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The Xenophile Historian




The Genesis Chronicles: A Proposed History Of The Morning Of The World



Chapter 5: THE TRUTH ABOUT CAVE MEN




This chapter covers the following topics:
Ramapithecus
Australopithecus
Homo Habilis
Java Man
Peking Man
Gigantopithecus and Meganthropus
Piltdown Man
Nebraska Man
Heidelberg Man and Rhodesian Man
Neanderthal Man
"Hobbits," er, Homo Floresiensis
Denisova Man
Boskop Man
Cro-Magnon Man, Conclusion
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With mammals we have the same problem that we have shown with other animals; no credible transitional life forms. There are eighteen different orders of mammals, from rodents and carnivores to whales and primates, but not one fossil has been found to show us how one group evolved into another. Rodents are the most common mammals today, so why are there so few specimens of them in the fossil record? Paleontologists have dated the oldest known bat fossil at 50 million years, but it looks so much like a modern bat that nobody will call it anything but 100% bat.

Most anthropology books will explain human evolution by showing a progression of apes, ape-men ("hominids"), and true men, like this:


Is the fossil record really so clear for humans? Not at all. The rarest fossils are human ones; what is proudly claimed as evidence for our antiquity is a fragmentary collection, mostly teeth and jawbones (the hardest bones). In 1982 Dr. Lyall Watson stated: "The fossils that decorate our family tree are so scarce that there are still more scientists than specimens. The remarkable fact is that all of the physical evidence we have for human evolution can still be placed, with room to spare, inside a single coffin!"(1) Likewise, a 1994 article in Time Magazine admitted that: "Yet despite more than a century of digging, the fossil record remains maddeningly sparse. With so few clues, even a single bone that doesn't fit into the picture can upset everything. Virtually every major discovery has put deep cracks in the conventional wisdom and forced scientists to concoct new theories, amid furious debate."

Anthropologists have to make assumptions to answer the questions the bone fragments cannot explain, and since many of these have proven faulty in the past, who can be certain the same won't happen to the theories evolutionists follow today? Let us look at the true story behind each of the "cave men" discovered so far.

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Ramapithecus


This ape is described as the oldest hominid, but no complete skeleton exists. All we have to go on are some teeth and jaw fragments that look a lot like our own, but this is enough to give Ramapithecus whole chapters in some books, where Ramapithecus is portrayed as a hairy ape walking on the ground instead of swinging from the trees. Anthropologists don't talk much about this, but Ramapithecus is a fine example of the errors that can come about when evidence is in short supply. When Ramapithecus was first found, there was another ape with a manlike mouth in the museums; his name was Bramapithecus and he was identified by a single lower jaw. The first Ramapithecus jawbone was an upper one, so it was not apparent that the lower and upper jawbones came from the same creature until somebody fitted them together and got a perfect match in 1963. Thus, two species of hominid instantly became one.

Only ten years after that, a new discovery took Ramapithecus out of our family tree. In 1973 a complete upper jaw of Ramapithecus was found with some facial bones attached. It turned out that previous reconstructions had been incorrect--the mouth of Ramapithecus was not manlike at all, but identical to that of the modern orangutan. The supposed missing link turned out to be nothing more than an ordinary ape!

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Australopithecus


This African ape was hailed as the missing link when discovered by Raymond Dart in 1924, and because of that, many evolutionists have called Africa the cradle of the human race. Since then other specimens have turned up; the most famous, a 40% complete skeleton named "Lucy," was found in Ethiopia by Donald Johanson in 1973. They come in various sizes and physical builds, though, so they are classified under several names; for example, the one called Paranthropus before 1970 is now known as Australopithecus robustus, and Dart's original Australopithecus had its scientific name extended to Australopithecus Africanus, to distinguish it from the others. Dr. Louis Leakey found the largest of these apes in Tanzania's Olduvai Gorge in 1959, and he proclaimed it to be the missing link, calling it Zinjanthropus, but a few years later conceded that it was a nonhuman vegetarian and renamed it Australopithecus boisei.

Since then it has been suggested that the Australopithecines are not really separate species, but male and female examples of the same ape. More serious is the discovery in the mid-1970s that the more manlike Homo Habilis and Homo Erectus lived in East Africa around the same time. Since the others are considered direct ancestors of modern man, their presence in the same neighborhood eliminates Australopithecus as a contender for a place in our lineage. When this was pointed out, scientists tried to laugh it off with their own attempt at ethnic humor. (What did one Homo Erectus say to another Homo Erectus? "Hey, have you heard the latest Australopithecus joke?")

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Homo Habilis


For the last thirty years of the twentieth century, Homo Habilis, or "Handy Man," was the most popular missing link. But accepting this hominid forced anthropologists to abandon their previous favorites. As Dr. Leakey's son, Richard Leakey, pointed out when he found a Homo Habilis skull, "Either we toss out this skull or we toss out our theories of early man. It simply fits no models of human beginnings." The skull he had ("skull 1470") looked more like modern man than Australopithecus, and even Homo Erectus. Every few years, new bones are found that are dated older than the rest (5-6 million years old last time I counted), and even the oldest skulls are no more apelike than the others. Descendants cannot come before ancestors, and no hominid can be placed on evolution's family tree between Homo Habilis and the apes. How do evolutionists accept this? In 1992 Dr. Ian Tattersall stated in Evolutionary Anthropology that "it is increasingly clear that Homo Habilis has become a wastebasket taxon, little more than a convenient recipient for a motley assortment of hominid fossils from the latest Pliocene and earliest Pleistocene . . ." In other words, any primate bones they can't label as ape or human may become Homo Habilis specimens. Now it appears that even some Australopithecus and Homo Erectus remains ended up in the Homo Habilis category, meaning that Homo Habilis never existed as a separate species.

