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Creation Science Fiction™

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The Taung Child Announced 95 Years Ago Today

95 years ago today Raymond Dart revealed the Taung Child skull to the world and Africa became the central focus in our search for the origin of our species. Believed to be from a 3 year old child, the skull showed the first evidence for an upright walking ape and it was classified as a new species, Australopithecus africanus, the following year.

Creationists have of course been attacking the discovery ever since, focusing mainly on the initial controversy surrounding it. Dart was challenged by his European peers and organizations like Answers in Genesis still make that their main argument against it being a member of a transitional species, while ignoring almost every discovery of additional specimens since 1924.

"Nature then published reports of four experts who reviewed Dart’s paper. According to Reader—who referred to Dart’s new species and genus as ‘strange small-brained creatures which could be explained away as odd apes’—all four saw more immediate affinities with the apes than with man.

However, the reports were sympathetic. They all emphasized the difficulty of assessing a fossil, especially a juvenile, from a preliminary report and a few photographs.

Even though evolutionists could not identify the skull, or find a place for it in their evolutionary charts, they did not want to discard it altogether. (Dart was unable to produce data to contradict suggestions the skull was younger than claimed.)

While Dart continued to promote his findings in the press, expert opinion was steadily hardening towards the conclusion that Australopithecus africanus was a form of chimpanzee, with its man-like attributes due to the phenomenon of ‘parallel’ evolution, rather than because it was on the way to becoming man." (1)

Australopithecis africanus is similar to the earlier species Australopithecus afarensis, retaining features such as longer arms and shorter legs, but with a slightly larger average cranial capacity and smaller teeth which makes it clearly transitional between species that came before and after. 



1.  The Taung Skull: 'Missing Link'?  Answers In Genesis, December 1, 1993.

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