May 25, 2022 | Jerry Bergman

Prehuman Ancestors Are Fiction

More problems in the many attempts to prove human evolution:
A clear gap is shown between claimed prehumans and genus Homo

by Jerry Bergman, PhD

The 1925 Scopes Trial reflected the confidence that human evolution was proven beyond a doubt. The evidence was based on skeletal fragments of Piltdown Man, Java Man, and Neanderthals. All three examples have now been disproved.

  • Figure 1. From the popular biology book Introduction to Biology by Edward Rice. New York, NY: Ginn and Company. Shows artist’s perception of Java Man, Piltdown Man. Neanderthal Man (now Homo sapiens neanderthalensis), and Cro-Magnon Man (Homo sapiens sapiens).

    Piltdown Man is a forgery made from human and orangutan bones. [1]

  • Java Man consisted of three teeth (two orangutan and one human), a giant gibbon skullcap, and a human thighbone (found 50 feet away from the partial skullcap). It was controversial from when it was first discovered, and still is today.[2]
  • Neanderthals are now recognized as fully human, even by the National Geographic Magazine, one of the most aggressive pushers and financial supporters of the evidence for human evolution. [3]

We now have dozens of candidate skulls, but the evidence today is not much better.[4] Importantly, the evidence consists almost totally of bone fragments: often parts of the skull, a few teeth, and a few other small pieces of bone. One of the most complete fossils is Lucy (Australopithecus afarensis) made famous by Donald Johanson. By weight, though, only 20 percent of the skeleton was found. Another important fact is that bone mass in the entire human skeleton makes up less than 15 percent of the total body weight. Thus, the evidence used to determine the details of Lucy was only 3 percent (20% x 15%) of the total mass of her body (assuming ‘she’ was a female, but the narrow pelvis argues otherwise).

Looking for the human in the bones

The evolutionary paleoanthropologist needs to determine, “Where in our ancestry does the ‘human’ part of ‘human evolution’ begin?” In other words, how far back in time must must we travel for a proposed ancestor to be considered non-human, and instead be describable as an ape walking on two legs? What’s needed to qualify an animal as ‘human’?

Bone fragments are not going to tell us much. Some odd-looking individuals we know were fully human (because they lived in the not too distant past, and we have documentation from others that knew them to be fully human). But if all one saw were the bones, their humanness would be questionable. One of the most well-known and well-documented examples is Julia Pastrana (1834-1860).


Figure 2. Julia Pastrana. As a young adult, she made a living as a dancer and performer. From Wiki Commons.

Julia Pastrana was a very intelligent multi-lingual woman who was a voracious reader and very talented in several areas of the arts. One doctor, Alexander B. Mott, M.D., claimed with pomp and certainty that she was the result of the mating of a human and an “Orang hutan”[5]. Indeed, if the only bone available for study was the skull, paleoanthropologists would have likely have announced her to be a missing link. We know beyond a doubt, though, that she was fully human based on the testimony of those who knew and worked with her.

In his discussion of Julia, Darwin repeated some incorrect claims about this so-called “ape woman.” Some Darwinists portrayed her as evidence of a living ape-to-human transitional form and exploited her as a circus freak.

Figure 3. A deformed skull which illustrates the problem of human identification.

Where Is the Continuum?

Trying to judge humanness from bone fragments is fraught with error. One example is “the oldest fossil that has been included in the genus Homo is 2.8 million years old from Ledi-Geraru in Ethiopia… But lots of people disagree entirely with that assessment.”The disagreement is understandable, partly because the only evidence we have of her is half of a mandible! Belinda Smith in ABC News (Australia) asserts a common evolutionary belief that

The likely “first human” … was Homo erectus. These short, stocky humans were a real stayer in human evolutionary history….. Estimates vary, but they’re thought to have lived from around 2 million to 100,000 years ago, and were the first humans to walk out of Africa and push into Europe and Asia…. Fossilized remains from around the time and earlier are incredibly rare, and what is unearthed tends to be in bits.[6]

Figure 3. A deformed skull which illustrates the problem of human identification.

Readers should be aware that a large gap exists between all of the other fossil pre-humans and the first human Homo erectus. The first Homo erectus evidently occupied caves, “used fires, and became more capable at obtaining meat. By using their intelligence and accumulated knowledge, they remained essentially tropical.”[7] These are uniquely human traits. The Facts and Details website in 2018 presented evidence that Homo erectus used “abstract thinking and human language,” although other scientists

debate whether 400,000-year-old hominins were capable of symbolic thinking, often regarded as the hallmark of language. If Mania’s conjectures are correct, then ancient hominins could have been much more advanced than previously thought. In Zambia, scientists found what they said were 350,000-year-old ocher crayons. If these crayons had in fact been used to make drawings or markings they could be regarded as the oldest known attempt to paint, [this] suggests that early man attempted [to] create art much earlier than people thought…. Homo erectus had considerable manual dexterity and possibly greater cognitive abilities, and raises the prospect that they might have been more “human” than previously thought.[8]

Other findings cited by this article support the case that Homo erectus produced art and lived in houses made of animals skins stretched over a frame. Homo erectus also constructed 50-foot-long branch huts with stone slabs or animal skins for floors.[9]


Although, as noted, judgments are difficult to make based on fossil evidence alone, it appears from the current research on fossils and other artifacts that an enormous gap exists between Homo erectus and all alleged ‘pre-human’ ancestors. Taken as a whole, the evidence indicates an unbridgeable gap between man and the evolutionists’ putative ape ancestors.

Figure 4. The book Apes as Ancestors (2020) included several thousand references to the peer-reviewed paleontological literature documenting that no clear physical evidence exists that humans evolved from some ape-like ancestor.

My book Apes as Ancestors (2020), co-authored by Jeffrey Tomkins, Peter Line and Daniel Biddle, examines in detail all the fossils and research used to tell the evolutionary story that humans evolved from apes. Our book gives numerous sources from peer-reviewed literature disproving the evolutionary tale.[10]


[1] Kaplan, Sarah, We finally know who forged Piltdown Man, one of science’s most notorious hoaxes;, 11 August 2016.

[2] Bergman, Jerry, Java Man: A creature between apes and humans, an extinct ape, or a primitive man? Answers Research Journal 15:109–120; man.pdf, 2022.

[3] Hall, Stephen, The Other Humans: Neanderthals Revealed, National Geographic Magazine 214(4), October 2008.

[4] Smith, Belinda, Who was the first human? Identifying them is tricky, but it was not our species, Homo sapiens;, 21 May 2022.

[5] Bondeson, Jan, “The strange story of Julia Pastrana,” A Cabinet of Medical Curiosities, I.B.Tauris, London, England, p. 219, 1997.

[6] Smith, 2022.

[7] O’Neil, Dennis, Early Modern Human Culture;, 1999-2013.

[8] HOMO ERECTUS TOOLS. LANGUAGE, ART AND CULTURE, Facts and Details;, September 2018, emphasis added.


[10] Bergman, Jerry, et al., Apes as Ancestors, Bartlett Publishing, Tulsa, OK, 2020.

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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