• It’s Still a Dog

    I’d like to take a minute to examine this common claim of creationists. When creationists claim “X is still a Y.” They are using this as an argument against macro-evolution. That is that species can change over time and maybe speciation can occur[1], but larger changes between higher taxonomic groups don’t occur. In other words, birds are birds and didn’t evolve from dinosaurs.

    First of all, the evidence for this is pretty overwhelming. With more and more fossils being discovered and carefully analyzed[2]. And, so far, no one has ever discovered anything that would prevent a species from changing radically over a long period of time. This, of course, considers that only speciation happens. Over time those new species become so different from their cousins that we don’t recognize them as being the same species, genus, family, order, class, phylum, or kingdom. Keep in mind too that all these taxonomic groups are purely artifacts of humans’ desire to categorize things.

    The example I give in the title, “It’s still a dog” is pretty straightforward. Dogs give birth to dogs. When will a dog give birth to “not a dog”… never. However, as we look back in time from the future, there will come a point at which we will say, “This group of dogs can no longer interbreed with this other group of dogs. We didn’t see it at the time, but we see it with the benefit of hindsight. We can now call those two groups different species/genus/whatever.”

    At no point will be actually able to say, “That puppy that was born is no longer a dog.   It’s something else.” Life doesn’t work that way. It’s a continuum. Consider this (which I can’t seem to find the original author of, if you know, please tell me so I can attribute it properly).


    It should be obvious that small changes over time can result in huge deviations from the original. These changes don’t have to be giant, obvious structural changes that produce a cat from a fish.

    I was also thinking about the imprecision of the claim that creationists make. I’ve used an example of dogs in the past and had creationist claim that “It’s still a dog.” The idea here is that there is a continuum of dogs ranging from monster great Danes to minuscule tea-cup chihuahuas. If those were the only two types of “dog”, then I think it would be reasonable to say that they were two different species.

    Just like reading only the first sentence and the last sentence in that paragraph above. If you do that, then it’s obvious that there has been a huge color change. If you were to remove all the other breeds of dogs, then there is such an obvious difference between great Danes and tea-cup chihuahuas that they can’t interbreed.

    They are still ‘dogs’, but they are two independent species of dogs now. The genes in one population can no longer be mixed with genes from the other population. Over time, the differences will become greater and greater until we have forgotten that they used to be the same species.

    That example of creationist thinking is a little difficult for most people to imagine. However, I’ve used another example in my various discussions. That of “monkeys”.[3].  It’s still a monkey was a response when I presented some evidence of human evolution from a few million years ago.

    But “monkey” is such an imprecise term. According to Merriam-Webster a monkey is a non-human (this includes the apes) primate, excluding lemurs and tarsiers. So, there are three groups of primates that are not included when using the word monkey.

    The rest of the monkeys fit into six families with roughly 267 species. So, when the creationist says “It’s still a monkey” they are including a huge variety of animals, including things that would be considered to have macroevolved from a common ancestor.

    These are monkeys:

    Crab-eating Macaque (Macaca fascicularis)
    source: Muhammad Mahdi Karim
    Brown Spider Monkey, Ateles hybridus
    source: http://www.birdphotos.com edit by Fir0002


    Common Squirrel monkey (Saimiri sciureus) source: Luc Viatour / www.Lucnix.be
    Common Squirrel monkey (Saimiri sciureus)
    source: Luc Viatour / www.Lucnix.be

    These are NOT monkeys

    Male silverback (Gorilla gorilla) source: Brocken Inaglory

    Male silverback (Gorilla gorilla)
    source: Brocken Inaglory
    Agile Gibbon (Hylobates agilis)  source: Julielangford
    Agile Gibbon (Hylobates agilis)
    source: Julielangford
    Philippine Tarsier (Tarsius syrichta) source: mtoz
    Philippine Tarsier (Tarsius syrichta)
    source: mtoz

    There are some very specific anatomical and behavioral (not to mention geographic) differences between these different species. But some are monkeys and some are not. So, when a creationist says “they are still monkeys”, they really don’t understand what they are talking about.

    It gets worse. I often refer to Dr. Lenski’s Long Term Evolution project. This study has been going on for more than 20 years and has charted the changes in several populations of Esherichia coli bacteria.

