Creationists Claim Lucy Is a Fraud

Creationists have never liked Lucy — the first fossil found of the pre-human species formally known as Australopithecus afarensis. Numerous other fossils of that species have been found since Lucy, but that one gets all the press. The usual creationist websites deny the legitimacy of Lucy, including the Discoveroids — see Discovery Institute: Casey Luskin and Lucy.

Well, something has come up that is certain to thrill the creationists. You can read about it in the New Scientist in this article: Baboon bone found in famous Lucy skeleton. Whoa — that sounds serious! Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

Lucy, arguably the world’s most famous early human fossil, is not quite all she seems. A careful look at the ancient hominin’s skeleton suggests one bone may actually belong to a baboon.

[…]

[W]hen Gary Sawyer and Mike Smith at the American Museum of Natural History in New York recently began work on a new reconstruction of Lucy’s skeleton, with help from Scott Williams at New York University, they noticed something odd. “Mike pointed out that one of the [vertebra] fragments, which no one, including me, had really paid close attention to, looked fairly small to fit with the rest of Lucy’s vertebral column,” says Williams.

[…]

They soon concluded that it didn’t belong to Lucy. “It was just too small,” says Williams.

How much of a problem is this? Not much, apparently. Here’s another excerpt:

“Baboons were a close match, both in shape and size,” says Williams. “So we think we’ve solved this mystery. It seems that a fossil gelada baboon thoracic vertebra washed or was otherwise transported in the mix of Lucy’s remains.

He stresses, though, that the analysis, which he will present at a meeting of the Paleoanthropology Society in San Francisco next week, also confirms that the other 88 fossil fragments belonging to Lucy’s skeleton are correctly identified. And the mislabelled baboon bone fragment doesn’t undermine Lucy’s important position in the evolution of our lineage.

Well, these things happen. It’s only one bone, and as we mentioned, Lucy is only one of numerous other fossils of the same species. But this news is more than enough to get the creationists all worked up. Look what we found at the website of the Christian News Network — their headline screams: Evolutionary Embarrassment: Part of Famous ‘Ape-Man’ Skeleton Actually Came from Baboon. They say, with bold font added by us:

A team of scientists has announced that the famous “Lucy” skeleton, a specimen long heralded as proof of man’s evolutionary descent, likely includes at least one bone from a baboon.

Uh huh — “at least” one bone from a baboon. Let’s read on:

[M]any scientists, including those who believe in biblical creation, have long expressed skepticism toward the Lucy fossil. Sculptor and exhibit designer Doug Henderson wrote in a 2013 article for Answers in Genesis that depictions of Lucy are significantly influenced by biases and unfounded assumptions.

Answers in Genesis? BWAHAHAHAHAHA! We continue:

If the Lucy fragment is indeed from a baboon, the incident would not be the first time evolutionists have misidentified fossils that allegedly prove the existence of ape-men. In the 1920s, a single fossil purportedly originating from a primate nicknamed “Nebraska Man”

Aaaargh!! We discussed Nebraska Man in Common Creationist Claims Confuted. It was a very brief mis-identification, quickly corrected. It now appears only in creationist literature. Then they quote David Menton, a writer for Answers in Genesis:

“No, we are not descended from apes,” Menton concluded. “Rather, God created man as the crown of His creation on Day 6. We are a special creation of God, made in His image, to bring Him glory. What a revolution this truth would make if our evolutionized culture truly understood it!”

So there you are. One wrong bone in one fossil and — Whammo! It’s all over. But there’s one thing that bothers us — if this one bone is so devastating to the theory of evolution, why did those scientists announce it? Shouldn’t they have hushed it up? That’s what creationists would expect. This is quite a mystery. Anyway, we’ll be hearing about this from the other creationist websites. This is their kind of science!

Copyright © 2015. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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26 responses to “Creationists Claim Lucy Is a Fraud

  1. Discoveroids have many baboon bones in their skeletons, the most significant and pronounced of such bones is their cranium.

  2. Now all they have to do is find another baboon bone in the other hundred or so Astrolopithasines we have, otherwise all this posturing they’re doing would seem downright silly.

  3. So, it sound like when it comes to Lucy, it sounds like CNN really has a . . . bone to pick.

  4. As is always the case, it was a scientist, not a creationist, who discovered the problem. Once discovered, the issue was properly characterized and dealt with, absent creationist histrionics and lies.

  5. Derek Freyberg

    So, the AiG team solving the problem is Ken Ham (arguably well-versed in the Bible, but it seems in little else, certainly neither science nor constitutional law), Dr. David Menton (PhD in cell biology), and Doug Henderson (exhibit designer for the Creation Museum, with a BA in Biblical Studies from Kentucky Christian University). And these are the people who think that they know more than the professional anthropologists who found and identified Lucy, and those who followed on after them and found other hominids, and the people who recently found a minor incongruity and promptly pointed it out.

  6. Poor discoveroids. Only one little baboon bone. So, seems the rest of the skeleton is legitimate and can’t be discredited.

  7. I don’t know about the Discovery Institute but this episode shows the sheer DESPERATION of young earth creationists.

    The cynical naked opportunism of the YECs at Answers in Genesis (though they are not writing high profile blogs as yet).

    https://www.facebook.com/GeorgiaPurdom
    “I had to chuckle as I read about this discovery of a baboon bone found in the infamous Lucy skeleton. Supposedly it was “mislabeled” and was “washed or was otherwise transported in the mix of Lucy’s remains.” Or maybe it is a part of her real skeleton because she’s not an “ape-woman” and is fully ape!”

