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BBC News: “DNA Identifies New Ancient Human Dubbed ‘X-Woman’” Neanderthals, move over: there may have been another “human lineage” walking on earth in recent history, known only from an individual called “X-woman” (elsewhere reported as “Woman X”)
How recently X-woman walked, and whether her lineage was truly distinct from modern humans, depends greatly on one’s worldview, of course. For the scientists describing X-woman in the journal Nature, X-woman lived between thirty and fifty thousand years ago and represents a lineage that diverged from modern humans a million years ago.
X-woman was identified from a “tiny fragment” of finger bone found in a cave in Siberia.
X-woman was identified from a “tiny fragment” of finger bone found in a cave in Siberia. Interestingly, ornaments, including a bracelet, as well as tools “similar to those made by modern humans ” were found nearby. The researchers conducted genetic sequencing on the bone’s mitochondrial DNA, discovering that it differed from both “modern” humans’ and Neanderthals’. From those differences, the scientists inferred the “divergence date” of approximately one million years, twice as long ago as evolutionists believe Neanderthals split away from the modern human lineage.
For the evolutionary scientists, X-woman may represent an entirely new group of humans that emigrated from Africa. Team member Svante Paabo from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology noted, “Whoever carried this mitochondrial genome out of Africa about a million years ago is some new creature that has not been on our radar screens so far.” The timing fails to fit in with evolutionary dating of other human lineages, such as Homo erectus and Homo heidelbergensis.
Chris Stringer of London’s Natural History Museum suggests that X-woman may be linked to “certain enigmatic Asian fossils . . . which have been difficult to classify,” adding that “perhaps they do signal a greater complexity than we have appreciated up to now.” Stringer also wonders the extent of interaction between the various historical “lineages” of humans.
The creationist interpretation of X-woman is straightforward. First, keep in mind that the source for this study is only a tiny fragment of finger bone. While this does not mean that the genetic study was flawed, it does remind us that X-woman may have looked identical to a “modern” woman, for all we know. Second, the tools and bracelet indicate that X-woman and her peers were intelligent, skilled humans, not primitive apemen. We have every reason, based on this finding, to believe that whatever her genetic makeup, X-woman was as human as we are.
They would blend in with modern society without incident.
Furthermore, we are skeptical of both the dating of the evolutionary “divergence” of X-woman’s kin from modern humans and Neanderthals—and of the archaeological dating of X-woman’s finger bone. As with Neanderthals and likely Homo erectus, the evidence suggests that were these humans living today, they would blend in with modern society without incident.
While evolutionists plan to conduct further genetic analysis of X-woman’s finger bone and have not yet come to a conclusion about her kin, it is clear that evolutionists are open to the idea of a diversity of human people groups, with perhaps some skeletal variation but otherwise with equivalent intellectual and social capabilities, sharing the planet at the same time in history. Creationists propose the same world, albeit with a totally different timescale. All of humanity descends from Adam, made in the image of God; while not all variation in the human kind has survived until present, our late kin (assuming X-woman does represent human variation no longer present on earth) was every bit as human as we are.
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Answers in Genesis is an apologetics ministry, dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ effectively. We focus on providing answers to questions about the Bible—particularly the book of Genesis—regarding key issues such as creation, evolution, science, and the age of the earth.