To be quite clear, Lucy is far from the only anthropoid fossil to be artistically exaggerated into much more than the remains indicate. In fact, many, many proposed protohumans – in spite of their persistent inclusion into dramatic murals of evolutionary progression and such – are known from incredibly fragmented, sometimes dubious, remains.
Concerning such suspicious material, several instances of blatant exaggeration, unfounded promotion, and even unscrupulous forgeries exist throughout the history of paleoanthropology. Such cases include that of Nebraska Man (Hesperopithecus haroldcookii, based on the discovery of a single tooth which later, much to the chagrin of the various paleontological authorities that supported its veracity and importance to anthropology, turned out to belong to that of an extinct pig) and Piltdown Man (Eoanthropus dawsoni, a forged protohuman skull composed of the jaw of an orangutan and the cranium of a modern human, accepted as a valid fossil by the scientific community for some 40 years before being discovered as a hoax).
Outside of those remains which present us with too little material to make any certain claims of identification beyond “ape” and those of mistaken or forged identities, there exist a few well known examples of “cavemen” which are undeniable and that require some attention.
The first discovery of one form, made in Indonesia by the anatomist Eugène Dubois in 1891, consisted of only the top portion of a skull and a remarkably human-like femur. The so-called ‘Java Man’ was hailed as proof by Dubois and others that mankind originated in Asia, and the later discovery of another Asian ape-man, Sinanthropus pekinensis or “Peking Man,” was used to bolster this claim. By the 1940s, Ernst Mayr found reason to consolidate Java Man and Peking Man into a single species: Homo erectus.
Even before its new name, Homo erectus – the so-called ‘upright man’ – there was dispute over the nature of what it represented. Was it a primitive ape-man, as the evolutionist’s claimed, or could it instead be an advanced ape, maybe even a fraud, as many creationists contended? The hot debate continued for years, and in many regards continues even now, however with the discovery of a young H. erectus, the Turkana Boy, much of the early ambiguity was resolved.
The Turkana Boy’s remains were almost complete, lacking only the hands and feet, and from that skeleton some dramatic truths were brought forth. Like the controversial Peking & Java men, the Turkana boy possessed a heavy brow, a sloping forehead, and other seemingly primitive characteristics. Outside of this though the remainder of the skeleton was remarkably human, and in life he would have maintained the same graceful, erect posture of any modern boy.(1) Estimated to have died around the age of eleven, the boy’s endocranial volume (the measurement relative to brain size and capability) was measured at approximately 900cc, which, while somewhat below average, is fully within the acceptable span of modern humans, ranging from 700cc to 2200cc.(2) In life, there is little reason to doubt that the Turkana Boy and his kin would appear as anything substantially different than typical human beings. In fact, whatever differences exist in the cranial morphology are minimal when one considers the full range of characteristics seen in the skulls of different modern human races. Even his discoverer, Richard Leakey, said of the boy, “Suitably clothed and with a cap to obscure his low forehead and beetle brow, he would probably go unnoticed in a crowd today.”
The question, considering the boy’s morphology and capabilities, should be in regard to the mainstream’s insistence at proclaiming Homo erectus a primitive intermediary between apes and man. If even the discoverer of the Turkana Boy felt obligated to comment on the undeniably human character of the child, then why are the scientific authorities so apt to devolve him into something baser? Could the Turkana Boy, indeed the whole of Homo erectus, in fact be human after all?
