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Paleoanthropology quotes

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"Fossil evidence of human evolutionary history is fragmentary and open to various interpretations. Fossil evidence of chimpanzee evolution is absent altogether". Henry Gee (evolutionist), “Return to the Planet of the Apes,” Nature, Vol. 412, 12 July 2001, p. 131.


"Modern apes, for instance, seem to have sprung out of nowhere. They have no yesterday, no fossil record. And the true origin of modern humans - of upright, naked, tool-making, big-brained beings - is, if we are to be honest with ourselves, an equally mysterious matter." - Dr. Lyall Watson, Anthropologist. 'The water people'. Science Digest, vol. 90, May 1982, p. 44.


APES UP FROM?, DONALD JOHANSON, "At any rate, modern gorillas, orangs and chimpanzees spring out of nowhere, as it were. They are here today; they have no yesterday...., LUCY, p.363


SUDDEN APPEARANCE: 'Biologists would dearly like to know how modern apes, modern humans and the various ancestral hominids have evolved from a common ancestor. Unfortunately, the fossil record is somewhat incomplete as far as the hominids are concerned, and it is all but blank for the apes. The best we can hope for is that more fossils will be found over the next few years which will fill the present gaps in the evidence.' The author goes on to say: 'David Pilbeam [a well-known expert in human evolution] comments wryly, "If you brought in a smart scientist from another discipline and showed him the meagre evidence we've got he'd surely say, 'forget it: there isn't enough to go on'."

(Richard E. Leakey, The Making of Mankind, Michael Joseph Limited, London, 1981, p. 43)


HAZARDOUS SURMISING: "The fossil record pertaining to man is still so sparsely known that those who insist on positive declarations can do nothing more than jump from one hazardous surmise to another and hope that the next dramatic discovery does not make them utter fools ... Clearly some refuse to learn from this. As we have seen, there are numerous scientists and popularizers today who have the temerity to tell us that there is 'no doubt' how man originated: if only they had the evidence..."

(William R Fix, The Bone Pedlars, New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1984, p.150)


PROVEN ANCESTRY: RICHARD C. LEWONTIN, Prof. of Zoology, Harvard, "Look, I'm a person who says in this book [Human Diversity, 1982 that we don't know anything about the ancestors of the human species. All the fossils which have been dug up and are claimed to be ancestors we haven't the faintest idea whether they are ancestors. ....All you've got is Homo sapiens there, you've got that fossil there, you've got another fossil there...and it's up to you to draw the lines. Because there are no lines.", Harpers, 2/85


RECONSTRUCTIONS: EARNST A. HOOTEN, Harvard, "To attempt to restore the soft parts is an even more hazardous undertaking. The lips, the eyes, the ears, and the nasal tip, leave no clues on the underlying bony parts. You can with equal facility model on a Neanderthaloid skull the features of a chimpanzee or the lineaments of a philosopher. These alleged restorations of ancient types of man have very little if any scientific value and are likely only to mislead the public.... So put not your trust in reconstructions.", UP FROM THE APE, p.332


RECONSTRUCTIONS: W. HOWELLS, Harvard, "A great legend has grown up to plague both paleontologists and anthropologists. It is that one of; men can take a tooth or a small and broken piece of bone, gaze at it, and pass his hand over his forehead once or twice, and then take a sheet of paper and draw a picture of what the whole animal looked like as it tramped the Terriary terrain. If this were quite true, the anthropologists would make the F.B.I. look like a troop of Boy Scouts.", MANKIND SO FAR, p. l38


THEORY DOMINATED DATA, DAVID PILBEAM, YALE, "I am also aware of the fact that, at least in my own subject of paleoanthropology, "theory" - heavily influenced by implicit ideas almost always dominates "data". ....Ideas that are totally unrelated to actual fossils have dominated theory building, which in turn strongly influence the way fossils are interpreted." Quoted in BONES OF CONTENTION p.127


PARANORMAL ANTHROPOLOGY, LORD SOLLY ZUCKERMAN (paleonthropologist of Birmingham University in England), "We then move right off the register of objective truth into those fields of presumed biological science, like extrasensory perception or the interpretation of man's fossil history, where to the faithful anything is possible - and where the ardent believer is sometimes able to believe several contradictory things at the same time." BEYOND THE IVORY TOWER, New York: Taplinger Publishing Company, 1970, p. 19.


