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A New Species of Human Ancestor?
According to National Geographic “one of the greatest fossil discoveries of the past half century” has been made.
September 19, 2015 - Audio, 13.00 MIN
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As the discovery was unlike anything made before it was decided that a new species of human ancestor has been found, the anthropologist’s lead by Lee Berger are calling it Homo naledi.  The discovery was made in South Africa deep down in a cave and in fact over 1550 specimens were found from apparently 15 individuals.  All sounds rather exciting doesn't it!  Welcome to another edition of the Bible in the News, although on this subject the Bible is not getting a whole lot of coverage if we are honest!

Again according to National Geographic “skulls. Jaws. Ribs. Dozens of teeth. A nearly complete foot. A hand, virtually every bone intact, arranged as in life. Minuscule bones of the inner ear. Elderly adults. Juveniles. Infants, identified by their thimble-size vertebrae. Parts of the skeletons looked astonishingly modern. But others were just as astonishingly primitive—in some cases, even more apelike than the australopithecines. “We’ve found a most remarkable creature,” Berger said. His grin went nearly to his ears.

A gentleman by the name of Michael Lemonick wrote an article entitled How Time Began in Time Magazine and said the following about Anthropology:  “The only certainty in this data-poor, imagination-rich, endlessly fascinating field is that there are plenty of surprises left to come.”

Well if we are looking for examples of imagination rich thinking the discovery sure has a dose.  The Palaeontologists had a mystery on their hands because the bones were in a remote cave deep down so they had to come up with an explanation.  The article says the following:

God - "Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth."  Job 38:4

“Clearly the individuals weren’t living in the cave; there were no stone tools or remains of meals to suggest such occupation. Conceivably a group of H. naledi could have wandered into the cave one time and somehow got trapped—but the distribution of the bones seemed to indicate that they had been deposited over a long time, perhaps centuries. If carnivores had dragged hominin prey into the cave, they would have left tooth marks on the bones, and there weren’t any. And finally, if the bones had been washed into the cave by flowing water, it would have carried stones and other rubble there too. But there is no rubble—only fine sediment that had weathered off the walls of the cave or sifted through tiny cracks.

“When you have eliminated the impossible,” Sherlock Holmes once reminded his friend Watson, “whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”

Having exhausted all other explanations, Berger and his team were stuck with the improbable conclusion that bodies of H. naledi were deliberately put there, by other H. naledi. Until now only Homo sapiens, and possibly some archaic humans such as the Neanderthals, are known to have treated their dead in such a ritualized manner. 

Well unfortunately other scientists are already coming out and saying not so fast.  The following was written in the Sydney Morning Herald

“… some scientists say the conclusions are hasty.

"In science there is always a gap between the data you have and the interpretations you draw. And in the case of proclaiming a new species the gap is really large," said Christoph Zollikofer of the University of Zurich.

Others say the fossils belong to an already-named species.

The University of California's Tim White said from what he had seen, the fossils belonged to Homo erectus, a species discovered in the late 19th century.

"New species should not be created willy-nilly. In order to claim a new species one has to demonstrate that it's different from anything that's ever been known," he said.

White noted the published findings included a table comparing 83 anatomical features of naledi with other species.

"When you look across those characters where it's claimed to differ from Homo erectus, you find that the portrayal of Homo erectus is often inaccurate. And only 13 of the 83 characters are even alleged to be different," he said.

Questions have also been raised about the failure to date the find and the theory that the species might have disposed of its dead, which has been proposed as the most plausible scenario for the bones' placing in the cave but is ultimately a guess.

Naledi's lead scientist, Lee Berger of Johannesburg's University of the Witwatersrand, countered that his critics were the ones showing haste.

He said they should not "shoot from the hip based on their pre-conceived ideas but look at these papers and give a thoughtful critique in the peer-reviewed literature."

"We were able to mass the intellectual power and energy of more than 60 scientists ... That logically speeds things up.””

Well Lee Berger feels a little better about his findings, the National Geographic article quotes Beger as saying “The message we’re getting is of an animal right on the cusp of the transition from Australopithecus to Homo…”

Although we would not agree with all of the doctrinal beliefs of the folks over at Answers in Genesis as far as I am concerned Dr. Elizabeth Mitchell has it right in the following quote taken from the article entitled “Is Homo naledi a New Species of Human Ancestor?”

“We know from God’s Word that “nature” did not experiment “with how to evolve humans.” God told us He created two humans as well as land animals—and that includes apes—on the same day. That means that there could be no evolution involved. Scientific observation also confirms that living things only vary and reproduce within their created kinds. Therefore, whatever species these bones represent, we know that they cannot be any sort of intermediate between apes and humans. The only way to find an ape-man—or a “bridge” between apes and humans—is to misinterpret fossils of either an ape or a human as something in between…”

“…These fossils, like so many others before them, may reshuffle the “family tree” that evolutionists are constantly drawing and re-drawing in their efforts to create for us a history apart from God. But they will not re-shuffle the truth about human history or what it means to be human. We know that God created man and land animals the same day without evolution. We seriously doubt the original owners of the Dinaledi bones were among the descendants of Adam and Eve, as the preponderance of the evidence suggests they were animals, one of the variations that developed among apes. They most certainly were not any sort of evolutionary intermediate.

On the other hand, we know that all varieties of humans that have ever lived have been descendants of Adam and Eve. The variations that developed in some groups of humans dispersed from the Tower of Babel have nothing to do with human evolution.”

The issue is that we were not there, it may be fun to imagine what might have transpired to get a bunch bones from tall ape looking creatures in a distant cave but we were not there.  God is however very clear in the scriptures that he created man and the animals.  Christ says the following in John 1:1-3:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.”

And just in case there is any confusion God repeats the fact this the creation was in six literal days outside of the book of Genesis in Exodus 20:11

“For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day”

So for those of us that read the Bible there is certainly no room for a theistic evolution type scenario as far as what God has told us.  Further to this, to say so would put death and disease prior to Adam which is clear foolishness.

At the end of the day it all boils down to who the ultimate authority is and who we are going to believe, the Palaeontologists and their best guess work or God himself who was there.  Typically on this program we discuss Bible prophecy and on that subject there is not an ounce of doubt that the scripture is bang on.  As God says in Isaiah 43:9,10 in relation to the prophecies concerning the Jews:

“Let all the nations be gathered together, and let the people be assembled: who among them can declare this, and shew us former things? let them bring forth their witnesses, that they may be justified: or let them hear, and say, It is truth.

Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.”

With the Jews back in the land its clear that God was right there so why doubt him on creation.  Besides we believe in the resurrection, as it says in Acts 26:8 “Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead?”  And well, if thats the case I say why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God created the heavens and the earth?

Join us again next week for another edition of the Bible in the News.  

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