Primetime for “Primates”

by Mark Looy on August 30, 2005

As a visible way to buttress evolutionary claims, the London Zoo has three men and five women displayed next to (but separated by a fence from) their "primate relatives".

We had resisted commenting on the scantily clad men and women who went on exhibit last Friday at the London Zoo in England (frolicking behind a sign reading "Warning: Humans in their Natural Environment"). But such exhibitionism1 has generated so much press and so many allusions to man's supposed evolutionary link to primates that we decided to comment.

TV clips and photos in newspapers and websites have shown eight people in skimpy bathing suits (with fig leaves pinned on, a la Genesis, among a few of the exhibit's allusions to the creation/evolution issue) as part of a new "animal" display at this famous zoo. The exhibit even features the kind of description-man's dietary habits, threats to his survival, type of habitat, etc.-usually reserved for creatures housed at the zoo.

After the first news accounts appeared in the British press, the USA-based Associated Press (AP) began circulating an article which revealed that behind the exhibit's implied ape-and-man link was a deliberate evolutionary motivation. Zoo spokeswoman Polly Wills was quoted by the AP to freely admit the exhibit's evolution agenda; the zoo, she says, wants to teach "members of the public that the human is just another primate." As a visible way to buttress this evolutionary claim, the zoo has the three men and five women displayed next to (but separated by a fence) their "primate relatives." (The AP writer used these hackneyed words, "primate relatives," which are so commonly seen in most zoos today).

The Bible's clear teaching in Genesis that humans are a special creation made in God's image.

A chemist is one of the eight participants inside the exhibit. He made a comment to the AP which is in stark contrast to the Bible's clear teaching in Genesis that humans are a special creation made in God's image: "A lot of people think humans are above other animals. When they see humans as animals here, it kind of reminds us that we're not that special."

This is not the first time a zoo has put humans on exhibit. A few years ago, the Copenhagen, Denmark zoo had two humans on display next to some primates, and it featured evolutionary themes as well. See Zoo Displays Humans.

Most shameful, a racist exhibit appeared 100 years ago in the Bronx Zoo of New York (and in other places, such as St. Louis, Missouri). At the Bronx Zoo, a Pygmy, a man by the name of Ota Benga, was put on display as evidence of a missing link between humans and an apelike ancestor. See “Ota Benga: The Man Who Was Put on Display in the Zoo!

Dr. Monty White, CEO of Answers in Genesis-UK in Leicester (about 100 miles from London) had the following counterpoint to the London Zoo's new exhibit:

This exhibit reflects what the evolutionist believes about humankind's supposed relationship to the animal kingdom. Because our DNA is similar to the chimpanzee (a primate), it is assumed that we are therefore somehow related and that humans are nothing more than primate animals.

Similar DNA, however, does not mean common ancestry-the similarity (and there are major differences anyway) can be interpreted in terms of a Creator who uses the same DNA molecule in creating different types of creatures, whether they are elephants, chimpanzees or ants. The more similar a creature is designed to be, the more similar the way the DNA patterns programmed by God. In fact, though, the similarity quoted is misleading. The genes on DNA give rise to proteins, and more than 55% of our proteins differ from those of chimps. In any case, we are more than DNA-humans are made in God's image and likeness, whereas this exhibit sends out a message that our existence can be explained without the need of a Creator and therefore we do not need to live by His rules.

Indeed, when cultures accept the belief that man is but another animal and just another primate, the consequences will be far greater than what might whimsically (or tragically, in the case of Ota Benga) appear in a zoo. As more people see themselves as just animals, and as not beholden to a Creator and the absolutes found in His Word, the more we will see people act accordingly and increasingly accept things like abortion (i.e., what is the problem of getting rid of unwanted babies in the womb as we would unwanted dogs in animal pounds?), euthanasia, etc. Standing on the authority of God's Word and its teachings is the antidote not only to silliness at a zoo, but to societal calamities like abortion, racism, "gay" marriage and other anti-biblical beliefs that plague Western nations.


  1. For example, the headline in AiG-USA's hometown newspaper, the Cincinnati Enquirer, declared: "Human volunteers bare almost all at London Zoo" (August 27, 2005, p. A2).


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