Cheat-Seeking Missles

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

From Goo To Zoo To You To Confused

It was a bad day for the the chimp is your ancestor bunch today and a good day for those of us who see a divine hand in the putting together of things.

The source: nothing less than Maeve Leakey ... yes, those Leakeys, who are still sifting the dirt in Kenya.

The old theory was that the first and oldest species in our family tree, Homo habilis, evolved into Homo erectus, which then became us, Homo sapiens. But those two earlier species lived side-by-side about 1.5 million years ago in parts of Kenya for at least half a million years, Leakey and colleagues report in a paper published in Thursday's journal Nature.

In 2000 Leakey found an old H. erectus complete skull within walking distance of an upper jaw of the H. habilis, and both dated from the same general time period. That makes it unlikely that H. erectus evolved from H. habilis, researchers said.

It's the equivalent of finding that your grandmother and great- grandmother were sisters rather than mother-daughter, said study co- author Fred Spoor, a professor of evolutionary anatomy at the University College in London. (Breitbart)

On a personal level, I couldn't be more thrilled with the timing of the announcement. I just finished listening to the audiobook of Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything, which is full-bore evolutionist and espoused the now old school H. habilis to H. erectus jabber.

The whole time I was listening to it, I was thinking, "Yeah, but how can they say they're related? It seems to me that it's much more likely that they're all just different critters, like Jersey cows and Herefords.

And now it turns out I was right.
Overall what it paints for human evolution is a "chaotic kind of looking evolutionary tree rather than this heroic march that you see with the cartoons of an early ancestor evolving into some intermediate and eventually unto us," Spoor said in a phone interview from a field office of the Koobi Fora Research Project in northern Kenya.
To Bryson's credit, he does say that evolution is a relentless march toward all sorts of critters, some that have come and gone, some that have hung around. But he doesn't see humans as a particularly significant earthly life form.

The latest Leakey discovery doesn't do much for Bryson's point of view. It's becoming increasing clear that Homo sapiens are unique and quite different from their bi-pedal, opposed-thumb inhabitants of the ancient African plains.

So chalk up another one for God.

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