This article is from
Creation 3(4):16–17, November 1980

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The African 'Ape-Men'

by C. Wieland

Today, most evolutionary speculation about man’s ancestry centers around the belief in the "ape-men" of Africa-the Australopithecines and habilines.* Leakey and Johannsen are prominent among the discoverers and propagators. Although there is much confusion and vagueness about the believed "family tree", and a continuing reclassification of the fossil specimens with each new assessment, many evolutionary biologists seem to have great confidence about the following:

  1. These creatures walked upright in the human manner, and some used tools.
  2. They are genetically related to apes and men, and their anatomical features qualify them as being intermediate between ape-like creatures and man. The classification difficulties are taken as further proof that there is a "grading" of features from more apelike to more manlike.

The glossy diagrams and statements which accompany such fossil finds are, of course, very convincing, and most evolutionists who are not anatomists or anthropologists feel quite secure in their belief that this is a rather overwhelming body of evidence for human evolution.

Those who have discovered these bones are very quick to claim near-human status for them. However, we need to be aware of some of the difficulties which exist between finding a human or ape skull and actually proving something about it.

Firstly, the discovery of tools near a specimen is not evidence that they were used by the specimen or on the specimen; these tools may be quite unrelated to it.

Lord Solly Zuckerman, Professor of Anatomy of Birmingham University and head of a research team numbering not less than four which studied these bones for fifteen years, can rightly claim to know more about the anatomy of these creatures than any scientist, living or dead. Although himself an evolutionist, he totally dismisses the view that one can casually look at a pelvic bone or a knee joint and declare that a creature walked upright. His own finding? These ape-men did not walk upright in the human manner at all, and they were not genetically close to either men or ape, but a unique group of extinct creatures.

Concerning the study of "pre-human" fossils, Lord Zuckerman comments in his 1970 book, Beyond the Ivory Tower: 'The record is so astonishing that it is legitimate to ask whether much science is yet to be found in this field at all.'

Another distinguished scientist, also an evolutionist, Dr Charles Oxnard, who is Professor of Anatomy, University of Southern California (formerly of the University of Chicago) has developed an ingenious method of analyzing bones called "multivariate computer analysis", which attempts to remove the subjective element in deciding, for example, whether a creature walked upright and how close various fossil groups are to each other genetically. He describes the method in outline in an article in the May, 1979, American Biology Teacher, p.264, "Human Fossils: New Views of Old Bones" which is well worth reading. The conclusions of his computerized study are the same as those reached by Zuckerman: 'the bones represent a unique group of extinct creatures.'

The popularized view of man’s evolution is not substantiated by the evidence. The demonstrable facts are entirely consistent with the clear position of the Bible. Man has always been distinctly and uniquely man since the time of his creation.

*This includes all of the genus Australopithecus and the species Homo habilis. In addition, Homo erectus genes in Africa are generally part of the semantic confusion. Pilbeam, Robinson and Oxnard are among the authorities who classify Homo habilis as merely a variety of Australpithecus.