Who are the Denisovans?



Who are the Denisovans? Are they the long-lost relatives of Denis?

All kidding aside, the Associated Press (AP) has picked up a news story supporting Darwinian Evolution. Why I am not surprised.  The AP and Reuters are the big wigs of international news, with ABC, NBC, CBS, and an assorted alphabet soup of cable news networks and local news outlets all picking up stories from the AP newswire service.

AP has a long history of promoting the Theory of Evolution (ToE) with little or no critical analysis at all. Like the rest of the secular world, these news outlets are run by people who have been brainwashed from infancy. They have been indoctrinated, not educated. They are force feed only one explanation for the origin of life and they are given only one roadmap for the process that explains the history of life on planet earth,  On the Origin of Species (Darwin, 1859) is the sole explanation that is taught. When it is taught, it is communicated without any criticism or competing explanations allowed. That is certainly not education in the true sense of the word.

Here is how Norman Macbeth, in a speech at Harvard University in 1983, describes this problem:

“I have dealt with biologists over the last twenty years now. I have found that, in a way, they are hampered by having too much education. They have been steeped from their childhood in the Darwinian views, and, as a result, it has taken possession of their minds to such an extent that they are almost unable to see many facts that are not in harmony with Darwinism. These facts simply aren’t there for them often, and other ones are sort of suppressed or distorted. I’ll give you some examples.

“First, and perhaps most important, is the first appearance of fossils. This occurs at a time called the ‘Cambrian,’ 600 million years ago by the fossil reckoning. The fossils appear at that time [in the Cambrian] in a pretty highly developed form. They don’t start very low and evolve bit by bit over long periods of time. In the lowest fossil-bearing strata of all [the Cambrian], they are already there, and are pretty complicated in more-or-less modern form.

“One example of this is the little animal called the trilobite. There are a great many fossils of the trilobite right there at the beginning with no buildup to it [no evolution of life forms leading to it]. Moreover, if you examine them closely, you will find that they are not simple animals. They are small, but they have an eye that has been discussed a great deal in recent years—an eye that is simply incredible.

“It is made up of dozens of little tubes which are all at slightly different angles so that it covers the entire field of vision, with a different tube pointing at each spot on the horizon. But these tubes are all more complicated than that, by far. They have a lens on them that is optically arranged in a very complicated way, and it is bound into another layer that has to be just exactly right for them to see anything. But the more complicated it is, the less likely it is simply to have grown up out of nothing.

“And this situation has troubled everybody from the beginning—to have everything at the very opening of the drama. The curtain goes up [life-forms first appear in the Cambrian strata] and you have the players on the stage already, entirely in modern costumes” (Macbeth, 1983).

While the Cambrian explosion is not the topic of this article, the point Dr. Macbeth is making is extremely important with regard to the effects of the indoctrination used to promote the ToE and the extreme bias exhibited in the dissemination of the research findings that shed light on the validity of the ToE.  

In an effort to be fair to the secular media, I did an archive’s search for the last six months on the AP website.
I wanted to see how many stories were posted on their news service in various categories concerning creation, evolution, and Intelligent Design (ID). Here are the results.

Creation vs. Evolution = 0

Intelligent Design = 5
Two articles were from “Today in History” citing South Carolina’s secession from the Union in 1860, one was for a movie review of Megamind, one a golf article on the Bridgestone Invitational, and, last but not least, was yet another article on Republican hopeful Christine O’Donnell.

Creationism = 8
No one article mentioning any of the evidence for special creation with most articles targeting Republican candidates Joe Miller and Christine O-Donnell.

Sadly, this is similar to every other news organization in the world. So, why am I reviewing the fact that the AP and other news services of their ilk are hopelessly in bed with Charles Darwin and his theory of molecules-to-men? It is because there is yet another addition to the  list of articles hyping the ToE. On Jan. 25, 2011 AP science writer, Malcolm Ritter, wrote an article entitled, ‘DNA shows new human relative.’ The article was initially written by Mr. Ritter who is an AP writer. Because of this, many other news outlets, including the Chicago Sun Times, ran with this article. Eventually, we received a copy of this article whose subtitle was ‘Denisovans’ from more than 30,000 years ago ranged all across Asia.’

