Just another Manic Monkey
The reason I post this blog is due to the many ridiculous arguments I have been hearing from CAL anthropology and biology students of late that underline the alarming crap still being taught in US colleges.
The one that got my ire all stirred up was the Lucy Hoax that came from CAL anthropology Prof White and Johansen back in 1974.
That the young folk are destined to inherit the earth is a logical and incontrovertible fact true of every age we find ourselves in but for us older folk believing in the next generation we pass the baton to comes with the hope that they believe in the future which I can myself attest is easier in some historical eras than in others.
Christ of course, blessed the meek as he was not much interested in the next generation as he and his followers were all convinced the world would end with theirs and even persuaded each other to forgo procreation, it being viewed as pointless seeing as they were in the final hours of their decadent civilization as they saw it.
With the prospect of an inheritable earth being once more on the table, the willingness to believe that the young will muster the long term thinking and sole purpose of mind to solve the climate crisis et al feels to me like an article of immense faith and a desperate prayer dispatched to the darkening void.
Matters of critical thinking and analysis skills seem to me largely in thin supply these days despite the fact that most of these young specimen seem to be rather nice folk.
I fear the age of play-station and smart phones has made things far too easy for most of said generation who based on my own brood of kids have delivered a one in 5 ratio of people equipped with such traits worthy of handing said baton of the future over to.
I had a difference of opinion with the one in five cited example of my brood worthy of handing said future to though that has me rather worried in the thinking and analytics department.
He went to UCSB to study Biology several years ago and I have come across various eager young students who have still been spouting forth some alarming garbage on the subject of this blog like it is gospel.
Lucy was discredited many years ago and was booted sans ceremony from the human family tree in a spectacular manner after forty seven years of White and Johansen skulduggery on the matter.
College course-ware has stuck with the myth that made up this whole sordid affair though and it does not make academia shine out as a beacon of enlightenment or credibility, that's for darn sure!!
This sort of thing obviously goes on in academia ( 🆘 ) totally unchecked and millions of students around the world seem to take what is written in their course books as gospel without understanding the “issues” that abound with claims like the one that were made after the discovery of Lucy in November 1974 in the Awash Valley in Ethiopia by one Donald Johanson.
In truth, I have issues with what the learned establishments teach as gospel in any University or college around the globe with this sort of thing in many different subject areas, which in my humble opinion is nothing less than wild ass guessing at probable historical happenings through time as seen through the rose tinted glasses of Dogma and conformity.
Sometimes its just career aspirations of bored academics 🗿 like Johansen.
The point of college is actually learning to think 💭 and questioning everything, not taking everything they punt down your throat as Gospel ✝.
If they cannot defend it or present solid evidence and facts to back it up, it ain't worth shit is my personal thinking.
You're supposed to learn how to formulate questions and challenge 😳 what appears to be shite and call it out for what it is while you are at it too!!
Everyone is overly politically correct these days and boy does it waste a lot of time to wade through that shit to get to salient facts.
It's like the mating ritual of a bird of paradise song and dance to the power of two thousand...
I want to point out here that each of us has a lifetime that spans on average 73.4 years.
As such we just don't have time for BS ⏳.
We can be nice to each other for sure but we can also be direct sans bullshit.
First off, let me state I am neither a creationist nor am I a conventional evolutionist.
My views on evolution are linked to catastrophic events that impact the various species like the huge volcanic eruption in Sumatra some 2 million years ago and the many Super Novae that have struck our planet and which happen to coincide with mass extinctions over the last 460 million years.
That is to say I do not believe that anything evolves unless a catastrophic event causes mutations that FORCE changes in whatever species it strikes.
The rest of the time (between these catastrophes) nothing much changes.
How the world has swallowed this Darwinian crap I find most hilarious as it proves my point about academia and the general gullibility of people in general entirely.
I do not just make these claims about so called evolution willy-nilly either, there is a lot of data that corroborates this for the various species I have looked at.
I have been working since 1981 with a group of folks examining apes and monkeys back through millions of years.
We have found that over the last three million years that there has been near zero actual evolution of any ape genus we have focused on.
Nothing. Nada. Zilch.
These all have fossil records that do in fact go back tens of millions of years.
Science has for eternity ➰ been looking for the missing link where we supposedly transitioned from apes to homo sapiens.
This never happened.
Our actual origins actually have very good records in all civilizations whose records survived various earth cataclysms - only current day academia has written them all off as myth.
They are not myth at all.
One by one we are confirming the so called myths they claim is in fact, real.
The reason they do this is simply down to religious beliefs and indoctrination.
Many just refuse to believe the facts because it directly contradicts their religious beliefs ♈.
It is these beliefs that more accurately line up with myth and fairy tale however.
The strange thing about this world is the facts and myths are flipped upside-down due to these beliefs.
It is only in India where these records and human history are taken as the way it was sans denial of what the ancients recorded.
In the Western world we generally believe the ancients only dabbled in myth and we still search for the missing "truth".
This will never be found because these so called myths are the record of the way it actually was😯.
Ever stopped to think the ancients spent a lot of time conjuring up myths and not much else? 😱😶👀
Ask yourself how likely this posited theory actually is and think about it a bit....
