Peking Man debate on CARM, message 4

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                        Pekin Man (response to Helen)

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Posted by Jim Foley on June 22, 1998 at 17:43:27:

First, I point out that the most important point of my last post was that
the only evidence Helen gave for Peking Man's status as a monkey (Boule's
supposed identification of it) was a fabrication.

Doesn't it give you cause for wonder when Bowden and Taylor say that Boule
referred to "battered monkey skulls", but Boule says something totally
different? How do you explain this glaring discrepancy?

Helen said:

>> What I got from Encyclopedia Britannica was the following:

>> Peking man was identified as a new fossil hominid by Davidson Black in
>> 1927 on the basis of a single tooth. Later excavations yielded 14
>> skullcaps, several mandibles, facial bones and limb bones and the teeth
>> of about 40 individuals. ...a skull flat in profile but with a small
>> forehead, a sagittal ridge on top of the head for attachment of powerful
>> jaw musciles, very thick skull bones, heavy browridges, an occipital
>> torus, a large palate, a a large, chinless jaw. The teeth are
>> essentially human, though the canines and molars are quite large, and
>> the enamel of the molars is often wrinkled. The limb bones are
>> indistinguishable from those of modern man. Core tools, primitive
>> flaked tools, worked-bone tools, charred animals bones, and the remains
>> of hearths found in association with these hominid bones show that
>> Peking man had a well-developed communal culture, practiced hunting, and
>> used fire domestically.(Macropaedia, vol VII, 1984, p. 836)

>> Jim, take a look at that nonsense.

None of this is nonsense; it is an accurate description of the fossils.

>> What limb bones were found? Barely anything! But they were
>> "indistinguishable from those of modern man."

Although they were somewhat robust, with very thick walls in the long
bones. Guess what? Further finds of Homo erectus consist of skulls very
similar to those of Peking Man, along with skeletal bones very similar to
those also found at Peking, so it is really somewhat of a no-brainer to
assume that the skeletal bones did indeed go with the skulls. What is the
alternative? Is it supposed to be more probable to assume that we have
lots of skull parts from Peking Man with no skeletal bones, and some
skeletal bones from humans but no skulls?

>> And the teeth? Well, of course they were men's, EXCEPT for the large
>> canines and molars and wrinkled enamel. Gee, what else is like that?

Are you saying they were ape's teeth? Of course they weren't; the previous
sentence that they were *essentially* human, with the minor differences
noted. I have seen pictures of some of the jaws, and they sure don't look
like apes to me.

>> Remains of hearths? Found with charred animal bones? Is that a slight nod
>> towards the fact that Breuil reported 24 FEET in thickness of ashes,

So Bowden says, but he has not actually printed the evidence from Breuil
which would prove it, and given that he has so blatantly misrepresented
what Boule said, I'm not likely to take his word for it.

>> IF (and that is a very large "if" considering the condition of the skull
>> cap pieces that had to be reassembled)

No, it is a very tiny if. We are not talking about a few battered fragments
of skull cap as you imply. We are talking about almost all of the
braincase, for FIVE separate specimens. And the braincase in question (the
first one) was *not* fragmented, but was found intact. The others were
fragmented, but so what? Most fossils are fragmented, and if most of the
pieces are there, as they obviously were in those cases, the pieces will
fit together and allow the appearance and the volume of the braincase to be
evaluated with high confidence.

>> the cranial capacity of Pekin man
>> was truly an average of about 1000 cc. then there is good reason to
>> include them with H. sapiens, which Lubenow does ON THAT BASIS.

But what about all the apelike characteristics you've been telling us
about, that prove Peking Man was a monkey? Have they suddenly disappeared?
If so, your sources clearly don't have a clue what they're talking about.
And if they haven't disappeared, why is Lubenow calling them human?

Bowden and Lubenow have been studying fossil humans for decades. Which one
of them is so clueless that they can't tell the difference between an ape
and a human skull?