Another problem was pointed out by Donald Johanson. He has stated that wherever he dug he found the bones of rhinos, boas, hippos, monkeys, and other typically African animals, but he has never found the bones of modern apes like chimpanzees. Could it be that Australopithecus and Homo Habilis are the chimps he can't find, because they are right under his nose?(2) And in the April 1979 issue of National Geographic, Dr. Mary Leakey (Louis Leakey's wife) reported the discovery of some footprints in a volcanic ash formation that are older than any hominids found so far, but are undeniably human (ape feet have a thumb where we have a big toe). Will the real missing link please stand up!(3)

This is a good place to mention that anthropologists often go overboard in identifying their discoveries. In the nineteenth century every skeleton found was minutely described as a new race. Thus identical skulls found in different places became known by such names as "Peking Man," "Java Man," etc. When the number of discoveries reached double-digit figures, the classification broke down under its own weight; since the 1960s Peking Man and Java Man have been known simply as Homo Erectus.

Nowadays it appears that another mania for new hominids has begun. Every new discovery becomes the archetypal example of a new species, and sometimes even a new genus. Thus the newest finds are tagged with a bewildering variety of names, like Australopithecus Afarensis (Lucy), Australopithecus Anamensis, Ardipithecus Ramidus, and Morotipithecus. Two of the most recent finds, Homo Antecessor (Spain, 1997) and Homo Ergaster (Republic of Georgia, 2002), threaten to bump Homo Erectus from its favored position as the direct ancestor of modern man. In a 1995 biology textbook published by Prentice-Hall, the two authors of it declared that: "At the present time, scientists cannot agree on how many species of Australopithecus there were or whether or not they were the ancestors of human beings."

We now realize that the range of individual variation in any population can render such exact descriptions pointless, the more so because the genetic variation in early man was probably wider than in his descendants today. The isolation of people into family-sized groups favors the exaggeration of certain characteristics by inbreeding, the results of which we'll discuss when we get to Neanderthal Man.(4)

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Java Man


Java Man, known originally as Pithecanthropus Erectus, raised his flat beetle-browed head on the banks of Java's Solo River in 1891. The discoverer, a Dutchman named Eugene Dubois, did some very questionable things to stake his claim. First, he insisted that a thighbone, found one year later and 50 feet away from the original skullcap, belonged to the same individual, igniting a storm of controversy. When many scientists refused to agree with Dubois, he put the bones in a suitcase and buried them under his house, making sure that nobody else would examine them. There they stayed for twenty years; meanwhile Dubois kept secret the fact that he had discovered skulls that were fully human (known as Wadjak Man) on the same site, a dishonest act if ever there was one! Finally in the 1930s, when nearly everyone had come to accept Java Man as the missing link, Dubois brought the bones out again. Shortly before his death in 1938, he confessed that Pithecanthropus was not a man after all, but merely a giant gibbon. Apparently his colleagues did not pay much attention, for Java Man, now called Homo Erectus, still graces museums and textbooks today.(5)

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Peking Man


A cousin of Java Man was found in China, just outside Beijing, in 1928. Over a twelve-year period 40 skulls of this hominid were dug out of a single cave, and they were given the name of Sinanthropus, or Peking Man. Also found in the same cave were stone tools and over 20 feet of ashes from campfires, so Peking Man was identified as a true man and the discoverer of fire. But as with Java Man, the scientists involved left out some important details. One was that only head bones, and no other body parts, were available; every skull showed signs of having been smashed in the back so the brain could be removed and eaten. Peking Man was the victim of a feast, and the fire and tools were not used by Peking Man, but on Peking Man!

So who was the actual tool-user? One fact rarely reported is that seven skeletons of modern men were found at the same site; they were dismissed as belonging to visitors who moved into the neighborhood hundreds of thousands of years later. The skeletons were identified as Mongolian, European, Melanesian, and Eskimo types, a perplexing ethnic mixture that no anthropologist can explain. The most plausible answer is that "Peking Man" was just another ape like "Java Man," and was killed and eaten by modern men who viewed monkey brains as a delicacy.

The most serious problem is that the bones are no longer available for study. When the United States entered World War II in 1941, the American-Chinese team of scientists found themselves behind enemy lines. They tried to get the bones shipped out of China, but the bones disappeared somewhere in transit; presumably Japanese soldiers intercepted them. All we have now are photos and plaster casts of the original bones, with no guarantee that they are accurate.

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Gigantopithecus and Meganthropus


Early in the twentieth century, some unusually large human teeth and jawbones turned up, ones so large that their owner's size has been estimated at six to ten feet tall. Those found in Europe were named Meganthropus, those found in south China and Java became known as Gigantopithecus. Around 1990, Gigantopithecus remains turned up in Vietnam as well. If one believes the Biblical account, their presence is no mystery, since giants are mentioned as living before the Flood (Gen. 6:4).

