July 20, 2021 | Jerry Bergman

Human Evolution Story in Tatters

Another skull scrambles the paleoanthropology story.
What is the reason for so many rewrites of human evolution?

 

 by Jerry Bergman, PhD

 

This is the fifth article I have written recently about some new fossil find that the discoverer claims ‘requires a rewriting of the story of human evolution.’ What is going on? The constant revision of the human evolution story plot, as a result of a new discovery, can be compared to the twists and turns in a hypothetical murder case.

A couple had some major marital issues and the husband had recently taken out a half-million-dollar insurance policy on his wife. She was found dead under suspicious circumstances in their family home in an upscale neighborhood of the suburbs where they lived. After a careful investigation of the victim’s husband, he was unequivocally ruled out as the killer. He was out of town presenting a paper at the annual convention of software engineers 2,000 miles away as verified by scores of witnesses. Furthermore, he phoned his wife at a predetermined time every evening he was at the conference. The last night he called she did not answer, which caused him to worry. He called a neighbor to check on her, which she did, and it was she who discovered his wife’s body.

Then, further research discovered she and another neighbor—a man known as having a violent temper—had a stormy relationship. Witnesses testified that he more than once threatened to kill her. Another careful investigation, however, cleared him as well. Next, a man with a past murder conviction was discovered in the neighborhood the day before attempting to rape a woman. The woman, a very fit athlete, managed to fight him off. After a very thorough investigation, he was also exonerated. This went on for another few years until all–even remote–possibilities were eliminated. At least the belief she died of natural causes was evaluated by looking at her genetics and that of her family’s. Investigators finally agreed that she died of natural causes as a result of a genetic condition that also took the life of an uncle.

The same situation is apparent now with the ape-to-human theory. Over and over, as human evolution candidates are discovered, researched, and then discounted, it is becoming increasingly apparent that humans did not evolve from some ape-like common ancestor. This trend has been documented in a large door-stopper book I co-authored, Apes as Ancestors.[1]

The Latest Plot Twists

Look at the subtitle in Michael Marshall’s report in New Scientist about the latest puzzles: “More tangles in our human story. Two newly unveiled human fossil discoveries suggest we still haven’t unraveled all the twists and turns in our family tree.”[2] His headline is an understatement: “New fossil find tells us we’re far from understanding how modern humans evolved.[3] As usual, the paleoanthropology community is debating what the fossils mean. One skull from Indonesia has been dubbed Homo longi, and another skull from Israel seems typical of fossil archaic humans.

1: The Indonesia Fossil Find

Marshall’s article admits the following about the first fossil:

A new member has been added to the human evolutionary tree, but Homo longi has received a frosty welcome. Many researchers think that although the enormous skull used to name the species doesn’t seem to have been from a modern human or Neanderthal, it was unnecessary to give it a new species name. Some speculate that the skull belonged to one of the mysterious Denisovan people who once inhabited eastern Asia, and that it offers us our first glimpse of a Denisovan face.[4]

The other discovery (actually a rediscovery) in China known as the Harbin skull was already controversial. Author Michael Marshall observed that it

was discovered in mysterious circumstances in Harbin City in the Heilongjiang province in the 1930s. The man who unearthed it reportedly hid it in a well, only revealing its location on his deathbed. It was recovered in 2018 and has now been analyzed for the first time…. It is one of the most complete crania I have ever seen,” says Xijun Ni … It is also the largest known Homo skull ever found.[5]

Artist conception of “Dragon Man.” Looks fully human.

The team of scientists “thinks the skull belonged to a man who was about 50 years old when he died, between 296,000 and 146,000 Darwin Years ago. Its features are a mix of those seen in archaic and modern humans. It has thick brow ridges, for example, yet “the face looks so much like a bigger version of a modern human face,… Its brain size was similar to ours too…. It’s not Neanderthal and it’s not [modern human].” Remember the case of the hypothetical wife’s death? The detectives jumped to the conclusion it was murder. Why, the husband could have spent the rest of his life in prison if he had lacked an unassailable alibi!

In the case of these fossils, paleoanthropologists are jumping to conclusions, too. The assumption about the fossil skull was that it must be evidence of human evolution. Given the description, an obvious ‘alibi’ exists. Just as a great deal of variety exists in most body forms today, especially humans, likewise a great deal of variety existed in ancient humans. The fossils simply indicate normal species variability. Evolutionists cannot accept that. Their presupposition that the fossils are evidence of human evolution is clear in their openly stated goals:

To tie down the skull’s place in our family tree, the team studied its physical characteristics – and those of a number of other human fossils – and used the information to reconstruct their evolutionary relationships. The Harbin fossil sits on a distinct branch between Neanderthals and modern humans.[6]

Further study disputes the claim of evolutionary relationships. For example, “a 2019 analysis of ancient proteins extracted from the Xiahe jawbone suggested it may have belonged to a Denisovan – an ancient human group that we know little about, and for which we still lack any complete fossil skulls.” In other words, rather than exemplifying some evolutionary link, it was simply a member of a people group called Denisovans. Those interbred with Neanderthals, and thus were not evidence of evolution. Other experts, such as New York University paleontologist Shara Bailey, agree that it was a Denisovan. If that is true, they were evidently more similar to living people than Neanderthals.

