The previous post followed the lineage of our own species up until the australopithecines. We now turn to our Homo predecessors in this, the eight and final post in the “Arguments Against Evolution” series.
- Homo habilis had an increased brain size (650 cc average), a more vertical face, and smaller teeth and manufactured and used simple stone tools . These simple tools are known as Oldowan technology. These features of H. habilis were related to meat consumption, meaning that if our ancestors didn’t eat meat, we wouldn’t be big-brained H. sapiens. Fats and proteins from a diet that included meat were essential in the evolution of larger brains . H. habilis the first significant and rapid increase in brain size. The specimens of H. habilis might include a larger-brained species called Homo rudolfensis, but it is uncertain whether H. rudolfensis is indeed a separate species. This species lived from about 2.4 to 1.5 million years ago.
- Homo ergaster is seen as the ancestor of the Asian Homo erectus and also the European Homo Heidelbergensis. H. ergaster had African origins. They were probably scavengers. These hominins had even larger brains, more complex tools (Acheulean technology), more efficient bipedalism, could use fire, and their offspring remained juvenile for a longer period. They might have been the first hominins to use a kind of primitive language. H. ergaster proves the Out of Africa hypothesis, and therefore also the reasoning of Darwin, to be correct. The most famous specimen of H. ergaster is known as Turkana Boy, or the Nariokotome skeleton, found in Kenya. This specimen is an almost complete skeleton and shows that H. ergaster was built like modern human, but with the brain size of a 1 year old child. Even with the comparatively small skull, H. ergaster needed a human birth and prolonged infant care.
- Homo erectus date from about 1.8 million to 300,000 years ago and had brain capacities of 099 cc in the earlier specimens and 1,100 cc in later specimens.With H. erectus we see a refinement of tools, which imply planning and acting with purpose . As of 1999 the fossils identified as H. erectus have been recognized as coming from about 150 individuals.
- Homo floresiensis are perhaps the most surprising find in the Homo lineage. Fossils which were thought to be H. erectus were discovered on Flores Island. What was peculiar was that the typically H. erectus tools were “toysized” and all the fossils were of children. More detailed investigation of the skeletons revealed that they were from adult individuals who only reached about 1m in height with 380cc brains. It is presumed that H. floresiensis are descendants of H. erectus that became isolated on Flores Island and evolved to the smaller size. These miniature people existed as recently as 18,000 years ago.
- Homo Heidelbergensis were from African descent and moved through Europe, evolving into Homo neanderthalensis. They may not have been the first Homo species to enter Europe, as Acheulean stone flakes were found near the Jordan River and may belong to H. ergaster. The H. heidelbergensis that remained in Africa evolved into Homo sapiens and intermediate forms such as the Kabwe and Bodo skulls have been found.
- Homo neanderhtalensis were the European descendants of H. Heidelbergensis . H. neanderthalensis had brains as large as those of Homo sapiens and tools more advanced than H. ergaster. The first H. neanderthalensis specimen was found in 1856 in the Feldhofer Cave in the Neander Valley near Düsseldorf, Germany. The Neanderthal’s tools are called Mousterian technology. The Neanderhtals lived between 200,000 and 30,000 years ago. We have bones from about 500 individual Neanderthals.
- Cro-magnon fossils were discovered in 1868 the Cro-Magnon cave in France. The Cro-Magnons are completely modern in their anatomy and the term is now used to refer to any Homo sapiens that lived in Europe before people started settling and forming villages. Cro-Magnon remains are between about 35,000 and 15,000 years old. They produced cave paintings, the most famous of which are at Lascaux in France (gallery), and also produced carvings. Other forms of art produced by these people included body decorations, ceramic pottery and musical instruments. Cro-Magnon buried their dead and had distinct cultures. Cro-Magnons were at first thought to be descendants of the Neanderthals, but they are descendants of African H. sapiens.
- Homo sapiens evolved from H. heidelbergensis in Africa and then migrated to populate the globe. In Indonesia they encountered H. erectus and perhaps H. floresiensis and could have reached the continent of Australia as early as 60,000 years ago. Encounters with European H. neanderthalensis resulted in a cultural explosion. This cultural explosion is dated to about 40,000 years ago and is called the Upper Paleolithic period. It is from this period that religious artifacts are found.
As a conclusion to the “Arguments Against Evolution” series (Pt.1, Pt. 2, Pt. 3, Pt. 4, Pt. 5, Pt. 6, Pt. 7), one can see from the arguments examined that the arguments aimed against evolution stem mostly from a misunderstanding of the science behind evolution (e.g. the missing links, the second law of thermodynamics) or the claims made by evolution (e.g. the hopeful monster theory). Some of the arguments may be conscious trickery on the part of those who seek to discredit evolution. Isaak states that “[m]uch of the strength of creationism comes not from its having good arguments but from creating so many arguments that educators cannot easily teach the answer to all of them.” This is also the problem when it comes to debates between creationism and evolution. Creationism seems to bowl the evolutionists out by sheer strength in the number of claims and arguments, which the evolutionists simply cannot adequately answer or explain in a single debate. This tactic is called Gish galloping. When steamrollered by an avalanche of misinterpretations and untruths, those on the side of evolution are often left floundering and looking like fools.
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Dawkins, R 2009. The greatest show on earth: The evidence for evolution. London: Bantam Press.
Miller, K B 2003. Common descent, transitional forms, and the fossil record, in Miller, K B (ed.) Perspectives on an evolving creation. Grand Rapids: William B Eerdmans.152-181.
Rice, S A 2007. Encyclopedia of evolution. New York: Facts on File.
Ruse, M 2006. Darwinism and its discontents. New York: Cambridge University Press.