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Another so-called "Ape-man" Bites the Dust... (single page summary)

The first bone fragments of the ape-like creature “Ardi” were discovered in 1992. Nearly twenty years later a large number of bone fragments were finally pieced together, resulting in published papers and a surge of popular press articles about Ardi. These articles all proclaimed to the world that ‘Ardi’ (the extinct species Ardipithecus ramidus) is one more amazing proof of human evolution. Today, Ardi is promoted throughout education systems and the media as the “oldest known” ancestor to man. But as is typical in the field of paleoanthropology, big headlines are often followed by heavy criticisms from other experts in the field. Unfortunately these scientific rebuttals from other experts in the field typically receive little or no attention from the media. As with the famous fossil named “Lucy”, most people have not heard the evidence against ‘Ardi’ as being a ape-human transitional form. While textbooks and the media generally show a view of ‘Ardi’ as an undisputed hominin ancestor to man, leading experts in the field have challenged every major claim made by the Ardi research team. Numerous point-by-point refutations from world authorities on human evolution have been reported in the peer-reviewed scientific literature.


The proposed status of Ardi as our ancestor largely rests upon a few key bones that were described as being very human-like (the rest of the bones were admitted to be entirely ape-like). These key features included the teeth, skull, and hip. From these bones the discovery team argued that Ardi was an early, upright-walking ancestor to man. The problem, however, was that these few remains were highly fragmentary and severely crushed (aside from the teeth and limb fragments). This is why it took nearly 20 years for the researchers to piece together Ardi. The remains were so fragile they crumbled at the slightest touch and were described by the researchers as “road kill”. After their findings were finally published in Science in 2009, leading evolutionary paleoanthropologists took issue with their analysis. Reporting in various scientific journals, a number of experts criticized the discovery team for their heavily biased reconstruction. Their analysis was based more on artist license and highly questionable inferences than on the actual fossil evidence. The hip and skull in particular were so badly damaged an accurate reconstruction was hardly possible. Yet, the proposed status of Ardi as our ancestor largely rested on those bones.


Even if Ardi was objectively and correctly reconstructed (which does not appear to be the case), all of the so-called human-like features attributed to Ardi have been found in other extinct apes that are not ancestors to man (i.e., Sivapithecus, an extinct type of orangutan, and Oreopithecus bambolii - which was at one point mistaken to be an early “ape-like” ancestor to man). These features include Ardi’s smaller canine teeth, and certain features of the skull and face (i.e., the position of the foramen magnum and a less-projecting lower face). All things considered, the fossil evidence fails to demonstrate that Ardi was a precursor to man. The only well preserved parts of Ardi were the hands, the feet, and the upper skull. All these bones are very clearly fully ape, with no evidence of being transitional toward mankind.


An objective analysis of the fossil remains clearly demonstrates that Ardi has gone the way of Lucy – it is just another extinct ape, possibly a palmigrade quadruped ape (walking on all fours with palms flat on the ground like baboons). This is consistent with the biblical perspective of human origins – apes have always been apes and man has always been man. Ardi was not our ancestor, nor is there any other credible ape-human transitional form. Human beings are not the result of a Darwinian trial and error process. Just as the Bible says, man was fearfully and wonderfully made in the image and likeness of God (Psalm 139:14; Genesis 1:27).                                                      

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