Author Charles Pellegrino commented on the similarity between Homo erectus and modern Homo sapiens, stating that whatever differences exist between them are strictly superficial. So confident in his assessment was he that he considered the two may in fact be one.(3) This view has gained support in recent years, especially in the light of more recent discoveries, with one observer describing the trend, saying its supporters are:
“…proposing nothing less than the complete abolition of Homo erectus on the grounds that the species is insufficiently distinct from Homo sapiens. All fossil specimens of Homo erectus and archaic Homo sapiens … should be reclassified into a single species, Homo sapiens…”(4)
One such discovery focused on a series of aboriginal skulls from Australia. Each of these skulls exhibited modern-sized brains, approximately 1260cc, yet also possessed the thick brows, sloping forehead, and protruding jaws of the classic Homo erectus specimens. The most problematic issue with these skulls is that, unlike typical Homo erectus specimens, which date by mainstream timelines to as early as 1.9 million years ago, those discovered in Australia have been dated to as recently as 15,000 years ago. This discrepancy in dating has confounded many secular researchers, with one observer declaring that, despite the apparent primitiveness of their features and their striking resemblance to specimens identified as Homo erectus, these people were in fact typical humans.(5)
Further confounding the mainstream was a discovery made in the country of Georgia, in a cave near the region of Dmanisi, where a number of humanoid fossils began to shift the mainstream’s view of Homo erectus and other apparently ancient humanoids. The find consisted of several individuals (apparently the remains of a predator’s meal as indicated by bite marks and other clues), including many limb bones and at least five partial skulls. What was really interesting about the find was the range of features seen on these skulls, as some appeared quite primitive while others more modern, yet all are accepted by the authorities as belonging to the Homo erectus genus. This find demonstrated that facial characteristics in ancient man were just as variable then as they are now. The implications of course were profound, and some researchers immediately began to question the integrity of several established species (including Homo rudolfensis, Homo gautengensis, Homo ergaster and others), calling instead for their inclusion within the Homo erectus genus.(6)
Interestingly, the observant reader may notice that the critical element in dividing Homo erectus specimens from Homo sapiens is based less on their features, but rather on the preconception that evolution has been at play, forcing those who subscribe to such beliefs to identify a natural progression from primitive to advanced forms. Confusing this whole idea is the fact that many of the so-called human ancestors were contemporaries of their apparent descendants. Take away the faulty notions of macroevolution and focus on the fact that aside from relatively minor aspects of the skull – each of which can and does occur in modern humans – and we are left with people that fit comfortably within the diversity of true humanity. I see little reason to counter the notion that Homo erectus is actually part of the diverse radiation of Homo sapiens.
Concerning that, one researcher has suggested that the so-called primitive features of Homo erectus actually originate from diet and lifestyle rather than an intrinsic set of characteristics. Arthur Custance wrote of how the frequent and strenuous usage of the jaw muscles, especially in regard to eating raw or undercooked foods during childhood, causes them to strengthen and enlarge, deforming the forehead, enhancing the brow ridge and cheeks in the process. Years of such activity would have profound effects on the appearance, especially if the child in question also suffered from a lack of calcium and vitamin D.(7)
Similarly, the skulls of Dmanisi may be a product, at least in part, of similar dietary or even disease-related issues. Some have suggested that the small cranial capacities exhibited amongst them – ranging from approximately 600cc to 730cc – is a result of congenital hypothyroidism, growth hormone defects, and perhaps even dwarfism due to limited resources.(8)
Another point worth noting, especially in regard to the Dmanisi skulls, is that some of the supposedly primitive features may in fact be just that. There is no dispute that the remains were fed upon by predators, thus it may be that the discovery site, located within a cave no less, could be the den of some ancient carnivore, and the seemingly related skulls may instead be unfortunate victims carried home by another creature. Furthering this position is the fragmentary and disarticulated nature of the remains, which conveniently have been reassembled for the public’s benefit by the authorities. Could the Dmanisi finds actually represent a reconstructed mosaic of the remains of human and primitive apes, both of which were brought back to the den and fed upon by something years ago? Could the Dmanisi remains be no more valid in their authenticity than the infamous Nebraska Man or Piltdown Man? Time, perhaps, will tell…
Notes & References:
- Leakey, R. & Lewin, R., “Origins Reconsidered,” Abacus Books, London, 1992, pp. 58-64
- Molnar, S., “Races, Types and Ethnic Groups,” Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, 1975, pg. 57
- Pellegrino, C. R., “Time-Gate, Hurtling Backward Through Time,” TAB Books, Blue Ridge Summit, Pennsylvania, 1985, pg. 120
- Shipman, P., “On the origin of races,” 1993, New Scientist, 137(1856):34
- Lubenow, M., “Bones of Contention,” Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1992, pg. 133
- Sample, Ian, “Skull of Homo erectus throws story of human evolution into disarray,” The Guardian, Thursday 17 October 2013, http://www.theguardian.com/science/2013/oct/17/skull-homo-erectus-human-evolution, retrieved July 20th, 2015
- Custance A., “Genesis and early man, The Doorway Papers, Volume II.” Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1975, pp. 183-184, 208- 211
- Dr. Elizabeth Mitchell, “Does the Dmanisi Discovery Demonstrate We Are All One Family?,” Answers in Genesis, November 6, 2013, https://answersingenesis.org/human-evolution/hominids/does-the-dmanisi-discovery-demonstrate-we-are-all-one-family/, retrieved July 21st, 2015
– This was an excerpt from “Remnants of Eden: Evolution, Deep-Time, & the Antediluvian World.” Get your copy here today. God bless! –
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