    One important outcome of this experiment has been the evolution of a strain of E. coli that has developed the ability to metabolize citrate. Since the inability to metabolize citrate is one of the defining features of E. coli. It should be obvious that this is major change from the species.[4]

    But many creationist, when presented with this evidence of evolution use the standard mantra, “But it’s still a bacteria.” But what does that mean?

    It means that it’s a single celled organism with a cell wall (most of the time). There are two entire domains of life that are exclusively bacteria.  A domain is a taxonomic grouping even higher than kingdom. Every other living thing on the planet is in a third domain.

    Current estimates give the domain Archea up to 18 phyla. The other bacterial domain, Bacteria, has about 52 phyla.  To give you some perspective, the kingdom Animalia only has a total of 35 phyla, with an estimated 2,000,000 species. So every multicellular organism that moves on it’s own fits into those 35 phyla. And all animals with a backbone: humans, cats, fish, monkeys, sharks, birds, turtles, snakes, frogs, and salamanders all are in a single phylum.

    So when that creationist said, “It’s still a bacteria”, what did they mean? I have no idea. It’s like me saying that the atmospheres of Earth and Venus are very different and a creationist saying, “But it’s still AIR!” Yes, its still air, but like argument by analogy, it’s an utterly meaningless comparison.

    Perhaps they mean that the bacteria is still E. coli. But that doesn’t make any sense. That bacteria is defined as not able to metabolize citrate. If this new bacteria can metabolize citrate, then it’s not E. coli. Therefore it’s a new species, with a new ability. Yes, that’s all it takes. All someone has to do is write this up and say, it’s a new species… and it is.

    Which is just further evidence that the creationists are fighting a losing battle. They aren’t arguing details and science, they are arguing semantics. Just because we call an organism by a particular name, that name doesn’t really mean very much. Scientists change the names and taxonomic grouping of organisms all the time.

    It’s the organism that is important. It’s how it developed, how it came to be, and it’s relationship all the other organisms and groups of organisms that’s important. What we call it, isn’t that important as long as we know everyone is talking abut the same thing.


    [1] Which they really must accept since it’s been shown to happen so many timed in the last few decades. If anyone is interested, I can provide dozens of peer-reviewed papers to show this.

    [2] At least one recent paleontology blog post mentioned using laser scans of bones and bone fragments to provide exact data on dimensions for use in cladistic studies.

    [3] Over time, I find myself becoming a cladist and imprecise groupings like “monkey” make me cringe now. Hence the quotes.

    [4] I freely admit that the concept of species is very odd when considering bacteria.

    Category: CreationismEvolutionScience

    Article by: Smilodon's Retreat

    • christine janis

      How did Latin become Italian? Did parents one day give birth to a child who was speaking a different language?

    • Vandy Beth Glenn

      I’ve always held that there is no “macroevolution.” The difference between the most amphibianlike fish and the most fishlike amphibian is no greater than the differences among the finches in the Galapagos.

      • SmilodonsRetreat

        The difference in skull shape among dogs is greater than among all other carnivores… in just about 30,000 years.

        • Christine Janis

          Actually that’s not strictly true. The differences in skull shape is greater than all living *canids* (possibly more than all of the Canidae, but the extinct subfamilies haven’t been investigated). No modern dog skull shape comes close to approximating that of a cat.

    • Eddie Janssen

      The red to blue text would be brilliant if a book with a
      1000+ pages would be printed this way.

      I also like the metaphore of holding the hand of your
      mother, who holds the hand of her mother, who holds the hand of her mother etcetera,
      etcetera until we get to somewhere in the pre-Cambrium.
      Every daughter is of the same species as her mother, but the
      last animal in the line certainly is not human. The beauty of this metaphore is
      that it hardly is a metaphore anymore: every animal does have a mother. If we
      set the average time between the birth of all these daughters arbitrarily at 7
      years, it is a line of 77½ million animals to the beginning of the Cambrium.

      Very, very slowly turning from red to blue.

      • Doc Bill

        The turning of red to blue was fueled by hope and change. Yes, we can!

    • Gus

      this is wrong, as dogs are created kind. try again.

      • SmilodonsRetreat

        Define “dog” as a created kind. Does it include wolves? foxes? Coyotes? Hyenas?

        What level of evolution is acceptable in a created kind?

        What prevents evolution from one kind to another kind?

        How old is the Earth?

        • Gus

          you are just mad at god.

