Category Archives: Human Ancestry

It is easy to see similarities between humans and apes, and many fossils are said to show how we evolved from apes, but closer examination changes the picture.

no evolution of gorillas

Evolution data shows no sign of evolution – again.

Evolution? The headline seemed to be saying there was more data showing how ancient apes split into two groups, one heading toward modern gorillas and the other leading to other modern apes — and humans. I’m blogging about “Fossils Shed New Light on Human-Gorilla Split,” LiveScience.com, By Charles Q. Choi,  2/11/2016.

As usual, the title of the original research report was a bit clearer: “New geological and palaeontological age constraint for the gorilla–human lineage split.” (Nature 530, 215–218 (11 February 2016) doi:10.1038/nature16510) In other words, the data merely shows a limit on when the split might have happened — assuming that it did happen, and that the dating method is accurate.

What is this all about? Fossil teeth again. One thing we know for sure, the fossil teeth that appear to be the oldest gorilla teeth ever found “resembled those of modern gorillas.” Not much to go on, but it sounds like there has not been much change (evolution) between Chororapithecus and living gorillas. Continue reading Evolution data shows no sign of evolution – again.

Are we just cousins of gibbons?

We’ve all seen the depictions of the “Tree of Life” with humans at the top (older versions had some races closer to the top than others), but as leading evolutionists have pointed out, that’s a misleading view of evolution. Indeed, it was held by a number of leading evolutionists in the past, who saw evolution as just such a progression of increasingly superior or “fitter” organisms leading up to us (and someday to descendants of ours so advanced we would look little different from chimps in comparison).

The more popular view these days is to emphasize that humans are nothing special in evolutionary terms. After all, look at the microbes that today leave traces (stromatolites) that appear identical to fossils dated billions of years old. How’s that for surviving? Humans are just the latest fad in this view, our tiny twig on the tree of life not being any more special or favored than any of the others. The perch we may eat for supper is seen as just as evolved in its own way as we are, and from the same fishy ancestor. For that matter, I might just as easily have titled this post, “Are we just colonies of specialized microbes?” However, it was inspired by a recent report a lot closer to home in evolutionary terms. Continue reading Are we just cousins of gibbons?

Chinese teeth claimed to alter “Out of Africa” story

Here’s a news story regarding human evolution, or rather, the old-
Earth saga of the wanderings of modern humans. It’s claimed that a
bunch of teeth found in a cave prove that humans left Africa behind
long ago, moved to China, and then spread out from there.

Hmmm, seems there have been a lot of fossils coming out of China with
claims to being the first and best. Several of the key dino-bird
fossils showed up with stories of having been dug up by farmers, and
nobody has found another of the same species since. Is there something
fishy here? Could the Chinese be up to something for the prestige?
There certainly seems to be a note of pride in this quote:

“Our discovery, together with other research findings,
suggests southern China should be the key, central area for the emergence and evolution of modern humans in East Asia,” the study’s co-lead author, Wu Liu, of China’s Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology in Beijing, told Live Science.

Continue reading Chinese teeth claimed to alter “Out of Africa” story

The Beginning of Scientific Mythology

This first article in the “Bad Science” category was inspired by  “D’ya hear about the moon-bison?” by Lynda Walsh in The Scientist Weekend March 2, 2007.

As I researched the historical context of Darwin’s great myth of common descent of all life from microbial ancestors, possibly from chemicals coming together in some “warm, little pond,” I was struck by how many strange and just plain bad things began during the same period. The 19th century saw the rise of a number of cults, and toward the end of the 1800s there was a strong (but wrong) feeling that science was on the verge of having answered all the major questions, and the 20th century would only see the filling in of lesser details. These are subjects I may explore later. The article by Walsh touches on some of the hoaxes of the time that involved or were related to scientific discoveries.   Continue reading The Beginning of Scientific Mythology

A Tale of the (Evolutionary) Tooth Fairy

Here’s a cute one. How do you get animals with a special substance in one part of their body, but not anyplace else? You start with ancestors that had it everyplace else but that part! Sounds like a joke? Take a look at “Fish scales to fangs: Surprising tale of how teeth got their bite” – the Yahoo version of a Reuters report By Will Dunham,  September 23, 2015.
Continue reading A Tale of the (Evolutionary) Tooth Fairy

OOPS = Out Of Place Skull

One of the tantalizing corners of science (or fringe science, or pseudo-science, depending on the case and whom you ask) is OOPArts: Out Of Place Artifacts. These are apparently man-made objects found in geologic layers supposedly much too old for their level of technology, or even for humans to have evolved. I was studying a case today that came up in 2011 of a sort of reverse nature. It is a human skull (or part of one) found in Nigeria, where ancestral human remains are not often found. According to radioactive dating, this one is relatively recent, only 13,000 years old. While this is more than double the Biblically-derived age of the Earth, it’s not that far off compared to the many tens of thousands, or even millions of years, assigned to human ancestors. It is well into the period when even our cousins the Neanderthals are said to have died out, and only fully modern humans were in existence.  In fact, an impressive archaeological site, Gobekli Tepe, is thought to be possibly that old, and it has huge stone pillars, not rough as at Stonehenge, but smooth and with carvings of animals. Continue reading OOPS = Out Of Place Skull