Fossil Gorilla Forces Hominid Ancestor Earlier
A set of gorilla teeth found in Ethiopia pushes the evolutionary story of a split between apes and humans back almost twice as far as previously thought. Nature reported the fossil announcement that estimated the date of the teeth as 10.5-11 million years old.1 The prior estimate for a human-ape divergence was about 6 million.
The authors named the fossil a new species, but Rex Dalton in the same issue of Nature2 reported the team lead saying that the teeth “are collectively indistinguishable from modern gorilla subspecies” in form, size, internal structure and proportion.
Both papers alluded to an extreme paucity of fossils from the period of 7 to 12 million years on the evolutionary time scale. Dalton claimed this fossil “helps to fill in a huge gap in the fossil record.” Yet the original paper admitted that “Phylogenetically, these fossils represent the first Miocene ape species to be recognized as a strong candidate for membership in the modern gorilla clade,” because the teeth are indistinguishable from those of modern gorillas except that they show a large size variation.
National Geographic put a good-news-bad-news spin on the story. The good news, to them, was that the discovery “fills an important gap in the fossil record” but at the same time, unfortunately for paleoanthropologists, it “could also demolish a working theory of human evolution.” Why? It means that “everything has to be put back” farther in time than expected. This gorilla was essentially modern at least 2 million years earlier than the alleged common ancestor was thought to exist. The common ancestor, therefore (for which there is no fossil evidence), had to live even earlier by millions of years.
1Suwa et al, “A new species of great ape from the late Miocene epoch in Ethiopia,” Nature 448, 921-924 (23 August 2007) | doi:10.1038/nature06113.
2Rex Dalton, “Oldest gorilla ages our joint ancestor,” Nature 448, 844-845 (23 August 2007) | doi:10.1038/448844a.
If you take out the evolutionary dates and assumptions, the facts show this: modern-looking gorilla teeth of unknown age were found fossilized in water-laid sediments in Ethiopia. Where is the evolution? There is none. The ancestry/phylogeny talk is all inference based on the usual dogmatic evolutionary rules that require every fossil bone to decorate Charlie’s tree somehow, even if the fit is poor.
They now have to believe that gorilla evolution was even more rapid from the time of some mythical common ancestor that must also have evolved rapidly from earlier primates. They even tried to wave the magic wand of “convergent evolution” to explain some of the modern features. Their whole story just got even more convoluted and implausible than it already was. The story was already more gap than bone. Some nice transitional form would have been welcome – but not modern-looking gorilla teeth farther back than they were supposed to exist.
Nothing in the observable evidence suggests millions of years, nor any evolution or any ancestry between chimps, gorillas and humans. Don’t fall for the evolutionists’ talking points. Instead, follow their eyes. The surprised looks are more revealing than their claims.