BASIS OF "FAMILY TREE". ROGER LEWIN, Editor, Research News, Science, "The key issue is the ability correctly to infer a genetic relationship between two species on the basis of a similarity in appearance, at gross and detailed levels of anatomy. Sometimes this approach....can be deceptive, partly because similarity does not necessarily imply an identical genetic heritage: a shark (which is a fish) and a porpoise (which is a mammal) look similar…, BONES OF CONTENTION, 1987, p. 123


"APE MAN" OUT, ROGER LEWIN, Ed., Research News, Science, "The dethroning of Ramapithecus from putative first human in 1961 to extinct relative of the orangutan in 1982 is one of the most fascinating, and bitter, sagas in the search for human origins." BONES OF CONTENTION, 1987, p.86


"APES", Robert B. Eckhardt, Penn. State Univ., "...there would appear to be little evidence to suggest that several different hominoid species are represented among the Old World dryopithecine fossils... (Ramapithecus, Oreopithecus, Limnopithecus, Kenyapithecus). They themselves nevertheless seem to have been apes morphologically, ecologically, and behaviorally.", Scientific American, Vol.226, p.101


SECOND "APE MAN" OUT, ROGER LEWIN, Ed., Research News, Science, Richard and his parents, Louis and Mary, have held to a view of human origins for nearly half a century now that the line of true man, the line of Homo large brain, tool making and so on has a separate ancestry that goes back millions and millions of years. And the apeman, Australopithecus, has nothing to do with human ancestry." BONES OF CONTENTION, 1987, p.18


LEAKEY DEFECTION, "Dr. Leakey bases his repudiation of Darwin on the results of his long search in East Africa for the remains of the original man. The generally accepted post Darwin view is that man developed from the baboon 3 to 5 million years ago. But Leakey has found no evidence of a spurt in development at that time.", Chicago American, 1/25, 1967


DISMISSED APE, LORD SOLLY ZUCKERMAN, "His Lordship's scorn for the level of competence he sees displayed by paleoanthropologists is legendary, exceeded only by the force of his dismissal of the australopithecines as having anything at all to do with human evolution. 'They are just bloody apes', he is reputed to have observed on examining the australopithecine remains in South Africa.. Zuckerman had become extremely powerful in British science, being an adviser to the government up to the highest level...,while at Oxford and then Birmingham universities, he had vigorously pursued a metrical and statistical approach to studying the anatomy of fossil hominids....it was on this basis that he underpinned his lifelong rejection of the australopithecines as human ancestors.", Roger Lewin, BONES OF CONTENTION, 1987, p.164, 165


DEFINITELY AN APE, LORD SOLLY ZUCKERMAN, "The australopithecine skull is in fact so overwhelmingly simian as opposed to human (figure 5) that the contrary proposition could be equated to an assertion that black is white.", BEYOND THE IVORY TOWER, p.78


UNHUMAN, LIKE THE ORANGUTAN, CHARLES E. OXNARD, Dean of Graduate School, Prof. of Biology & Anatomy, USC, "....conventional wisdom is that the australopithecine fragments are generally rather similar to humans....the new studies point to different conclusions. The new investigations suggest that the fossil fragments are usually uniquely different from any living form: when they do have similarities with living species, they are as often as not reminiscent of the orangutan, ...these results imply that the various australopithecines are really not all that much like humans. ....may well have been bipeds, .... but if so, it was not in the human manner. They may also have been quite capable climbers as much at home in the trees as on the ground..", The American Biology Teacher, Vol.41, May 1979, pp.273-4


