They’ve found a missing link! . . . at least that’s what the headlines (once again) will tell you!
A recent study trumpeted the discovery of a supposedly 11.6-million-year-old ape from what is now Germany. Danuvius guggenmosi allegedly had “long arms suited to hanging in trees, [and] features of its legs and spine suggest it might also have been able to move around on its hind feet.” It’s now being hailed as the earliest evidence of bipedalism (habitual walking on two legs) and now upends the evolutionary timetable for bipedal evolution. So, did they find a missing link? Well, not so fast.
Dr. David Menton, an anatomist and former professor at Washington University School of Medicine at St. Louis, took a look at the study and the reports about this new find. His conclusion? Much ado about nothing—or at least very little.
The find itself, like many fossil finds, was very fragmentary, with the most important bones (e.g., pelvis and skull) missing entirely. Here’s Dr. Menton’s analysis, with quotes from the popular summary of the study included in italics:
“Discovery of creature that lived in the trees but stood on its hind legs suggests bipedalism emerged millions of years earlier than previously thought.”
Menton’s “law”: everything will continue to be found to have evolved earlier than previously thought.
“Had long arms suited to hanging on trees, features of its legs and spine suggest it might also have been able to move around on its hind feet.”
They claim that Danuvius guggenmosi might have been able to move around on its hind feet! One could say this for any ape or monkey. What exactly does it mean to be bipedal? Is the circus elephant that walks on two hind legs bipedal?
Bipedal means walking on two rear limbs. Many animals can walk on two limbs, but obligate or habitual bipeds essentially always walk on two limbs. Many animals engage in bipedalism, including kangaroos, tree kangaroos, kangaroo rats and mice, scaly ant-eaters, bears, apes, monkeys, many lizards, theropod dinosaurs, and all birds. There is even a cockroach that runs on two legs. A visit to the circus reveals that horses, dogs, lions, tigers, and elephants are capable of walking on two legs. The ostrich is the fastest living biped (nearly 45 miles an hour). Some living tree-dwelling primates, such as gibbons and indriids (a type of lemur), are exclusively bipedal during the brief periods they spend on the ground. No evolutionist considers any of these “bipeds” to be ancestral to bipedality or humans.
And there is an essential difference between human and ape bipedality—the stride or gait. Apes must swing their upper body from side to side to keep their weight over the planted foot and to keep the contralateral hip from dropping. The best evidence for gait is the anatomy of the pelvis. The curvature of the iliac blades on the human pelvis is unique. Unfortunately, no critically important pelvic bones were found with Danuvius guggenmosi .
“how and when bipedal walking evolved is currently a mystery . . . ”
But they are absolutely certain that it did evolve somehow sometime!
“The 4.4 million-year-old hominin Ardipithecus ramidus was clearly bipedal.”
This claim is not true.
From the website of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History:
Does the pelvis of Ar. ramidus support the hypothesis that this early human species was bipedal? The pelvis was reconstructed from crushed fossils and, according to some scientists, is only suggestive of bipedalism.
Also, Ar. ramidus had a laterally diverging and grasping big toe typical of tree dwellers.
[B]ones belonging to at least four individuals . . . include thigh, shin and lower arm bones, as well as several vertebrae and hand and foot bones. The vertebrae and leg bones in particular suggest that D. guggenmosi moved around on two feet . . . the shapes of some of the vertebrae suggest that the ancient ape had a long and flexible lower back, a feature that allows modern humans to stay balanced while walking upright.
The original paper published in Nature shows evidence of only two vertebrae: a first thoracic vertebra, and a diaphragmatic vertebra. These are hardly sufficient data to show any evidence of a “long flexible back” or that the creature “moved around on two feet.”
The big advantage of this sort of speculative “research” is that no one can prove your speculations to be wrong, but then no one can prove them to be right.
With the handful of bones they found, the claim that this ape was bipedal is speculation. It’s an interpretation of the fossils.
Dr. Menton concluded by telling me, “How does one disagree with mere speculation? It’s like disagreeing with a novel.” With the handful of bones they found, the claim that this ape was bipedal is speculation. It’s an interpretation of the fossils. Unsurprisingly, other scientists disagree with the conclusion made by the study authors regarding D. guggenmosi , saying the evidence is too fragmentary to make such a conclusion possible.
Evolutionists will continue to search for a missing link to fill in the gaps in their story. But they won’t find them because they don’t exist. God’s Word gives us the true history of the world. And it says God created humans unique from the animals, in his very image (Genesis 1:27).
Maybe they should rename this creature Danuvius desperanti to illustrate how desperate evolutionists are to find their non-existent missing link!