Re: Homo erectus: racial variants of Homo sapiens?

Robert Wiegand (
9 Jan 97 19:14:32 GMT

A Pagano <> writes:

>The following is posted on behalf of David Buckna <>:

>Regardless of the scientific data, the idea of evolution as a valid concept
>is not open to debate. Students are allowed to ask "HOW did evolution
>occur?", but never "DID evolution occur?". Which is a more objective
>question: "What were the ape-like creatures that led to man?" or "_Did_ man
>evolve from ape-like creatures?"

You can ask any questions you want. However, unless you have some evidence
to back up your opinions no one is going to pay much attention.

Just asking questions is pretty pointless unless you have some way to
work toword getting answers.

>On December 9 archeologist and paleo-anthropologist Mary Leakey died at age
>83. Although Leakey was convinced that man had evolved from ape-like
>ancestors, she was equally convinced that scientists will never be able to
>prove a particular scenario of human evolution. Three months before her
>death, she said in an interview: "All these trees of life with their
>branches of our ancestors, that's a lot of nonsense." Associated Press (AP)
>Dec. 10, 1996.

That's nice. While Mrs. Leakey has made some very important contributions
this is still just her opinion.

>With Leakey's words still ringing in my ears, _The New York Times_ reported
>three days later that scientists had re-examined two major fossil sites in
> Java, and found that Homo erectus may have lived there as recently as "27,000
>years ago". (December 13, P.A1) This dating analysis, conducted by McMaster
>University geologists Henry Schwarcz and Jack Rink, will serve to cast
>further doubt on the so-called evidence for human evolution. Why? If it can
>be shown that Homo erectus lived at the same time as modern man, Homo
>erectus may be no more than racial variants of Homo sapiens. That is what
>creationists such as Duane Gish ("Evolution: The Fossils Still Say No!",
>Master Books, 1995) have been saying for decades.

First, from your description it sounds like the dating of these fossils
isn't final yet. I would wait for further study before making a big deal
out of it.

Even if the dates hold up this is not evidence that Homo erectus is a
racial variant of Homo sapiens. After all, Homo sapiens and gorillas live
at the same time, but I don't hear anyone claiming that they are just
"racial variants". It takes more than a simple overlap in when they lived
to prove that.

>>From Maclean's magazine (Canada's weekly newsmagazine):
> ***
>That would place him [Java Man] in the era of modern humans---and argue
>against an ancestral relationship."If these dates are right," said Philip

Why? The fact that both you and your parents are alive at the same
time doesn't prevent your parents from being your ancestors.

Species don't just disapear all at once. It can take a long time for a new
species to displace an old one. They will coexist for a long time.

>from the neck down, the differences between Homo erectus and modern humans
>are minor. (Erectus skeletons are usually smaller than moderns, but not

>From the neck up is also important.

>always.) And while Homo erectus tended to have thicker skulls and smaller
>brains, we now know the human brain's organization is such that small size
>does not affect intelligence (eg. some Australian aboriginees). In fact,

This is only true for small differences. At some point a smaller brain has
to lose some functionality.

>the actual range in humans is said to be a remarkable 700 to 2200 cubic
>centimetres. Lubenow states that other characteristics of Homo erectus

I would like to see a reference for this. I suspect the 700 number would
be for babies, not for a normally functioning adult..

>skulls can be accounted for by poor diet and disease (especially
>rickets),inbreeding, and harsh living conditions, and that most,if not all,
>of these skull-shape characteristics can still be found within the current
>human population.

If both Homo erectus and Homo sapiens were living together they would
share the same diets,living conditions and diseases. These aren't good excuses
for explaining differences.

Bob Wiegand | Education makes a people easy to lead, but | difficult to drive; easy to govern, but
| impossible to enslave - Henery Peter Brougham