LIKE PYGMY CHIMP, ADRIENNE L ZIHLMAN, U. C. Santa Cruz, "Zihlman compares the pygmy chimpanzee to "Lucy," one of the oldest hominid fossils known and finds the similarities striking. They are almost identical in body size, in stature; and in brain size.... These commonalties, Zihlman argues indicate that pygmy chimps use their limbs in much the same way Lucy did....", Science News, Vol.123, Feb.5. 1983, p.89


AUSTRALOPITHECINES, William Howells, Harvard, "...the pelvis was by no means modern, nor were the feet: the toes were more curved than ours; the heel bones lacked our stabilizing tubercles; and a couple of small ligaments that, in us, tighten the arch from underneath, were apparently not present. The finger bones were curved as they are in tree climbing apes." GETTING HERE, 1993, p.79


SHRIVELED STATUS, MATT CARTMILL, Duke; DAVID PILBEAM Harvard; GLYNN ISAAC Harvard; "The australopithecines are rapidly shrinking back to the status of peculiarly specialized apes...", American Scientist, (JulyAugust 1986) p.419


BELIEVE IT, SEE IT, ROGER LEWIN, Editor of Research News, Science, "How is it that trained men, the greatest experts of their day, could look at a set of modern human bones the cranial fragments and "see" a clear simian signature in them; and see in an apes jaw the unmistakable signs of humanity. The answers, inevitably, have to do with the scientist's' expectations and there effects on the interpretation of the data … It is, in fact, a common fantasy, promulgated mostly by the scientific profession itself, that in the search for objective truth, data dictate conclusions. If this were the case, then each scientist faced with the same data would necessarily reach the same conclusion. But as we've seen earlier and will see again and again, frequently this does not happen. Data are just as often molded to fit preferred conclusions.", BONES OF CONTENTION, pp.61, 68


EVOLUTION OR VARIATION? "....a Neanderthaler is a model of evolutionary refinement. Put him in a Brooks Brothers suit and send him down to the supermarket for some groceries and he might pass completely unnoticed. He might run a little shorter than the clerk serving him but he would not necessarily be the shortest man in the place. He might be heavier-Featured, squattier and more muscular than most, but again he might be no more so than the porter handling the beer cases back in the stock room." EVOLUTION, TimeLife Nature Library.


LARGER BRAIN, WILLIAM HOWELLS, Harvard, "The Neanderthal brain was most positively and definitely not smaller than our own; indeed, and this is a rather bitter pill, it appears to have been perhaps a little larger.", MANKIND SO FAR, p.165


MODERN CAME FIRST, O. BARYOSEF, Peabody Museum, Harvard, B. VANDERMEERCH, Univ. Bordeaux, "Modern Homo sapiens preceded Neanderthals at Mt. Carmel. ...modern looking H. sapiens had lived in one of the caves some 50,000 to 100,000 years ago, much earlier than such people had been thought to exist anywhere. ...The results have shaken the traditional evolutionary scenario, producing more questions than answers." Scientific American, p.94, April 1993


RUINED FAMILY TREE, "Either we toss out this skull [1470] or we toss out our theories of early man," asserts anthropologist Richard Leakey of this 2.8 million year old fossil, witch he has tentatively identified as belonging to our own genus. "It simply fits no previous models of human beginnings." The author, son of famed anthropologist Louis S. B. Leakey, believes that the skull's surprisingly large braincase "leaves in ruins the notion that all early fossils can be arranged in an orderly sequence of evolutionary change.", National Geographic, June 1973, p.819


HUMAN BRAIN, "Leakey further describes the whole shape of the brain case [1470] as remarkably reminiscent of modern man, lacking the heavy and protruding eyebrow ridges and thick bone characteristics of Homo erectus." Science News, 102 (4/3/72) p.324


HUMAN BRAIN, Dean Falk, St. U. of N.Y. at Albany, "...KNMER 1805 Homo habilis should not be attributed to Homo... the shape of the endocast from KNMER (basal view) is similar to that from an African pongid, where as the endocast of KNMER 1470 is shaped like that of a modern human." Science, 221, (9/9/83) p.1073