Here even the evolutionists admit that they have too few remains to make any claims about them, and none will seriously suggest that we have a direct ancestor here. That is why these prehistoric giants almost never turn up in textbooks, and why you may not have heard of them; even the scientists seem to have forgotten them. Some have suggested that the big teeth come from that elusive wild ape, the Yeti (Abominable Snowman) of the Himalayas, or its American relative, Bigfoot. If that is the case, they definitely do not come from a missing link, since the Yeti, if it exists, is still active in the modern world.

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Piltdown Man


The first years of the twentieth century were a time of intense rivalry between the European nations, which spread to paleontology. In the race to find fossils, the British felt left behind, because they could take credit for the theory of evolution, but they had no primitive man to call their own. Germany had Heidelberg Man and the first Neanderthal remains (see below); France had more Neanderthals and the Cro-Magnon caves; the Dutch had Java Man. It didn't seem right to British scientists that their island did not have any prehistoric inhabitants, no "Homo Britannicus," to balance out those found on the Continent. Therefore, the time was right for a British hominid to appear.

In 1911 an amateur paleontologist named Charles Dawson brought to the British Museum some bone fragments and tools that he claimed he dug from a gravel pit, near an English field named Piltdown Common. The bones were immediately accepted as the real thing, and named Eoanthropus Dawsoni, "Dawson's dawn man." At the time it seemed to be just the missing link people were looking for; the skull looked very modern, except for an apelike jaw. He was judged to be 500,000 years old. One of the tools, made from an elephant's leg bone, was described as a "cricket bat," so the owner was definitely British! Some skeptics (mostly non-English scientists) questioned the discovery, until the finding of part of a second Piltdown skull was announced later at a separate location; objects found at one site could be faked or misinterpreted, but not those found at two sites.

Or could they? Problems began to crop up when undeniably authentic hominids, like Australopithecus and Peking Man, were found elsewhere. Previously it was believed that man's large brain evolved before he walked on two legs; Piltdown Man seemed to prove this. Instead, the skulls of these creatures were more apelike, and the jaws more manlike, so where did Piltdown Man fit into the evolutionary picture? A controversy more furious than that over Java Man's leg broke out concerning Piltdown Man's jaw. It degenerated to outright name-calling; one paleontologist suggested that someone measure the size of his rival's cranium, because it was probably smaller than that of Pithecanthropus! As time went on, most paleontologists decided that Piltdown Man was not the true ancestor of modern man:

"I remember writing a paper on human evolution in 1944, and I simply left Piltdown out. You could make sense of human evolution if you didn't try to put Piltdown into it."(6)

Still another paleontologist asserted that the skull belonged to modern man, and that the jaw could not belong to it under any circumstances, without realizing how close he was to the truth.

The techniques for chemical and radioactive dating became available in 1950, and Piltdown Man was put to the test. The skull turned out to be approximately 620 years old; the jaw came from a modern ape, but the teeth had been filed down to disguise their identity, so it wasn't identified as an orangutan's jaw until 1982. Both skull and jaw were stained dark brown to mimic great age. The tools were also fakes, having been shaped by a steel knife, and the animal fossils Dawson brought in with the bones were authentic, but had come from three locations, none of them in England. The conclusion: someone had gone to great lengths to make an elaborate and very clever fraud, one that had all the scientists fooled for nearly forty years. Presumably it was Dawson, but he had died in 1916, so he could not explain his part in the hoax.(7) The whole story shows us that scientists, just like anybody, are likely to find evidence to confirm what they believe, whether it is true or not.

The Piltdown gang
This painting captures a key moment in the Piltdown Man affair, when a respected anatomist, Sir Arthur Keith, examined the bones and proclaimed them genuine. Dawson is standing on the right.

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Nebraska Man


In 1922 a tooth was discovered in western Nebraska and identified as both the first American and the missing link. He was named Hesperopithecus Haroldcookii ("Harold Cook's western ape"); Nebraska Man for short. At the John Scopes trial, the tooth was presented as evidence for evolution, and evolutionists laughed at the protests from William Jennings Bryan about it being too little evidence to base theories on. The magazines of the day went so far as to publish a picture of a family of stoop-shouldered, beetle-browed ape-men, which was supposed to be an accurate portrayal of what Nebraska Man must have looked like--all from one tooth. Two years later (1927), a complete skull with identical teeth turned up, and it was the skull of a fossil peccary--a wild pig. Thus we have a case where a pig made a monkey out of an evolutionist!

You would think that today's scientists would be wiser, after a mistake like this. But no!--since the evidence for human evolution is so hard to come by, some still make dumb mistakes, claiming they have specimens which turn out to be something else later. In 1983 Tim White, quoting from articles by I. Anderson and Allan Walker, reported that a dolphin rib, a horse's toe, and an alligator femur were all identified as human collarbone fragments.(8) His conclusion: "The problem with a lot of anthropologists is that they want so much to find a hominoid [hominid], that any scrap of bone becomes a hominoid bone."

Perhaps the worst case of misidentification occurred in Spain, when part of a skull was promoted as the oldest example of man outside of Africa. A three-day scientific symposium was scheduled to examine and discuss the find, which they named Orce Man, after the Spanish town near where it was found. However, some French scientists spoiled the party when they proved that Orce Man was really a four-month-old donkey, and the embarrased Spanish government sent out 500 letters canceling the symposium. The Daily Telegraph, an Australian newspaper, reported the story on May 14, 1984, with a headline that said it all: "ASS TAKEN FOR MAN."

