For as long as many of us can remember, Lucy has been an iconic fossil in the story of human evolution. The discussions about walking erect have been extensive. Many regard the evidence as definitive. However, "Rak and colleagues studied 146 mature primate bone specimens, including those from modern humans, gorillas, chimpanzees and orangutans and found that the "ramus element" of the mandible connecting the lower jaw to the skull is like that of the robust forms". The presence of this morphology in both Australopithecus robustus and Australopithecus afarensis and its absence in modern humans has "cast doubt on the role of [Lucy] as a common ancestor." Like a baton passed from runner to runner, the distinctive bone does the job of "eliminating the possibility that Lucy and her kind are Man's direct ancestors."
So what can be said about Lucy? "The specimen was only 1.1 meters tall, estimated to weigh 29 kilograms and look somewhat like a common chimpanzee." Also, "the structure of Lucy's mandibular ramus closely matches that of gorillas", which was an unexpected find, because this does not fit the previous cladistic analyses of chimps, gorillas and humans.
It looks like this is an appropriate time to reappraise the way museums and textbooks present the story of human evolution.
Gorilla-like anatomy on Australopithecus afarensis mandibles suggests Au. afarensis link to robust australopiths
Yoel Rak, Avishag Ginzburg, and Eli Geffen
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, April 17 2007, 104: 6568-6572, doi 10.1073/pnas.0606454104
Abstract: Mandibular ramus morphology on a recently discovered specimen of Australopithecus afarensis closely matches that of gorillas. This finding was unexpected given that chimpanzees are the closest living relatives of humans. Because modern humans, chimpanzees, orangutans, and many other primates share a ramal morphology that differs from that of gorillas, the gorilla anatomy must represent a unique condition, and its appearance in fossil hominins must represent an independently derived morphology. This particular morphology appears also in Australopithecus robustus. The presence of the morphology in both the latter and Au. afarensis and its absence in modern humans cast doubt on the role of Au. afarensis as a modern human ancestor. The ramal anatomy of the earlier Ardipithecus ramidus is virtually that of a chimpanzee, corroborating the proposed phylogenetic scenario.
Siegel-Itzkovich, J. Israeli researchers: 'Lucy' is not direct ancestor of humans, THE JERUSALEM POST, Apr. 16, 2007
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Evolution has become a favorite topic of the news media recently, but for some reason, they never seem to get the story straight. The staff at Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture started this Blog to set the record straight and make sure you knew "the rest of the story".
A blogger from New England offers his intelligent reasoning.
We are a group of individuals, coming from diverse backgrounds and not speaking for any organization, who have found common ground around teleological concepts, including intelligent design. We think these concepts have real potential to generate insights about our reality that are being drowned out by political advocacy from both sides. We hope this blog will provide a small voice that helps rectify this situation.
Website dedicated to comparing scenes from the "Inherit the Wind" movie with factual information from actual Scopes Trial. View 37 clips from the movie and decide for yourself if this movie is more fact or fiction.
Don Cicchetti blogs on: Culture, Music, Faith, Intelligent Design, Guitar, Audio
Australian biologist Stephen E. Jones maintains one of the best origins "quote" databases around. He is meticulous about accuracy and working from original sources.
Most guys going through midlife crisis buy a convertible. Austrialian Stephen E. Jones went back to college to get a biology degree and is now a proponent of ID and common ancestry.
Complete zipped downloadable pdf copy of David Stove's devastating, and yet hard-to-find, critique of neo-Darwinism entitled "Darwinian Fairytales"
Intelligent Design The Future is a multiple contributor weblog whose participants include the nation's leading design scientists and theorists: biochemist Michael Behe, mathematician William Dembski, astronomer Guillermo Gonzalez, philosophers of science Stephen Meyer, and Jay Richards, philosopher of biology Paul Nelson, molecular biologist Jonathan Wells, and science writer Jonathan Witt. Posts will focus primarily on the intellectual issues at stake in the debate over intelligent design, rather than its implications for education or public policy.
A Philosopher's Journey: Political and cultural reflections of John Mark N. Reynolds. Dr. Reynolds is Director of the Torrey Honors Institute at