Posted by: Rob Lester | October 5, 2011

Even Lucy’s Teeth Say “Chimp”

A study published in Nature magazine measured strontium levels in the tooth enamel of australopithecines (a.k.a. “Lucy) to determine habitat range based on local diet. They found “The males never strayed far from home, and the females dispersed after puberty to neighboring groups. The pattern of female dispersal is not unexpected, since it is practiced by chimpanzees.” Joan B. Silk, an expert on primate social behavior at the University of California, Los Angeles, said, ‘It’s really nice to see there is biological continuity from chimpanzees to australopithecines.” That’s because they ARE chimpanzees!  Australopithecines are “often assumed to have had a chimplike social structure, with a male hierarchy, promiscuous mating by the females. The central puzzle of human social evolution, in Dr. Chapais’s view, is to explain how promiscuity was replaced by the pair bond. The australopithecines studied by Dr. Copeland’s team still had a somewhat chimplike social structure, Dr. Chapais said, because the pair bond did not evolve until the appearance of Homo erectus.” Homo erectus is a supposed sub-human ancestor whose anatomy falls well within the range of genetic variation of modern humans, just as Neanderthals and Homo floresiensis (“hobbits”) do. The study also determined “Another far-reaching consequence of the developing pair bond was that individuals could at last start to recognize their relatives, which chimpanzees mostly cannot do.” So here is yet another difference between chimps/australopithecines and modern humans. Summation: Australopithecines act more like chimps socially than humans or even (alleged) pre-humans. This is no surprise since Lucy and her Hominid kin exhibit every other commonality with chimps (such as locking wrists, curved metacarpals, shoulders, pelvis, ribcage, inner ear bones, etc.). The case for the vaunted “valgus knee” is far from conclusive. The researchers admit that the “flipping of the switch” from a promiscuous chimp-like social structure to pair bonding happened after the australopithecines. As much as can be determined about social behavior from fossils, their behavior was that of chimps. Hominins are apes, not humans. Their physiology, and now, even their social behavior bears evidence to this fact. Monkeys are monkeys, people are people. Just as God designed from the very beginning.



  1. I tend to agree with the conclusions in your article. I would however make the assumption that if Homo Erectus did in fact have a more human social structure and monogamous life style that they may in fact have been “people” like you and I. I most certainly believe that to be true of Neanderthals

    Thanks for your insight.

    Patrick Bostwick.

    • Patrick,
      That’s exactly the point I was making. I’m sorry if I was unclear or misunderstood. Homo erectus, homo floresiensis, Neanderthal, etc. are all physiologically equal to modern humans. The variations are all well within the range of human genetics. Alleged “sub-human” beings keep getting proven (by real, measurable, objective science) to be more and more “modern.” Conversely, many of the alleged “missing links” (Lucy, Sediba, Ardi, etc.) keep becoming more and more ape-like. And “never the twain shall meet.” 🙂

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