There are a lot of scientists out there hell bent on proving their screwy theories and such and they are not below fraud to force fit what they believe and forge it into what becomes accepted as the "truth".
However, it is not the truth.
The truth is not hidden. It has either been destroyed, altered or declared fantasy.
I have seen with my own eyes enough evidence in the Vatican archive and Smithsonian archives as well as shit the teams I was working with dug up to know many facts about human evolution for myself.
This is why investigating these so called "missing links" have always resulted in uncovering massive fraud and lies.
After delving into Piltdown man and the hoax that turned out to be many years ago, it became time in around 1984 for me to look at this Lucy saga gubbins with some gravitas as I was pretty sure a lot of academic "creative invention" was taking place here.
I have been arguing about it like a thing possessed for a very long time now (1989) because it is controversial and hella fun.
It came to be my major thrust of inflicting eye poking antics of the verbal variety whilst at toastmasters 🍸 arguing against these ridiculous herd sentiments.
It would appear we are still a 🐲 (superstitious) lot unable to put facts and conclusions in their proper context or perspective❓
Along the way on this particular journey quite a few folks from Universities around the 🌎 armed me with unpopular contrarian facts that I investigated for myself with other non-mainstream academics who were considered total heretics due to their views.
This subject is one of them and actually is a prime example of academia gone totally insane about the actual facts and how they seem to ignore them based on influences like dogma, of all things.
First, in the context of Lucy, understand that the bones (of said Simian they named Lucy) that they Hodge-podged together only account for 40% of a theoretical individual’s possible skeletal artifact.
Second, the vast area they recovered all these bones over is a little known fact of this case and even more disturbing the layers in which the different fragments were found, vary in depth by 70 Meters!! You read that right, 70 Meters. That is some 210 odd feet in the strata🚽.
Not only that, but the hip bones and the rest of the fragments cover a range of 1.5 Miles!! You also read that right, 1.5 miles!!
If you draw a map over the area of where all the fragments were found you are looking at bone fragments dispersed over 1.5 miles and 210 feet deep in the earth.
Now, most anthropologists 🎭 (and archaeologists) will tell you that sort of find over that dispersal area does not qualify as a find of a single individual in anybody's book.
Also, the 👐 and 👣 of Lucy are all missing from the collection, yet they made a call that this alleged hominid walked upright!!
An interesting conclusion indeed! Looking at the evidence one observes the HUGE leaps made by these people involved that these are the remains of a single individual that are some 3.5 million years old.
For that to be believed these sensationalist 🎷 academtwits first have to explain the dispersal and depth these pieces were found over and then you need to compare these with other alleged hominid or monkey bone finds they classify as a “single individual” and the close location this particular individuals bones were found at.
Citing UC Austin tomography scan data I would lean to the view these are the lucky dip remains of some 13 different individual monkeys.
Discussion of "other" pieces in this case would help a lot as well as there were a lot of “other” pieces not pertaining to this species found in very large quantities as one would quite clearly imagine over that section of Terra that covers 1.5 miles x 210 feet.
Delving into the last issue rapidly draws you to the fact that the Lucy data is the odd one out in this regard. Bear (once again) in mind these bones are some 3.5 million years old...
Once the dispersal issues are sorted out then you need to sort the arboreal 🌳 🌴 🌲 evidence at hand from bipedal locomotion from ALL the other Australopithecus Afarensis specimens that we can gather.
The more the better! I spoke with Prof Tim D White (Berkeley Prof of Anthropology) about Lucy a few years ago myself and he agreed with me that we need a lot more specimen skeletal artifacts of Australopithecine Afarensis to be more sure about this one (Ideally at any rate).
This is the same guy that discovered the 4.4 million year old Ar. ramidus (an almost complete fossilized skeleton also found near the Awash river- they called this one Ardi) and the australopithecus garhi thought to predate h. habilis tool use by 100,000 to 600,000 years and the same guy that collaborated with Johansen on his Lucy gig back when.
Other remains of Australopithecine Afarensis pelves actually do exist that seem to indicate some evidence that this alleged hominid could have been a bipedal primate and so the fact that Lucy herself has a crushed pelvis, probably due to wild animals snacking her remains et al is considered largely irrelevant by those that ‘believe’.
However, her pongid 🐒 like arm bones contradict that conclusion quite a bit.
In any event, examining the bones of the rest of Lucy and other Australopithecine remains that we now have heads some of us to the conclusion that due to the curvature of the spine that Australopithecine’s may have walked upright as a natural gait.
But consider Orangutang's bone evidence and leg to spine angle and then go to the zoo and tell me if they walk upright at all.
I have been looking at the buggers in the Oakland and San Diego zoo for a few years now and the bastards always swing around the place when I am there!!
I have no problem with some of this suggestive analysis and even agree with some of the conclusions if looked at on a speculative basis.
What I do not agree with is the claim that Lucy is “The” missing link.
It is also not case closed either that she walked upright as the University of Texas in Austin’s 35,000 tomography scans (2009) show very clearly by the way.
The 🔬 of finding and identifying the “prehistoric ancestors” of Homo Sapiens-Sapiens runs in a predictable pattern.
