir Solly Zuckerman, a British anatomist, discovered that very few scientists wanted to hear that Australopithecus was not a missing link. Despite the addition of several new ‘species’, Australopithecus is still fitted into the scheme of supposed human evolution.3

Accumulating evidence that Australopithecus was an ape

More and more evidence is accumulating that Australopithecus is nothing more than an extinct ape. It has been claimed that A. afarensis (the species that the famous fossil specimen Lucy belongs to) walked upright, but there is morphological evidence that Lucy was a knuckle-walker, like present-day apes.4,5 Lucy also had the brains, jaws, limbs, and inner ears of an ape.6 A recent analysis of the teeth of A. bahrelghazali revealed that this ‘species’ fed mainly on grasses and sedges, a type of flowering plant,7 which seems to be more an animal diet and not one evolving towards humans. Others have found evidence that A. afarensis, as well as Ardipithecus ramidus, is an ape.8

Lucy was a tree-climber

The idea that Lucy walked upright and was on its way to becoming human has been dealt yet another blow. The shoulder blade of a new A. afarensis was recently discovered, and the ape-like scapula showed that Lucy scaled trees.9 Although the specimen was from a juvenile, the results still apply to the adults. Some have argued that the ape-like scapula was because Lucy was small, but the new result argues it is because Lucy really did inhabit the trees.10

Has this discovery caused paleoanthropologists to reclassify Lucy out of the ‘human family tree’? The answer is no. They have simply claimed Lucy both walked upright and was a tree dweller at the same time, or that the tree climbing abilities were evolutionary ‘left-overs’ that continued for awhile as Lucy ‘evolved’ to walking on the ground.11 An accompanying perspective article to the research reported in Science concludes:

“The shoulder bones of a juvenile australopith resemble those of extant apes, suggesting that tree climbing continued to be important for these bipedal early human ancestors.”12

So, it looks like Australopithecus, especially A. afarensis, will remain as a missing link despite its overwhelming ape-like features, including knuckle-walking and tree climbing abilities. Otherwise, evolutionists would be left with a huge intellectual vacuum in their paradigm, and this I am sure would be strongly distasteful. The words of Sir Solly Zuckerman still ring true:

“So much glamour still attaches to the theme of the missing-link, and to man’s relationships with the animal world, that it may always be difficult to exorcise from the comparative study of Primates, living and fossil, the kind of myths which the unaided eye is able to conjure out of a well of wishful thinking.”13

References and notes

  1. Zuckerman, S., Beyond the Ivory Tower: The Frontiers of Public and Private Science, Taplinger Publishing Company, New York, 1970. Return to text.
  2. Oxnard, C.E., Uniqueness and Diversity in Human Evolution: Morphometric Studies of Australopithecines, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL, 1975. Return to text.
  3. Catt, J.A. and Maslin, M.A., The prehistoric human time scale; in: Gradstein, F.M., Ogg, J.G., Schmitz, M. and Ogg, G. (Eds.), The Geological Time Scale 2012, Elsevier, New York, pp. 1011–1032, 2012. Return to text.
  4. Richmond, B.G. and Strait, D.S., Evidence that humans evolved from a knuckle-walking ancestor, Nature 404:382–385, 2000; doi:10.1038/35006045. Return to text.
  5. Oard, M.J., Did Lucy walk upright? Journal of Creation 15(2):9–10, 2002; creation.com/lucy. Return to text.
  6. Wood, B., A precious little bundle, Nature 443:278–280, 2006. Return to text.
  7. Bower, B., Early hominid had unusual diet: eating grasses, sedges goes back at least 3 million years, Science News 182(12):14, 2012. Return to text.
  8. Rak, Y., Ginzburg, A. and Geffen, E., Gorilla-like anatomy on Australopithecus afarensis mandibles suggests Au. afarensis link to robust australopiths, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science 104(16):6568–6572, 2007. Return to text.
  9. Green, D.J. and Alemseged, Z., Australopithecus afarensis scapular ontogeny, function, and the role of climbing in human evolution, Science 338:514–517, 2012. Return to text.
  10. Green and Alemseged, ref. 9, p. 515. Return to text.
  11. Bower, B., Fossil puts Lucy’s kind up a tree: contested analysis of shoulder portrays hominid as a climber, Science News 182(11):16, 2012. Return to text.
  12. Larson, S., Did australopiths climb trees? Science 338:478, 2012. Return to text.
  13. Zuckerman, ref. 1, p. 94. Return to text.