HUMAN BRAIN "The foremost American experts on human brain evolution Dean Falk of the State University of New York at Albany and Ralph Holloway of Columbia University usually disagree, but even they agree that Broca's area is present in a skull from East Turkana known as 1470. Philip Tobias...renowned brain expert from South Africa concurs." Anthro Quest: The Leakey's Foundation News. No.43 (Spring 91) p.13


NOT ERECTUS, "According to paleoanthropologist Ian Tattersall of the American Museum of Natural History in New York the African skulls...assigned to erectus often lack many of the specialized traits that were originally used to define that species in Asia, including the long low cranial structure thick skull bones, and robustly built faces. In his view, the African group deserves to be placed in a separate species..." Discover, 9/94, p.88


"OLD" MODERN MEN, Louis Leakey, 'In 1933 I published on a small fragment of jaw we call Homo kanamensis, and I said categorically this is not a nearman or ape, this is a true member of the genus Homo. There were stone tools with it too. The age was somewhere around 2.5 to 3 million years. It was promptly put on the shelf by my colleagues, except for two of them. The rest said it must be placed in a 'suspense account.' Now, 36 years later, we have proved I was right." Quoted in BONES OF CONTENTION, p.156


'THE OLDEST MAN', "[African Footprints] ....they belonged to the genus Homo (or true man), rather than to manapes (like Australopithecus, who was once a thought to be the forerunner of man but is now regarded as a possible evolutionary dead end). ....they were 3.35 million to 3.75 million years old. ....they would, in Mary Leakeys words, be people 'not unlike ourselves,'...." Time, Nov. 10, 1975, p.93


TOO HUMAN TOO OLD, Russel H. Tuttle, Professor of Anthropology, University of Chicago, Affiliate Scientist, Primate Research Center, Emory University, "In sum, the 3.5millionyearold footprint trails at Laetoli sight G resemble those of habitually unshod modem humans…If the G footprints were not known to be so old, we would readily conclude that they were made by a member of our genus...in any case we should shelve the loose assumption that the Laetoli footprints were made by Lucy's kind..." Natural History, 3/90, p.64.


MODERN & TALL, RICHARD LEAKEY, ....the boy from Turkana was surprisingly large compared with modern boys his age; he could well have grown to six feet. ....he would probably go unnoticed in a crowd today. This find combines with previous discoveries of Homo erectus to contradict a long held idea that humans have grown larger over the millennia.", National Geographic, p.629, Nov., 1985


CHARLES E. OXNARD Dean, Grad. School, Prof. Bio. and Anat., USC, "...earlier finds, for instance, at Kanapoi...existed at least at the same time as, and probably even earlier than, the original gracile australopithecines... almost indistinguishable in shape from that of modern humans at four and a half million years..." American Biology Teacher, Vol.41, 5/1979, p.274.


HENRY M. MCHENRY, U. of C., Davis, "The results show that the Kanapoi specimen, which is 4 to 4.5 million years old, is indistinguishable from modern Homo sapiens..." Science Vol.190, p.~28.


WILLIAM HOWELLS, Harvard, "...with a date of about 4.4 million, [KP 271] could not be distinguished from Homo sapiens morphologically or by multivariate analysis by Patterson and myself in 1967 (or by much more searching analysis by others since then). We suggested that it might represent Australopithecus because at that time allocation to Homo seemed preposterous, although it would be the correct one without the time element.", HOMO ERECTUS, 1981, p.79-80.


EVE KICKED OUT, STEPHEN J. GOULD, "...'mitochondral Eve' hypothesis of modern human origins in Africa, suffered a blow in 1993, when the discovery of an important technical fallacy in the computer program used to generate and assess evolutionary trees debunked the supposed evidence for an African source...disproving the original claim.", Natural History, 2/94, p.21