          • SmilodonsRetreat

            Sorry, I’m mad at Harry Potter for not marrying Hermione too. In other words, you are claiming that I’m mad at a fictional character. Whatever.

            Those are serious questions. I’d like to see answers. YOU brought up these questions, so answer them.

            • Gus

              you have already given up on god so i give up on you

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              I’m not the one who continues to post comments.

              I asked some honest questions. The fact that you can’t answer them (and we both know you can’t) says a lot about your intellectual honesty. It’s a shame that you have chosen to reject knowledge and reality for make-believe.

            • Gus

              tell me how random motion of atoms can lead to us.

            • Void L. Walker

              Gus. Seriously. Why don’t you just plop back down into the hole you live in. This space is reserved for *intelligent* discussion, not your mindless dribble.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              In return, you will tell me how two “dogs” resulted in the dozens of species we have to today in just 6,000 years. Requiring evolution occur at rates that much, much, much faster than any ever suggested possible by biologists.

              No, I know what you’ll say. “god did it”, the ultimate cop out for Christian apologists.

              As far as your question, people have been studying abiogenesis for 60 years now. Every chemical reaction needed to get from non-organic non-live chemicals to systems that reproduce on their own is possible. Not a single reaction has ever been found that says “this makes it impossible”.

              Of course, we both know that no amount of evidence will convince you, but I can drop several hundred peer-reviewed articles on abiogenesis on you, whenever you feel ready for them.

            • Gus

              the evidence is not in favorr of you what you say. you are a fool and god knows this.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              God: “you’re a fool if you don’t believe in me”.

              Me: “you’re a fool if you believe in God”.

              Who to believe? (Hint – I can prove *I* exist)

              “You should believe you are a fool because the book you don’t believe says you’re a fool if you don’t believe it”.

              Well, I’m convinced.

              You need to look at the actual evidence before claiming things about it.

              And let the record show that you continue to avoid answering the questions that I asked. Which are direct responses to statements you made.

              So some spine man, answer the questions.

            • Gus

              dogs are dogs. size matter not. they are still gods creations.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              Developed by evolution from a common ancestor with all living things.

              Really, I want to know now… why don’t you answer questions? Were there dogs and wolves on the ark? Just some kind of Ur-Dog? What about foxes, and hyenas, and coyotes? Were they all are on the ark or did they evolve afterwards?

              Come on man, step up!

            • Gus

              why can you not expectt god to work in miracles? we do jot understand all and god knows and we can work with HIM to better learn. you claim to know it all. atheist going to hell.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              And you have no evidence of any of that except what a book that is full of contradictions.

              There is no documented evidence of miracles… anywhere.

            • Gus

              jesus rose from the dead that is a miraccle.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              The Bible is not self-authenticating. Other than a book that is highly contradictory and does not match actual known facts… there is no evidence of the existence of Jesus.

              Now… about those questions?

              I know I won’t convince you. You seem to be utterly unable to think for yourself (or spell correctly for some reason). It’s a shame that you have wasted your live worshiping a dream.

            • Gus

              you are the dreamer! your evolution fantasy is false!

            • Void L. Walker

              Gus…remember the discussion we once had about “evidence” for a global flood? Remember how I showed you that, as an example, the Grand Canyon is evidence AGAINST a flood? Remember how you threw a hissy fit and stormed off? Remember how dumb you are?

            • Gus

              you never present good arguments void

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              That which is claimed with evidence can be dismissed without evidence. I can prove I exist…

            • Gus

              i can prove god exists look at the night sky.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              Wow. You really don’t have a clue do you.

              Looking at the night sky proves stars exist. But, sadly for you, there are natural process that account for all of that.

              But, back to those questions you can’t answer. Why is that? Why don’t you even try?

            • Gus

              bottom line we do not come from monkeys.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              You are correct.

              However, we do have a common ancestor with monkeys and humans and monkeys (primates) are distant cousins.

            • Void L. Walker

              Smilodon, Gus is trolling over at Tippling as well. I know him, he is a liar, user, and loves the act of trolling. If I were you I’d ban him. He’s already been banned about a dozen times! You shouldn’t waste your time like this. I already have, many times…

            • Void L. Walker


            • Gus

              you just hate god so want to disprove him good luck that is not possible god is real and i know this you will know it to come judegment day.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              And your evidence for this is…

              oh yeah. Stars. whatever…

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              Oh and Gus… I asked you four very specific questions.

