Posted by: Rob Lester | August 11, 2010

Lucy’s a real swinger

You are probably familiar with australopithecus afarensis, better known as “Lucy.” Sketches and reconstructions always show her with human-looking hands and feet.  They also show her standing upright.  This is to be expected, because Lucy is heralded as a vital “missing link” in human evolution.  She is seen as the evolutionary halfway point between tree-dwelling apes and ground-walking humans.  The evidence does not support this, however.  Detailed studies of Lucy’s wrist and hand bones show features identical to modern chimpanzees.  Both chimps and Lucy had locked wrists made for walking on knuckles, not upright.  Both possessed long, curved metacarpals and metatarsals (hand and feet bones) which are suited for swinging efficiently through trees.  Once these features are present, chimps are perfectly adapted to getting around both on the ground as well as in the trees.  There is no benefit to eliminating the tree-dwelling features.  In fact, it would be a harmful adaptation to eliminate half of the habitat a creature could comfortably get around in.  It could find food and escape predators either on the ground or take to the trees.  So not only does the evidence not support Lucy as a primitive human ancestor, it shows the harm of evolving the ability of an ape to walk upright exclusively as humans do today.  Two strikes against the theory that we came from apes (and plenty more to follow).  Humans were created in the image of God just as the Bible states as plainly as God could say it. 

Richmond, Brian G. and David S. Strait (2000), “Evidence that Humans Evolved from a Knuckle-Walking Ancestor,” Nature, 404:382-385,March 23.

Stern, Jack T. Jr. and Randall L. Susman (1983), “The Locomotor Anatomy of Australopithecus afarensis,” Journal of Physical Anthropology,60:279-317.

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