It was reprinted by our very own local Broward County, FL representative of the Fourth Estate, the Sun Sentinel. Here is a synopsis of what it said:

David Reich, a Harvard University researcher, has published a paper that traces the DNA from an upper molar tooth found in a Siberian cave. Low and behold, the DNA in this tooth seemed to confirm that these Denisovans (for all intents and purposes, these are true Homo sapiens sapiens and not any different from us today) lived all over Asia. But I’m getting ahead of myself. According to these researchers, “they (the Denisovians) apparently interbred with the ancestors of people living in Melanesia, a group of islands northeast of Australia.” They go on to say, “There’s no sign that Denisovans mingled with the ancestors of people now living in Eurasia, which made the connection between Siberia and distant Melanesia quite a shock.” This same article goes on to mention another DNA result from a finger bone discovered in the Denisova Cave in southern Siberia. They admit “There’s not enough evidence to determine whether Denisovans are a distinct species.” They did remark, “The genome, recovered from the finger bone, showed that Denisovans are more closely related to Neanderthals than to modern humans.” They then go on to make the perfunctory statement concerning the ever-illusive (and as yet undiscovered) common ancestor of these Denisovans and Neanderthal kissing cousins. That they both ‘sprang from a common ancestor on a different branch of the evolutionary family tree than the one leading to modern humans’ (Ritter, 2011).

Well, imagine my surprise when they invoked the famous, or should I say infamous, phylogenetic tree of human evolution. Here is Haeckel's Paleontological Tree of Vertebrates (c. 1879).

Paleontological Tree You know what these are. They appear throughout every Museum of Natural History the world over tracing the evolution of every living organism….all of them spring out of nowhere from some mysterious common ancestor. This is not mysterious in the melodramatic sense, but mysterious in that ‘they don’t seem to exist in the real world’ sense of the word. That’s right, these little imaginary creatures must exist if we are to believe the ToE. Every living organism must be related to the original proto-cellular life form that allegedly gave rise to all other living things. While evolutionists debate exactly what that progenitor of biological life looked like, we are left with clever drawings of what Darwin’s theory said took place in the past.  

These evolutionary trees have been described by evolutionist Stephan Jay Gould, well-known evolutionist and professor of geology and paleontology at Harvard University, in the following fashion:


“The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of paleontology. The evolutionary trees that adorn our textbooks have data only at the tips and nodes of the branches; the rest is inference, however reasonable, not the evidence of fossils.” He goes on to say: “We're not just evolving slowly. For all practical purposes, we're not evolving. There's no reason to think we're going to get bigger brains or smaller toes or whatever - we are what we are.”
(Gould, 1977)

The fact that the late Dr. Gould was a dedicated evolutionist should not diminish his admission that the actual fossil evidence that should exist connecting the branches on these phylogenetic trees to their evolutionary predecessors remains missing (Gould, 1977).

Does the fact that many of these phylogenetic trees are more akin to a house of cards really matter to evolutionists? Not really. I can tell you that David Reich and other evolutionists seem to have completely ignored other research that indicates that Denisovans are not just the cousins of Neanderthals. These fossil remains evidently date back, not 30,000 thousand years as previously thought, but between 420 ka and 320 ka! That is, if we are to believe the Israeli scientists from Tel Aviv University. The teeth they found were in Qesem Cave where excavations have been ongoing since 2004. A team led by archaeologist Avi Gopher estimated the age of the teeth based on the sedimentary layer in which they were found. Acknowledging that more research is needed to confirm his team’s conclusion, Gopher said the research “changes the whole picture of evolution” (Hirst, 2010).

Discrepancies about age are nothing new for those who reject the Genesis account recorded in the Hebrew Scriptures. It is easy for evolutionists to cherry pick results that confirm their evolutionary timeline. They regularly disregard radiometric dating outliers such as the half million-year-old date for the Holy land Denisovans. If you simply review the previous dating for Homo sapiens (modern man), you will discover that evolutionary scientists have been pushing back the date for the appearance of modern man hundreds of thousands of years. There is even some evidence of true man (Homo sapiens) coexisted with discoveries previously thought to predate them. Like the last scene in the classic sci-fi movie ‘Planet of the Apes,’ a human doll being found  in the archeological dig of an ape family turned the evolutionary order of this simian civilization of primitive man evolving into advanced monkeys on its head. Finding true Homo sapiens sapiens alongside their alleged evolutionary ancestors is something that will probably remained buried (pardon the pun). I would not hold my breath waiting for AP or Reuter’s newswire service to pick up this story, e.g. that modern man and their alleged missing links coexisted,  anytime soon.

