April 10, 2007 | David F. Coppedge

Lucy the Gorilla?

Three scientists from Tel Aviv found a “gorilla-like” jaw structure on a recently discovered specimen of Australopithecus afarensis, of which “Lucy” is the best-known example.  This is a problem, because Lucy was supposed to be transitional between chimpanzees and humans, not gorillas.
    Publishing in PNAS,1 they said, “The presence of the morphology in both the latter and Au. afarensis and its absence in modern humans cast doubt on the role of Au. afarensis as a modern human ancestor.”  How did the gorilla-like mandibular ramus end up on Lucy?  Their conjecture was “its appearance in fossil hominins must represent an independently derived morphology.”
    In other early-man news, Science reported that certain paleoanthropologists are claiming “Hobbit Man” (cf. 10/11/2006) is a unique species, not a microcephalic human.2  At a meeting of the Paleoanthropology Society, Matthew Toucheri (Smithsonian) based his opinion on the “primitive” appearance of some wrist bones.  Critics are countering that it’s part of the pathology of the individual.


1Yoel Rak, Avishag Ginzburg, and Eli Geffen (edited by David Pilbeam), “Gorilla-like anatomy on Australopithecus afarensis mandibles suggests Au. afarensis link to robust australopiths,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 10.1073/pnas.0606454104, published online before print April 10, 2007.
2Ann Gibbons, “Hobbit’s Status as a New Species Gets a Hand Up,” Science, 6 April 2007: Vol. 316. no. 5821, p. 34, DOI: 10.1126/science.316.5821.34.

So all this Lucy talk was for Peanuts.  Charlie, Browne indicated (01/06/2004), was frequently ill and relied on a propaganda squad to promote his book.  Now he’s looking like a wishy-washy blockhead.  Instead of acting Snoopy about human origins, he should have learned something useful, like Linux.
    Speaking of cartoons, our warmest wishes to the family of Johnny Hart, creator of the unforgettably funny strip B.C., who died yesterday (see tribute cartoon on TownHall.com).  Hart was a strong Christian who gave increasingly overt religious themes to his later cartoons despite criticism from some quarters.  Collections of Hart’s work will warm your heart and tickle your funnybone.
    As for hobbitses, go read Tolkien’s version instead of listening to evolutionary fiction.  At least the original novel was written by intelligent design.

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Categories: Early Man

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