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Apologetics Press :: Reason & Revelation
May 2002 - 1[5]:20-R

No Missing Links Here...
by Brad Harrub, Ph.D. and Bert Thompson, Ph.D.

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Nebraska Man

Early 20th century artist's conception of Nebraska Man

Early 20th century artist’s conception of Nebraska Man

The June 24, 1922 Illustrated London News presented on its front cover a man and a woman that had been fabricated from a single tooth. The artist even incorporated into the drawings of this alleged “missing link” imaginary surroundings and clothing. Henry Fairfield Osborn, head of the department of paleontology at New York’s famed American Museum of Natural History, received the tooth and was prepared to enter it as evidence at the 1925 Scopes “Monkey” trial. However, by 1927, scientists had concluded (somewhat begrudgingly) that,Sketching of Nebraska Man Tooth in fact, the tooth was that of a species of Prosthennops—an extinct genus related to the modern peccary (a wild pig). No missing link here.

Piltdown Man

Piltdown Man SkullIn 1912, Charles Dawson, a medical doctor and amateur paleontologist, discovered a mandible and a portion of a skull in a gravel pit at Piltdown, England. Arthur Smith-Woodward, director of the Natural History Museum of London, announced the find as the “missing link.” The jawbone appeared very simian-like except for the teeth, which seemed to show the type of wear expected of humans. In 1953, Piltdown Man was exposed as a forgery. The skull was human, and the teeth on the ape’s jaw had been intentionally filed down and treated biochemically to make them appear old. This deception did far more than dupe a few evolutionists, however. The whole world was taken in. Museums worldwide proudly displayed copies and photographs of the Piltdown remains. For forty years this “find” was pronounced as the ape-like ancestor to modern man. But it was just a fraud. No missing link here.

Orce Man

Orce Man IllustrationIn 1982, a team of three Catalan archaeologists, headed by professor José Gibert, were digging near the village of Orce in Spain. During their dig, they uncovered an unusual bone fragment. A year later, they announced that the fragment belonged to a human child—causing an uproar in the evolutionary community. This discovery placed humans in Europe much earlier than evolutionists had ever predicted. Based on this find, some over-eager scientists reconstructed an entire human. Orce Man, as the find came to be known, was said to represent the oldest human fossil ever discovered in Europe. Later, to the embarrassment of many, the bone was identified as the skull cap of a 6-month-old donkey! No missing link here.

Rhodesian Man

Rhodesian Mam SkullThis famous skeleton was found in 1921 in a zinc mine in what was then British Rhodesia in southern Africa. The find consisted of the bones of three or four individuals: a man, a woman, and one or two children. Unfortunately, the bones were extracted from their surroundings by the mining company, not experienced scientists. After the bones reached the British Museum of Natural History, they were reconstructed and displayed prominently for many years. Unfortunately, museum employees who were unfamiliar with human anatomy reconstructed this “ape- man.” Since the hipbones were smashed, the designers fashioned this fossil as being stooped over. It wasn’t until many years later, when anatomists examined the skeleton, that it was determined to be nothing more than a modern man. No missing link here.

Java Man

Java Man BustThis “missing link” was classified as a member of Homo erectus, the group of creatures that was supposed to have given rise to Homo sapiens (humans). Eugene Dubois had gone to the former Dutch Indies as a health officer in 1887 to search for fossils. Later, in 1890, the Dutch anatomist focused his attention on the banks of the Solo River near the village of Trinil. Excavators discovered a human-like fossilized tooth in September 1891. One month later, they uncovered the upper part of a skull. A year later, the team discovered a thigh bone in the same sandstone layers, about fifteen meters upstream. Java Man Skull CapDespite additional excavations, the team did not discover anything else except one tooth. As it turns out, the leg bone and teeth were, in fact, human. However, the skullcap eventually was shown to be from a giant gibbon (a monkey). No missing link here.

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