Evolutionist Tosses Out 'Ardi' As Human Ancestor | The Institute for Creation Research
Evolutionist Tosses Out 'Ardi' As Human Ancestor

In fall 2009, the journal Science dedicated a special issue to Ardipithecus ramidus. Popularly known as "Ardi," the fossil was characterized by researchers Tim White and C. Owen Lovejoy as a replacement for Lucy as mankind's direct evolutionary ancestor. Many of those exposed to the ensuing extensive publicity were misled by the media's pro-Darwinian euphoria, when they would have been better served by a little healthy skepticism.

Several of the 11 separate papers in that issue of Science offered pure speculations about Ardi's social behavior, sexual practices, mode of life, peculiar habitat, and walking habits. At the time, the Institute for Creation Research pointed out that these imaginative reconstructions were not based on the data.1 Now, an evolutionist has formally expressed some of the same doubts.

Also publishing in Science, Esteban Sarmiento of the Human Evolution Foundation in New Jersey indicated that most of the earlier interpretations of Ardi were either unfounded, not borne out by data, or were premature. These were the same conclusions drawn by ICR last fall.

Sarmiento refuted the critical aspect that had placed Ardi among hominids, those imaginary ape-like possible ancestors of man that could supposedly walk upright. He wrote, "Sufficient support for this claim…is lacking."2

Ardi researchers White and Lovejoy mostly used the fossil's teeth to make the case that it walked like a man, but Sarmiento cautioned that "reliance on the canine/premolar complex to diagnose hominids (in the classic sense) has misdiagnosed Miocene fossil apes (i.e., Oreopithecus and Ramapithecus) as early human ancestors."2

Also, the authors in 2009 never adequately demonstrated that features that might have looked human-like about Ardi were proof that A. ramidus was a human ancestor. In other words, Ardi looked like an extinct primate, as "man-like" as gorillas, chimpanzees, or orangutans. According to Sarmiento, its feet and hands looked much more like a modern gorilla's than a human's, and its hip bones--critical to determining whether or not it should be considered a "hominid"--were not shown to particularly resemble those of humans.

Sarmiento then questioned the evolutionary timing of the fossil in relation to the common understanding of man's evolutionary "history." He also asked why, in a hundred years of fossil hunting in Africa, nobody has found an evolutionary ancestor for modern apes, but instead discoverers always purport to have found ancestors of man.

In exactly the same scene that has played over and over in the last century, and again with the "Ida" lemur fossil earlier in 2009, Ardi had been hyped as man's evolutionary ancestor only to be quietly debunked afterward.3

Although Tim White told the Associated Press that "the evidence is very clear" that Ardi belongs in man's past, Rick Potts of the Smithsonian Institute said that it is "hard to draw conclusions about how the species relates to Lucy and modern humans."4 Why is interpretation of the same data "clear" to one researcher, but just as clearly the opposite to another?

In short, there is no objective basis for Ardi's status as a human ancestor. If there were, the back and forth debate would not remain in the perpetual standoff that characterizes this and all other supposed ape-like "ancestors." There is no connected series of intermediate fossils showing gradual changes in primate features becoming increasingly like those of modern man--for Ardi or any other supposed hominid.

Because there's no evidence good enough to support the various proposed "missing links," new candidates must continually be added to the imaginary parade of human evolution. Sooner or later, yet another "human ancestor" will be offered up to supply the need to support belief in human evolution, only to be quietly refuted later.

References

  1. Thomas, B. 2009. Did Humans Evolve from "Ardi"? Acts & Facts. 38 (11): 8-9.
  2. Sarmiento, E. E. 2010. Comment on the Paleobiology and Classification of Ardipithecus ramidus. Science. 328 (5982): 1105.
  3. Thomas, B. Scientists Back Off of Ardi Claims. ICR News. Posted December 4, 2009, accessed June 1, 2010. See also Thomas, B. New Fossil Hype Fits Old Pattern. ICR News. Posted May 27, 2009, accessed June 1, 2010.
  4. Ritter, M. Questions raised about 'Ardi' as man's ancestor. Associated Press. Posted May 27, 2010.

Image credit: Adapted from AP/Science, J.H. Mattermes

* Mr. Thomas is Science Writer at the Institute for Creation Research.

Article posted on June 8, 2010.

The Latest
COVID-19
Psalm 8 and COVID-19
Here in Dallas County, we are under shelter-in-place orders as part of the plan to slow the progress of the global coronavirus pandemic.1 Many...

COVID-19
Spacecraft Model Construction for Isolated Families
The European Space Agency has posted a number of do-it-yourself science activities for families homebound during the coronavirus pandemic.1...

NEWS
Woodcocks: Fit for Different Situations
In today’s change-filled world, God is ubiquitously displaying His creativity to provide for our most important needs. God’s creative providence...

NEWS
Unfounded Fears Arise from Deep Canyon
New concerns have surfaced this week about melting ice from within the deepest point on the continents.1 Worry over the rapid melting of the...

COVID-19
An Ocean of Viruses
A virus is a very tiny structure. In its simplest definition, a virus is some nucleic acid (either DNA or RNA) packed inside a protein coat. It is designed...

NEWS
Inside April 2020 Acts & Facts
How is ICR preparing for our next season of ministry? How does science confirm that turtles have always been turtles? Were dragons really dinosaurs?...

APOLOGETICS
Signs of the Times: Glacier Meltdown
What if meteorologists only got paid if their weather predictions proved to be correct? If so, predicting the weather would be a risky business, like...

ACTS & FACTS
Why Don't They Believe in Creation?
After an ICR scientist presents convincing evidence for biblical creation, listeners often ask, “If all you just said is true, then why don’t...

ACTS & FACTS
Dr. John Whitcomb: A Life Well Lived
The Institute for Creation Research was saddened to hear of Dr. John Whitcomb’s passing on February 5, 2020. It’s been 60 years since...

DISCOVERY CENTER
Dragon Encounters at the ICR Discovery Center
Some of the most eye-opening evidence you’ll find at the ICR Discovery Center for Science & Earth History is located in the Dragon Encounters...