A press conference is announced, the discovery of an ape-like “ancestor” revealed with an artist’s impression of what the creature looked like, and the discoverer becomes famous, subsequently earning molto denarii ($) on lecture tours.
The actual fossil bones however, are scant in quantity and quality and the imagination runs a tad wild.
Later, when more evidence is found, the “ancestor” turns out to be totally human or totally ape.
The alleged Neanderthal man is an example of one find that turns out to be totally human.
Once this find is removed as an intermediate form, you can expect another great discovery to save the day.
The latest discovery (circa 1974 era) was “Lucy.”
If you are of the impression that there are many intermediate ancestors to man, take notice of the following statement by an expert in the field:
“The fossils that decorate our family tree are so scarce that there are still more scientists than specimens. The remarkable fact is that all the physical evidence we have for human evolution can still be placed with room to spare inside of a single coffin.”
This is still an exaggeration ⚰ since it concedes that various specimen are part of human evolution.
Australopithecines, for example, are not considered transitional forms anymore, but a branch of the primate evolutionary tree.
True transitional forms are still missing. (“Transitional forms” refer to those creatures which represent intermediate states of development for a supposed ape-like ancestor down to man).
But what about the Lucy find then?
This 1974 discovery in 🌍 is being heralded by many as a true transitional form, typically a replacement for the outmoded australopithecines.
Could this be hasty judgment? Let’s examine the evidence 🔦 more closely.
Lucy is a partial fossil skeleton, about the size of a chimpanzee, allegedly female. It was more complete than most fossil finds up to 1974 in that about 40 percent of the bones of the body have been recovered.
The age is “estimated” to be 3.5 million years.
The find includes a V-shaped jaw, part of hip and large bones, and other assorted bones with very little skull fragments.
There were also many other finds at the same location, many other skulls and U-shaped jawbones.
What evidence makes this creature a transitional form then?
As stated, according to Dr. Johanson, Lucy walked upright! Her brain size is still small, ape-like in proportion, and most of the other features are predominantly ape-like.
We have not been able to ascertain exactly which shrooms he took to leap to this conclusion.
Some say that anatomically these remains are not much different than a modern chimpanzee. The jaw, in particular, is distinct in that it is V-shaped and are totally unlike human jaws.
And so what evidence supports the claim that this creature walked upright? 👀
The angle that the upper leg bone makes with the lower leg bone at the knee!!
Looking head on, chimpanzee and gorilla legs have an angle of 0 degrees. Humans have an angle of about 9 degrees. If the angle is much greater it gives a “knocked kneed” condition in Homo Sapiens. Lucy and the australopithecines have a larger angle of about 15 degrees.
Does this make her an upright walker then? Consider that present day orangutan and spider monkeys have the same angle as humans yet are extremely adept tree climbers.
Many modern experts now argue that this higher angle actually makes Lucy a better tree climber!
This wild upright walking conclusion appears to be a knee-jerk reaction rather than solid clear scientific thinking.
For example I do not walk on my knuckles or swing through trees, but I have the same bone angle as Lucy allegedly did. I also do not have the pisiform knuckle bone structures in my hand regions either.
However, the story gets even better. Dr. Johanson gave a lecture at the University of Missouri in Kansas City, Nov. 20, 1986 on Lucy and why he thinks she is our ancestor.
It included the ideas already mentioned and that Lucy’s femur and pelvis were more robust than most chimps and therefore, “could have” walked upright. He actually used the exact words “could have”.
After the lecture he opened the meeting for questions. The audience of approximately 800 was quiet, so some creationists asked questions. Roy Holt for example asked;
“How far away from Lucy did you find the knee?” 🔬 (The knee bones were actually discovered about a year earlier than the rest of Lucy).
Dr. Johanson’s answer was somewhat reluctant, and at length he stated “about 200 feet lower” (!) and “two to three kilometers away” (about 1.5 miles!). Continuing, with the questioning Holt then asked, “Then why are you sure it belonged to Lucy?” Dr. Johanson answered “Anatomical similarity.”
Yeah, well bears and dogs have anatomical similarities as well. What the frell does anatomical similarities mean exactly👂? Is this a new standard in anatomy and anthropology 🚾?
After the meeting, the creationists talked with Dr. Johanson and continued with their questions. Dr. Johanson argued that homology (particularly DNA homology) is good proof for evolution. Tom Willis responded that “similar structures nearly always have similar plans, (like) similar bridges have similar blue prints.”
After more discussion along this line, Dr. Johanson gave this amazing reply: “If you don’t believe homology, then you don’t believe evolution, and evolution is a fact!”
Amazing bias from this alleged Scientist.
Please produce clear irrefutable proof of said claim of Darwinian evolution old chap, then we will all shut up....
I gaze at several species on the planet that have not changed a single iota in several hundred million years (even with super novae and volcanic eruptions et al) and conclude your thinking on this one is a tad awry.....
A few years ago they dug up a bone set from the same dig site in 🇪🇹 (1.5 miles x 210 feet), and proclaimed it was “Lucy’s foot”.
Subsequent testing threw that idea out the window and they have gone on to find other foot bone fragments of this species and they do not conform to the wild claims made by White and Johansen back in the day.