              Adults have conversations by this back and forth process of answering questions and then asking follow-ups or new questions.

              I would appreciate you answering the questions I have asked before bringing up new topics, especially those that have been dealt with at length on this blog (click on “abiogenesis” in the categories tab on the right.)

            • Gus

              you doubt god and think hew cannot make miracles happen.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              I don’t “doubt it”, I know for a fact that there is no rigorous evidence of any miracle ever occurring. The Bible is not self authenticating, so nothing in there is rigorous.

              Any others?

              Again, i would really like answers to my questions to you.

            • Void L. Walker

              Smilodon, meet Gus. An old friend of mine. Thought he vanished some time ago….but apparently not. You’ll find that he doesn’t really have a brain. At all.

    • cazmir

      “E. coli that has developed the ability to metabolize citrate”

      – not quite true, the bacterium can metabolize citrate in the absence of oxygen, why you never tell that?

      – Why you never tell how many mutations were requiered to develop the ability to metabolize citrate in the presence of oxygene?

      – 30000 generations for a few mutations is evidence for turning a monkey ancestor into a human in 100000 generations?

      • SmilodonsRetreat

        Because the experimental bottles have oxygen in them. So the bacteria can’t utilize citrate.

        How many mutations? I’m not sure that Blount and the rest of the team actually know yet. But here’s a very detailed paper that explains the results: http://europepmc.org/articles/PMC3461117/reload=0;jsessionid=2rjsM6aH9RxFbISPy7xD.18

        No, there are plenty of other pieces of evidence that show that humans and apes (not monkeys) are close cousins. I really don’t want to get into all the misconceptions in your statement, but there are at least 4.

        Do you just make up numbers for human generations BTW?

      • SmilodonsRetreat

        Here’s one you might like, from the same LTEE
        J. Plucain et al., Epistasis and Allele Specificity in the Emergence of a Stable Polymorphism in Escherichia coli.Science (New York, N.Y.) (2014), doi:10.1126/science.1248688.

        It looks at three mutations that allow two groups to develop an ecology.

        In sum, we showed that three mutations, with complex epistatic and frequency-dependent effects, are sufficient to establish one partner in a strong and persistent ecological interaction. All three mutations affect regulators of gene expression, and regulatory changes are important for microbial evolution (22, 24). Other replicate populations fixed mutations in the same genes without evolving such persistent polymorphisms, implying that specific mutations produced qualitatively different evolutionary dynamics. Indeed, allelic exchanges confirm that alternative mutations in these genes preclude coexistence. Thus, a given gene may acquire many potentially beneficial mutations (16, 22, 25), but subtle variations may determine whether an evolving population remains monotypic or splits into stably coexisting lineages.

        I can provide those references if you like.

      • SmilodonsRetreat

        I asked Dr. Lenski about this. His reply was the following (http://telliamedrevisited.wordpress.com/)

        There is the tandem duplication that produced the first Cit+ cell, and then the further amplification that allowed decent growth on citrate, so that’s one or two depending on whether very weak growth on citrate counts. And there were one or (probably) more “potentiating” mutations that occurred before the tandem duplication. However, we have not yet definitely identified the potentiating mutation(s) among the several dozen mutations that arose in the lineage before the duplication.

        So, three, possibly four or five depending on the potentiating mutations.

    • cazimir

      The point is EColi already had the gene for metabolizing citrate and could do it in the absence of oxygen. Four mutations in 30000 generations to express the ability in the presence of oxygen rather shows the limits of darwinian evolution and certainly isn’t evidence for macroevolution or ape to human evolution. 30000 generations are 1000000 years of human evolution.

      I am curious why are there hundreds of species of monkeys and only one of humans and nothing in between?

      • SmilodonsRetreat

        Umm… NO.

        There is a completely different biochemical pathway. It’s not just a case of “turning on citrate use in oxygen”. It’s the generation of a complete biochemical pathway.

        If your ideas were correct, then any E. coli should be able to do that. They don’t.

        It’s not 4 mutations in 30,000 generations. It’s 4 very specific mutations in 30,000 generations that produce an OBSERVABLE RESULT.

        How, exactly is this a “limit of evolution”? The fact that it happened at all is a complete refutation of all the creationist claims that it can’t happen.

        What is ‘macroevolution’? It’s ‘microevolution’ over millions of years. That’s all. Creationists NEVER understand that.