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Heidelberg Man and Rhodesian Man


Starting with a jawbone found at Heidelberg, Germany in 1907, several human bones have turned up in western Europe that appear to be an intermediate stage between Homo Erectus and more modern men. There is general agreement among anthropologists that these specimens include the direct ancestors of Neanderthal and modern man, but otherwise they disagree. The bones have been lumped together under the name "Heidelberg Man" (Homo Heidelbergensis), though it is not clear if this is one species or more than one, whether we have the oldest form of Home Sapiens here, and how they might be related to Homo Antecessor and Homo Ergaster. In other words, Heidelberg Man could be another wastebasket taxon like Homo Habilis, this time used for any European or African hominids besides Homo Erectus, that are considered too old to be Neanderthals.

Rhodesian Man got his name because his first skull, found in 1921, came from the Broken Hill quarry in Northern Rhodesia (modern Zambia). As with Neanderthal Man (see below), for a while Rhodesian Man was considered too brutish and too apelike to be a proper ancestor. But again scientists were letting prejudice fill gaps where they had no facts. Nowadays Rhodesian Man is seen as an African version of Heidelberg Man, the part of the human race that stayed home when other primitive men moved out of Africa.

One detail dangerous enough to wreck all our ideas on the stone age was pointed out by a few authors in the 1970s--the Broken Hill skull has a bullet hole in it! The skull has a small round hole in the left temple, with none of the radial cracks around it that an arrowhead or a spear would have produced. The right side of the skull is shattered, having been blown apart from the inside. A German forensics expert in Berlin has testified that only a high-speed projectile, like a rifle shot, could have done this kind of damage. What conclusion can we draw from this? One is that Rhodesian Man is not very old after all; he might have been shot by a European in the eighteenth or nineteenth century. The other is that somebody back in prehistoric times had guns, and this seems to be more likely, since the skull was found 60 feet underground. Either way, it poses one of those problems which evolutionists prefer to sweep under the rug and forget.


Rhodesian Man's skull
A reconstruction of the Broken Hill skull. Who shot him?

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Neanderthal Man


Now we have come to the classic "cave man."(9) The first Neanderthal bone found was a skullcap discovered in Germany's Neander Valley in 1856 (hence "Neander-thal"). Already some assumptions could be made from that bit of evidence, since a heavily ridged eyebrow was visible, and the bone was thicker than ours; Neanderthal man was tough enough to survive a blow that could do in one of us.(10) In 1908 studies of the first complete skeleton, the "Old Man of La Chapelle," were published, and they confirmed what had already been guessed--that Neanderthal Man was strong but also had beetle brows and a receding chin, and he walked with a slouching posture. For the next half century books and museum exhibits portrayed him as a brutish, dimwitted creature. He certainly was manlike enough to belong on the human family tree, but as an evolutionary dead end, rather than a direct ancestor.

That changed in the 1950s and 60s, when skulls were found in Israel and Iraq that were old enough to be Neanderthals, but more modern in appearance, with scarcely an eyebrow ridge. In 1958 the Old Man of La Chapelle was given a second look, and it turned out that he walked poorly because he was crippled by arthritis. Other discoveries showed that Neanderthal Man had more intelligence than he had first been given credit for: his brain was a bit larger than ours, he could hunt and bring down the largest ice age beasts, wore clothes, had stone tools that required considerable planning to make, took care of relatives who could not take care of themselves, and buried the dead with flowers. In 2008 it was discovered that Neanderthals made necklaces out of shell beads, and used lumps of pigment as crayons, to apply makeup. Now we believe that if you gave a Neanderthal a shave and a decent outfit to wear, he could stand on a street corner and pass himself off as one of us. The term Neanderthal is better applied to a culture than a human race. Thus, scientists no longer classify Neanderthal Man as a separate species--Homo Neanderthalensis--but as a race within the human species (Homo Sapiens Neanderthalensis).

Sophisticated Geico Caveman
The idea that Neanderthal Man was not as dumb as we thought is what makes the commercials for Geico, an auto insurance company, so funny. In case you haven't seen them, they feature laptop-using Neanderthals complaining about the slogan for the company's website: "It's so easy, a caveman could do it!"



One reason for the above change is because when anthropologists try to reconstruct what cavemen looked like, they don't have much to go on; for example, they can't tell us the color of Neanderthal man's hair. Instead, they have artists portray what they think they looked like, the result being that two completely different faces might come from the same skull. Boyce Rensberger, writing in Science Digest in 1981, explains it this way:

"Unfortunately, the vast majority of artist's conceptions are based more on imagination than on evidence. But a handful of expert natural-history artists begin with the fossil bones of a hominid and work from there . . . Much of the reconstruction, however, is guesswork. Bones say nothing about the fleshy parts of the nose, lips or ears. Artists must create something between an ape and a human being; the older the specimen is said to be, the more apelike they make it . . . Hairiness is a matter of pure conjecture. The guesswork approach often leads to errors."