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Reader’s comments

G. B.
I am a bit confused David T. Since you said "Every living thing on this planet is genetically related", does that mean you practice cannibalism every time you eat something?
Robert K.
@David T.
You said, "This site, and it's creators are intellectually dishonest. You use quote mining and selective referencing all the time."

In your worldview, why would this matter? If there is no God and we are truly just a sophisticated collocation of chemistry, it would seem there is not basis upon which to judge any action moral or not (e.g. dishonesty). That said, Tas was right - you can check the references yourself.


You said, "A lot of your conclusions are downright laughable." Appeal to ridicule is a logical fallacy - not a logical argument.

You said, "Your criticisms of evolution are aimed at those who do not understand nor study it. You'd also like to think the human race is special. It isn't." The fallacy of irrelevant thesis (i.e. red herring) is also not logical.

You said, "Every living thing on this planet is genetically related so what else don't you want to understand." Aside from the good points Tas made, your statement is demonstrably false. As Dr. Craig Venter had to point out to Dr. Dawkins at a conference, there exist different DNA "languages". Hence, they could not have all had a common ancestor.

You said, "Evolution is a fact." Again, Tas is right. Depending on how you define / equivocate on that term, evolution is both observable fact and unobservable conjecture.

You said, "Get over it. Wishful thinking that all of life miraculously popped into existence at the behest of a creator god is bunkum." The funny thing is that the evolutionist must believe in the miraculous production of life from lifeless chemicals as well. The difference is that they have no one to perform the miracle. (http://creation.com/origin-of-life)
David T.
This site, and it's creators are intellectually dishonest. You use quote mining and selective referencing all the time. A lot of your conclusions are downright laughable. Your criticisms of evolution are aimed at those who do not understand nor study it. You'd also like to think the human race is special. It isn't. Every living thing on this planet is genetically related so what else don't you want to understand. Evolution is a fact. Get over it. Wishful thinking that all of life miraculously popped into existence at the behest of a creator god is bunkum.
Tas Walker
This site is intellectually rigorous and reliable. We don't use quote mining, rather we provide references where you can check the original article and assure yourself that the quotes are in context. Quotes perform the role of a "hostile witness". If we said the same thing, even though it is true you would be less inclined to believe it. Our conclusions are soundly based. Although our articles are written so ordinary people can understand them, they are not aimed at deceiving those who do not understand or study evolution. We receive lots of testimonials from informed scientists that our articles are reliable and correct, and were helpful in their understanding the issue better. All life is not genetically related, but it has a common designer. Evolution is a fact and it is also a fallacy, depending on how you define evolution. On cell origin, life had to pop into existence 'miraculously' because all the components of the living cell had to be present and functioning at the one time in order for it to work. Those who believe this was a wholly natural phenomenon that occurred by chance are the wishful thinkers—believing in miracles without a miracle worker. If you are interested in learning more you could type the bolded keywords into our search box and find relevant articles that present the scientific realities.
Sean S.
If it looks like an ape and acts like an ape...
Phil K.
Perhaps I am confused. But if evolutionary geologists get to use the phrase "the present is the key to the past" to justify long ages for the world, why doesn't that phrase apply to anthropology? In other words, if the skeleton looks like an ape and forensics confirm apelike behavior, why isn't it just classified as an ape? No need for fantasy story-telling of an ape-like pre-human on the path to evolving into modern man. If evolutionists were consistent, wouldn't they have to claim that Lucy and Australopithecus were just apes?
Peter H.
I love that quote at the end of the article, especially the last line. Who could have said it better?
Steve S.
There is simply only variation within a kind, never one kind into another. Mutations + natural selection can never be on their way to programming body plans and organs. That would require an intelligent programmer. But since the Creator is ruled out, then obviously the creation has to be the creator.
Jack L.
Opinion pretending to be science. It usually takes a new generation to replace and bury the old before things will change.

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