Posted by Neal on September 26, 2006
Both Language Log and HeiDeas took note of the announced discovery of a child Austalopithecus, notable for the presence of an intact hyoid bone. But when I read this Washington Post article about the find, I was much more amazed by this piece of information:
The remains also confirm how much of a hybrid these creatures were between humans and apes.
(Rob Stein, The Washington Post)
An ape-human hybrid? Now that’s the bigger story here, and it hardly even got a mention! I gather that australopithecines did not precede human beings, as previously thought; in fact, it was the other way around. And not only that; humans actually bred with apes to produce these austalopithecines!
The article also had a confusing quotation from Fred Spoor of University College in London:
“Even though it’s a very early human ancestor, she would sound more apelike than humanlike,” [Spoor] said.
First of all, this completely contradicts the proposition that australopithecines were ape-human hybrids, as already discussed. And second, even if we stipulate that humans did descend from australopithecines, this particular Austalopithecus was nobody’s ancestor, since she died when she was about three years old. This reminds me of the nature guy who was entertaining people at a recent festival we went to. He was holding up a deer skull and asking, “Now who can tell me, was this a mommy deer or a daddy deer?”
“You can’t tell,” I said.
“A daddy deer!” he told me with excitement. “See the antlers?”
“Yeah,” I agreed, “But how do you know he ever had any babies?”