Darwinian evolutionists maintain that human beings (homo sapiens) evolved from simians millions of years ago. It is said that humans diverged from apes — specifically, the chimpanzee lineage — at some point between about 9.3 million and 6.5 million years ago, towards the end of the Miocene epoch.
The persistent problem is scientists, specifically archeologists, have not discovered fossils of the “missing link” — a hypothetical extinct ape-man or man-ape creature halfway in the evolutionary line between modern human beings and their anthropoid progenitors. That creature is believed to be the last common ancestor of humans and chimps.
Since Darwin, archeologists have discovered many ape fossils. But American Museum of Natural History writes in SciTechDaily, May 9, 2021, that “In the 150 years since Charles Darwin speculated that humans originated in Africa, the number of species in the human family tree has exploded.” Despite the “explosion” of ape fossils, “most human origins stories are not compatible with known fossils,” resulting in an increase in “the level of dispute concerning early human evolution.”
Sergio Almécija, a senior research scientist in the American Museum of Natural History’s Division of Anthropology, the lead author of “Fossil apes and human evolution,” a new review out on May 7, 2021 in the journal Science, said: “When you look at the narrative for hominin origins, it’s just a big mess — there’s no consensus whatsoever. People are working under completely different paradigms, and that’s something that I don’t see happening in other fields of science.”
Almécija said: “In The Descent of Man in 1871, Darwin speculated that humans originated in Africa from an ancestor different from any living species. However, he remained cautious given the scarcity of fossils at the time. One hundred fifty years later, possible hominins — approaching the time of the human-chimpanzee divergence — have been found in eastern and central Africa, and some claim even in Europe. In addition, more than 50 fossil ape genera are now documented across Africa and Eurasia. However, many of these fossils show mosaic combinations of features that do not match expectations for ancient representatives of the modern ape and human lineages. As a consequence, there is no scientific consensus on the evolutionary role played by these fossil apes.”
Almécija explains that there are two major approaches to resolving the human origins problem: A “top-down” approach that relies on analysis of living apes, especially chimpanzees, and a “bottom-up” approach that puts importance on the larger tree of mostly extinct apes. For example, some scientists assume that hominins originated from a chimp-like knuckle-walking ancestor. Others argue that the human lineage originated from an ancestor more closely resembling, in some features, some of the strange Miocene apes.
In reviewing the studies surrounding these diverging approaches, Almécija et al. discuss the limitations of relying exclusively on one of these opposing approaches to the hominin origins problem. “Top-down” studies sometimes ignore the reality that living apes (humans, chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans, and hylobatids) are just the survivors of a much larger, and now mostly extinct, group. On the other hand, studies based on the “bottom-up”approach are prone to giving individual fossil apes an important evolutionary role that fits a preexisting narrative.
Overall, the researchers found that most stories of human origins are not compatible with the fossils that we have today.
Despite that, hope springs eternal among evolutionists that the ever elusive “missing link” will be found. Almécija et al. insist that “fossil apes remain essential to reconstruct the ‘starting point’ from which humans and chimpanzees evolved.”