Downfall of Homo antecessor, Ancestor in Name Only

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Posted on February 10, 2014 in Bible and Theology, Darwin and Evolution, Dating Methods, Dumb Ideas, Early Man, Fossils, Geology, Human Body, Mind and Brain, Philosophy of Science

Details make the story of Homo antecessor an improbable tale of human evolution.

It was Europe’s entry into the early human evolution story.  It was the pride of the Spaniards.  It was Europe’s answer to Africa’s Homo ergaster, the earliest population of Homo outside of Africa.  It was named Homo antecessor, an evolutionary missing link living between 800,000 and 1.2 million years ago, according to the evolutionary timeline (antecessor being synonymous with predecessor; that’s why some nickname it “Pioneer Man.”)  The Spanish researchers who found some 90 fossil pieces at the Gran Dolina, Atapuerca site believe they have honed the age to about 900,000 years, according to Science DailyWikipedia says the best-preserved fossil is a maxilla.  From other pieces, paleoanthropologists have inferred that the species was just about as tall as modern man, but had a slightly smaller brain size.

But then something weird happened.  In May 2013, during a low tide, human tracks appeared in some rocks along the English coast at Happisburgh.  By chance, some archaeologists came across them and thought they looked like footprints.  They came to make casts and photograph them.  Since they were found in rock thought to be a million years old, evolutionists immediately linked them to the long-lost Homo antecessor, deducing that a family with children passed this way a million years ago.  National Geographic was thrilled:

As a group of ancient humans walked across a muddy beach in England nearly a million years ago, little did they know that one day, their footsteps would thrill modern discoverers.

The find—believed to be the oldest known human footprints found outside of Africa—wouldn’t have happened without a rare combination of mud with just the right consistency, still or slow-flowing water, and a bit of perfect timing on the part of some modern humans.

Within two weeks, the tracks were gone, eroded away by the waves.

New Scientist, the BBC News and Science Daily have all echoed the thrill of discovery, but none of them seemed curious why tracks would appear now after a million years, only to be washed away in a matter of days.  Instead, they are focused on calling these the “oldest human footprints outside of Africa,” twice as old as the previous record, and comparable to the 3.5 million year old tracks at Laetoli ascribed to Australopithecus afarensis and 1.5 million year old tracks in Kenya ascribed to Homo erectus.  The original paper, published in the open-access online journal PLoS ONE, even tried to best the Laetoli footprints (which look modern) by suggesting further evolution had occurred, at least in size:

Here a series of hominin footprints preserve anatomical details consistent with a forward-pointing large toe and clearly distinguished lateral arch. The footprints are larger than those at Laetoli, and suggest that by 1.5 My humans had developed an essentially modern walking gait and are argued to have reached a similar stature to modern humans.

The BBC already has these tracks arranged in a lineage.  They preceded Homo heidelbergensis which they say lived 500,000 years ago; those were followed by Homo neanderthalensis at 400,000 years ago, who “lived in Britain intermittently until about 40,000 years ago — a time that coincided with the arrival of our species, Homo sapiens.”  There are no fossils of Homo antecessor in Britain, but “the circumstantial evidence of their presence is getting stronger by the day,” the article says, based on these tracks and some “flint artefacts” found earlier in nearby strata, thought to be 350,000 years old and “cut-marked bones” not detailed by the authors.

Science Daily notes that “in some cases the heel, arch and even toes could be identified, equating to modern shoes of up to UK size 8,” but the discoverers call them “hominin” tracks.  The only reason the tracks have been linked to H. antecessor, the authors make clear, is because “The only known species in western Europe of a similar age is Homo antecessor, whose fossil remains have been found at Atapuerca, Spain.”

Paleoanthropologist Chris Stringer began a confident story of the tracks that petered out at the end due to ignorance.  New Scientist related the tale,

Stringer says the climate 850,000 years ago was colder than it is now, so the individuals were at the northernmost limit of hominin settlement. “They were coping with conditions harsher than today, so maybe they had more body fat. Or did they wear clothing or make windbreaks, and did they have fire? We don’t have evidence yet.”

