- NewScientist: “Our True Dawn: Pinning Down Human Origins”
Evolutionists agree—without support—that apes and humans share a common ancestor. They consider this “history” to be self-evident: in their attempt to explain life without God they must supply evolutionary ancestors for all living things, and the most “obvious” choice for the immediate ancestor of humans would need to be a beast possessing similar designs—something ape-like. But what they don’t agree on is when the ape-human divergence from this hypothetical ancestor took place. The feature cover story in the November 26, 2012, New Scientist, “Our true dawn: Pinning down human origins,” calls attention to recent studies of the human mutation rate and chimpanzee generation time to deliver a solution to this topic of evolutionary debate. In so doing, evolutionary authors open up the ancestral timetable for practically any extinct ape in Africa.
“Our true dawn: Pinning down human origins” recounts the debate between evolutionary paleoanthropologists and evolutionary geneticists. Molecular clock calculations are based on mutation rates estimated by comparing human, chimpanzee, and orangutan genomic differences. Using that method, evolutionary geneticists have suggested ape and human ancestral lines diverged from their common ancestor about 4 million years ago. However, paleoanthropologists reach deep into the African “cradle of humanity” to point out that australopithecines, the oldest fossil family they currently hold to be ancestral to humans, already had “human features” like bipedality and small teeth around 4 million years ago. Therefore australopithecine evolutionary forebears would have had to split from the ape-like common ancestor many millions of years earlier.
“Geneticists ignored the paleontologists completely,” according to paleoanthropologist Owen Lovejoy, known for his work promoting the idea that “Lucy” was bipedal. “We would get estimates around 4 million years [from the geneticists], and yet there are unmistakable and highly evolved hominins that go back almost 4 million years. To claim a 4 million year divergence date is just silly.”
More recently discoveries of austrolopithecine fossils bearing even older evolutionary dates stretch the envelope backwards even further.
More recently discoveries of austrolopithecine fossils bearing even older evolutionary dates stretch the envelope backwards even further. And the debate has left other even “older” alleged candidates for ancestral hominin without a branch to stand on: Ardipithecus ramidus at 4.4 million, Sahelanthropus tchadensis at 6–7 million, and Orrorin tugenensis at 6 million just didn’t seem to fit anywhere on the human ancestral tree.
Kevin Langergraber and colleagues have now documented that modern chimp and gorilla genomes do not mutate as fast as previously thought. They also found that the generation time—the average time between the birth of parents and the birth of offspring—is longer than previously thought. As John Hawks in a PNAS analysis of their work explains, “Long generations, with few genetic mutations in each, mean that the clock of genetic substitutions has ticked very slowly during the evolution of humans and apes.”1.
“Fossils and molecular data are two independent sources of information that should in principle provide consistent inferences of when evolutionary lineages diverged. Here we use an alternative approach to genetic inference of species split times in recent human and ape evolution that is independent of the fossil record,” Langergraber writes. “We date the human–chimpanzee split to at least 7–8 million years and the population split between Neanderthals and modern humans to 400,000–800,000 y ago. This suggests that molecular divergence dates may not be in conflict with the attribution of 6- to 7-million-y-old fossils to the human lineage and 400,000-y-old fossils to the Neanderthal lineage.”2.
So, is this “case-closed” in favor of human evolutionary ideas? Not at all. The assumptions underlying the interpretations of this data remain as unverifiable and worldview-based as ever. The experimental, observable science cited here reveals that the modern ape genome doesn’t mutate as quickly as previously thought. But the fossils claimed as human ancestors remain as “ape” as ever. We have previously discussed extensively the problems with the claims that these fossils were bipedal and therefore “obviously” evolving toward human-ness. (See below for articles explaining these problems as well as the unverifiable assumptions underlying the evolutionary interpretations of radiometric dating methods and molecular clocks.) Yet calculations of how long it would take to accumulate enough mutations to make a transition from ape-like ancestor to human are no more valid when based on modern chimpanzee mutation rates than they are when based on comparison of modern human and ape genomes. Even the techniques used to compare ape and human genomes are fraught with bias, as detailed in a 2011 Answers Research Journal analysis.
The fact is, nothing in observable experimental science demonstrates a transition from ape-like ancestor to human—not in the fossil record and not in the genome. Similarities, such as they are, are examples of common designs by a Common Designer, our Creator God. Apes and humans were created on the same day, about 6,000 years ago, and like all living things were created to reproduce “after their kinds.” Science shows us that living things, including humans and all sorts of animals and plants, do vary within their created kinds but do not change into new kinds of creatures. Evolutionists may rejoice to welcome a flock of new apes into the human family history, but the real record of history found in the Bible and supported by the science we actually see in the world does not support their interpretations.
- Did Humans Really Evolve from Apelike Creatures?
- Lucy, the Knuckle-Walking “Abomination”?
- A Look at Lucy’s Legacy
- “The Search for the Historical Adam” and Population Genomics
- News to Note, December 31, 2011: Year in Review (Circular clocks)
- Transitional Tale Told by Toes (Tarzan’s toes)
- Ancient Humans Grazing? (Ancestral grazing)
- Evaluating the Gait Analysis of Ardi
- Walking Up the Evolutionary Tree (Walking up the evolutionary tree)
- Evolutionist Considers Skeptics a Threat to Human Survival (The threat of skeptics)
- Radiometric Dating: Back to Basics
- Radiometric Dating: Problems with the Assumptions
- Radiometric Dating: Making Sense of the Patterns
- If Human and Chimp DNA Are So Similar, Why Are There So Many Physical and Mental Differences Between Them?
- Genome-Wide DNA Alignment Similarity (Identity) for 40,000 Chimpanzee DNA Sequences Queried against the Human Genome is 86–89%
For More Information: Get Answers
Remember, if you see a news story that might merit some attention, let us know about it! (Note: if the story originates from the Associated Press, FOX News, MSNBC, the New York Times, or another major national media outlet, we will most likely have already heard about it.) And thanks to all of our readers who have submitted great news tips to us. If you didn’t catch all the latest News to Know, why not take a look to see what you’ve missed?