Said 🐒 Skull - White and Johansen may have evolved from these, but I sure as heck did not!
In fact, researchers could more easily discern Lucy’s mode of locomotion if more bones were found connected together, as even White himself stated to me a few years ago.
The most complete Australopithecine skeletons show that they had none of the skeletal features, including hip, spine, femur, and foot bone structures, that enable the uniquely human manner of walking.
In fact, as mentioned, these other Lucy-like specimens have indicated characteristic flat ape feet with curved toes, not arched feet as the media have claimed.
Is one bone singled out from a scrap heap of “greater than 370” individual bones the best evidence for an upright-walking ape?
If this bone actually was from a “Lucy,” it would be the first Australopithecine skeletal feature discovered that is not ideally suited for life in trees.
To assert that this one bone was an Australopith’s is to beg the question “It no more belonged to a Lucy than the famous pig’s tooth belonged to the fraudulent ‘Nebraska Man.’ ”
This bone has not proven that Lucy walked upright, but instead illustrates how improper science leads to flawed conclusions.
When I hear academics claiming “oh, if these people were familiar with the subject, like us educated lot are....”, my eyes roll to the sky and I say, “here we go again”.
Please bear in mind we are not talking about creationist criticism here, we are talking about other evolutionists views and opinions, other educated people in the field.
We are also not talking about creationist conspiracy and alien websites that tout the case against it either.
I specifically am talking about the outcry from the ranks of the evolutionists that made this claim in the first place.
I am well aware that there are a million “creationist” nut job religious websites debunking Lucy data and I have zero credence for any of them. I am talking math, logics and probability based on the actual evidence (heresy to consider actual facts?!).
The fact is, Lucy is not a transitional to homo sapiens specimen at all.
Human like ape and Human are not the same thing last time I looked. In fact, one can say any simian is human like. So what?!
Lets delve even deeper into the actual find as recalled by Bert Thompson Ph.D and one Brad Harrub, Ph.D.
Buried in the sandy hillside of the slope was an arm bone—the single bone that eventually led to the unearthing of a skeleton that was nearly 40% complete.
While the description of this now-famous find might lead one to think that it was similar to some serendipitous treasure unearthed in a movie script, the truth is far from that.
The fossils Dr. Johanson unearthed were destined to become one of the most famous (and most controversial) finds of all time, and would shake every single limb on the alleged hominid family tree, completely upsetting then-current theories about how man came to be bipedal.
Richard Leakey and Roger Lewin wrote of the find:
“Johanson had stumbled on a skeleton that was about 40% complete, something that is unheard of in human prehistory farther back than about a hundred thousand years Johanson’s alleged hominid had died at least 3 million years ago” (1978, p. 67, emp. added).
However, as additional studies were carried out, it became obvious that this “missing link” was in fact just “too good to be true.”
Dr. Johanson named his find Australopithecus afarensis—the southern ape from the Afar depression of northeastern Ethiopia (Johanson, et al., 1978, 28:8).
The creature quickly earned the nickname “Lucy,” after the Beatles’ song, “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” which was said to be playing all through the celebratory night back at Johanson’s camp.
The fossil, officially designated as AL 288-1, consisted of skull fragments, a lower jaw, ribs, an arm bone, a portion of a pelvis, a thighbone, and fragments of shinbones.
It was said to be an adult, and was dated at 3.5 million years. [Johanson also found at Hadar the remains of some 34 adults and 10 infants, all of which he dated at 3.5 million years.]
In their assessment of exactly where this new species fit in, Johanson and colleague Tim White took pride in noting:
“These new (alleged) hominid fossils, recovered since 1973, constitute the earliest definitive evidence of the family Hominidae” (1979, 203:321).
Not only was this fossil find unusually complete (40%?), but it also was believed to have been from an animal that walked in an upright fashion, as well as being the oldest human ancestor—the equivalent of a grand slam in baseball.
Having collected the fossils, Johanson and White were responsible for publishing their descriptions, as well as giving their interpretation of exactly how they fit into the hominid family tree.
Not wanting to waste valuable space on the description of A. afarensis in one of the major science journals, they ultimately decided to publish it in Kirtlandia, a relatively obscure publication of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.
Then, in what was either an extremely naïve (albeit zealous) move, or a calculated and ambitious one, Johanson and White decided to bump the Leakey’s prized Australopithecus africanus off the main hominid tree and replace it with A. afarensis (for their full assessment, see Johanson and White, 1979).
Leakey’s A. africanus was relegated to a tangential side branch that went—literally—nowhere.
This decision eventually would weigh heavily on Lucy as she fell under attack from other scientists who felt she was nothing more than another example of A. africanus—or worse, an animal with numerous chimp-like qualities.
One of the most ironic discoveries regarding Lucy had to do with the size of her skull.
Prior to her discovery, evolutionists had assumed that these ape-like species had evolved larger brains, which then allowed them to crawl down out of the trees and begin foraging for food on the ground.
According to evolutionary timelines, the creatures adopted bipedalism as their primary form of transportation, and once on the ground, began to use tools. Lucy, as it happened, took this nice, neat little story and turned it upside down as her brain case was not enlarged in any way at all!