The usual professional disagreement on human fossils expressed itself when the discoverer gave the skull a new species name: H. longi, a name that derives from the Chinese term for “dragon.” However, agreeing with my conclusion, Marshall wrote,

we know modern humans and Neanderthals interbred successfully on many occasions. The convention is to refer to such distinct groups as ‘populations’ or ‘lineages’, which is one reason why the Denisovans themselves are rarely referred to as a distinct ‘species’.”

The ‘Dragon Man’ skull adds to the emerging picture that these fossils do not add evidence to human evolution, but rather support the creation interpretation that early in the history of Eurasia it was home to several distinct human “lineages.”[7]

2: The Israel Fossil Find

The second major find in Israel find represents another human lineage that met and interacted with modern humans. It also indicates that they were not our primitive evolutionary ancestors, but rather simply another people group.[8] Bones were excavated at Nesher Ramla in Israel, which was a shallow landscape depression that gradually filled with sediment and was “used by hominins for quite a long time….” The researchers add that “it’s very rich in terms of archaeological material and very well preserved.”[9]

They found parts of the roof of a hominin skull and a nearly complete jawbone. The jawbone lacked the chin characteristic of most living people. Instead of proving evolution as the researchers implied, this trait, called a receding chin or a weak chin (or more properly retrogenia) is possessed by many living people. It has many causes. It may be a normal genetic variety, or can also occur with some congenital conditions, such as Pierre Robin sequence or Treacher Collins syndrome. A receding chin is also a natural part of aging in both men and women. As a person grows older, they may lose bone and soft tissue around the jaw, leading to retrogenia.[10] In view of this fact, the weak chin trait in the fossil is not helpful for them to use as evidence for human evolution.

The researchers also made this an about-face to the human evolution story:

the usual story of the origin of the Neanderthals – that they evolved from earlier European hominins – is wrong. Instead, they [the Neanderthals] originated in western Asia as a subgroup of the Nesher Ramla Homo, and entered Europe only when the climate became favorable.[11]

The Nesher Ramla Homo may also shed light on other unusual fossils. Ancient DNA evidence has established a significant “amount of interbreeding that took place between modern humans, Neanderthals and the Denisovans.”[12] The bones from the caves don’t look typical of our species but are likely the result of interbreeding between modern humans and the Nesher Ramla Homo. Such an interpretation would not “add even more tangles to our complex evolutionary tree” as the researchers claim. Evolution would have nothing to do with it.

Summary

These two fossil finds, rather than explaining or “proving” human evolution from lower forms, can be more accurately explained by the natural variability within the human species. It existed in the past and also exists today. This is obvious; just watch people on a busy street all around. They vary in height, weight, skull size, body proportions, jaw, and just about everything else, but they are all human. The similarities they have on the inside vastly outweigh the differences they show on the outside.

The simplest and most straightforward explanation, seen also in remnants of people who lived a long time ago, is that humans have always exhibited “great diversity” both in the past and today.[13] Paleoanthropologists’ addiction to the presumption that old bones can shed light about evolution blinds them to the obvious. The first, and the most straightforward explanation –  i.e., the plain and simple truth – is that man did not evolve!

Editor’s Note: There is far more complexity of design in the genes, cells and internal organs than in the minor differences in the shape of a jaw, brow ridge or cranium. That’s what needs explaining!

References

[1] Bergman, Jerry, Apes as Ancestors: Examining the Claims About Human Evolution. Bartlett Publishing, Tulsa, OK, 2020.Co-Authored with Peter Line, Ph.D. and Jeffrey Tomkins, Ph.D.

[2] Marshall, Michael, “More tangles in our human story.” Two newly unveiled human fossil discoveries suggest we still haven’t unraveled  all the twists and turns in our family tree. New Scientist, 250(3341):10-11, 3 July 2021,  https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0262407921011222.

[3] Wilson, Emily, “Our Complex History,” New Scientist 250(3341):7, 3 July-2021, p. 7.  https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0262407921011209

[4] Marshall,  2021, p. 10.

[5] Marshall, 2021, p. 10.

[6] Marshall, 2021, p. 10.

[7] Marshall, 2021, p. 11.

[8] Marshall, 2021, p. 11.

[9]  Marshall, 2021, p. 11.

[10] Cherney, Kristeen, How to Get Rid of a Receding Chin, Healthline, 18 September 2018, https://www.healthline.com/health/receding-chin#causes.

[11] Marshall, 2021, p. 11.

[12] Marshall, 2021, p. 11.

[13] Wilson, 2021, p. 4.


Dr. Jerry Bergman has taught biology, genetics, chemistry, biochemistry, anthropology, geology, and microbiology for over 40 years at several colleges and universities including Bowling Green State University, Medical College of Ohio where he was a research associate in experimental pathology, and The University of Toledo. He is a graduate of the Medical College of Ohio, Wayne State University in Detroit, the University of Toledo, and Bowling Green State University. He has over 1,300 publications in 12 languages and 40 books and monographs. His books and textbooks that include chapters that he authored are in over 1,500 college libraries in 27 countries. So far over 80,000 copies of the 40 books and monographs that he has authored or co-authored are in print. For more articles by Dr Bergman, see his Author Profile.

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