Lucy – the world’s most famous and controversial fossil – has made her U.S. debut.
Lucy, a 3.2 million-year-old Australopithecus afarenis, was unveiled during a media preview at the Houston Museum of Natural Science, where she will be the centerpiece of an exhibit opening Friday.
Near her, a 78-foot-long mural tells the story of six million years of human evolution. Near the fossil, a life-size model of what Lucy might have looked like stands encased in her own glass enclosure, observing the viewer with a half-smile.
And while the AP article goes on to state that Lucy weighed 60 pounds, was three and a half feet tall and was found with 40 percent of her bones in tact, one can’t help but wonder if the story omits some very crucial facts about the debate surrounding this alleged human ancestor.
The AP continues:
But wait, does everyone agree with this simply stated decree? Of course not, but as is typically the case when dealing with evolutionary issues, the truth is swept neatly under the rug.
Richard Leaky, one of the best-known fossil-anthropologists in the globe, has voiced serious doubts about Lucy’s validity as the alleged “link” between apes and human beings. In 1983, he firmly stated that no solid conclusion could be made regarding what species Lucy belonged to. He also had serious doubts about her skull, stating that it was so incomplete, “…that most of it [the crazy over lucy, that is] is ‘imagination made of plaster of paris’.” Science claims to be deeply rooted in logic, but how illogical is it to use a fossilized structure that is only partially complete to link apes and humans? After all, this linkage is the most important piece of the puzzle. Without enough of her to complete the structure, how could science be so quick as to classify Lucy as the end all be all?
Now, if scientists found another Lucy that was 100% complete, it would be logical to assume that the theory that she is the missing link between two species would be rooted in substantial fact. But, this simply isn’t the case.
Consider what Dr. Charles Oxnard had to say (Professor of Anatomy and Human Biology at the University of Western Australia):
And if that isn’t enough to at least make one ponder Lucy’s validity, consider the remainder of his quote:
“Part of the basis of this acceptance has been the fact that even opposing investigators have found these large differences as they too, used techniques and research designs that were less biased by prior notions as to what the fossils might have been.”
Sadly, science had already framed Lucy’s past before the facts were in order. Then, they – as they continue to do – tested without filtering out their own personal biases. Oxnard, like many others, has concluded that Lucy is part of a unique species – that the australopithecines are not directly related to either apes or humans. This uniquely distinguishes Lucy from the pack.
And even more surprising is the fact that there is no formal proof that showcases that Lucy could even walk upright. But without a “Lucy,” evolution is nothing short of, well – goosey.
Unfortunately, the AP neglected to share these issues with readers. Being nonpartisan means citing both sides of the spectrum equally. Touting Lucy as the missing link is irresponsible without at least mentioning the disagreements that have resulted from what I believe is a dangerous mis-title.