Ida, the New Missing Link
Ida, the New Missing Link: The Next in a Long Line of Hoaxes and Misrepresentations
Hold the presses! There it was for all to see, a huge headline from Sky News on May 20, 2009 that read, Scientists Unveil Missing Link in Evolution. This bold proclamation alleged a 47- million-year-old fossilized skeleton of a monkey was the direct connection between humans and the rest of the animal kingdom. What was this earth-shaking discovery? Well by their own description, it was a 95% complete fossilized skeleton of a lemur monkey hailed as the eight wonder of the world! [Emphasis added]
Who did the journalists following up on this press release choose to quote? It was none other than Sir Richard Attenborough of Jurassic Park fame. Sir Richard is an incredibly talented actor-director and patron of the arts, but who can doubt his scientific credentials with statements concerning Ida such as, “Darwin would have been thrilled” and “This little creature is going to show us our connection with the rest of the mammals.” Sir Richard went on to say, “Now people can say ‘okay we are primates’ show us the link” and “The link we have said up to now is missing – well it’s no longer missing.” Or is it?
Just a smattering of blog comments from other renowned paleontologists should make us stop and think about the incredible degree of hype that is being associated with this fossil.
“On the whole I think the evidence is less than convincing,” said Chris Gilbert, a paleoanthropologist at Yale University. “They make an intriguing argument but I would definitely say that the consensus is not in favor of the hypothesis they’re proposing.”
The Ida team points to the fact that some of the fossil’s teeth, toe and ankle bones resemble anthropoids more than modern lemurs. But other researchers point out that primitive lemurs, as opposed to modern lemurs, also share many of these features.
Another eminent scholar weighs in, “They claim in the paper that by examining the anatomy of adapids, these animals have something to do with the direct line of human ancestry and living monkeys and apes. This claim is buttressed with almost no evidence,” said paleontologist Richard Kay of Duke University. “And they failed to cite a body of literature that’s been going on since at least 1984 that presents evidence against their hypothesis.”
These two near-immediate responses from Yale scholar Chris Gilbert, Ph.D. (Stony Brook University) who is the Gaylord Donnelley Postdoctoral Associate in the Department of Anthropology and the Yale Institute for Biospheric Studies as well as Richard Kay, Ph.D. (Yale University) who is Professor of Biological Anthropology and Anatomy and of Geology Earth and Ocean Sciences at Duke University should give us pause. They should raise the caution flag in our minds concerning Ida.
This brings us to our old friend Lucy. Lucy has been jilted; she has been caste aside for the new and contrary to type, allegedly older woman, Ida.
Someone needs to tell Lucy she is no longer the oldest and best representation of the ever-elusive and constantly revised family tree of ape to human evolution. Never mind that Lucy, Australopithecus afarensis, is an allegedly 3.18 million year old fossilized hominid from Ethiopia. Never mind that Dr. Donald Johanson, Lucy’s co-discoverer, admitted in a lecture at the University of Missouri on November 20, 1986 in answer to a question by Roy Holt, “How far away from Lucy did you find the knee?” (The knee bones were actually discovered about a year earlier than the rest of Lucy.) Dr. Johanson answered (reluctantly) about 200 feet lower and two to three kilometers away (about 1.5 miles!). Continuing, Holt asked, “Then why are you sure it belonged to Lucy?” Dr. Johanson’s answer to his critic was, “Anatomical similarity.”
Wait, there’s more. Was it Lucy or Luke? Just how did the discoverers of this alleged missing link determine the gender of Lucy? Helen Lawrence informs us that her training as a medical doctor in the specialty of obstetrics and gynecology helped her to ‘appreciate birth mechanisms.’ The relatively small stature of Lucy, about 3.5 to 4.0 feet in height, and the reconstruction of the pelvis led many of the evolutionary faithful to conclude that Lucy was indeed a female.
