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Originally published in Creation 12, no 3 (June 1990): 32.
‘Lucy’ is the popular name given to the famous fossil skeleton found in 1974 in Ethiopia by American anthropologist Donald Johanson.
To many people, Lucy is regarded as a certain link between ape-like creatures and man—thus supposedly proving evolution. But is Lucy really a pre-human ancestor?
According to Richard Leakey, who along with Johanson is probably the best-known fossil-anthropologist in the world, Lucy’s skull is so incomplete that most of it is “imagination made of plaster of paris”.1 Leakey even said in 1983 that no firm conclusion could be drawn about what species Lucy belonged to.
In reinforcement of the fact that Lucy is not a creature “in between” ape and man, Dr Charles Oxnard, Professor of Anatomy and Human Biology at the University of Western Australia, said in 1987 of the australopithecines (the group to which Lucy is said to have belonged):
“The various australopithecines are, indeed, more different from both African apes and humans in most features than these latter are from each other. Part of the basis of this acceptance has been the fact that even opposing investigators have found these large differences as they too, used techniques and research designs that were less biased by prior notions as to what the fossils might have been”.2
Oxnard’s firm conclusion? “The australopithecines are unique.”3
Neither Lucy nor any other australopithecine is therefore intermediate
between humans and African apes. Nor are they similar enough to humans to be
any sort of ancestor of ours.
Lucy and the australopithecines show nothing about human evolution, and should not be promoted as having any sort of “missing link” status. The creationist alternative, that humans, apes and other creatures were created that way in the beginning, remains the only explanation consistent with all the evidence.