Since Neanderthal Man's rehabilitation, some have suggested that his brutish looks came from the harsh environment of ice age Europe: poor diet, rickets caused by insufficient sunlight, etc. Doctors have also pointed out that a problem with an overactive pituitary gland, called acromegaly, can make ordinary people with no apelike genes look like Neanderthals. This rare hereditary disease, which now afflicts less than one person in ten thousand, can spread through a community which practices inbreeding; that may have happened with the small Neanderthal family groups. Acromegaly causes the bones to start growing again about ten to twenty years after adulthood, when they stopped growing originally. At that stage the bones cannot grow any longer because their ends are fused, so they grow thicker instead. The result? Evolution in reverse:

"As in many endocrine types, there is considerable resemblance among all acromegalics. The large extremities, awkward movements, thickened features, and drooping shoulders with hands falling near the knees in advanced cases, give the picture of Simian (apelike) man, and where gigantism has preceded the acromegalic changes, of a primitive ape-like giant. Great strength, however, may give place to exhaustion and weakness in the later stages . . ."(11)

"In recent years a wrestler by the name of Maurice Tillet, known professionally as 'the Angel,' achieved considerable notoriety. Not only did he win a number of bouts and gain recognition in that way, but his physical appearance attracted considerable attention. Apparently he suffered from acromegaly, an endocrine disorder. As a result his head and his face became very large, his hands and his feet thickened, and his torso, too became broadened. Certainly if his bones were fossilized, it is not hard to believe that they might be regarded as those of a pre-human form. And yet M. Tillet was a 20th century human being, and a cultured, well-educated member of our society at that."(12)

Update: In 2014 it was announced that a 3,800-year-old skeleton of a man from a California cemetery is the oldest specimen showing clear signs of acromegaly. Obviously the anthropologists who examined the bones--and the author of the article--are not considering that Neanderthal Man could have had the same disease, and because of the age of the bones, they see the owner as a Paleo-Indian, not as a cave man.

1909 Neanderthal sketch

An up-to-date Neanderthal statue
How Neanderthal Man has "evolved" in the eyes of scientists over the past century. The artist's sketch shows what was thought about Neanderthal Man in 1909--a hairy creature, more ape than man. The fully human statue, on the other hand, shows what we think of Neanderthals today; you can see it at the Mettman Museum in Germany.

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"Hobbits," er, Homo Floresiensis


An exciting discovery has been made on the island of Flores, in eastern Indonesia. There, Australian and Indonesian researchers announced in 2004 that they had found the skeletons of seven unusually small individuals, no more than three feet tall. With the exception of dwarves and midgets, this makes them more than a foot shorter than any other known human being, even shorter than African Pygmies. Thus, the owners of those bones were immediately declared a new species, Homo Floresiensis. They have also been nicknamed "hobbits," after the little people in J. R. R. Tolkien's novels. Charred bones and stone tools found on the site suggest they lived by hunting stegodons.

Nobody is suggesting that Homo Floresiensis is any sort of missing link; attempts to date the tools and bones produced an age range from 95,000 to 13,000 years old, too late for evolutionists.(13) The current theory is that an Australopithecus or Homo Erectus tribe came to Flores, survived there longer than they did elsewhere, and evolved a bit before they finally disappeared. However, most of the unique features of these little people can be explained through the form of natural selection caused by isolation on a small island. They could just as easily have been descended from the Negritos, the first ethnic group to live in Indonesia within historical times (see Chapter 1 of my Southeast Asian history). Once they arrived, Homo Floresiensis would have had no competition from other humans. On an island where food is in short supply, and no natural enemies exist, it isn't worth it to be big. That also explains why the island had stegodons, instead of regular-sized elephants. Consequently, over the generations Homo Floresiensis could have shrunken to a more economical size; call them Oriental Pygmies if you wish. Occasionally a very large creature, like the Galapagos tortoise, is found in an island environment, and these can be explained by those situations where being big enough to hold a territory is required to get food. One such animal may have given the little people their main challenge; Flores is one of the four islands that is home to the Komodo dragon, the world's largest lizard.

Hmmm, real-life hobbits and dragons? Sometimes truth is stranger than fantasy!

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Denisova Man


In 2008, a child's fingerbone and a molar tooth were found in Denisova Cave, in the Altai Mountains of Siberia. They were dated as 41,000 years old, which to evolutionists means they came from someone who lived right around the time when Cro-Magnon Man replaced Neanderthal Man; the cave also contained stone tools and some jewelry. The molar was too large to have come from a Cro-Magnon or Neanderthal, but that by itself did not attract attention. Then in 2010, scientists took a DNA sample from the fingerbone and were able to recreate the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) of the owner. To their surprise, the owner was neither a modern human nor Neanderthal.

There are 16,500 nucleotides in human mtDNA, and whereas 202 of those nucleotides are likely to be different between Neanderthals and us, the sample derived from the fingerbone showed 385 discrepancies with modern mtDNA. The conclusion of the scientists was that the Denisovan is a new species of hominid, coming from an evolutionary line that diverged from homo sapiens about one million years ago. This throws a wrench in the "Out of Africa" theory, which has humanity spreading beyond Africa at a much later date. Others have suggested that "Denisova Man" was simply a hybrid, the result of Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons interbreeding.(14)

Equally curious are the results from comparing the Denisova genome with that from six modern humans: a South African Bushman, a Nigerian, a Frenchman, a Papua New Guinean, a Bougainville Islander and a Chinese person. Among those individuals, 4 to 6 percent of the Papuan and the Bouganville Islander's genome matched the Denisovan one, meaning that Melanesians are the closest living relatives of the Denisovans. If you are wondering how the ancestors of the Melanesians got from Siberia to the South Pacific, well, your guess is as good as mine.