        Quit it with the monkeys OK. There are hundreds of species of monkey because there are hundreds of niches that they each could fit into. There are only 5 species of non-human ape.

        You need to read more, there have been dozens of species of non-human hominids and several species of human hominids. That we are the only one left doesn’t really matter. You might as well as why there are only one species chimpanzee left.

        Here, let me google it for you “List of human fossils”: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_human_evolution_fossils

        With references for each one.

    • cazimir

      “It’s not 4 mutations in 30,000 generations. It’s 4 very specific mutations in 30,000 generations that produce an OBSERVABLE RESULT.”

      That’s right 4 specific mutations. How many specific mutations from a chimp ancestor to human?

      “How, exactly is this a “limit of evolution”? The fact that it happened at all is a complete refutation of all the creationist claims that it can’t happen.”

      Who claimed it can’t happen?

      On the other hand translate that to ape to human evolution what do you expect would you get? I think you already greately extrapolated and considered a valid evidence for macro evolution.

      About hominid species:

      “Writing in 1985, Pellegrino conceded that the differences between H. erectus and modern man are merely superficial.28 On the same page he even discusses the probability that H. erectus and H. sapiens are one and the same species.

      Lubenow cites a number of authorities who finally have acknowledged the full humanity of Neanderthal people,”

      “Wolpoff is supported by Alan Thorne of the Australian National University.90 According to Shipman, Wolpoff and others are now ‘… proposing nothing less than the complete abolition of Homo erectus on the grounds that the species is insufficiently distinct from Homo sapiens. All fossil specimens of Homo erectus and archaic Homo sapiens(including Neanderthals), … should be reclassified into a single species, Homo sapiens, that is, subdivided only into races.’”

      • cazimir

        “What is ‘macroevolution’? It’s ‘microevolution’ over millions of years. That’s all. Creationists NEVER understand that.”

        Anybody can understand the evolutionary story, but not everybody accepts it. But it’s just that a story (or a wish), you don’t know if there is a smooth pathway from bacteria to human and certainly don’t have evidence.

        • SmilodonsRetreat

          But we do have evidence. Creationists just don’t accept it.

        • Eddie Janssen

          Cazimir, what is your view on the metaphore I described in the fourth comment on this post?

        • Sam Harris

          Do you have evidence for Yahweh or some un-named “designer”? Lots of people believe that story with no evidence. Such folk typically declare that there is no evidence for what they do not believe.

        • Sam Harris

          The tested methodology:

          Science 25 October 1991:
          Vol. 254. no. 5031, pp. 554 – 558

          Gene trees and the origins of inbred strains of mice

          WR Atchley and WM Fitch

          Extensive data on genetic divergence among 24 inbred strains of mice provide an opportunity to examine the concordance of gene trees and species trees, especially whether structured subsamples of loci give congruent estimates of phylogenetic relationships. Phylogenetic analyses of 144 separate loci reproduce almost exactly the known genealogical relationships among these 24 strains. Partitioning these loci into structured subsets representing loci coding for proteins, the immune system and endogenous viruses give incongruent phylogenetic results. The gene tree based on protein loci provides an accurate picture of the genealogical relationships among strains; however, gene trees based upon immune and viral data show significant deviations from known genealogical affinities.


          Science, Vol 255, Issue 5044, 589-592

          Experimental phylogenetics: generation of a known phylogeny

          DM Hillis, JJ Bull, ME White, MR Badgett, and IJ Molineux
          Department of Zoology, University of Texas, Austin 78712.

          Although methods of phylogenetic estimation are used routinely in comparative biology, direct tests of these methods are hampered by the lack of known phylogenies. Here a system based on serial propagation of bacteriophage T7 in the presence of a mutagen was used to create the first completely known phylogeny. Restriction-site maps of the terminal lineages were used to infer the evolutionary history of the experimental lines for comparison to the known history and actual ancestors. The five methods used to reconstruct branching pattern all predicted the correct topology but varied in their predictions of branch lengths; one method also predicts ancestral restriction maps and was found to be greater than 98 percent accurate.


          Science, Vol 264, Issue 5159, 671-677

          Application and accuracy of molecular phylogenies

          DM Hillis, JP Huelsenbeck, and CW Cunningham
          Department of Zoology, University of Texas, Austin 78712.

