Homo naledi, a New Human Ancestor? | The Institute for Creation Research

Homo naledi, a New Human Ancestor?

A BBC News story reported on September 10 the discovery of a “new human-like species” in Africa, stating “researchers claim that the discovery will change ideas about our human ancestors.”1 As always, we at the Institute for Creation Research are extremely skeptical, taking such breaking news stories with a little more than a grain of salt. We have found that with more time and research, the preliminary spectacular claims of alleged “human ancestors” dissolve into a footnote, a non-story. We predict, on the basis of the creation model, Homo naledi too will become just one more dead end in the questionable human evolution parade. In fact, the story itself is rife with caution, unanswered questions, and speculation.

Although the opening line of a related Associated Press article confidently states that scientists “discovered a new member of the human family tree,”2 further reading reveals wiggle-words and phrases such as “key mysteries,” “bizarre,” “weird,” “evidently,” “suggest,” “may be,” “his guess is,” “around,” “another mystery,” “like a Sherlock Holmes mystery,” “must have,” and “feasible explanation.” It also reported that researchers were “unable to determine an age for the fossils” and that they “are not claiming that naledi was a direct ancestor of modern-day people, and experts unconnected to the project said they believed it was not.”2

Tim White of UC Berkeley, an outspoken anti-creationist, is not convinced that this is a new species, saying, “From what is presented here, (the fossils) belong to a primitive Homo erectus, a species named in the 1800s.”2 Homo erectus? I’m glad he brought that species up, since Newsweek magazine reported in 2007, “DNA makes clear that [Homo erectus] was almost certainly a dead end and not our ancestor, as some scientists had argued.”3

In addition, the Associated Press article states, “Rick Potts, director of the human origins program at the Smithsonian Institution’s Natural History Museum, who was not involved in the discovery, said that without an age, ‘there's no way we can judge the evolutionary significance of this find.’”2

The 15 partial skeletons were found buried in a difficult-to-access South African cave. Their human feet and skulls, plus ritualistic burial, show that Homo naledi—if this name stands the test of time—was likely just another human variety.

We wait to see what becomes of Homo naledi with further research by secular scientists. I think I know the answer!

Update: Upon closer examination, the skeletal remains given the name Homo naledi show a host of primate characteristics, and evolutionists have pointed out shortcomings with the ritualistic burial interpretation.

References

  1. Ghosh, P. New human-like species discovered in S Africa. BBC News. Posted on bbc.com September 10, 2015, accessed September 10, 2015.
  2. Chutel, L. and M. Ritter. Study: Bones in South African cave reveal new human relative. Associated Press. Posted on news.yahoo.com September 10, 2015, accessed September 10, 2015.
  3. Begley, S. The New Science of Human Evolution. Newsweek, March 19, 2007.

Image credit: © Robert Clark/National Geographic. Adapted for use in accordance with federal copyright (fair use doctrine) law. Usage by ICR does not imply endorsement of copyright holders.

* Mr. Sherwin is Research Associate, Senior Lecturer, and Science Writer at the Institute for Creation Research.

Article posted on September 10, 2015. Updated September 15, 2015.

The Latest
NEWS
Human Genome 20th Anniversary—Junk DNA Hits the Trash
The first rough drafts of the human genome were reported in 2001 (one in the private sector and one in the public sector).1-2 Since then, after...

NEWS
Bacterial Proteins Use Quantum Mechanics
Researchers have found a dimmer switch inside a protein. It tunes the protein’s configuration to take advantage of quantum mechanics during photosynthesis....

NEWS
Dr. Bill Cooper, ICR’s Adjunct Professor, Now in Glory
Earlier last month on March the 9th, Dr. William R. Cooper, ICR’s Master Faculty (known to ICR-SOBA’s faculty as “Dr. Bill” since...

NEWS
Inside April 2021 Acts & Facts
How will ICR expand biblical creation education this year? How do fossilized fish and land creatures confirm Genesis history? Does recent research support...

ACTS & FACTS
Creation Kids: Bees
You’re never too young to be a creation scientist! Kids, discover fun facts about God’s creation with ICR’s special Creation Kids learning...

ACTS & FACTS
Pleasure in Our Purpose
Eric Liddell was one of the most famous athletes of the 20th century and perhaps the greatest that Scotland ever produced. An international rugby player,...

APOLOGETICS
Beware Sinkholes and Other Failing Foundations
The sudden falling of some Christian schools can be compared to tiankengs, the geological term used for sinkholes that are at least 300 feet deep.1,2...

ACTS & FACTS
The Painted Desert: Fossils in Flooded Mud Flats
Brian Thomas, Ph.D., and Tim Clarey, Ph.D. The Painted Desert stretches across 120 miles of northern Arizona. Its sedimentary rocks show bright...

ACTS & FACTS
Does Recent Research Support Human Evolution?
In 1997, the Institute for Creation Research ran an Acts & Facts article on the lack of compelling evidence regarding our supposed evolution from...

ACTS & FACTS
Building a Perfectly Optimal Flying Machine
For thousands of years, people have dreamed of flying because they witnessed birds and knew it was possible. Inspired by a study of birds, the Wright...