Gorilla or Hominid? Toumaï Controversy Continues
Michel Brunet’s controversial Toumaï skull (Sahelanthropus tchadensis) made the cover of Nature last week,1,2 but rivals contend it was not part of the human line. The skull he found in Chad in 2002 (see 07/11/2002 and 10/09/2002 entries) was badly disfigured and needed reconstructive surgery, leading to criticisms that any interpretations were subjective.
News sources like MSNBC, BBC News and National Geographic immediately pounced on the clay reconstruction featured on the cover of Nature, a gorilla-shaped face with a smooth head and thoughtful-looking eyes. National Geographic printed a large image of the reconstruction but made no mention of the controversy surrounding its classification. It stated, “Now new fossil finds and a high-tech skull reconstruction (not shown) strongly suggest the species was human, after all. This would make it the oldest known human ancestor.”
The BBC News article, by contrast, included statements by other anthropologists who disagreed. It quoted Mary Pickford (National History Museum, Paris), for instance, who said that it is an ape-like animal and is unconvinced that Toumaï was a hominid at all. The BBC also pointed out the ramifications of Brunet’s claim that this was in the human line:
If Toumaï really does belong on the human branch of the evolutionary tree, its discovery calls into question certain assumptions about our prehistory.
The fossils were found some 2,500km (1,500 miles) west of the African Great Rift Valley – traditionally seen as humankind’s ancestral home due to the wealth of hominid fossils that have been discovered there.
The discovery of S. tchadensis implies early hominids ranged far wider from East Africa, and far earlier, than previously thought.
It also suggests that hominids evolved quickly when they set off on their own evolutionary path. (Emphasis added in all quotes.)
1Michel Brunet et al., “New material of the earliest hominid from the Upper Miocene of Chad,” Nature 434, 752 – 755 (07 April 2005); doi:10.1038/nature03392.
2Zollikoffer, Brunet et al., “Virtual cranial reconstruction of Sahelanthropus tchadensis,”
Have we forgotten? Brunet wants to be top dog in the paleoanthropology olympics, so he found his own contestant in his own turf. He dug up a gorilla skull that was badly deformed, gave it a mythical date, and fashioned it according to his own beliefs (see 03/28/2003 caution by Tim White). So Brunet got his prize – the cover of Nature – which says absolutely nothing about the validity of his claim that his specimen lived millions of years ago, but more about the gullibility of Darwinist-controlled journals. Now the other teams are angry that he scored and are out to topple him in this king of the hill game by disqualifying his contestant.
This is all so silly. Evolutionists want us to be surprised at the suggestion that Chad Gorilla could have wandered so far from the Great Rift Valley in millions of years. Have we forgotten them telling us a few weeks ago that a chipmunk-size armadillo made it from Africa to North America? (see 04/01/2005). They talk about adaptive radiations and migrations all the time, but need to keep their hominids imprisoned in isolated areas for millions of years to keep their tall tale from falling apart. Evolutionists toss these millions of years around like flippant remarks, seemingly oblivious to how long even ten thousand years represents. All of known human history, including all the plant and animal breeding humans have done, fits into a span that is one one-hundredth of just one million years. They want us to refrain from laughing when they spout absurdities like “It also suggests that hominids evolved quickly when they set off on their own evolutionary path.”
Once you understand the inherent foolishness of these long timelines and the stretch-and-squish manner in which they treat rates of evolution (see 12/14/2004 entry), you will not be swayed by these occasional announcements. Once you understand that the facts are not the issue, but rather the obsessive-compulsive Darwinian need to force human ancestry into an evolutionary timeline, you will instead find these announcements quite amusing.