More recently (2012) news has come forth about some surprising skulls found in China's Yunnan province. Tentatively called Red Deer Cave Man, they show a mixture of primtive and modern features that have not been seen anywhere else. Scientists have not yet decided where to place them on the human family tree.

In 2013 scientists got an mtDNA sample from a human thighbone found in a Spanish cave. The age of the bones in the cave was estimated at 400,000 years, so according to the evolutionary model, the owner of the bones belongs in the Heidelberg Man category (see above), and this is the oldest human DNA found so far. They expected the DNA to resemble DNA samples taken from the bones of European Neanderthals, but instead the genome sequence was closest to the Denisovan sample, meaning that we have a relative of Denisova Man, in the wrong time and place.

I have already showed how those who believe in evolution will make a big deal out of a few bone fragments, like the tooth that became Nebraska Man. So far it is too early to tell if they have done it again with these remains. Still, whether you believe in creation or evolution, you have to admit that the above discoveries show how little we really know about the origins of man.

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Boskop Man


This hominid was discovered a hundred years ago, but you probably haven't heard of him. In 1913 two South African farmers at the small town of Boskop were digging a drainage ditch, and they uncovered part of a human skull. Something about the skull didn't look right, so they took it to a museum. Sure enough, the skull was much larger than normal, but the face wasn't larger to match, so it could not have belonged to a normal tall person. Several anatomists looked it over, including the famous paleontologist Robert Broom, who proposed calling it Homo Capensis.

Rough estimates of the cranial capacity (the skull was incomplete, after all) produced a result of 1,750 cubic centimeters, compared with 1,350 for a normal cranium. What's more, much of the extra brain was in the front, where we do most of our advanced thinking, so he could have smarter than us, too. The skull's age was estimated at 10,000 years, making the owner contemporary with Cro-Magnon Man (see below). This presented evolutionists with the same sort of problem as Piltdown Man did; primitive men were NOT supposed to have big brains! Fortunately for the evolutionists, there was only one specimen, and it was found without accompanying tools or animal fossils, so it was easy to ignore Boskop Man, and the world forgot about him.

Years later, Frederick FitzSimons found the graves of a few more big-headed folks, a hundred miles from the original site. Then in 2008, neuroscientists Gary Lynch and Richard Granger published a book entitled Big Brain: The Origins and Future of Human Intelligence. They proposed that Boskop Man had an average IQ of 150, meaning that more than half of them would have been smart enough to get into Mensa. What was that superior brain power good for? Lynch and Granger felt it was used for total sensory processing of the owner's surroundings; Boskop Man would have had a perfect photographic memory. Or perhaps it caused him to act like a philosopher, spending much of his free time discussing elaborate ideas with anyone who cared to listen. In other words, Boskops were super nerds. To them we would have looked as primitive and brutish as Neanderthals look to us.

So if these guys were so brilliant, why didn't they exterminate or enslave us? Lynch and Granger suggested that they simply may not have wanted to. What's more, big brains can be a liability as well as an asset. Childbirth is difficult for modern women because of the large size of the baby's head; imagine how tough it must have been for a Boskop woman to deliver! The danger of carrying such a baby to term could have been a strong incentive to avoid having kids (I told you they were nerds). Or they could have interbred with normal humans to avoid the problem; if they did that, they would have been absorbed into our ancestors, and some of us may carry Boskop genes today. Finally, the skills that come from a superior intellect aren't very useful without a civilization to practice them in; if you're living in the stone age, how would you balance a checkbook, compose a symphony, or write the next great software? Supposedly the Boskops realized that those who lived by brute force had an advantage over them, and accepted their fate--if they weren't wiped out by our ancestors.

Classic evolutionary theory has the human brain growing larger, and mankind getting smarter, as time goes by. Scientists and science fiction writers have tried to extrapolate from that what our descendants will look like, and they predict future man will have less hair, smaller faces, and bigger heads (The example in the picture below is from the classic TV series "The Outer Limits."). Instead, Boskop Man appears to have resembled that already; was the "man from tomorrow" here yesterday? Occasionally we hear about somebody living in the wrong time, like Charles Babbage, who invented the computer 120 years before the world was ready for it; we could have a case of that here!

The man from tomorrow

Of course many scientists refuse to consider such a controversial idea. Some, like John Hawks, insist that the above speculation about the Boskop skulls is nothing but fantasy, and that the skulls do not represent an otherwise unknown race; more likely they represent a birth defect like hydrocephalus. Do we have another case of a disease masquerading as evolution, like when acromegaly makes modern men look like Neanderthals? It looks like we'll have to treat Boskop Man like Denisova Man, and wait for more evidence before drawing any conclusions.


Cro-Magnon Man


Another name for the most sophisticated cave men, those tall Europeans who left us lovely paintings in the caves of France and Spain. Cro-Magnon was the same height as us and had a brain the same size, and one child's book has a chapter on Cro-Magnons entitled "People Like Us," only to say on the next page that they were not simply like us--they were us.(15) There is no point in making this character the missing link if the only differences between him and us are cultural ones. That brings us to modern man, the self-proclaimed genius who thinks he came from a monkey.


Conclusion


So now you know the full story on the missing links. The scorecard reads as follows:

Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon Man just people
Homo Floresiensis, Denisova and Boskop Man too early to tell
Nebraska Man pig's tooth
Piltdown Man hoax
Homo Erectus, Homo Habilis, Heidelberg and Rhodesian Man  bad science
Meganthropus, Gigantopithecus big teeth
Ramapithecus orangutan
Australopithecus extinct ape

Thus, I wouldn't be surprised if the hominids that are still in the running, like Homo Antecessor and Homo Ergaster, are disqualified by tomorrow's discovery!

