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Lucy In The Sky
Case For The Tree-Dweller
By Jordan P. Niednagel
© - 12/03

She is an espoused ancestral link to humans, but recent headlines are shedding light on the controversial lady we've all come to know as Lucy. One reads, "Early Man Walked On All Fours," while another says, "Did Lucy Walk On Her Knuckles?" So, we ask ourselves, what's the huff and puff all about? Simply put, it all has to do with scientific discoveries, discoveries revealing that the fossil ‘Lucy’ (Australopithecus afarensis) has the same wrist anatomy as knuckle-walking chimpanzees and gorillas. For the layman reader, you may be asking yourself what the significance is. Lucy, you see, has been pushed by mainstream science as an upright, human-like animal, with feet and hands also like that of a human. Don't believe it? Let's take a little trip to St. Louis Zoo in Missouri, USA.

It's a $17.9 million exhibit featuring evolution, and within the attraction stands an impressive statue of a purported reconstruction of the subject of this article . . . Lucy. She's upright, shows an intelligent expression on her face, and, without having to look closely, has feet and hands near identical to that of a human (though a bit harrier). One, of course, would assume that the reconstruction is based on fossil evidence. This, however, is not the case. Rather, the statue's feet and hands are plain wrong and misleading to the public. Associate professor of anatomy and neurobiology at the nearby Washington University, Dr. David Menton (interviewed in Creation magazine, Vol.16 No.4, pp. 16-19) confirms that they're not based on the fossil facts, as do others.

But why? Why display with vivid detail features of an animal that aren't accurate? Bruce Carr, the zoo's director of education, shares the answer.

"We cannot be updating every exhibit based on every new piece of evidence. What we look at is the overall exhibit and the impression it creates. We think that the overall impression this exhibit creates is correct."

Very interesting.

Dr. Menton also says that if Lucy's feet were shown accurately, they clearly could never fit into the well-known Laetoli fossil footprints. These are 'exhibit A' for evolutionary belief in upright walking by Lucy's kind, whereas in truth they are identical to bare-foot humans. In any case, Menton did, at least, state back in 1989 that "I think the zoo owes it to all the people who helped pay for that exhibit to give (Lucy) an honest presentation."

Let us return, now, to the initial subject of this article.

Lucy, it's been confirmed, has the same wrist anatomy as chimpanzees and gorillas. Furthermore, using multivariate analysis, the anatomist Dr. Charles Oxnard has shown that Lucy's big toe actually sticks out as in chimpanzees. This, it must be noted, is a very important point, because evolutionists point to the famous fossil footprints at Laetoli (which look just like human footprints but are claimed to pre-date humans) as concrete evidence that Lucy walked upright. When correctly reconstructed, however, australopithecine fossil foot bones show that Lucy could not possibly have made those footprints. Rather, they are just like those of children who habitually walk barefoot, as Dr. Russell Tuttle’s of the University of Chicago believes.

Still, many evolutionists refuse to concede anything other than upright walking for Lucy. According to them, her knuckle-walking wrist joints are a leftover (or vestige) from an early ancestor who came down from the trees and walked on her knuckles, just like chimpanzees and gorillas.

Everyone, of course, is entitled to their beliefs, but once belief supercedes evidence, a dangerous ground is encroached.

Fortunately, there is more evidence other than the wrists and feet of Lucy to build a case that she was, in essence, "chimp-like." Anatomist Dr. Fred Spoor and his colleagues at University College, London, performed CAT scans on australopithecine inner ear canals (reflecting posture and balance) and came to the conclusion that they did not walk habitually upright.


So, in the final analysis, what was Lucy? Dr. Charles Oxnard, after conducting his multivariate analysis, stated that the australopithecine fossils "clearly differ more from both humans and African apes, than do these two living groups from each other. The australopithecines are unique." Whether or not he's right, one thing is certain: Lucy was in all likelihood a knuckle-crawling tree-dweller . . . yes, not an upright walker on the ground, but instead a stooped branch-swinger in the sky.



1. New evidence: Lucy was a knuckle-walker, <>, David Catchpoole
2. C.E. Oxnard, in Fossils, Sex and Teeth — New Perspectives on Human Evolution, University of Washington Press, Seattle and London, p. 227, 1987.
3. CREATION Ex Nihilo Volume 19 Number 1 Dec.96-Feb.97.

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