Nicholas Ashton continued the ignorance meme on National Geographic: other than the link to H. antecessor which it is thought had smaller brains, “We actually know very little else about the people who left these prints,” he said.  So sometimes they are “people,” sometimes they are “hominins”.

The original paper explains that the tracks became visible briefly due to ongoing erosion of underwater Pleistocene cliffs.  Because of “particularly severe scouring and removal of the modern beach deposits during winter storms,” the tracks became visible, but without the sand cover, the tracks fell victim to the scouring waves.  That’s why they disappeared in two weeks: “The rarity of such evidence is equalled only by its fragility at Happisburgh, where severe coastal erosion is both revealing and rapidly destroying sites that are of international significance.”  Here’s how they decided these tracks were not made more recently:

A recent origin for these features from human or animal activity can be excluded as the exposed sediments are compacted, have low moisture content and are therefore too firm to preserve recent imprints. Given the similarity of the hollows observed in Area A to Holocene footprint surfaces, the most likely explanation is that the majority of hollows can be interpreted as ancient footprints.

The strata have been dated, the authors say, by “biostratigraphical and palaeomagnetic evidence” to the early Pleistocene.

In other early man news, New Scientist said that there’s still head scratching about the Hobbits of Indonesia (Homo floresiensis).  Two tales are being tossed around: the Hobbit as an early ancestor of Homo erectus, or a later side branch that underwent “island dwarfism” from long habitation in a limited ecosystem.  Some paleoanthropologists are still entertaining the idea that they are “unusually small humans” with the defect called microcephaly.  One new puzzle is the relative size of the foot, possessing “modern and archaic characteristics” but larger than expected for the rest of the skeleton.  This gave occasion for New Scientist to label the little guy “Bigfoot Hobbit.”  One researcher remarked, “It’s definitely a head-scratcher” – the interpretation, that is, not the foot bone.

Anyone with an ounce of common sense, who is free from obligate Charlie worship, who can think independently without having to have a scientist tell him what to think, has to conclude that this story of H. antecessor is a complete fabrication designed to keep the Darwin industry in business.  This is not to say that bones were fabricated, or the tracks were fabricated, but the interpretation of them is.  It’s not only a fabrication, it’s an absurd fabrication.  The story becomes ridiculous on several fronts when you take the Darwin-colored glasses off.

For one, they ask us to believe that the Happisburgh tracks lasted for almost a million years, but eroded in two weeks.  Think about that!  Were there no severe winter storms in a million years?  Was there no “particularly severe scouring” of beach sand?  Are we to accept the thesis, like programmed robots, that delicate tracks were made in mud a million years ago, only to turn up in front of these guys’ eyes for a couple of weeks?  Look how fast they eroded!  Look how fast the rocks crack and fall apart.  Now think of the supposed ice ages, earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes, plate movements and asteroid impacts that could occur in a million years.  But lo and behold, delicate human tracks burst into view in 2013 for a couple of weeks, then were gone forever.  It’s much more sensible to view the tracks as fairly recent.  Same could be said of the Laetoli tracks: they had to be covered up before they disappeared.  These scientists had no good reason to reject a young age for the tracks.  They rejected the idea just because of personal preference: “the most likely explanation is that the majority of hollows can be interpreted as ancient footprints,” they said.  It’s likely they can be interpreted that way, so that’s what they did.  Isn’t it likely that storytellers will tell stories?  Sure.