Finally, let us consider what population growth can do. At the beginning of this chapter I declared that human fossils are the rarest of all. Well, according to our census figures the population of the human race is increasing at an average annual rate of 2% (3% in Moslem countries, 1% or less in the most advanced countries). And we can have more babies than that if we choose to do so. In fact, if our numbers hadn't been set back by calamities like wars and epidemics, it would only take us 4,000 years to go from a single couple to the six billion people that walk the earth today. If mankind is really 4 million years old, then about 150,000 generations have come and gone, and hundreds of billions of our ancestors have lived and died already. If the world has really seen that many humans, where are their bones? We ought to be treading on graveyards everywhere we go!(16)

Late in the twentieth century, the study of genetics was applied to human fossils, now that we knew how DNA works. First the DNA of mitochondria from several individuals was compared, and attempts were made to extrapolate how many generations would be required to find a common ancestor to all of those people. Mitochondrial DNA is different from the more familiar DNA in a cell's nucleus, being passed down to a child only from the mother, so all mitochondrial DNA supposedly comes from the mother of the human race, appropriately nicknamed "Eve." The result they came up with was that "Eve" could have lived as recently as 90,000 years ago, and still be ancestor to everyone alive today. This was startling enough, but when enough of the human genome was mapped to make comparing the DNA from chromosomes feasible, an even more recent ancestor was revealed:

"The most recent common ancestor (MRCA) for a randomly mating population would have lived in the very recent past. . . . In particular, the MRCA of all present-day humans lived just a few thousand years ago in these models. . . . And a few thousand years before that, . . . the ancestors of everyone on the earth today were exactly the same."(17)

Of course evolutionists don't want to think that we've found the genomes of Adam and Eve. To explain this oddity, they backtrack from the usual uniformitarian thinking and propose a catastophist answer: the human race evolved and increased its numbers nicely over a period of millions of years, until a worldwide disaster, like a sudden climate change, killed off most of the humans and prehumans. The latest variant of this theory has a supervolcano, like Mt. Toba in Indonesia, explode 70,000 years ago, and the resulting ash from the eruption fills the atmosphere, causing a sudden cooling of the earth and beginning the most recent ice age. The only hominids that survived this "nuclear winter" were a community of about two thousand individuals in Africa, and when the world warmed up again, they went forth and repopulated it. I don't know about you, but to me that sounds a lot like what happened to the human race during and immediately after Noah's Flood (see Chapter 10).

The assumptions required to believe in human evolution gave even Mr. Darwin some sleepless nights. Late in his career he wrote:

"The horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man's mind, which has developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would anyone trust the convictions of a monkey's mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?" (Life and Letters, pg. 285)

Darwin hit the nail right on the head when he named his book on human evolution The Descent of Man. But it is not the kind of descent he had in mind. We started with Adam, who was created in God's image. People did not start looking and acting like monkeys until after Adam ate the forbidden fruit, and though he took a deadly poison he was so vigorous that it didn't kill him for 930 years. Today we have degenerated to the point that we live off vitamin pills, often wear glasses, and consider ourselves lucky if we live longer than the proverbial "threescore and ten" years. We have energy drinks to get us going when coffee is not enough, and anti-energy drinks to turn off the effect of the energy drinks. We have more in common with the sniveling losers of today's comic strips and TV shows than we do with the patriarchs and heroes of the past (see also footnote #10). We are proud of the technology that has made our lives easier, but it has also given us obesity, heart disease, diabetes, cancer and infertility; most of our pre-industrial ancestors never got those diseases. When Darwin said "descent" he meant "going up" (it's a good thing he was never an elevator operator!). The truth of the matter is that nature has not made man from a monkey, but that the devil has made a monkey out of man!

"We have found a strange footprint on the shores of the unknown. We have devised profound theories, one after another, to account for its origin. At last we have succeeded in reconstructing the creature that made the footprint. And lo! It is our own." -- Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington


This is the End of Chapter 5.

FOOTNOTES


1. Science Digest, vol. 90, May 1982, pg. 44.

2. Recently biologists classified the pygmy chimpanzee, or bonobo, as a separate species from other chimps, and some commented on the physical similarities "Lucy" shared with the bonobos. They're probably closer to the mark than they think!

3. Mary Leakey died while I was working on the first draft of this work, in December 1996. Three months earlier, in an Associated Press interview, she still had faith in evolution, but thought that searching for a missing link was futile, because scientists cannot pinpoint exactly when an ape became a man. "We shall probably never know where humans began and where hominids left off," she said. And about the existing charts of human evolution, full of gaps and question marks, she commented, "All these trees of life with their branches of our ancestor, that's a lot of nonsense."

4. The variation of characteristics among individuals makes it just as difficult to identify a living person's ethnic group. For example, we can distinguish a hundred Swedes from a hundred Latinos by counting the number of blondes in each group, but we cannot look at one Swede and one Latino and be certain which is which. Social behavior and language are better tools for classification; a linguist once said that "Languages are the pedigrees of nations."

