Scientists Back Off of Ardi Claims | The Institute for Creation Research
Scientists Back Off of Ardi Claims

In May 2009, a remarkably well-preserved extinct primate, nicknamed “Ida,” was hailed as one of the most important fossil finds ever. It had features that some interpreted as a link between two primate body forms. At the time, ICR News suggested that its evolutionary significance was far overblown, predicting that the scientific consensus would offer retractions. Those retractions came three months later, confirming that the fossil―called Darwinius―was really just an extinct lemur variety.1

In October, Ardipithecus, another extinct primate, was given wide coverage. Represented by a reconstructed female fossil dubbed “Ardi,” it was described in the journal Science as a four-foot-tall, upright-walking ape that was significant to human evolution.2 Some experts not only doubted that the evidence pointed to upright walking, but they also saw strong evidence that it was, in fact, not a walker at all.3

Predictably, the claims that Ardipithecus walked upright are now under increased scrutiny. Scientific American stated that in contrast to promoters of Ardi’s upright walking ability, “many others in the field propose that some of these statements may be overblown. In fact, [William] Jungers [of Stony Brook University Medical Center] says, ‘I think some of the things they said might have been for effect.’”4

In November, ICR reported that the key to Ardi’s significance to human evolution was her status as an upright walker, and that hinged on the angle of her hips.5 But given the poor condition of her meager hip bone fragments, as well as the amount of interpretation that the original authors admitted they used in the hip reconstruction (along with any interpretive license that they did not admit to), there is plenty of room for doubt that her hips were reconstructed accurately in their depiction of an upright-walking configuration. Confirming this, Jungers told Scientific American that this effort “requires a lot of guesswork.”4

After having had time to review the evidence, Jungers said, “[Ardi] really doesn’t show any adaptations for bipedalism at all.”4 And without bipedalism, or an upright walking structure, Ardi, along with the previously proclaimed “missing link” fossils Lucy and Ida, belongs exactly where a straightforward reading of Genesis would suggest―in the ranks of non-human animals that were each uniquely created within their own kinds.

References

  1. Specifically, “Ida is following the same well-worn chain of events. She has been promoted as a ‘missing link’ with widespread media hype. After further study, however, this claim will be quietly rescinded.” From Thomas, B. New Fossil Hype Fits Old Pattern. ICR News. Posted on icr.org May 27, 2009, accessed November 30, 2009.
  2. For example, “Ar. ramidus was already well-adapted to bipedality.” See Lovejoy, C. O. 2009. Reexamining Human Origins in Light of Ardipithecus ramidus. Science. 326(5949): 74e1.
  3. Shreeve, J. Oldest Skeleton of Human Ancestor Found. National Geographic News. Posted on nationalgeographic.com October 1, 2009, accessed November 30, 2009.
  4. Harmon, K. How Humanlike was “Ardi”? Scientific American. Posted on scientificamerican.com November 19, 2009, accessed November 25, 2009.
  5. Thomas, B. Did Humans Evolve From ‘Ardi’? Acts & Facts. 38 (11): 8-9.

Ardi image adapted from White, T. D. 2009. Ardipithecus ramidus and the Paleobiology of Early Hominids. Science. 326 (5949) 64, 75-86. (This image is used for non-profit educational presentation purposes only.)

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

Article posted on December 4, 2009.

The Latest
NEWS
ICR’s 2021 Science Expedition Update–Dinosaur Fossils
A team of 11 people from the Institute for Creation Research is currently traveling on a multistate science expedition to dig up fossils, conduct field...

NEWS
ICR’s 2021 Science Expedition Update
A team of 11 people from the Institute for Creation Research is currently traveling on a multistate science expedition to dig up fossils, conduct field...

NEWS
ICR’s 2021 Science Expedition Begins!
The Institute for Creation Research launched its 2021 multistate science expedition last week as a nine-member team left the ICR headquarters in Dallas,...

NEWS
Inside September 2021 Acts & Facts
Why does ICR focus on scientific research? How could paleontologists mistake a lizard fossil for a dinosaur? Is animal death before the Fall theologically...

ACTS & FACTS
Creation Kids: Beauty by Design
Christy Hardy and Susan Windsor* You’re never too young to be a creation scientist! Kids, discover fun facts about God’s creation with...

ACTS & FACTS
Defend Your Faith with ICR
Have you ever heard a pastor question the historical nature of Genesis? “The days of creation weren’t really 24 hours long. The Bible is...

ACTS & FACTS
Animal Death Before the Fall?
Both the Old and New Testaments teach that death entered the world when Adam ate the forbidden fruit (e.g., Genesis 2:17 and Romans 5:12). Since fossils...

APOLOGETICS
Transmitting Truth in a Modern Pagan World
We share the world with modern pagans who worship the sun—or idolize an imagined primordial Big Bang—so we need to be truth witnesses unto...

ACTS & FACTS
Waco Mammoth National Monument
Hunters in the 1970s discovered mammoth bones exposed in sediments near the confluence of the Bosque and Brazos Rivers in north central Texas. They...

ACTS & FACTS
Three Hurdles for Evolution
Sure, finch beaks shift their shapes, but does that mean nature invented beaks and birds from stardust? Evolution’s proponents often speak as...