For another thing, there’s nothing about the evidence that requires an evolutionary interpretation.  In fact, the evidence militates against an evolutionary interpretation.  The footprints here, and in Laetoli and Kenya, are fully within the range of human foot variation.  Think of the fun you could have by taking various living people of different races and ages, having them walk in plaster of Paris, painting the scene, photographing it, and showing the photos to Chris Stringer or one of the other Darwin dupes and telling them you found them in 1.5-million-year-old rocks in Africa.  Before they caught on to the practical joke, they would immediately rush to the conclusion that they were Homo erectus footprints and would be jumping in their jeeps to go look.  How do we know?  Because that’s how they reacted to the Kenya prints, which have toes and arches and the rest.  Even worse, the Laetoli prints, claimed to be 2 million years older, are virtually identical to modern prints!  Yet the Darwin industry had to (because of the alleged dates) claim they belonged to Lucy’s ape-like family.  This required them to imagine modern feet on apes!  It’s crazy (see 7/20/11 #13, and 3/22/10 – must read).  This fact alone should falsify the evolution story and destroy the credibility of evolutionary paleoanthropologists.

For a third, the dates are fabricated to match evolution’s imaginary timeline.  Since man had to start ascending out of the ape jungle six million years ago, the Darwin imagineers had to put some pieces into the timeline between then and now.  So they found extinct ape bones and placed them near the beginning, and dead men’s bones and put them near the end, in order to show “evolutionary progress.”  You could do the same thing with the tools in your garage to prove the screwdriver evolved into pliers.

Finally, the story is absurd because it forces absurd conclusions about people.  The Darwin tale requires human forms, comparable in body size, upright posture, body proportions, feet, and skull size within the range of human variability, possessed of reason, to do nothing with their spare time for millions of years!  What they call “Homo erectus” made fire, built boats, walked continents and hunted with more finesse than today’s couch potatoes, using handcrafted stone tools.  What they call “Homo antecessor” looked very similar in their story; it went some half a million years, to be replaced by another artificial species “Homo heidelbergensis” (Heidelberg Man) that spent another 100,000 years in caves.  Then “Neanderthal Man” appears, doing little for 350,000 years till “modern man” arrives in all his cerebral glory.  But he doesn’t use those brains to do anything but make cave paintings and jewelry for tens of thousands of years more (see 2/03/14).  Then, all of a sudden, out of nowhere, cities appear, replete with writing and agriculture.  Why don’t more people see how preposterous this is?  You don’t have to be a young-earth creationist to think this is silly, but if you are an old-earth creationist, theistic evolutionist or other kind of believer in millions of years, the same follies should trouble you.  If our “enlightened” scientific age had not let Darwin pull the wool over our eyes with his tale, now falsified (see 2/07/14), this completely unrealistic story of human evolution would be laughed off the stage.  Nothing about any of this fossil evidence requires the story of long ages and a slow, gradual climb from primitive post-ape to advancing pre-human.

Notice how the Darwin industry manipulates language to fit their preconceived narrative.  They invent terms like “hominin” to make things sound non-human.  They call things “primitive” or “ancient”.  They make up new species designations.  Was there such a thing as Homo antecessor?  The answer is yes!  They lived, once upon a time, in the paleofantasyland of certain Darwin Party imagineers (3/13/13).  Here at Creation-Evolution Headlines, we’ve been following their paleofantasy for 13 years now, and can attest that it has gotten stupider, not wiser, over time.  This is not scientific progress!  It is the collapse of a world view.

In the real world, the makers of the tracks, with their bones and flints, were known as “people.”  They were smart from the start.  They quickly spread around the world, as documented in Genesis 10–11, the Table of Nations.  The recent creation revealed in Genesis avoids all the nonsense inherent in Charlie’s tale, because it doesn’t need to fill in useless, unobserved millions of years for Charlie to work his evolutionary light and magic show.  Recent creation fits both recorded history and sound reasoning about the nature of man.

In the recent creation debate, Bill Nye ridiculed Genesis.  Would that Ham had hammered the Nye guy about the folly of Darwin mythology pretending to be “science.”  But it wouldn’t take a scientist to win a debate against a Darwinist.  Hey, Jay Leno: now that you’re out of work, we have an idea.…

 

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