December 20, 2023 | David F. Coppedge

Human Evolution Dates Are Unreliable

Leading nature museum admits flaws
in all dates for human ancestors


Better fossil dating could help to clear up human evolution (Natural History Museum, 19 Dec 2023). This world-class museum would not be saying that better dating “could” help clear up human evolution if it were already reliable.

Our origins have been notoriously difficult to decipher, with a variety of contradictory and controversial evidence making it hard to work out exactly how our species evolved.

A new paper, published in the journal Quaternary Science Reviews, proposes a simple, two-pronged solution – find more fossils, and better date the ones we already have. Doing so will help to fill in large pieces of the evolutionary puzzle and help resolve longstanding dilemmas in the field.

A quick reading of the article shows that dating human fossils is plagued with uncertainty and assumptions. Veteran paleontologist Chris Stringer at UK’s Natural History Museum ought to know. For instance, people think that uranium dating is reliable.

Whilst this technique can date fossils that are hundreds of thousands of years old, giving it an advantage over other methods, it’s not completely straightforward.

‘The problem with bone is that it’s an open system,’ Chris says. ‘Uranium can get into the bone, allowing it to be dated, but this also means more can be added or washed out over time.’

Creationists have been complaining about this for decades. It’s about time to hear an evolutionist admit it. Stringer gives examples of contradictory dates in fossils. Even if you find uranium to use, other confounding factors can mess things up.

‘The Homo sapiens skull fragment was around 40,000 years older than a Neanderthal cranium at the site, which is an odd situation as we’d generally expect it to be the other way around,’ Chris says.

‘Some scientists argued that they must have been the same age, but our new analyses show they have different depositional histories. They couldn’t have been buried at the same time.’

Some of their other findings throw up new questions. For example, some specimens of the species Homo luzonensis might be as much as 135,000 years old, which is more than double the age it is currently thought to be.

Oh, but you can trust that we’re on the right track, he ends. Just like all the students that trusted their textbooks for the past 150 years?

‘It’s hard to predict what new techniques will emerge, but I think we could see the refinement of existing methods,’ Chris says. ‘There’s been a renewed interest in using amino acid dating, which is providing promising results based on tooth enamel and mollusc fragments from sites in Britain and beyond.’

‘DNA dating, which uses the mutation rate to assess how old a fossil is, is also growing in importance.’

‘Providing these techniques are used carefully, then I think the outlook is excellent for increasing our understanding of human evolution.’

But don’t those methods also rely on unproveable assumptions? With mutation rates in DNA and amino acids, how does the evolutionist know the rate was constant? That illustrates a fundamental difference between observable science and historical science. In the historical sciences, one cannot check things empirically without a time machine. And even with a time machine, there would be doubts about the machine’s reliability.

Watch the series “Is Genesis History?” to see another view on dating of bones and human fossils. Another good film is called “Dismantled” to help clear your head of Darwinian propaganda.




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