          Molecular investigations of evolutionary history are being used to study subjects as diverse as the epidemiology of acquired immune deficiency syndrome and the origin of life. These studies depend on accurate estimates of phylogeny. The performance of methods of phylogenetic analysis can be assessed by numerical simulation studies and by the experimental evolution of organisms in controlled laboratory situations. Both kinds of assessment indicate that existing methods are effective at estimating phylogenies over a wide range of evolutionary conditions, especially if information about substitution bias is used to provide differential weightings for character transformations.

          Application of the tested methodology:

          Implications of natural selection in shaping 99.4% nonsynonymous DNA identity between humans and chimpanzees: Enlarging genus Homo

          “Here we compare ≈90 kb of coding DNA nucleotide sequence from 97 human genes to their sequenced chimpanzee counterparts and to available sequenced gorilla, orangutan, and Old World monkey counterparts, and, on a more limited basis, to mouse. The nonsynonymous changes (functionally important), like synonymous changes (functionally much less important), show chimpanzees and humans to be most closely related, sharing 99.4% identity at nonsynonymous sites and 98.4% at synonymous sites. ”

          Mitochondrial Insertions into Primate Nuclear Genomes Suggest the Use of numts as a Tool for Phylogeny

          “Moreover, numts identified in gorilla Supercontigs were used to test the human–chimp–gorilla trichotomy, yielding a high level of support for the sister relationship of human and chimpanzee.”

          A Molecular Phylogeny of Living Primates

          “Once contentiously debated, the closest human relative of chimpanzee (Pan) within subfamily Homininae (Gorilla, Pan, Homo) is now generally undisputed. The branch forming the Homo andPanlineage apart from Gorilla is relatively short (node 73, 27 steps MP, 0 indels) compared with that of thePan genus (node 72, 91 steps MP, 2 indels) and suggests rapid speciation into the 3 genera occurred early in Homininae evolution. Based on 54 gene regions, Homo-Pan genetic distance range from 6.92 to 7.90×10−3 substitutions/site (P. paniscus and P. troglodytes, respectively), which is less than previous estimates based on large scale sequencing of specific regions such as chromosome 7[50]. ”

          Catarrhine phylogeny: noncoding DNA evidence for a diphyletic origin of the mangabeys and for a human-chimpanzee clade.

          “The Superfamily Hominoidea for apes and humans is reduced to family Hominidae within Superfamily Cercopithecoidea, with all living hominids placed in subfamily Homininae; and (4) chimpanzees and humans are members of a single genus, Homo, with common and bonobo chimpanzees placed in subgenus H. (Pan) and humans placed in subgenus H. (Homo). It may be noted that humans and chimpanzees are more than 98.3% identical in their typical nuclear noncoding DNA and probably more than 99.5% identical in the active coding nucleotide sequences of their functional nuclear genes (Goodman et al., 1989, 1990). In mammals such high genetic correspondence is commonly found between sibling species below the generic level but not between species in different genera.”

      • SmilodonsRetreat

        I don’t know how many specific mutations. Why don’t you count them? The chimp and human genomes have been published.

        Creationists claim that it can’t happen.

        Lenski is looking at evolution over 20 years. Human evolution has taken place over 5 million years (since the last common ancestor with any true apes).

        OK, erectus and sapiens are the same species, so? Why do you accept that scientist over other scientists who disagree with him? On the list I gave you, erectus is only one additional species out of the dozens listed. So, how does that help you?

    • cazimir

      Homo Erectus is the oldest homo appeared about 2 million years and is fully human. That means 3 million years from chimp human common ancestor. 3 million years is about 100000 generations (remember it took 30000 generations for 4 specific mutations in EColi). You won’t get human from chimp ancestor by random mutations in 200000 generations I guarantee you.

      If dogs are still dogs then homo erectus and homo sapiens are like different schanuzzers. Dogs are still dogs, apes are apes, humans are humans and there is nothing in between.