In fact, from all appearances, it was comparable in size to the common chimpanzee. And yet, Johanson and White steadfastly defended the position that this creature walked uprightly like man. They noted:
Bipedalism appears to have been the dominant form of terrestrial locomotion employed by the Hadar and Laetoli [in Tanzania—BH/BT] hominids.
Morphological features associated with this locomotor mode are clearly manifested in these hominids, and for this reason the Laetoli and Hadar hominid remains are unequivocally assigned to the family Hominidae (Johanson and White, 1979, 203:325, emp. added).
Dr. Johanson insisted that A. afarensis was the direct ancestor of man (see Johanson and Edey, 1981). In fact, the phrase “the dramatic discovery of our oldest human ancestor” can be found emblazoned on the cover of his 1981 book, Lucy: The Beginnings of Humankind.
Numerous evolutionists, scientists and medical professionals in the field of anatomy and veterinary science et al, however, strongly disagree.
Lord Solly Zuckerman, the famous British anatomist, published his views on the australopithecines in his book, Beyond the Ivory Tower.
He studied these creatures for more than fifteen years, and came to the conclusion that if man did, in fact, descend from an apelike ancestor, he did so without leaving a single visible trace in the fossil record (1970, p. 64).
I have read Zuckerman’s shit and I am siding with this view until concrete and irrefutable evidence tells us otherwise! (so far there is none).
Some might complain, “But Lord Zuckerman’s work was done before Lucy was even discovered.” True, but that misses the point.
Zuckerman’s research—which established conclusively that the australopithecines were nothing but knuckle-walking apes—was performed on fossils younger (i.e., closer to man) than Lucy!”
And therein lies the controversy.
If Lucy and her descendants were discovered to be nothing more than apes (or chimps), then all of Johanson’s fame and fortune would vanish instantly—like an early morning fog hit by a hot noonday Sun in downtown Dakar in mid summer.
Remember that this single discovery made Johanson’s career.
Upon returning the entire Hadar hominid fossil collection to the National Museum in Ethiopia (as he previously had agreed to do), Johanson recounted:
Lucy had been mine for five years. The most beautiful, the most nearly complete, the most extraordinary hominid fossil in the world, she had slept in my office safe all that time. I had written papers about her, appeared on television, made speeches. I had shown her proudly to a stream of scientists from all over the world. She had—I knew it—hauled me up from total obscurity into the scientific limelight (Johanson and Edey, 1981, p. 374, emp. added).
Thus, one can understand why he would have such a vested interest in keeping this fossil upright and walking on two feet.
If others were to discover that Lucy was not a biped, then her hominid status would be called into question—something far less rewarding for Dr. Johanson, professionally speaking.
Did Johanson examine the evidence prior to making his decision about Lucy’s ability to walk uprightly? Or was Lucy “upright” and “walking” even before all of her fossils were uncovered—i.e., from the moment that single arm bone buried in the sand was discovered?
Johanson admitted that, immediately after seeing the single arm bone, “This time I knew at once I was looking at a hominid elbow. I had to convince Tim, whose first reaction was that it was a monkey’s elbow” (Johanson, et al., 1994, p. 60, emp. added).
However, as more and more researchers gained access to the fossils (or replicas thereof), Lucy’s “hominid” status began to be questioned, like really seriously questioned!
We would like for you to examine the evidence regarding this famous fossil find, and then determine for yourself whether Lucy and her kin were, in fact, our ancestors, or merely ancient apes or chimps.
As a start, consider the following anatomical discoveries that have been made since Johanson’s initial declaration of Lucy as a entirely new hominid species.
LUCY’S PELVIS AND GENDER
A great deal of the “hype” regarding Lucy has been pure speculation from the very beginning. In fact, incredible though it may seem, even the gender of the creature is now being called into question.
Johanson’s original assessment was:
“The most complete adult skeleton is that of AL 288-1 (‘Lucy’). The small body size of this evidently female individual (about 3.5 to 4.0 feet in height) is matched by some other post cranial remains...” (Johanson and White, 1979, 203:324).
And yet, in his original review, Johanson’s description of post cranial [below the skull—BH/BT] data was both speculative and deficient.
Johanson and his colleagues recorded “strong dimorphism in body size; all skeletal elements with high level of robusticity in muscle and tendon insertion; pelvic region and lower limbs indicate adaptation to bipedal locomotion...” (Johanson, et al., 1978, 28:7-8).
It was from the shattered fragments of the pelvis that Donald Johanson interpreted the AL 288-1 fossils as being those of a female—primarily due to the diminutive size. But these bones were far from being plain sailing. As Hausler and Schmid discovered:
The sacrum and the auricular region of the ilium are shattered into numerous small fragments, such that the original form is difficult to elucidate. Hence it is not surprising that the reconstructions by Lovejoy and Schmid show marked differences (1995, 29:363).
In regard to Lucy’s pelvis, Johanson affirmed:
"Lucy’s wider sacrum and shallower pelvis gave her a smaller, kidney-shaped birth canal, compared to that of modern females. She didn’t need a large one because her newborn infant’s brain wouldn’t have been any larger than a chimpanzee infant’s brain" (Johanson, et al., 1994, p. 66).
