Human Tool Marks Found from 'Lucy' Era
by Brian Thomas, M.S. *
In a stunning report that immediately drew skeptical outcries from evolutionary anthropologists, a team of researchers recently announced their findings on bones that they claim had been purposefully cut by tools. This discovery would not be unusual except for the fact that the date assigned to the bones predates the standard evolutionary timing of man's "emergence" by almost one million years.
The bones' cut marks do not fit hoof, claw, or tooth damage, but look like parallel grooves made by multiple slices with a stone knife. Researchers verified the marks--along with "percussion marks" evidently left by someone trying to break the bone open for its marrow--by electron microscopy.
The oldest tools had previously been dated at 2.6 million years. But these bones, likely the rib of a hoofed mammal and the thigh bone of a smaller animal, were dated "as long ago as 3.4 million years."1
This presents a huge problem, since evolutionary history held for decades that man did not evolve until 2.5 million years ago. Prior to that time, only ape-like creatures like "Lucy," which hypothetically later "give rise" to humans, were supposed to have existed.
Lucy fossils have been dated similarly to these newly discovered cut bones, and some much later. But anyone able to carve meat just like modern man would be indistinguishable from modern men. And if the carvers were alive at the same time that Lucy was fully ape, then Lucy can no longer be regarded as a legitimate ancestor of man.
The San Francisco Chronicle relayed some of the skeptical reactions to this find. Smithsonian paleoanthropologist Richard Potts insisted that in order to establish these bone markings as human knife-cuts, actual tools would first have to be recovered from same-age strata. Indiana University's Sileshi Semaw agreed.2
Rather than do the work of reorganizing--yet again--the evolutionary story about which ape supposedly evolved into man and when, anthropologists have interpreted this new evidence with a predictably evolution-friendly spin. Instead of being the work of actual people, known to possess foresight and purpose, the butchering of these animals was supposedly accomplished by "early hominins" resembling Lucy.3
Similar logic was recently applied to the famous African Laetoli footprint trackway. Several studies have shown that whoever made the tracks in the mud walked with the same unique gait as mankind, leaving behind uniquely human footprints. And even though Lucy had hands for feet like modern apes, those who have decided that man did not live back then insist that Lucy made the human tracks.4
These "Lucy did it" interpretations follow logically from evolution-inspired premises, but not from the data. Having assumed that man did not yet exist before a certain time in evolutionary history, scientists are now forced to defend the position that some evolutionary precursor to man for which there is no direct evidence must have done the butchering.
In contrast, the creation model does not restrict man's presence to a truncated time in earth's history. Because mankind has been living alongside all animals since the creation week was completed, the discovery of fully human artifacts--like footprints and tool marks--from these post-Flood deposits fits perfectly well with creation thinking.
- Lovett, R. Butchering dinner 3.4 million years ago. NatureNews. Posted on nature.com August 11, 2010, accessed August 12, 2010, reporting on research published in McPherron, S. P. et al. 2010. Evidence for stone-tool-assisted consumption of animal tissues before 3.39 million years ago at Dikika, Ethiopia. Nature. 466 (7308): 857-860.
- Perlman, D. Scientists report finding earliest use of tools. San Francisco Chronicle. Posted on sfgate.com August 12, 2010, accessed August 12, 2010.
- "This, he says, means that early hominins--presumably Australopithecus afarensis--were not only using tools, but also venturing out of the safety of the forests and onto the plains in search of meat." Shannon McPherron, cited in Lovett, Butchering dinner 3.4 million years ago.
- Thomas, B. Human Evolution Story Stumbles Over Footprints. ICR News. Posted on icr.org April 6, 2010, accessed August 15, 2010.
* Mr. Thomas is Science Writer at the Institute for Creation Research.
Article posted on August 18, 2010.