      “These rapid, unique, and genetically significant changes are termed “a genetic revolution” where “no australopithecine species is obviously transitional.”110 For those not constrained by an evolutionary paradigm, what is also not obvious is that this transition took place at all. The lack of fossil evidence for this hypothesized transition is confirmed by Harvard paleoanthropologists Daniel E. Lieberman, David R. Pilbeam, and Richard W. Wrangham, who provide a stark analysis of the lack of evidence for a transition from Australopithecus to Homo:

      Of the various transitions that occurred during human evolution, the transition from Australopithecus to Homo was undoubtedly one of the most critical in its magnitude and consequences. As with many key evolutionary events, there is both good and bad news. First, the bad news is that many details of this transition are obscure because of the paucity of the fossil and archaeological records.111

      As for the “good news,” they still admit: “[A]lthough we lack many details about exactly how, when, and where the transition occurred from Australopithecus to Homo, we have sufficient data from before and after the transition to make some inferences about the overall nature of key changes that did occur.”112

      In other words, the fossil record provides ape-like australopithecines, and human-like Homo, but not fossils documenting a transition between them.

      In the absence of fossil evidence, evolutionary claims about the transition to Homo are said to be mere “inferences” made by studying the non-transitional fossils we do have, and then assuming that a transition must have occurred somehow, sometime, and someplace.

      Likewise, evolutionary biologist Ernst Mayr recognized our abrupt appearance when he wrote in 2004:

      The earliest fossils of Homo, Homo rudolfensis and Homo erectus, are separated from Australopithecus by a large, unbridged gap. How can we explain this seeming saltation? Not having any fossils that can serve as missing links, we have to fall back on the time-honored method of historical science, the construction of a historical narrative.114

      As another commentator proposed, the evidence implies a “big bang theory” of the appearance of our genus Homo.”

      • SmilodonsRetreat

        You can say that it won’t happen all you want. Yet it did. And all the evidence shows that it happened via evolutionary processes.

        There is no evidence that supports any other interpretation. None.

        Therefore, the only current explanation is that humans evolved.

        I continue to notice two things. The first is that you claim evolutionary biologists don’t support evolution (for example, Richard Wrangham is an evoltionary biologist at Harvard) WITHOUT EVIDENCE.

        I also note that you don’t answer the question why you agree with these scientists, but don’t agree with any other scientists who say the opposite. At best, this is a case of cherry-picking.

        However, I’m willing to bet you dollars to donuts that the quotes from these evolutionary biologists are quotemined. So, please, cite the statements by these evolutionary biologists that say what you claim that they say. Then, I’ll go find the original.


        I really am curious how you say that Australopithicus and Homo are separated by some huge gap. Indeed, all the evidence indicates that they lived at the same time.

        Oh wait, you aren’t one of those people that think that Homo evolved from Australopithicus are you? You aren’t one of those people that think that only one species of hominid lived at a time?

        I would encourage you read up on the subject… and not from creationists. From actual scientists who study the fossils. I could make some recommendations for you.

        But first, I expect to see citations for all of those biologists that you (or whoever) are quoting.

        • Ratabago

          I’d say your dollars are safe. At the risk of spoiling your fun, there aren’t all that many biologists being quoted in cazimir’s post. Starting from after the link to Evolution News the first paragraph is Casey Luskin, maybe quoting Hawks et al.

          The second paragraph is from a speculative 14 page discussion paper (plus references) by Daniel E. Lieberman, David R. Pilbeam, and Richard W. Wrangham THE TRANSITION FROM AUSTRALOPITHECUS TO HOMO, https://www.fas.harvard.edu/~skeleton/pdfs/2009b.pdf. It’s an interesting read. It concerns itself with trying to illuminate the behavioural differences between Australopithicus and Homo, Changes in life history, sexual division of labour, language, cognition, and material energetics, and the impact these had on the emergence of hunting.

          The third paragraph is, I feel, a classic cherry pick. It takes the quote out of the context of We have inadequate archaeology and inadequate fossils to fully discern the differences in behaviour between these two groups, the fine details are missing, and turns it into there are no transitional fossils.

          Here is the rest of the quoted paragraph (Luskin cut it off mid sentence):

