Dating an ape-man? Real dilemma described by palaeontologist writing in The Conversation 25 September 2015. John Hawks is a palaeoanthropologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and was involved in the study of a massive haul of bones and teeth recently found in a South African cave, which have been named Homo naledi. Much to the frustration of evolutionary biologists no age has been assigned to the bones, and Hawks gives a basic 2 part explanation: there are no other animals found with the bones to use as an evolutionary reference, and that radioactive dating is unreliable. Hawks sets out the shortcomings of radioactive dating as follows:

“Even today, with methods that rely upon radioactive isotopes to determine the absolute ages of rock layers, geologists often have to revise their initial ideas of the ages of fossils.”

“Across the last 45 years, the age of the famous KNM-ER 1470 skull of Homo rudolfensis, from Koobi Fora, Kenya, has swung upward and down by more than a half million years as geologists revised age estimates of the famous KBS Tuff. The age of the Sterkfontein Member 4 fossils has been notoriously difficult to determine. Different teams have produced very different ages for the famous Little Foot skeleton from the Silberberg Grotto of Sterkfontein, ranging over more than a million years. “

“In other words, it pays to be cautious about geology”.

According to Hawks, “The bottom line is that, for now, we have little idea how old the fossils may be”.

The Conversation

Editorial Comment: It is good to see an evolutionist admit to what creationists have been saying for many years about dating methods.

For more on Homo naledi see the question: Is the discovery of Homo naledi in South Africa evidence for apes evolving into humans? Answer here.

Evidence News vol. 15 No.18
7 October 2015
Creation Research Australia