Scientists have said that early humans swung from trees a couple of million years ago and they now indicate that this theory has been confirmed, according to a recent article in the journal PaleoAnthropology.
Fossils of Australopithecus sediba, discovered in South Africa, had fueled a scientific debate for the last 10 years, but “now researchers have established that they are closely linked to the Homo genus.” They claim this is proof of a bridge between species of early humans and their predecessors.1
Researchers/authors Scott Williams, Jeremy Desilva, and Darryl De Ruiter analyzed two partial skeletons and published their results in late fall of 2018. An area in South Africa, known as the “Cradle of Humankind,” is where the original discovery was made in a pit in Malapa, near Johannesburg. The first fossil was found back in 2008 by accident, when a nine-year-old boy, Matthew Berger, was walking his dog and stumbled over something partially buried in the ground. Additional fossils were recovered during the period of 2008-2018. Their studies include focus on body size and proportions and suggest approximate weight of 35 kg (77.2 lbs). Further details can be obtained from the official scientific publication (see notes).2
What about God, the Bible, and Creation?
The authors of this research have provided a disclaimer within their study. “While the authors of the manuscripts presented in this description of the Malapa remains have spent the last decade studying these fossils, and deliver an honest assessment and interpretation of this material, ours is not the last word. Nor do we expect our colleagues to simply believe what we have written, as science is rooted in evidence, not belief. We therefore invite our colleagues to study the material for themselves and to test the many hypotheses we have presented in these pages.”3
The evolution-creation controversy has been going on since the middle of the 19th century. Even though evolution is just a theory, the scientific community has accepted it as a fact and the creation view is considered pseudoscience. Of course, that does not add much weight to philosophical or theological opinions and views.
Author Henry Morris, president of the Institute for Creation Research, reminds us that humankind began with the first man and woman being crafted as unique creations by God and should not be compared with animals, but contrasted with them. “The widespread belief that people evolved from apelike ancestors is not only refuted by Scripture but also by all the facts of science.” Previous to this new find, Morris had said, “that true humans (with a truly human skull, erect posture, etc.) existed at least as early as Australopithecus, Homo erectus, and all others that had previously been considered candidates for the transition between apes (or apelike creatures) and people. So far as the actual fossil evidence shows, man has always been man and the ape has always been an ape, exactly as the Bible teaches.”4
So, we have here two opinions, each at an opposite end of the evolution-creation debate. Which is truth? Or is there room for a logical middle ground? I’ve talked with several Christian academics whose ideas fall somewhere between these two polls of thought. Probably the most popular thought being that God took the highest form of animal life and genetically modified it to create his first human. That idea probably raises more questions than answers.
“According to a 2014 Gallup survey, ‘More than four in 10 Americans continue to believe that God created humans in their present form 10,000 years ago, a view that has changed little over the past three decades. Half of Americans believe humans evolved, with the majority of these saying God guided the evolutionary process. However, the percentage who say God was not involved is rising.’ A 2015 Pew Research Center survey found ‘that while 37% of those older than 65 thought that God created humans in their present form within the last 10,000 years, only 21% of respondents between the ages of 18 and 29 agreed.’”5 If you have ideas or suggestions, or any other comment, we would be happy to hear from you.
Dr. Ray Hermann
Photos © 2018, S. Entressangle
Sculpture © 2018, Elisabeth Daynes
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References & Notes
- Knapton, Sarah, “Human family tree gains new member as scientists confirm ‘missing link’,” (The Telegraph, Science News, 18 January 2019), https://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2019/01/18/human-family-tree-just-gained-new-member-scientists-confirm/
- “Special Issue: Australopithecus sediba,” (PaleoAnthropology, PaleoAnghropology Society, 2018, [retrieved 20 January 2019]), http://www.paleoanthro.org/media/journal/content/PA20180049.pdf
- Ibid., p. 53.
- Morris, Henry M., The Genesis Record: A Scientific and Devotional Commentary on the Book of Beginnings, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1976), p. 94-95.
- “Creation–evolution controversy,” (Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 13 January 2019), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creation%E2%80%93evolution_controversy