As is common in the sciences, there is often disagreement among all the so-called experts and Lucy has not escaped the controversies that usually surround the designation of “missing link” in the scientific community. Enter Hausler and Schmid. These eminent scientists looked at the very same fossil evidence and came to a completely different conclusion, e.g. that the reconstructions of the inlet and midplane of Lucy’s pelvis, and comparisons to other fossils and modern humans, reveals that the shape of Lucy’s pelvis was not structured correctly to give birth. The pelvis was just too narrow to accommodate an australopithecine fetus. Hausler and Schmid noted that Lucy’s pelvis was ridgeless and heart-shaped, which means that ‘she’ was more likely a ‘he’. They noted:
‘Contrary to Sts 14, delivery in AL 288–1 would have been more complicated than in modern humans, if not impossible, due to the protruding promontorium …. Consequently, there is more evidence to suggest that AL 288–1 was male rather than female. A female of the same species as AL 288–1 would have had a pelvis with a larger sagittal diameter and a less protruding sacral promontorium … . Overall, the broader pelvis and the more laterally oriented iliac blades of AL 288–1 would produce more favourable insertion sites for the climbing muscles in more heavily built males … with such a pelvis, ‘Lucy’ would apparently have been the last of her species [emphasis added].’(Hausler and Schmid 1995)
The response from the evolutionary community was swift. They needed to debunk the conclusions of Hausler and Schmid or change Lucy’s name from Lucy to Luke. Everything in the work of Hausler and Schmid pointed to truth that Lucy was not a missing link, she was not a true hominid at all but rather a primate. Still to this very day, there is evidence for and against this so-called missing link and the more we study the matter and examine all of the evidence, the more we find that this so-called missing link promoted with extreme zeal and confidence is not standing the test of time.
Let’s take a walk down memory lane of all the so-called ape to man missing links. History is strewn with attempts to prove Darwinian evolutionary theory is a fact. Darwinian evolution is presented as a fact that cannot be observed as having occurred in the past, cannot be observed as happening in the present and on the molecular level, has proven to be a virtual mathematical impossibility by men such as British astronomer Sir Frederick Hoyle.
According to Hoyle, “the improbability involved in generating even one bacterium is so large that it reduces all considerations of time and space to nothingness. Given such odds, the time until the black holes evaporate and the space to the ends of the universe would make no difference at all. If we were to wait, we would truly be waiting for a miracle.”
Regarding the origin of life Francis Crick, winner of the Nobel Prize in biology, stated in 1982:
“An honest man, armed with all the knowledge available to us now, could only state that in some, the origin of life appears at the moment to be almost a miracle, so many are the conditions which would have had to have been satisfied to get it going.”
With regard to the probability of spontaneous generation, Harvard University biochemist and Nobel Laureate, George Wald stated in 1954:
“One has to only contemplate the magnitude of this task to concede that the spontaneous generation of a living organism is impossible. Yet we are here-as a result, I believe, of spontaneous generation.”
Here Wald leaps from the realm of the empirical into the world of the absurd, and he is not alone in presenting this previously falsified paradigm as fact. Because of such arrogant unscientific beliefs and despite these incredible odds and the seemingly insurmountable problems, spontaneous generation is taught as a fact from grammar school to university. In fact, NASA scientists reported to the press in 1991 their opinion that life arose spontaneously not once, but multiple times, because previous attempts were wiped out by cosmic catastrophes. George Wald eloquently points out the reason for this fanatical adherence to spontaneous generation:
“When it comes to the origin of life there are only two possibilities: Creation or spontaneous generation. There is no third way. Spontaneous generation was disproved one hundred years ago, but that leads us to only one other conclusion, that of supernatural creation. We cannot accept that on philosophical grounds; therefore, we choose to believe the impossible: That life arose spontaneously by chance!”
According to Wald, it’s not a matter of the evidence; it’s a matter of philosophy! Like George Wald, many people do not like, and cannot accept the alternative: that a transcendent Creator created all life on earth. So, as Wald said, they are willing to “believe the impossible,” in order to cling to their belief that the universe is a closed system.” So who can we trust when science has been hi-jacked by the godless philosophy of naturalism? Evidently the evolutionary faithful cannot be trusted to present all the alternative explanations.
Now for that walk down memory land. What does evolutionary history concerning missing links have to offer with regard to our best new example of a missing link, Ida? We have to review the history of missing links in order to properly gauge Ida’s importance.
What ever happened to Java Man?
