Crocodiles, not Lucy, butchered bones, according to Science (AAAS) News and PNAS doi: 10.1073/pnas.1716317114, published online 6 November 2017. In 2010 anthropologists claimed that marks on bones found in the Afar region in Ethiopia were the earliest evidence of human ancestors using stone tools to butcher animals. The bones were dated as 3.4 million years, which is too early for humans on the evolutionary timetable, but fit with Australopithecus afarensis, whose most famous representative is Lucy, and who are believed to have inhabited this region between 3.9 and 2.9 million years ago.
The claim was based on the characteristics of the marks on the bones. According to Science News, “Animal bites leave U-shaped furrows, the researchers argued, whereas sharp stone tools leave characteristic V-shaped cuts with striations—linear marks—along the insides of the grooves”. Another team of anthropologists from University of Tübingen, Germany and University of California Berkeley have now carried out further studies on fossil bones and concluded that crocodile teeth could have made the marks. The researchers noted that recent experiments involving feeding mammal carcasses to crocodiles produced that same kind of marks on the bones. They referred to these results as “equifinality – the creation of similar products by different processes”.
According to Yonatan Sahle, one of the researchers, “The resemblance is so stunning. There is no way you can tell whether this was produced by a croc tooth or a stone tool”.
Editorial Comment: The researchers ambivalence that the bone marks may have been made by crocodiles, as the experiments with living crocodiles and mammal bones indicate, also still allows they could have been made by humans.
We do agree they were not made by Australopithecus, who as their scientific name describes them are just “southern apes”. The bone marks had been assigned to Australopithecus simply because the theory of evolution eliminated humans from the scene.
This is not the first time evidence for human occupation of this site has been assigned to Australopithecus. A human foot bone was also found in the Afar site where Lucy was found, and then claimed to be evidence that Lucy walked upright, in spite of the fact it was clearly human. (See our report Lucy Gets Bone Graft here.)
In both these cases, the marked bones and the foot bone, the theory of evolution has been a hindrance, not a help to science. The Biblical history of the world is a better basis for science. According to Genesis, people and apes (and crocodiles) have always existed from the beginning, even though some apes such as Australopithecus have died out. Therefore, finding bones that could have been marked by humans’ stone tools or croc teeth is not a problem.
Evidence News vol. 17, No. 20 22 November 2017 Creation Research Australia
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