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Palaeontologists chided for “ancestor worship”

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In Salvo 20, the Deprogram column is now available online: “Disappearing Link Our Evolutionary Ancestors Keep A-Changing”:

Our human family is obsessed with finding our origins—specifically, with finding our origins in something howling naked in the trees. That makes great special effects for billionaire-backed documentaries . . . but how is it working out in the lab?

The iconic year 2001 featured two promising “earliest humans.” Nine skulls of Sahelanthropus, dated between 6 and 7 million years old, were found at various locations in Africa. Orrorin turned up in Kenya, also dated at 6 million years of age. But there wasn’t much left of Orrorin, either: an upper femur is the most important fossil.

Ah, but then “Ardi,” Ardipithecus ramidus from Ethiopia, burst on the scene in 2009, dated at about 5 million years old. She took the media crown because she still had a skeleton, even though initial reports said it had been “crushed nearly to smithereens.”1 But by 2011, Ardi was also suspect because, as one researcher explained, “We could actually place Ardipithecus in a lineage that’s unrelated to humans.”

At Wired Science, Brian Switek chides the whole scene as “ancestor worship” and points out that primate apes of the same period show similar developments. Widespread convergent evolution means that researchers shouldn’t assume that a fossil is a human ancestor simply because it might resemble humans in one or two ways. More.

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One Reply to “Palaeontologists chided for “ancestor worship”

  1. 1
    Robert Byers says:

    I have always wondered how evolutionists could draw any human family trees diagrams when convergent evolution of all kinds of dead ends could forever throw in doubt and comparative anatomy concepts for joining the dots.
    A creationist always could say any primate detail like us is just convergent evolution of unrelated primates. That is when we use their ideas against them.
    in fact convergent evolution makes irrelevant any use of fossils for drawing connections.
    who is to say what are the limits of convergent evolution?
    How would one ever know that some anatomical detail is just a convergence thing of a thing of relationship?
    I think convergent evolution is a serious problem to evolution because its common discovery is unlikely in the first place in a world of chance mutations and then needing to embrace it makes evolution even further sink illogical deductions.
    Creationism needs to bang a gong more about convergent evolution claims.
    In fact creationism needs to explain itself why a marsupial wolf and a placental wolf are identical.
    I know why as they are the same creature with a few minor details but the rest of the gang has to answer.

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