Thursday, September 8, 2011

New "Evolutionary" Find

Scientists have recently hailed the discovery of some fossil hominids in Africa, dubbed, "Australopithecus sediba".
The species is known from at least four partial skeletons discovered in the Malapa Fossil Site at the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site in South Africa, one a juvenile male (MH1, the holotype), an adult female (MH2), at least one other adult and an 18-month-old infant. - Wikipedia
Keep in mind that a 'holotype' is "a single physical example (or illustration) of an organism, known to have been used when the species (or lower-ranked taxon) was formally described."  Thus the most complete and clear example is a "juvenile male".  Here's what the critter looked like:

The cranium of Malapa hominid 1 (MH1) from South Africa,
named "Karabo". The combined fossil remains of this juvenile
 male is designated as the holotype for Australopithecus sediba.
There is much debate within the scientific community as to the placement of this creature within the supposed time-line of hominid evolution, but the thought is that this is a predecessor to modern homo sapiens

Notice, the angle and setting of the skull above, this skull was from a crushed specimen and glued back together and photographed at that most humble angle. This skull is also of a juvenile, which is important regarding the morphology of the creature as it ages. 

Now consider what is thought to be one of sebida's closest known relatives:

Australopithecus afarensis recreation
Australopithecus afarensis of the famed "Lucy" afarensis' is one of the most famous of these kinds of creatures. No complete skulls of afarensis have been found, the above photo is a recreation, however partials have been unearthed. 

Australopithecus afarensis
Note the wide and high brow ridge, the wide cheeks and the hint of a worn-down saggital crest (the tall, thin bony portion on the top of the skull) that is missing completely from the recreation.

It's evident from these fossils that afarensis would be quite similar in appearance to modern apes, chimps specifically. 

Now compare the above fossils with the following images:
Pongo pygmaeus - juvenile male

Pongo pygmaeus - juvenile female

These two skulls are plastic copies of juvenile creatures as well. Much more familiar are the shapes and morphology of these creatures, nearly human in appearance, in fact. Notice also just how different these two skulls are from one another.

Now consider the similarities with the above skulls to that of Homo sapiens:

These are ancient Homo sapiens skulls, but they certainly show much more similarity with the photos immediately above as compared to the others at the top, and yet, the photos immediately above these are of Pongo pygmaeus, the Orangutan. In it's adult form, the Orangutan's skull structure looks incredibly different and much more similar to the best Australopithecus afarensis example:

Pongo pygmaeus - Male Orangutan

My point is this: When looking at images of hominid ancestors, take into consideration the age of the individual when considering what it looked like. Do not accept multiple-specimen recreations verbatim as describing the species as a whole. Given science's difficulty exactly defining species, the rush to declare "new human ancestors" seems intended only to serve furthering evolutionary theories, rather than provide good science.  

Keep these things in mind when reading the rabid comments of atheists touting this new find as evidence against Biblical creation. 

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