That admission begs the question as to why this fossil was not categorized from the outset as simply a chimpanzee. But this gender declaration poses additional problems for Lucy. As Hausler and Schmid went on to note:
“If AL 288-1 was female, then one can exclude this species from the ancestors of Homo because its pelvis is certainly less primitive than the pelvis of STS 14 [the designation for a specific A. africanus fossil—BH/BT]” (1995, p. 378).
Both of the pelves mentioned display some degree of damage, and both are missing critical parts, but it should be noted that in regard to the Lucy fossil, more than one attempt was made at reconstruction.
After various reconstructions of the inlet and mid-plane of Lucy’s pelvis, along with comparisons to other fossils and modern humans, it became evident that the shape of Lucy’s pelvis was not structured correctly for the eventuality of a birth process.
The pelvis was just too narrow to accommodate an australopithecine fetus. Hausler and Schmid noted that Lucy’s pelvis was ridge-less and heart-shaped, which means that “she” was more likely a “he.” They wrote:
Contrary to STS 14 [designation for a specific A. africanus fossil—BH/BT], delivery [of a baby—BH/BT] in AL 288-1 would have been more complicated than in modern humans, if not impossible, due to the protruding promontorium.... Consequently, there is more evidence to suggest that AL 288-1 was male rather than female. A female of the same species as AL 288-1 would have had a pelvis with a larger sagittal diameter and a less protruding sacral promontorium.... Overall, the broader pelvis and the more laterally oriented iliac blades of AL 288-1 would produce more favorable insertion sites for the climbing muscles in more heavily built males.... It would perhaps be better to change the trivial name to “Lucifer” according to the old roman god who brings light after the dark night, because with such a pelvis “Lucy” would apparently have been the last of her species (29:380, emp. added).
This declaration produced an immediate reaction from the evolutionist community, as many scientists worked diligently to try to defend Lucy.
If Hausler and Schmid’s conclusion is correct, then this implies that the equivalent female of this species would be even smaller—something unheard of in trying to compare this creature to modern-day humans!
Lucy’s pelvis is not what it should be for an upright-walking hominid—but the dimensions fall easily within primates found among the family Pongidae (apes).
LUCY’S APPENDAGES— MADE FOR BIPEDALISM, OR SWINGING FROM TREES?
But what do Lucy’s arms and legs tell us in regard to her locomotion? If she were a biped, surely her upper and lower extremities would point to an upright stance.
After all, the bone that led to Johanson’s discovery of Lucy was that of an arm. Yet the bony framework that composes Lucy’s wrists may be the most telling factor of all.
Brian Richmond and David Strait of George Washington University experienced what many might call a “eureka!” moment while going through some old papers on primate physiology at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.
“We saw something that talked about special knuckle walking adaptations in modern African apes,” Dr. Richmond said. “I could not remember ever seeing anything about wrists in fossil hominids...Across the hall was a cast of the famous fossil Lucy. We ran across and looked at it and bingo, it was clear as night and day” (see BBC News, 2000).
The March 29, 2000 San Diego Union Tribune reported:
A chance discovery made by looking at a cast of the bones of “Lucy,” the most famous fossil of Australopithecus afarensis, shows her wrist is stiff, like a chimpanzee’s, Brian Richmond and David Strait of George Washington University in Washington, D.C., reported. This suggests that her ancestors walked on their knuckles (Fox, 2000).
Richmond and Strait discovered that knuckle-walking apes have a mechanism that locks the wrist into place in order to stabilize this joint. In their report, they noted:
"Here we present evidence that fossils attributed to Australopithecus anamnesis (KNM-ER-20419) and A. afarensis (AL 288-1) retain specialized wrist morphology associated with knuckle-walking” (2000, 404:382, parenthetical item in orig.).
They went on to observe:
Pre-bipedal locomotion is probably best characterized as a repertoire consisting of terrestrial knuckle-walking, arboreal climbing, and occasional suspensory activities, not unlike that observed in chimpanzees today. This raises the question of why bipedalism would evolve from an ancient ancestor already adapted to terrestrial locomotion, and is consistent with models relating the evolution of bipedalism to a change in feeding strategies and novel non-locomotor uses of the hands (404:384).
Moreover, additional evidence has come to light which suggests that Lucy is little more than a chimpanzee.
Johanson and his coworkers admitted in an article in the March 31, 1994 issue of Nature that Lucy possessed chimp-proportioned arm bones (see Kimbel, et al., 1994) and that her alleged descendants (e.g., A. africanus and H. habilis) had ape-like limb proportions as well—which is a clear indication that she did not evolve into something “more human.”
Not only have Lucy’s wrists and arm-bones been called into question, but there also is a mountain of evidence that demonstrates this creature was better adapted for swinging through the trees, like modern-day chimps. After thoroughly examining A. afarensis fossils, Stern and Susman remarked: “It is demonstrated that A. afarensis possessed anatomic characteristics that indicate a significant adaptation for movement in the trees” (1983, 60:280). They went on to comment:
“The AL 333-91 [designation for a specific A. afarensis fossil—BH/BT] pisiform [bone of the hand—BH/BT] is ‘elongate and rod shaped’ and thus resembles the long, projecting pisiform of apes and monkeys” (60:281, emp. added).
