Ardipithecus kadabba and ramidus

The finds of Ardipithecus kadabba

The finds of Ardipithecus kadabba
Image from Italian Wikipedia user, ‘Lucius’

Ardipithecus kadabba

The finds of kadabba (which lived supposedly 5.6 million years ago[1]) consisted of some teeth, jaw fragments, and postcranial bones. It is therefore not known what the head looked like. So what leads evolutionists to the conclusion that kadabbais transitional? It is believed to have walked on two legs based on the dorsal orientation of the toe bone (proximal foot phalanx).[2] In humans and inArdipithecus, the toe bone’s joint surface points upward whereas in other apes such as chimpanzees, it tilts downwards. Because of this,kadabba supposedly walked similar to humans.[3]

However, evidence for transitional status based on this feature is weaker than you are lead to believe. David Begun noted:

“The same joint configuration occurs in the definitely non-bipedal late Miocene hominidSivapithecus, and the length and curvature of this bone closely resembles those of a chimpanzee or bonobo.”[4]

And in fact, some doubt whether this toe bone is even part of the fossil. It was dated a few hundred thousand years younger than the rest of the bones, and was found 16km away.[5]

Ardipithecus ramidus

The fossils of ramidus (which lived supposedly 4.4 million years ago[6]) ‘shows a host of characters usually associated with modern apes’.[7] It has a brain size between 300 and 350 cm3, which is about 20% of modern man’s brain. Peter Line said[8] concerning ramidus:

“The authors argue for hominid status mainly based on a more incisiform canine morphologyand a more anterior position of the foramen magnum, as they believe ‘Acquisition of these states at Aramis may correlate with bipedality although this remains to be demonstrated.’[9]

But not everyone is convinced that ramidus is a hominid. Peter Andrews of London’s Natural History Museum, said that the thin enamel on the teeth of ramidus ‘is more of what you’d expect from a fossil chimp’, and the features of an upper arm bone ‘suggests knuckle-walking, chimp-style’.[10]

More fossil scraps have since been found, and evolutionists have claimed ramidus to be transitional based on the dorsal orientation of the toe bones found (technically, the proximal joint surface of a proximal foot phalanx). However, one is referred to the “kadabba” section for the refutation.

Another feature used to support ramidus’ transitional status is its smaller teeth. This is supposed to show reduced male-to-male conflict, increased pair-bonding, and increased parental investment. But this feature is hardly enough to classify ramidus as transitional, since much larger variations than this exist in current species.

Conclusion

And so, there is little doubt that both Ardipithecus species are mere apes with only speculative features pointing to possible bipedal locomotion. One must remember that even if an ape is proven to have walked upright, it would not be evidence for human evolution from apes. Indeed, even apes today are seen to walk upright from time to time. For a specimen to be more acceptable as transitional, it must have beenhabitually bipedal. This has never been shown.

Balter and Gibbons said:

“The Orrorin and Ardipithecus teams assert that each other’s fossils could represent an ancestor of chimps or other apes, rather than one of our early human ancestors or cousins.”[11]

Perhaps this is because both species are too fragmentary to conclusively state which, if any, our supposed ancestor is. Therefore, one should not hold to them as ‘evidence’ for human origins from apes.

Possible Responses

“The article said ‘Even apes today are seen to walk upright from time to time’. This proves they are evolving too.”
If this is so, then the term ‘transitional’ becomes meaningless if it can describe living apes which have no observable relation to humans.

References

  1. White, Tim D.; Asfaw, Berhane; Beyene, Yonas; Haile-Selassie, Yohannes; Lovejoy, C. Owen; Suwa, Gen; WoldeGabriel, Giday (2009). “Ardipithecus ramidus and the Paleobiology of Early Hominids”, Science 326 (5949): 75–86. doi:10.1126/science.1175802. PMID 19810190. Back to text
  2. Halle-Selassie, Y., “Late Miocene hominids from the Middle Awash, Ethiopia”, Nature412:180, 2001. Back to text
  3. Wong, K., “An ancestor to call our own”, Scientific American Special 13(2):8-9, 2003. Back to text
  4. Begun, D.R., “The earliest hominins—is less more?” Science 303:1478-1480, 2004. Back to text
  5. Lemonick, M.D. and Dorfman, A., “One giant step for mankind”, Time (South Pacific) pp. 58–59, 23 July 2001. Back to text
  6. Perlman, David, “Fossils From Ethiopia May Be Earliest Human Ancestor”, National Geographic News, July 12, 2001 (Retrieved July 2009). Back to text
  7. White, T.D., Suwa, G. and Asfaw, B., “Australopithecus ramidus, a new species of early hominid from Aramis, Ethiopia”, Nature 371:311, 1994. Back to text
  8. Peter Line, “Fossil Evidence for Alleged Apemen—Part 2: Non-Homo Hominids,” Journal of Creation 19(1):33–42, April 2005. Back to text
  9. Reference for quotation which Line cited: White, T.D., Suwa, G. and Asfaw, B., “Australopithecus ramidus, a new species of early hominid from Aramis, Ethiopia”, Nature371:312, 1994. Back to text
  10. Fischman, J., “Putting our oldest ancestors in their proper place”, Science 265:2011, 1994. Back to text
  11. Balter, M. and Gibbons, A., “Another emissary from the dawn of humanity”, Science293:189, 2001. Back to text
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