“It seemed to me sufficient to indicate, in the first edition of my ‘Origin of Species,’ that by this work “light would be thrown on the origin of man and his history;” and this implies that man must be included with other organic beings in any general conclusion respecting his manner of appearance on this earth.” Charles Darwin, 1872
Darwin envisioned man evolving into existence in the same way as animals. Since the publication of The Origin of Species in 1859, the hunt has been on to find all the missing “slight, successive” transitional links, especially the link from animal to man.
In 1891, Dutch anatomist Eugene Dubois unearthed skullcap, a femur, and a few teeth on the island of Java, Indonesia claiming the bones to be an intermediate species in between humans and apes. The evidence was hotly disputed, but Dubois continued to contend that the Java man was a transitional link. Today, scientists classify the Java man as Homo erectus—not a missing transitional link to man.
In 1911, Charles Dawson unearthed fragments of a human skull and fragments of a lower jaw with two teeth a gravel pit at Piltdown, East Sussex, England. On November 21, 1912, The Guardian newspaper announced the discovery: “One of the most important prehistoric finds of our time has been made in Sussex”—the ancestor of man.
In 1913, the fossils were placed on display at the British Museum of Natural History as evidence evolution from ape to man. After suspicions started flying in the early 1950’s, the exhibit was quietly slipped out the back door following the discovery that the Piltdown man was simply a glued composite of an organ tan jaw and the skull of a man—not a missing transitional link to man.
Reflecting on the fraud, paleontologist Roger Lewin in 1997 lamented -
Given all the many anatomical incongruities in the Piltdown remains, which of course are glaringly obvious from the vantage of the present, it is truly astonishing that the forgery was so eagerly embraced.
In 1917, Nebraska rancher and geologist Harold Cook found a human-like tooth. The tooth became recognized as evidence of the “Ape of the Western World.” The tooth was named Hesperopithecus haroldcookii.
By 1925, however, the tooth was recognized as belonging to neither to man nor ape, but to an extinct pig like species. In 1927, the journal Science retracted their identification of the fossil as that from an ape. The retraction made front-page news in The New York Times in 1928, with the title “Nebraska ape tooth proved a wild pig’s,” and was reported on page sixteen in The Times of London, with the more abstract title, “Hesperopithecus dethroned.”
During excavations in the early 1920’s partial human-like craniums, lower jaws, teeth, skeletal bones were discovered near Beijing (written ‘Peking’ before the adoption of the Pinyin romanization system), China.
The original study on the Peking man fossils was performed by anatomist Davidson Black and the findings were published in the journal Nature. The discovery garnered international attention and the support of the Rockefeller Foundation for continued exploration.
Over the next several years, more than forty fossil specimens, including six nearly complete skullcaps, were uncovered. While being shipped to the United States in 1941 for safety during World War II, the original fossils disappeared. Today, only the casts and descriptions remain.
While originally thought to be a missing link, the Peking man, after critical analysis, like the Java Man, is now classified as Homo erectus—not the missing transitional link to man.
In November 1974, paleontologist Tom Gray affectionately named the series of human-like skeletons found in Ethiopia “Lucy.” The garnered immediate worldwide attention as the missing transitional link to man.
On analyzing the skeletal features, while the Lucy did walk upright, it best suited for tree-climbing. In the 1986journal publication Natural History, Stephen Gould noted that Lucy was “uniquely different from apes and humans, not as imperfect people on the way up.”
Drawing conclusions on the origins of man with limited evidence can be a tricky business. In 2001, Henry Gee, senior science writer of the leading British journal Nature, concedes that “hominid evolution—[is] as mysterious as ever.”
Even more tragic for the evolution industry, the brazenous Ida story in 2009 stoops to barbarian standards in a desparate attempt to crayon-in the enormous missing transitional link to man.
The Neanderthal has long been considered the best missing transitional link to man. However, due to its larged skull size even Darwin had a problem with the Neanderthal as the missing link to man. Now genetic testing has determined that the Neanderthals are not different from modern man. As John Hawks of the University of Wisconsin noted, “They’re us. We’re them.”
After 150 years since publication of The Origin of Species, there is no evidence “that man must be included with other organic beings in any general conclusion respecting his manner of appearance on this earth,” as suggested by Darwin.
Evolution was once a theory in crisis, now evolution is in crisis without a theory.