Fossils in Your Family Tree -- By: Austin Robbins
BSP 9:3 (Summer 1996) p. 65
Fossils in Your Family Tree
Austin Robbins, DDS, recently retired from private practice in New Jersey. He was previously on the faculties of Georgetown University School of Dentistry, Temple University Dental School and University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine. Dr. Robbins is a member of the Board of Directors of the Associates for Biblical Research.
A front page story in the Philadelphia Inquirer of August 17, 1995, headlined, “Researchers Find Fossils of a New Human ancestor.” It reported the discovery of a complete upper jaw, a piece of a skull near the ear region, a leg bone and several teeth of other individuals. This discovery was published in the scientific journal Nature.
It was stated that this creature, termed Australopithecus anamensis, was found at Kanapoi in Kenya, Africa, southwest of Lake Turkana. A. anamensis is thought to have walked upright on two feet about 4 million years ago! Alan Walker, paleoanthropologist at Pennsylvania State University was quoted as saying, “This gets close to the hypothesized time of splitting of the ape and human lineages.” Walker also was quoted as stating that A. anamensis seems to be “directly ancestral to” Australopithecus afarensis, one of which is “Lucy,” a short ape-like creature found in 1974 and thought to have lived about 3.6 million years ago.
The standard evolutionary scenario is that the Australopithecines (the word means southern ape) gave rise to the genus homo which ultimately became modern man, Homo sapiens. This lineage then goes from A. afarensis to A. africanus to Homo habilis to H. erectus to archaic H. sapiens to H. sapiens sapiens. A time line for the supposed evolution of man would look much like this (mya=million years ago):
A. anamensis, 4 mya > A. afarensis, 3.6 mya > A. africanus, 2.5 mya> H. habilis, 1.8 mya> H. erectus, 1.5 mya, > archaic H. sapiens, 0.75 mya> H. sapiens, 0.3 mya.
There are, however, several problems with this scenario. It is almost axiomatic that for one form of life to evolve into another it must be older than the evolved form. Older forms are thought to die out while more evolved ones replace them. But one of the problems with the above scheme is the startling fact that there are fossils dated older than even A. anamensis which, under intense scrutiny, have been shown to be no different from the bones of modern humans living today!
The primary example of this is the
BSP 9:3 (Summer 1996) p. 66
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