    How I detest these liars. How they hate real scientists. (And why is the skeleton ‘infamous’?)

    But can the bone of a baboon (a modern day monkey) be ‘passed off’ as the bone of some kind of ‘extinct gorilla’ – which is what AiG and their Creation Museum FALSELY claim ‘Lucy’ was? If not they are creating trouble for themselves imo.

    I think Purdom’s Facebook comment is very foolish. But I underestimated how foolish and opportunistic these people are – they know that they can bamboozle and thus strengthen the Bible faith of their uneducated and/or bigoted followers – and that is all that matters…

    Gelada baboons are only known from Ethiopia (high in the Semien mountains).

    Adult modern day gorillas are a good deal heavier and larger than gelada baboons and also are not found in Ethiopia (and YECs have only 6,000 years max to play with if they wish to claim otherwise ‘post-Flood’ or ‘pre-Flood’; AiG also have never to my knowledge said that the ‘Lucy’ specimen they falsely depict knuckle walking at the Creation Museum was a baby/juvenile when it died). Indeed the Christian News story quotes a scientist as saying the baboon bone was ‘too small’.

    The Christian News link flagged by your blog post also quotes another YEC opportunist – David Menton…

    There is more than one fossil of the ‘Lucy’ or Australopithecus afarensis species of course. The species has been identified from Tanzania and Kenya as well as Ethiopia I gather. The New Scientist story relates to one of the more famous fossils – found in Ethiopia.

    But it was found in the low-lying Afar Triangle NOT the Semien mountains (maybe the geladas also lived at lower elevations millions of years ago?)

    Biblical creationist bigots grasping at straws one again (what else have they got when it comes to the real, physical world)?

  8. I can’t help but notice though that the only fundamentalist Christians seeking to make mischief over this baboon bone – so far at least – appear to be Christian News Network (the article carries no new quotes from YECs) and Georgia Purdom of AiG (on her Facebook page only).

    Should AiG try to falsely exploit the situation on their website I will remind them that the Creation Museum does NOT (falsely) portray ‘Lucy’ as a baboon but as some sort of ‘extinct gorilla’ ie an ape (Purdom is so ignorant that she appears to think that a baboon is or was ‘fully ape’ – not a baboon monkey). A likely tail …

  9. “A team of scientists has announced ….”
    Ah, Waldteufel beat me. No single creationist was member of that team …. Note that the confusion is actually an argument for Evolution Theory, not for creationism. See, apparently the baboon is related closely enough that a bone from this respectable animal (much more respectable than any creationist) can masquerade as a humanoid one.

    @AR-H does some self-criticism: “I underestimated how foolish and opportunistic these people are”
    Very understandable and very forgivable. As a Dutchman my motto is “drag them down to my own miserable level and beat them on experience”. I’m pretty good at it, though for a Dutchman far from excellent. Yet I, after meeting creationists for many, many years on the internet, can still be amazed how foolish and opportunistic they are. These people don’t know any bottom.

  10. Hm, that looks like one “still” too much. I have strong faith that the Merciful Hand from Above once again will lead me on the right path, despite my incurable urge to err.

    [*Voice from above*] You’re back on the path. All is well.

  11. Then they quote David Menton, a writer for Answers in Genesis:

    “No, we are not descended from apes,” Menton concluded. “Rather, God created man as the crown of His creation on Day 6. We are a special creation of God, made in His image, to bring Him glory. What a revolution this truth would make if our evolutionized culture truly understood it!”

    Why does an all-powerful, all-wise, omnipresent and eternal Creator-god need to make something in his own image “to bring Him glory”? Doesn’t He have enough already?

  12. Ahhhhhh !! A creationist’s quote mining nirvana announcement.
    Thank you God !!!
    This may be as important as the Piltdown man thing to creation
    “scientists”””…
    Gotta love it.

  13. In other news, the orbit of asteroid Ceres has been discovered to be 1.3 miles off previously thought measurements.

    Creationists rejoice that heliocentrism and the Galileo lobby have been overthrown.

  14. Our ancestors might have been intimate with baboons?

    Lucy, you got some ‘splainin to do…

  15. Based on his own experience, Megalonyx speculates: “Our ancestors might have been intimate with baboons?”

    There’s a simpler answer. While eating a baboon, Lucy choked on a bone and died.

  16. @Reflectory
    I wonder whether the few remaining geocentrists pointed to the “mistakes” in the orbit of Uranus.

  17. Christine Janis

    I wonder if, should the skeleton of a fossil baboon be found to have a human vertebral element associated, that creationists would claim that the skeleton must be fully human rather than baboon.

  18. Go to Georgia Purdom’s Facebook page, her smug “I had to chuckle” post, now before the pro-evolution com enters get banned. It will be fun until the censorship kicks in.

    https://www.facebook.com/GeorgiaPurdom

  19. Thanks for the suggestion, @Anonymous. I left a thinly veiled sarcastic comment and am waiting for only my second ban. For the record, Food Babe was my first.

  20. @Ashley Hayworth-Roberts

    Of course, Georgia Purdom may have misread “bone” as “boner” — in which case she really would have stumbled across a story of sensational significance.

  21. realthog, what is “sub”? This ain’t no sandwich shop.

  22. realthog, what is “sub”?

    I forgot to check the little box to subscribe to further comments.

  23. At Georgia Purdom’s FB post, all pro-evolution comments deleted.

    Teach the controversy!

  24. Not only deleted comments, but commenters banned, as well.

  25. Reminds one of North Korea.