          …between australopiths such as A. afarensis
          and unambiguous H. erectus.When viewed from a
          distance, it is evident that the transition involved
          some increase in body size, an increase in
          absolute brain size, a substantial diminution of
          tooth and face size, and a shift to a much more
          human-like body shape, including relatively
          longer legs (see Wood and Collard 1999;Lieberman 2007). An important caveat, however, is that some or all of these shifts may not have
          been as dramatic and rapid as once thought.
          Body mass and stature range from 30 to 50 kg
          and 100 to 150 cm, respectively, in australopiths
          and from 50 to 70 kg and 160 to 185 cm in
          early African H. erectus (McHenry 1988; Anton
          2003); however, H. erectus fossils from Dmanisi
          range from 40 to 50 kg and 145 to 160 cm
          (Lordikpanidze et al. 2007). In addition, some
          early African H. erectus fossils appear to have
          been quite small, though not as small as females
          from Dmanisi (Spoor et al. 2007). Moreover,
          although absolute brain size does increase across
          the transition, larger brains in early Homo appar-
          ently scale with body size, so that encephaliza-
          tion quotients (EQs) in the early African and
          Georgian H. erectus individuals are not much dif-
          ferent from those of australopiths (Anton 2003;
          Rightmire 2004; Lordki panidze et al. 2007).

          How about that? According to the quoted article we do have fossils, they do show evolutionary change, that change was not “explosive”.

          And the other “commentator” who describes the emergence of Homo as a “Big Bang” is a press release from University of Michigan, re a study by John Hawks and Milford Wolpoff,et al, http://ns.umich.edu/Releases/2000/Jan00/r011000b.html. Here’s the paper: http://holtz.org/Library/Natural%20Science/Biology/Anthropology/Pliestocene%20Population%20Bottlenecks.htm. For the benefit of any creationist onlookers, once again, the paper is an argument on how Human evolution took place, not “if” it took place.

          • SmilodonsRetreat

            Excellent. Thank you!

            Not that being shown how their “heroes” are lying about actual research papers ever changes their minds.

            • Cazimir

              Where is the lie? The quote says that the body size was not dramatically different for some australopithecus and some homo erectus. What’s the relevance of size compared to ape or human like anatomical features?

              Gorillas today have 1,7m 1,8m height does that mean that they are more human like and not ape like or they are transitional from chimps to humans?

              The fact is australopiths are ape like and H. erectus are humans. so there are apes and humans and nothing in between.

              Indeed, in 2004 in his book What Makes Biology Unique?: Considerations on the Autonomy of a Scientific Discipline, the leading evolutionary biologist Ernst Mayr stated: “The earliest fossils of Homo, Homo rudolfensis and Homo erectus, are separated from Australopithecus by a large, unbridged gap. How can we explain this seeming saltation? Not having any fossils that can serve as missing links, we have to fall back on the time-honored method of historical science, the construction of a historical narrative.”

            • Nerdsamwich

              Have you ever seen an H. Erectus skull next to an H. Sapiens? If you weren’t told what they both were, you’d think the Erectus was a small ape. Which it basically was. The most marked difference between Homo Erectus and a chimpanzee would have to be the hips. Of course there are going to be gaps in our knowledge. The difference between science and religion is that religion hastens to plug those gaps with a god, while science leaves it open, to be filled later with real information.

      • christine janis

        “In other words, the fossil record provides ape-like australopithecines,
        and human-like Homo, but not fossils documenting a transition between

        Find a transitional species, and now we have two gaps
        where there once was one—yadda yadda.
        Australopithecines are ape-like in their
        skull, and more human-like than ape-like in their skeleton. But don’t
        allow any actual facts to get in the way of your dismissal of the

        “The lack of fossil evidence for this hypothesized transition is
        confirmed by Harvard paleoanthropologists Daniel E. Lieberman, David R.
        Pilbeam, and Richard W. Wrangham, who provide a stark analysis of the
        lack of evidence for a transition from Australopithecus to Homo:”

        Since all of these scientists have written volumes about australopithecines being intermediate forms between humans and non-human apes, this has to be about the fanciest piece of quote-mining that I’ve seen in a long while.

        Try this book for a start —–which also does not claim that H. erectus and H. sapiens are the same species — nobody actually claims that — H. erectus had a much smaller brain, outside of the range of H. sapiens. What *has* been claimed recently is that many of the various named Pleistocene species of Homo are actually the same as H. erectus. This is a far cry indeed from claiming that anyone has ever said that erectus and sapiens are the same species (hell, we even have genomic evidence that H. sapiens sapiens and H. sapiens neanderthalensis aren’t the same species).


        “Likewise, evolutionary biologist Ernst Mayr recognized our abrupt appearance when he wrote in 2004:”

        Before the discovery of A. sediba (or is that H. sediba? — the debate rages).

      • Sam Harris

        “Homo Erectus is the oldest homo appeared about 2 million years and is fully human”

        What are the criteria for declaring “fully human”?