5. In 1996 Dr. Carl Swisher of the Berkeley Geochronology Center published the results of his tests on the site where Java Man was found; instead of the expected date of 300,000-500,000 years, he found that the bones cannot be more than 40,000 years old. Evolutionists went into a tizzy trying to figure out how to accept this and keep Java Man on the hominid family tree. (Newsweek, December 23, 1996)

6. Sherwood Washburn, quoted by Roger Lewin, Bones of Contention: Controversies in the Search for Human Origins, University of Chicago Press, 1997, pg. 75.

7. More recently it has been suggested that one of those involved in the hoax was none other than Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the beloved author of the Sherlock Holmes stories. Why? In a 1983 paper, The Perpetrator at Piltdown, John Winslow and Alfred Meyer described Doyle as "a doctor who knew human anatomy and chemistry, someone interested in geology and archaeology . . . a man who loved hoaxes, adventure . . . and most important of all had a grudge against the British science establishment." In addition, Doyle was a neighbor and a friend of Dawson, and published his novel on prehistoric life, The Lost World, very soon afterwards, in 1912--which, among other things, included a tribe of red-haired ape-men called the "missing link." It's too late to know who was the mastermind behind Piltdown Man, so if it was Doyle, a man who certainly knew how to write a good mystery, then he got away with one of the greatest frauds of the twentieth century.

8. "Humanoid Collarbone Exposed as Dolphin's Rib", New Scientist, April 28, 1983, pg. 199. Someone jokingly suggested that the dolphin be named Flipperpithecus!

9. "Cave man" is actually a misnomer. They didn't all live in caves; most of them probably belonged to nomadic communities, which followed the herds they hunted. These folks were perfectly capable of building tents or lean-tos out of sticks and animal skins. Unfortunately most of their artifacts were exposed to the elements and not preserved for us, so the troglodyte gets all the credit.

10. In 2009 an Australian anthropologist, Peter McAllister, wrote a book comparing Neanderthals, ancient civilized men like the Romans, primitive tribesmen of our time like the Aborigines, and modern man, and concluded that we are wimps. According to him, a typical Neanderthal woman could beat a modern muscleman like Arnold Schwarzenegger in an arm-wrestling contest--and her brother or husband would have been strong enough to pick up the Governator and throw him. The book has the provocative title Manthropology: The Science of the Inadequate Modern Male, and begins with these sentences:
"If you're reading this then you -- or the male you have bought it for -- are the worst man in history. No ifs, no buts -- the worst man, period...As a class we are in fact the sorriest cohort of masculine Homo sapiens to ever walk the planet."

Manthropology book cover

11. A. Stuart Mason & G. I. M. Swyer, Major Endocrine Disorders, Fairlawn, NJ, Oxford University Press, 1959, pg. 15.

12. John W. Klotz, Genes, Genesis and Evolution, St. Louis, Concordia Publishing House, 1955, pp. 198-199.

13. This doesn't necessarily mean they died out that long ago. The same scientists who found Homo Floresiensis are looking into local legends which suggest that modern Indonesians used to encounter them. The November/December 2004 issue of Archaeology Magazine said this about the folklore:
"Villagers in Flores say that up until around 150 years ago, there were small, three-foot-tall hairy 'people' who used to steal food from them. Known as the ebu gogos (literally 'the grandmothers who eat anything'), they were tolerated by islanders until they stole a baby and ate it. Whether the ebu gogo is pure myth or an accurate recollection of Homo floresiensis is at present unprovable. 'The folklore material raises the real possibility that Homo floresiensis actually survived until sometime in the nineteenth century,' said excavation member Bert Roberts, a geochronologist at the University of Wollongong who conducted interviews with the villagers earlier this month. 'Indeed, there has to be a remote possibility that they still survive today in some remote jungle area of the island.'
On Flores, there have been no sightings of such creatures--at least, potentially, since the nineteenth century. However, in the same island chain, on the much larger island of Sumatra to the west, there have in recent years been brief, as yet unpublished sightings by a primatologist and others of a small, hairy four-foot-tall ape-like creature known to local tribesmen as orang pendek--literally 'little person.' Some zoologists suspect that a few hundred of them survive in the remote jungles of the Sumatran interior, but none have yet been captured or examined by scientists."

14. For years scientists have believed that Neanderthal Man was exterminated when Cro-Magnon Man moved into the same neighborhood. According to this theory, Neanderthals may have been stronger (see footnote #10 above), but they could not compete with the superior weapons that Cro-Magnons invented, like the bow and arrow. However, contacts between Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons did not always have to be violent; after all, when people from two different ethnic groups meet today, they do not always fight. Recently several studies have been done comparing the DNA of cave men with our own, and I have seen news stories speculating on how much of our DNA came from Neanderthal/Cro-Magnon matings. What's next, a fad for stone age porn? We'll talk more about possible interactions with cave men in Chapter 11.

15. McGowen, Tom, Album of Prehistoric Man, Chicago, Rand McNally & Company, 1975, pg. 38.

16. The most recent population estimate (from The Daily Telegraph, December 29, 2008), asserts that the total population of Neanderthals never exceeded 15,000. Compare this with Gunnar Heinsohn's theory about Neanderthals, in Chapter 11.

17. Douglas L. T. Rohde, Steve Olson, and Joseph T. Chang, "Modelling the Recent Common Ancestry of all Living Humans," Nature, Vol. 431, September 30, 2004, pp. 562 and 565.


© Copyright 2005 Charles Kimball

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