Stern and Susman’s research detailed the fact that the hands and feet of A. afarensis are devoid of the normal human qualities assigned to hands and feet. Instead, their research demonstrated that these creatures had long, curved fingers and toes typical of arboreal primates. [In reading through the following descriptions of the fossils, bear in mind that the zoo in St. Louis, Missouri, proudly displays a life-size replica of Lucy with perfectly formed human hands and feet.]
Stern and Susman commented:
“The overall morphology of metacarpals II-V [bones that comprise the hand—BH/BT] is similar to that of chimpanzees and, therefore, might be interpreted as evidence of developed grasping capabilities to be used in suspensory behavior [swinging in trees—BH/BT]” (60:283). In looking at the morphology of the fingers, they affirmed:
The markedly curved proximal phalanges [bones of the fingers—BH/BT] indicate adaptation for suspensory and climbing activities which require powerful grasping abilities.... The trapezium [bone at the base of the first digit—BH/BT] and first metacarpal are very chimpanzee-like in relative size and shape.... Enlarged metacarpal heads and the mildly curved, parallel-sided shafts are two such features of the Hadar metacarpals not seen in human fingers.
The distal phalanges, too, retain ape-like features in A. afarensis.... On the other hand, the Hadar fossil falls within the range of each ape and less than 1 SD [standard deviation—BH/BT] unit away from the means of gorilla and orangutan (60:284).
In their concluding remarks, Stern and Susman remarked:
It will not have escaped the reader’s attention that the great bulk of evidence supports the view that the Hadar hominid was to a significant degree arboreal....
We discovered a substantial body of evidence indicating that arboreal activities were so important to A. afarensis that morphologic adaptations permitting adept movement in the trees were maintained (60:313).
In the September 9, 1994 issue of Science, Randall Susman reported that the chimp-like thumbs in A. afarensis were far better suited for tree climbing than tool making (Susman, 1994). Lucy also possessed a nonhuman gait, based on ratio of leg size to foot size (see Oliwenstein, 1995, 16:42).
One researcher even went so far as to suggest that A. afarensis was little more than a failed experiment in ape bipedalism, and as such, should be consigned to a side branch of the human evolutionary tree (as reported by Shreeve, 1996).
So not only were Lucy’s ribs and pelvis wrong, but her limbs also were physiologically more conducive to swinging around in treetops.
AUSTRALOPITHECINE TEETH: MORE EVIDENCE THAT LUCY WAS ARBOREAL
One of Donald Johanson’s specialties is identifying differences within the teeth of alleged hominids. In fact, in his original description, he gave a great deal of attention to the dentition of A. afarensis. By measuring the various differences in molars and canines, he systematically assigned various fossils to predetermined groups.
However, even his highly trained eyes may have missed some important microscopic data. Anthropologist Alan Walker has been working on ways of possibly determining behavior based on evidence from the fossil record.
One of his methods includes quantitative analysis of tooth micro-wear. Using image enhancement and optical diffraction methods of scanning,
Walker believes he might be able to reconstruct ancient diets from paleontological samples. In speaking of Walker’s material, Johanson noted:
Dr. Alan Walker of Johns Hopkins has recently concluded that the polishing effect he finds on the teeth of robust australopithecines and modern chimpanzees indicates that australopithecines, like chimps, were fruit eaters.... If they were primarily fruit eaters, as Walker’s examination of their teeth suggests they were, then our picture of them, and of the evolutionary path they took, is wrong (Johanson and Edey, 1981, p. 358).
So we now have impressive evidence that Lucy and her kin ate fruit from trees, rather than foraging for food on the ground.
LUCY’S RIB CAGE
Due to the impossibility of reconstructing Lucy’s skull from the few fragments available, the determination that Lucy walked uprightly like a human had to be derived from her hips and ribs. Peter Schmid, a paleontologist at the Anthropological Institute in Zurich, Switzerland, studied Lucy extensively, and summarized his efforts as follows.
When I started to put the skeleton together, I expected it to look human. Everyone had talked about Lucy as being very modern, very human, so I was surprised by what I saw.
I noticed that the ribs were more round in cross-section, more like what you see in apes. Human ribs are flatter in cross-section. But the shape of the rib cage itself was the biggest surprise of all. The human rib cage is barrel shaped, and I just couldn’t get Lucy’s ribs to fit this kind of shape. But I could get them to make a conical-shaped rib cage, like what you see in apes (as quoted in Leakey and Lewin, 1992, pp. 193-194).
Ribs can be “tweaked” and rotated so that they appear more “barrel-like” or conical, but the best (and correct) arrangement is the original morphology.
The facets from the ribs that line up on the vertebrae provide a tighter fit when aligned correctly. In Lucy’s case, her ribs are conical, like those found in apes.
LUCY: HOMINID OR CHIMP?
