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Originally published in Creation 13, no 1 (December 1990): 22.
‘Nutcracker man’ was the popular name (also East Africa man) given to a skull found by Louis Leakey, father of well-known fossil-anthropologist Richard Leakey, in East Africa in 1959.
The name reflected the extremely powerful jaw muscles and large molar teeth it appeared to have had. The technical name was Zinjanthropus boisei—a new genus as well as species was described.
The National Geographic Society had sponsored Leakey’s expedition, and gave great publicity to this find. This was man’s ancestor, we were told. Drawings in magazine articles filled in the missing information with artists’ imagination. ‘Zinj’ was drawn with ape-like features, yet with a distinctly intelligent ‘look’ in his eyes, lots of hair covering the body, walking upright and holding a club or other tools. Domestic and social scenes appeared showing ‘Nutcracker man’ with his family and other tribesmen. This helped convince people that human evolution was a ‘fact’.
And today? Today we are told that this specimen has had to be renamed. It is believed to belong to the genus Australopithecus, and is not promoted as man’s ancestor any more. The australopithecines were a unique, extinct group of ape-like creatures. The most famous representative is ‘Lucy’.1 More and more evolutionists, led by those who have subjected the bones to careful analytical measurements, are now convinced that these creatures were not on the line of man’s ancestry, but were as far apart from both modern man and the great apes as these two groups are from each other.2
So-called ‘Nutcracker man’ was simply one of the more robust varieties of these ’southern apes’ (this is the meaning of the word ‘Australopithecus’). Any tools found in the vicinity were certainly not used by this creature, though they may have been used on it.