Human Beings

Modern neanderthal man and woman artwork

The Fossil Evidence

by Dr. Gary Parker

What about ourselves? What can we infer from the fossil evidence regarding the origin of human beings? Evolutionists now give us two choices. Either human beings are the result of time, chance, struggle, and death, or else we began as “a hopeful monster whose star was a bit more benevolent than most.” According to creationists, the evidence suggests, instead, that we are here by the plan, purpose, and special creative acts of God.

I was part of a television program on creation-evolution produced by the secular Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). The program opened with a medieval princess wandering in a castle garden, apparently looking for something. Then the camera panned over to a rock ledge around a pond. There it was, big bulging eyes and all: a frog. Right before our incredulous eyes, the princess leaned over and kissed the frog. Stars sparkled across the TV screen, then a handsome prince appeared. As the prince and princess embraced, the narrator stepped into the scene with this introduction: If you believe a frog turns into a prince instantly, that’s a fairy tale; if you believe a frog turns into a prince in 300 million years, that’s evolution.

When I believed and taught evolution, I would not have put it that way, of course. As I look back, I realize that story reflects what I really was teaching. According to evolution, if you simply wait long enough, time, chance, struggle, and death (mutation and selection) will gradually turn some amphibians, like that frog, into reptiles, mammals, apes, and finally man, like that prince. Clearly the burden of proof lies with the evolutionist to find a series of fossils suggesting the change from frog to prince, or at least ape to man.

The first fossils proposed as links between apes and mankind were the “cave men” called Neanderthals. The Neanderthal was originally portrayed as a “beetle-browed, barrel-chested, bow-legged brute” (a suitable ancestor for a mugger, if nothing else!). The creationists in those days responded, “Hey, wait a minute. Neanderthals are just plain people, some of whom suffered bone diseases.” The first Neanderthals discovered came from harsh inland environments in Europe, where they could easily have suffered skeletal abnormalities, especially from lack of seafood with iodine in the diet and from shortage during the long winters of sun-induced vitamin D necessary for calcium absorption.

Neanderthals from the Palestine area do not show the more stooped and massive features. The brain volume of Neanderthals is slightly larger than the average brain volume of people today, and brain casts show the Broca’s area involved in the complex speech that so distinctively sets mankind apart from apes. Neanderthal peoples had a well-developed culture, art, and religion. Nowadays, many evolutionists agree completely with creationists: Neanderthals were just plain people, no more different from people living today than one living group is different from another. What were the “cave men”? Just people who lived in caves. (And at today’s housing prices, that may once again be a good idea!)

There was a secular museum in Germany where the curator dressed the wax model of a Neanderthal Man in a business suit and tie. His reason? He said it was time to quit deceiving the public. Neanderthals were just plain people. Indeed, scientists now classify Neanderthals as Homo sapiens, the same scientific name given to you and me…

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image credit: Artwork from original images of Neanderthal male and female in modern clothing (source unknown)