While searching for information concerning the Denisovans, we should mention that in recent times, Neanderthals have been getting a scientific make over. I can remember when these fine fellows where depicted in my high school social science textbook as a hybrid between a gorilla and modern man. This, like so many other “artist’s renditions,” were far more fancy than fact. Still, these fallacious depictions do not seem to bother evolutionary scientists in the least. They just give these knuckle draggers a makeover and all is well. Or is it? In October 2010, the Washington Post ran a story entitled,  ‘Neanderthals' Reputation Getting Makeover: In Latest Studies, Experts See Early Man as More Clever, Adaptable and Possibly Better Looking than Previously Thought’ (Washington Post, 2010). Get the makeup artist and that new wardrobe ready, a makeover is about to take place.

Since these alleged ancestors to man (the Neanderthals), or more recently deemed co-existing with modern man,  are now thought to have interbred with Denisovans. On that basis alone, we should examine them more closely and get to know our evolutionary cousins a bit better. The article goes on to quote Riel-Salvatore, professor at the University of Colorado at Denver, as he wrote in the Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory saying:

“What we know is that the more-modern humans lived in northern Italy, more-traditional Neanderthals lived in middle Italy, and this group that adapted to a changing world was in the south - out of touch with the northern group.” He claims, “a Neanderthal buffer kept these southern Italy Neanderthals from interbreeding (the way the other Neanderthals allegedly did) with modern man.” Not to worry because Riel-Salvatore continues: “Because of this Neanderthal buffer, it seems very unlikely that the southern Italy Neanderthals learned from the more-modern humans.”

Well, since they did not intermarry with modern humans, once again Riel-Salvatore has a solution. He goes on to say, “They needed to change, and did, apparently by themselves.” He says this finding - along with recent investigations that have determined that between 1 and 4 percent of the human genome in Europe and Asia have Neanderthal genes – meaning that these often disparaged humans are actually “more like our brothers and sisters than even our cousins.”

Now there seems to be a serious credibility gap (should I say it?) evolving with regard to these discoveries. Either the radiometric dating information is unreliable (where have we heard that before) or the story concerning the evolution of man is simply wrong.  When I initially did research into this subject, I found that this makeover was extremely drastic by anyone’s standards. Examine these two renditions of what H. Neanderthalensis looked like. Remember, less than 50 years have elapsed between these two portraits of our closest relatives.

Compared to Europeans some 20,000 years ago, Neanderthals are nearly identical, perhaps slightly taller and definitely more muscular. Considering the body type of Neanderthals, new body weight estimates show they are only slightly above the cm/weight or the body mass index of modern Americans or Canadians (Helmuth, 1998), coupled with the fact that some Neanderthal remains in fact date after these same sites were vacated by Homo sapiens sapiens, and we are hard-pressed to see them as anything other than completely human (Rowitt, 2010).

Culturally, Neanderthal was fully human (Appenzeller, 1998). He buried his dead with distinct mortuary practices associated with their burial sites. He drew paintings on cave walls. He used fire and tools. He played the flute. He allegedly worshipped bears. He was thought to be cannibalistic, but he was most assuredly the apex predator of his environment. He cared for the injured and elderly. In essence he did the things that other humans have done down through history. One of the Creation Studies Institute’s Technical Advisors is Dr. Joel Klenck. He holds a Ph.D. in Anthropology from Harvard University. He has written a paper that all of these so-called evolutionary predecessors to Homo sapiens sapiens are the Nephilim (fallen ones in Hebrew) of Genesis 6 (Klenck, 2010). This model explains the flood as a response to a fallen race of men and women described as follows: “every inclination of the thoughts of his heart were only evil continually,” Gen. 6:6.

Should this apparent overlap between Neanderthals, Denisovans, and humans really surprise us? Does the fact that 1 to 4 percent of the human genome is derived from Neanderthals give anyone pause? If Neanderthals are simply barrel-chested, and extremely muscular and powerful human beings, why are we surprised to see them alive and well and interbreeding with other human beings? Would the description of them as “mighty men of renown” be considered off the mark? Could they be the reason for God’s severe judgment of a worldwide cataclysmic flood on any lineage that did not arise directly from Adam be difficult to understand? I think not.