When Lucy first arrived on the scene, newsmagazines such as Time and National Geographic noted that she had a head shaped like an ape, with a brain capacity the size of a large chimp’s—about one-third the size of a modern man’s. In an article that appeared in New Scientist, evolutionist Jeremy Cherfas noted:
“Lucy, alias Australopithecus afarensis, had a skull very like a chimpanzee’s, and a brain to match” (1983, 93:172). Adrienne Zihlman observed: “Lucy’s fossil remains match up remarkably well with the bones of a pygmy chimp” (1984, 104:39).
It should be no surprise then, that in Stern and Susman’s 1983 analysis of afarensis, they pointed out:
These findings of ours, in conjunction with Christie’s (1977), observation on enhanced rotation at the tibio-talar joint in AL 288-1, Tardieu’s (1979) deductions about greater voluntary rotation at the knee in AL 288-1, Senut’s (1981) and Feldesman’s (1982a) claims that the humerus of AL 288-1 is pongid in certain of its features, and Feldesman’s (1982b) demonstration that the ulna of AL 288-1 is most similar to that of Pan paniscus [a chimp—BH/BT], all seem to lead ineluctably to the conclusion that the Hadar hominid was vitally dependent on the trees for protection and/or sustenance (60:311).
All of these characteristics led inevitably to the conclusion that Lucy was simply a chimp-like creature. And yet, more than a decade earlier, Charles Oxnard, while at the University of Chicago, already had passed judgment on these creatures.
His multivariate computer analyses indicated that the australopithecines were, in fact, nothing but knuckle-walking animals (1975).
You might well be asking yourself why this charade has been allowed to go on this long. The answer, as usual seem to be woven around power, fame, and money—can be found in Johanson’s own words.
There is no such thing as a total lack of bias. I have it; everybody has it. The fossil hunter in the field has it.... In everybody who is looking for hominids, there is a strong urge to learn more about where the human line started. If you are working back at around three million, as I was, that is very seductive, because you begin to get an idea that that is where Homo did start. You begin straining your eyes to find Homo traits in fossils of that age.... Logical, maybe, but also biased. I was trying to jam evidence of dates into a pattern that would support conclusions about fossils which, on closer inspection, the fossils themselves would not sustain (Johanson and Edey, 1981, pp. 257,258, emp. added).
He went on to admit:
“It is hard for me now to admit how tangled in that thicket I was. But the insidious thing about bias is that it does make one deaf to the cries of other evidence” (p. 277).
Some are asking if A. afarensis is more primitive than A. africanus, or if they are one and the same? Others point to the many chimp-like features, and question whether Lucy ever walked upright at all? But, in the March 1996 issue of National Geographic, Donald Johanson himself admitted:
“Lucy has recently been dethroned” (189:117, emp. added).
His (and Lucy’s) “fifteen minutes of fame” are over. As Lee Berger declared:
“One might say we are kicking Lucy out of the family tree” (as quoted in Shreeve, 1996).
Fascinating, how often the hominid family tree is pruned!
For me, sitting between the creationist and evolutionist camp on my shiny white fence here, I have heard several arguments from both sides of the divide. When I hear other evolutionists starting to call balls on this one I start to wonder about a lot of stuff that is going on here.
At the end of the day there seems to be some compelling evidence for and a lot more against bipedal attributes of Lucy.
The fact that there are other Simians that bear the same angle as homo sapiens do in relation to hip, thigh and spine, yet are tree climbers, to me is clear where this wild claim of Johanson and White should rest in the scheme of things.
I require more proof and an abundance of it to boot to swallow this missing link theory. 3.5 Million year old DNA evidence does not exist at this time and hopefully in another age someone will develop a way to yield such info from the very bones we have left in our museums et al.
Nobody can show me proof of a “missing link”, but then again, nobody can disprove it either.
Either way its a leap of faith. Having said that, there is no doubt in my mind that Lucy was more Orangutang like but much smaller and firmly planted in the Monkey business side of life, the forest and everything banana related.
I will carry on sitting here in my ivory tower listening to salient arguments either way.
So far I am not conclusively persuaded by either side of the evolutionist argument re a missing link......Unfortunately said scans only showed that said monkey could have walked both upright but spent most of its time swinging through trees, so this could be a bridge between the trees and walking upright.
For me personally the lean is heavily towards “almost certainly just another manic monkey”.
The real Mystery - where did these 7.3 meter monsters hail from?
There is however another species, much bigger than Lucy (5 Ft) called Kadanuumuu that does show that at least one other species of hominid was walking upright just like humans do. At least thats what the supposition at this time is at any rate.
The odds are this too will be proven incorrect and a case of over the top fervor in favor of, “yes we found the missing link”. In fact I will delve into this particular Simian madness next......(In fact this did not take long at all, Kadanuumuu is the exact same species this blog is the subject of - Thanks to CAL and Steers guys for feedback).
I leave you with my final thoughts on the matter and that is:
“Science is not an absolute knowledge with regard to origins of the species (or in fact any subject), but a rationale of probability based on our limited acquaintance with the facts. As we discover more facts, the theory will morph to fit the facts we have established.....”
“Yo, Pickles old chap!! Throw me some more bananas will ya old boy!!” Maybe if I eat some, I will feel my knuckles dragging on the freakin ground!! :)
Not sure if this is White or Johanson.....
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