Dr. Chris Beard, paleontologist at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Museum of Natural History, recently received national attention when he vigorously denied that a fossil named Ida provided a missing link between humans and their alleged primate ancestors (see Lyons and Butt, 2009). He was correct to deny Ida’s relevance to alleged human evolution, but he was not motivated by the truth that humans did not evolve. Nor was he compelled to deny Ida’s role based on the fact that evolution defies the laws of biology and genetics and is scientifically impossible. Instead, it seems that he simply had a fossil of his own that he wanted to put forth as a candidate for an early human ancestor.
Associated Press writer Michael Casey reported on the new fossil find that Dr. Beard and his team uncovered in Myanmar. The team found pieces of jaws and teeth that they claim came from 10-15 different individuals. According to Dr. Beard, this new creature, named Ganlea megacanina lived in Asia 38 million years ago. In addition, Dr. Beard and his team claim that “wear and tear on the canine teeth suggest the tree-dwelling, monkey-like creatures with long tails used their teeth to crack open tropical fruit to get to the pulp and seeds” (Casey, 2009). According to Beard, this supposed behavior was very specialized and would link Ganlea to primates.
What is Beard suggesting this new find proves? He is attempting to challenge the popular belief among paleontologists that humans evolved on the African continent. He said: “This new fossil Ganlea definitely helps us argue—and we think the argument is pretty close to settled now—that when you go back this far in time, the common ancestor of monkeys, apes and humans was definitely in Asia, not in Africa” (as quoted in Casey, 2009). It is easy to see the tension mounting between paleontologists as they scramble to make headlines with their latest find. Beard’s disdain for Ida and his attempt to bolster his new find is clearly evident from comments such as: “We wouldn’t claim Ganlea is [sic] missing link, but we know Ganlea is much more closely related to our ancestors than Ida ever was—even though, unfortunately, we don’t have [sic] complete skeleton like they did for Ida” (as quoted in Casey).
It does not take much research, however, to find paleontologists who disagree with Beard and his team. Casey reported that John Fleagle, a paleontologist from Stony Brook University, noted that the fossils do “not add anything new” to the idea of human evolution, and that without finding a skull, Beard’s team has not added any conclusive information to the debate (2009). In a very real sense, the evolutionists remain divided on some of the most basic ideas about human evolution.
These fossil wars can help us see some very significant forces at play in the scientific community. First, this scenario shows that facts often are not the driving force behind many popular “scientific” conclusions. In many cases, it is the desire for fame, prestige, or governmental grants that provide the impetus for research. Second, we see that the concept of human evolution is so nebulous that the paleontological community cannot agree on some of its major tenets. This makes perfect sense in light of the fact that humans did not evolve, and any scenario that claims they did is based on false interpretations of the data in the first place. Third, we can be sure that there will always be another “missing link” or new fossil that makes headlines claiming to prove human evolution. Overstatement and exaggeration are the name of the game. This has been going on for over a century. Yet every one is either displaced by the next, shown to be a fraud, or proven to be nothing more than distinctly human or distinctly animal. How many times will new finds have to be proven to be false to show that the entire idea of human evolution is incorrect? Ganlea, Ida, Piltdown Man, Hobbit Man, Nebraska Man, Lucy, and all the rest of the clan do not prove that humans evolved. In fact, the honest observer is forced by the lack of linking evidence in these finds to conclude that the fossils show that humans did not evolve from lower animals.
Casey, Michael (2009), “Myanmar Fossil May Shed Light on Evolution,” [On-line], URL: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090702/ap_on_sc/as_sci_myanmar_primate_fossil.
Lyons, Eric and Kyle Butt (2009), “Ida—A Missing Link?”, [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/240160.
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