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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Human Origins: The Data of Science and Scripture Align


Alice C. Linsley

The book of Genesis asserts that humans are a special creation and were created fully human from the beginning. Many people think this is a myth to be dismissed. Why should the belief that humans are a special creation be a myth? They appear suddenly on Earth about 4 million years ago and from the beginning show human traits: walk upright, created tools, hunted, controlled fire, ritually buried their dead. A. afarensis used polished bone tools to cut, chop and scrap. A. afarensis also had human dentition. In humans, the back teeth are larger than the front teeth (not so with apes), and the canines are not pointed. These early humans also lack the characteristic diastema or tooth gap found in apes.

Some of the earliest evidence of controlled fire by humans was found at Swartkrans in South Africa. Other sites that indicate fire use include Chesowanja near Lake Baringo, Koobi Fora and Olorgesailie in Kenya.
When Jeremy DeSilva (Boston University) compared the ankle joint, the tibia and the talus of fossil "hominins" between 4.12 million to 1.53 million years old, he discovered that all of the hominin ankle joints resembled those of modern humans. His research has shown that Australopithecus lacked the grasping toe typical of tree climbers, and its spine, pelvis, knees, and ankles were made for walking on two legs and not designed for tree climbing.

In 2011 researchers discovered jaw bones and teeth of four individuals in the Afar region of Ethiopia which date to between 3.3m and 3.5m years old. These archaic humans were alive at the same time as other groups of early humans, suggesting that it may be time to abandon the linear evolution hypothesis. Clearly, there were more archaic humans living in Africa 3 million years ago than has been generally recognized.

The discovery of a complete fourth metatarsal of A. afarensis at Hadar shows the deep, flat base and tarsal facets that "imply that its midfoot had no ape-like midtarsal break. These features show that the A. afarensis foot was functionally like that of modern humans." The February 2011 report was written by Carol Ward, William H. Kimbel, and Donald C. Johanson. Johanson worked with Mary Leakey.

Johanson and Leakey were scheduled to speak at a Nobel Symposium in Sweden in May 1978. The conference honored Mary Leakey, who received a medal from the King of Sweden for her scientific investigations. Leakey was embarrassed when Donald C. Johanson announced that his Afar Triangle finds were ape, and included Mary Leakey's 4 million year old Laetoli specimen (jaw bone LH4) from Tanzania as an exhibit. Leakey would have classified her Laetoli finds as Homo/human. She expressed her regret that “the Laetoli fellow is now doomed to be called Australopithecus afarensis.” Australopithecus means ape of the south.

Related reading: Genesis Has No Evolutionary Framework; Biblical Anthropologists Discuss Darwin; Genesis: Is it Really About Human Origins?; Answers to High Schooler's Questions About the Earth

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