In a report dated 12 November, 2007, the well-known news agency Agence France-Presse announced that an ape fossil found in Africa had challenged the theory of evolution. The caption to the report was most interesting in that regard: “Rare great ape fossil challenges evolutionary theory: study.”
So what is this fossil and how does it pose a challenge to the theory of evolution?
In 1995, a team led by Yutaka Kunimatsu from Kyoto University in Japan discovered a number of ape bones. The age of the fossil, consisting of 11 teeth from the lower jaw of an ape, was estimated at between 9.8 and 9.9 million years. Having completed their investigations of the fossil, the research team published their results in the American scientific journal PNAS.[i]
Since the remains were unearthed in Kenya’s Nakali region, and in memory of the Japanese geologist Nakayamai who died while the excavations were taking place, the fossil was given the name Nakalipithecus nakayamai.
The importance of the fossil lay in its age and where it was found. Its age corresponds to the darkest period of evolutionist scenarios, based as these are on no evidence other than imagination. In the imaginary scenarios they came up with on the basis of genetic analyses, evolutionists hypothesised that the evolutionary division between humans and apes took place 6-7 million years ago and that between humans and gorillas a few million years earlier than that. However, great ape fossils dating back to the Late Miocene Period are so few in number as to be almost non-existent.
In addition, the existence of many ape species living in Africa at the beginning and in the middle of the Miocene Period is a fact known from fossils. The gap of several million years at the end of the Miocene suggests to archaeologists that many species of ape in Africa may have become extinct. Evolutionist palaeontologists combine this with fossil evidence showing that large apes were widespread in Eurasia in the Late Miocene, and infer from this that great apes emerged in Africa during the process of evolution, multiplied there, and them migrated to Eurasia. According to this scenario, those great apes remaining in Africa became extinct but, thanks to great apes returning from Eurasia, Africa once again become home to these animals. Again according to this scenario, nourished as it is by great imagination, humans and their supposed closest ancestors, chimpanzees and gorillas, must have evolved from these apes returning to Africa.
Since the Nakalipithecus nakayamai fossil belongs to the time of this fossil gap in Africa, it represents evidence that conflicts with this evolutionist scenario. That explains why the press reported how it represented a challenge to the existing theories of evolution.
In addition, whether based on African origins or migration from Eurasia, theories that man evolved from great apes are still swimming in uncertainty.
Evolutionists’ Missing Link Despair
Looking at the Nakalipithecus nakayamai reports, it can be seen that certain publications have emphasised the (non-existent) possibility that human, chimpanzees and gorillas share a common ancestor, rather than the challenge that this finding poses to the theory of evolution. The Efluxmedia.com web site, for example, carried the story under the heading “The Researchers May Have Found the Missing Link.”
It needs to be known that the depiction of this discovery as a missing link in fact provides no support for the theory of evolution, and is in fact an admission of despair.
Evolutionists regard the fictitious evolutionary process as an uninterrupted chain and assume that all living things are related to one another through imaginary ancestors that existed at some time in the past. For that reason, they tend to regard every new fossil as a new link in this imaginary evolutionary chain. If a fossil has characteristics close to those of the anatomy of another living group that came after it, evolutionists straightaway elevate this to a familial relationship and start telling tall tales about how the one was probably an ancestor of the other.
The fact is, however, that it is totally unscientific to portray such discovered fossils as missing links.
Henry Gee, a palaeontologist and also editor of Nature magazine, says this in the 1999 edition of his book In Search of Deep Time:
Given the ubiquitous chatter of journalists and headline writers about the search for ancestors, and the discovery of missing links, it may come as a surprise to learn that most professional palaeontologists do not think of the history of life in terms of scenarios or narratives, and that they rejected the storytelling mode of evolutionary history as unscientific more than thirty years ago.[ii]
Describing a fossil as a missing link stems from evolutionist efforts to find a straw to cling to during their quest to keep the theory of evolution alive, rather than from powerful links to other fossils in terms of evolutionary criteria. Gareth Nelson, from the American Museum of Natural History, makes the following admission regarding imaginary, ape-like ancestors depicted as such missing links:
We”ve got to have some ancestors. We”ll pick those. Why? “Because we know they have to be there, and these are the best candidates.” That”s by and large the way it has worked. I am not exaggerating.[iii]
Scientists may have learned about Nakalipithecus nakayamai”s eating habits from these teeth. Beyond that, however, they have no idea what it might have looked like or how it behaved. The thickness of the enamel on the surface of the teeth indicates that the creature fed on hard foods such as seeds and fruit. Yutaka Kunimatsu, one of the researchers, admits the difficulty of making any other estimation:
Evolutionists’ theories about mystery-shrouded ape-like ancestors have been dealt a severe blow by the latest finding. In addition, the insufficient nature of the finding means it will continue to be the subject of debate among evolutionists. The depiction of the discovery my certain publications as a missing link is totally unscientific and stems from evolutionists’ despair. These points and evolutionists’ biased and imaginary analyses need to be kept in mind when reading about such fossil discoveries and tales about missing links.