This missing link was discovered by Eugene Dubois. The bones were found in 1891-1892 on the Indonesian Island of Java in Southeast Asia along the banks of the Solo River. And there was an interesting assortment of fossils. He found a leg bone, a skullcap, a jaw fragment and three teeth. And from these fossils Dubois concocted Java man. Interestingly enough, some of the teeth were old and some young. The bones belonged to apes, female and male.
Dubois kept these fossils from the scrutiny of the scientific community for over 30 years. He also kept secret the fact that he had found modern human remains at the same stratum. Was the scientific community willing to jump on the bandwagon and proclaim yet another missing link? Yes they were.
Now it is November 1912 – The Guardian newspaper announces “One of the most important prehistoric finds of our time has been made in Sussex”. [Emphasis added] What was this important prehistoric find? None other than Piltdown Man. Eventually the Piltdown specimens became the target of an array of new analysis techniques by Oakley and his colleagues. As well as re-testing for fluoride, the scientists look at the presence of iron, nitrogen, collagen, organic carbon, organic water, at radioactivity and at crystal structure. These tests prove that, while the skull is fossilized, the jaw was that of a modern ape. The teeth filed to change the wear pattern and stained to match the skull. So much for, “One of the most important prehistoric finds of our time.”
Next we have the famous, or infamous, Nebraska Man. The discovery based upon a tooth by Mr. Harold Cook, H. F. Osborn (head of the American Museum of Natural History) who declared it had characteristics which were a mixture of human, chimpanzee and pithecanthropus. He named it Hesperopithecus haroldcookii (Harold Cook’s Evening Ape).
As is the case today with Ida, Nebraska Man was heralded as a true missing link. In Britain, anthropologist and anatomist Sir Grafton Elliott Smith hailed the discovery and thereby offered substantiation of the missing link claims. Many fully supported him and, on the basis of a single tooth, there appeared in the Illustrated London Times (24 June 1922) a center-spread of an artist’s impression of “man-ape” Hesperopithecus cavorting with his wife. [Nearly everyone believed in “Nebraska man.” In fact, they weren’t quite sure whether it was from an ape-like man or a man-like ape. He was given the official name of Hesperopithecus, became popularly known as Nebraska man, and was presented as evidence that man had evolved from apes.]
Today, many of the evolutionary faithful claim that Nebraska Man was not unanimously embraced and that may indeed have been the case, however, the voice of dissent is often drowned out by the excitement and zeal concerning anything that even remotely supports the molecules to men Theory of Evolution.
And this brings us to the current last word in evidence for the Theory of Evolution, the ‘lemur monkey’ turned missing link named Ida. How excited are the evolutionary faithful about this discovery? Here is an example of what we can expect. This is from the lips of the co-author of the scientific paper hailing the discovery if Ida, Professor Gingerich. He likens its importance to the discovery of the Rosetta Stone, the ancient Egyptian artifact discovered in 1799 that enabled modern archaeologists to decipher ancient hieroglyphic writing.
With self proclaimed importance such as that, how can anyone doubt the veracity and importance of this new evidence for ape to man evolution? It must be true, right? Wrong! As we have seen with other so-called missing links or transitional fossils, further examination always ends up being the pin that pops the bubble of the balloon that is puffed up with scientific arrogance. If Darwinian Theory were really true, there would be a continuum of transitional fossils, a veritable plethora of intermediates that clearly chronicle upward evolutionary change from primitive bacteria to the exquisitely complex human organism called man. This continuum should be easily demonstrated in the fossil record, yet almost every living creature we see in the fossil record appears abruptly, fully formed with few if any undisputed transitional fossils.
I am still waiting for evolutionary science to explain the Cambrian explosion, the seemingly miraculous appearance of complex invertebrates sans any precursors in the fossil record. This explosion of diverse life forms with absolutely no preexisting related organisms supporting them cannot be explained by the evolutionary faithful. Rather than admitting the Cambrian explosion is evidence in support of special creation, they ignore the obvious in some sort of modern day version of denial.
Don’t hold your breath for any retractions concerning Ida. When Ida also proves to be nothing more than what the Creator intended it to be, a species of now extinct lemur monkey, there will be no fanfare, no retraction of the Rosetta Stone comparison. It too will end up buried along with all the other now debunked missing links of the past, cast aside to make room for the next great evolutionary discovery.