In 2007, Erik Trinkaus of Washington University in St. Louis published research into prehistoric fossil remains in Europe. It showed a significant number of attributes associated with both the Neanderthals and more-modern humans. “Both groups would seem to us dirty and smelly, but, cleaned up, we would understand both to be human,” he said when the paper was released in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. He added, “There's good reason to think that they did as well” (Kaufman, 2010).

So, does the finding that 1 to 4 percent of the modern human genome comes from Neanderthals making the link tighter? In addition, while the percentage may seem small, Riel-Salvatore says, “it has to be understood in context.” He continues, “Neanderthals probably never reached a total population greater than hundreds of thousands, while Homo sapiens came in far greater numbers.” “At one point, I would imagine the amount of Neanderthal in modern humans was much greater,” he said. “But with the numbers and generations, that percentage declined. Still, most Neanderthals were gone from the Earth by 28,000 years ago, but clearly some of them remain in many of us” (Kaufman, 2010).

Did we hear that right? Moreover, if we did, we have a real conundrum. As evolutionary science pushes the clock for human evolution back, certain archeological and radiometric dating outliers begin edge ever closer to the mean. Human beings are no longer the descendants of ape-like ancestors; we are these (not-so-apelike) ancestors. Or, as Dr. Klenck suggests, they are the  offspring of a fallen race. A pre-Flood sub-group exhibiting many of the traits of true humans with variations that would have made their description in Genesis accurate.  

If the similar brain size, use of tools, social factors and practices indicate these Denisovans and Neanderthals are human, or at least the offspring of H. sapiens sapiens and fallen angels, we should stop looking for those  alleged common ancestors because the roots of the branches of these phylogenetic trees (as Dr. Stephen Jay Gould noted) are truly non-existent. These family trees are fruitless shams. My mother’s maiden name is “Denis.” Maybe my grandfather is the real missing link; perhaps he is the true long-lost relative of these Denisovans. If I had to bet on it, my money’s is on grandpa. 

References:

Appenzeller, T. (1998). Evolution or Revolution. Science. 282: (20 November 1998) 5393.

Gould, Stephen J. (1977). Gould, S. J. 1977.  Evolution's Erratic Pace. Natural History.
86(5):12-16.

Helmuth, H.  (1998). "Body height, body mass and surface area of the Neanderthals". Zeitschrift Für Morphologie Und Anthropologie 82 (1): 1–12. PMID 9850627.

Hirst, K. K. (2010).  Qesem Cave (Israel) Transitional Lower to Middle Paleolithic Qesem Cave.
About.com Archeology. Accessed 2/1/11 at http://archaeology.about.com/od/qterms/qt/Qesem -Cave.htm. The entire article, The chronology of the late Lower Paleolithic in the Levant based on U–Th ages of speleothems from Qesem Cave, Israel,  appears in the Quaternary Geochronology Vol 5, Iss 6, Dec. 2010, pp. 644-656

Kaufman, Mark (2010) Neanderthals’ Reputation Getting Makeover: In Latest Studies, Experts
See Early Man as More Clever, Adaptable and Possibly Better Looking than Previously    Thought.  CBS News.com. Accessed 2.1.11 at http://www.cbsnews.com/stories /2010/10 /05/ politics/washingtonpost/main6928684.shtml.

Klenck, Joel (2010).  The Genesis Model for the Origin, Variation, and Continuation of Human
Populations. Digital Publishing of Florida, Inc. Oldsmar, FL. Also  appears in the
Creation Research Society Quarterly Fall Vol. 7. No. 2.

Macbeth, Norman (1983). Speech at Harvard University, September 24, 1983, quoted in L.D.
Sunderland, Darwin’s Enigma (1988), p. 150. Accessed 2/1/11 at http://www.jesus-is-savior.com/Evolution%20Hoax/Evolution/12a.htm.

Ritter, Malcolm (2011). DNA shows new human relative. Chicago Sun Times. Jan. 25, 2011.                   
Accessed 2/1/11 at  http://www.suntimes.com/news/nation/ 2994578-418/denisovans-ago-dna-relative-ancestors.html.

Rowitt, Steven (2010). The Ancestry of Man. Creation Studies Institute. Accessed 2/1/11 at
http://www.creationstudies.org/operationsalt/ancestry_of_man.html.
Washington Post.com (2010).  Neanderthals' Reputation Getting Makeover: In Latest Studies,     
Experts See Early Man as More Clever, Adaptable and Possibly Better Looking than Previously Thought.’ Accessed 2.1.11 at  http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/10/05/politics/washingtonpost /main6928684.shtml.