A Survey of Enigmas
John A. Bloom
Where did we come from: A religious or
Do the data clash?
Anatomically Modern Human.
-- In Europe since 35,000 BP
earliest is 92,000 BP in Qafzeh and South Africa.
-- Archaic or "mixed"
forms may date back to 300,000 BC.
- In Asia until 60K,
Europe until 30K. saoen 6 s
- 1,500,000 to 300,000 BC.
-- 2.3 mill BP to 1.5 mill BP.
Australopithecus afarenis (Lucy).
- 3 to 4 million BP.
and Australopithecus robustus.
to Homo Habilus and Erectus.
-10 million year gap to Ramapithecus
--Only jaw, palate fragments.
Nuclear and Mitochondrial DNA.
-- Find a high percentage of similarity
between the primates and man (a
few percent difference, micro-evol level).
- Implies a split between chimp and
human about 6 million years ago?
-- 0.3% divergence in human mItDNA.
- Estimate about 150,000 years back to
- Could be a statistical fluke or very small
population at that time.
Figure 8-2 Models of Radiation
Diagram from Birdsell, Human
Evolution, 1972, p.301.
What makes us human: The problem of defining "culture."
-- tools, fire
- bipedal anatomy with opposable
- cultural change
None are truly unique to man, except in degree.
Where are the gorillas?
Gribbin and Cherfas, The Monkey Puzzle
Where is the continuity?
Johanson versus Leakey; gaps.
Dahl, Bipedalism in pigmy chimpanzees.
Slimness of the fossil data.
For the Bible:
Where was Adam?
4 million at Lucy
to lOOK at AMH -- Mitochondrial Eve
Was there a special creation?
A historical problem which science
cannot easily address.
Do the data clash?
- Similar design does not prove
descent: Automobiles, computers
Fossils do not prove a genealogy.
- Anatomy and DNA show that God
copied the primate pattern in us.
Why would He do this?
-- Disparity would not be a great proof
of special creation.
most flexible design?
-- To keep us humble: we are dust on both
cosmological and biochemical levels.
-- Our value as humans is God-given, not biologically inherent.
W. E. LeGros Clark. The Fossil Evidence for Human Evolution. 3rd ed. by
Bernard G. Campbell. University of Chicago Press, 1978.
-- A bit dated, but a good technical
discussion of the data.
Donald Johanson and Maitland Edy. Lucy, the beginnings of humankind.
Warner Books, 1981.
- A very readable, non-technical
account of Johanson's work and methods.
Roger Lewin. Bones of Contention. Simon & Schuster, 1987.
-- A good historical overview of the
personalities in the field and of
their clashes and mistakes.
Roger Lewin. In the age of mankind. Smithsonian Books, 1988.
-- The most recent attempt to paint a
coherent picture of human
evolution. Readable with excellent pictures.
John Wiester. The Genesis Connection. Thomas Nelson, 1983.
-- An excellent textbook-level
presentation of the origin of life and
of mankind, harmonizing it with the Scriptures.
Roger Lewin and others have frequent review and summary articles in
Science magazine which are invaluable for keeping up to date on this
All of the above books (but for Wiester) are secular. The amount of new
material discovered in the past decade is quite amazing, and any works
much over ten years old need to be checked against the new finds. In
general, the field of human evolution has become more candid and less
sure of its "assured results" in recent years, which is a very
refreshing attitude to see.