>> However, the point of the quotes by Bowden, which I referred to, is that
>> ALL of those who first saw the one in tact skull cap considered it quite
>> small, and, by inference, NOT H. sapien.

I too think it is not H. sapiens. So how does that prove that it was a
monkey, as opposed to a very primitive human?

You seem to have a foolproof way of disposing of transitional fossils. If
it's not H. sapiens, it's automatically an ape or monkey. And if it is
H. sapiens, it's obviously not transitional either. What you accept as a
transitional fossil, exactly?

>> Taylor writes this: "In 1929, after two years of digging and again just
>> as funds were running out, an almost complete brain case was discovered
>> fossilized and embedded in rock; there was no face, jaw, or base. Black
>> fervently believed that this was indeed the skull of Sinanthropus
>> pekinensis, the name he had previously coined on the basis of the single
>> tooth found earlier. When the fossil was freed from the rock, Black
>> estimated the brain capacity to be just under 1,000 cubic centimeters,
>> which happens to be midway between ape and man. However, the other
>> experts, Teilhard de Chardin, Grafton Elliot Smith, Marcellin Boule, and
>> later von Koenigswald, who were all as anxious as Black to find the
>> missing link, were sure, once they had seen the actual fossil, that
>> Black's estimate for the brain capacity was too high.

Really? I have three of Teilhard's articles on Peking Man, and an article
and a book by Boule. Last Friday I quoted from the Boule article that
your sources referenced, and it clearly said that Peking Man's average
brain volume was about 1000 cc. Forgotten already? All of these sources
say that the skull volume was small (as it was, relative to humans), but
none of them say that Black's estimate was too high that I know of.

>> (p. 236) [By the way, Dubois, just before his death, confessed that Java
>> man was a large ape -- Weidenreich, 1938, as referenced by Taylor,
>> p. 238]

As a side issue, this is not true. See

Weidenreich did say this (as did others), but as Bert Theunissen shows in
his definitive work on Eugene Dubois and Java Man, Dubois never ceased to
consider Java Man as the true missing link, and Weidenreich had not taken
the time to fully understand Dubois' complex (and flaky) theory of brain

>> Now, reclassification aside, which might be a matter of wishful
>> thinking, especially since the original material is no longer available,
>> the reports are that 1000 cc was too large an estimate.

Do let me know when you find a report that actually says that. Nothing
you've posted or I've read does so.

>> Taylor also reports the following: "Another notable visit to Chou K'ou
>> Tien, at the invitaiton of Teilhard de Chardin, was his old professor
>> from Paris, Marcellin Boule;

(sigh) Yet another mistake. Patrick O'Connell appears to have invented
this tale, along with much else, and it has been repeated endlessly in the
creationist literature. I defy you to find any documentary evidence of it.

>> however when he actually saw Sinanthropus pekinensis, he was angry hat
>> having traveled halfway around the world to see a battered monkey skull.

Does repeating a lie make it more true? I have already posted, and
you have ignored, a direct quote from Boule showing that this is patently

Please don't repost the bit about how Boule thought humans had killed
Peking Man. It is true but does not tell us what Boule thought Peking Man

>> Don't you think that "pretty nondescript" fossils must be reconstructed
>> using a lot of imagination?

No I don't, for reasons that Nikkal explained in another post. Just
because a fossil doesn't look like much to the average person doesn't mean
an expert can't tell a lot from it.

>> Well, I say all that are left are reconstructions, to which you say no,
>> we have a reconstruction..... That part I found a little baffling....

I thought the point was clear: your statement that *all* that are left are
reconstructions is wrong; I listed the copious other documentation that

>> His best guess at missing parts -- what did he WANT it to be? I think
>> that might have influenced his "best guess." The casts that are
>> available of the missing bones are what? The one section of skull cap
>> and some jaws? This is no big help, I don't think.

*One* section of skull cap?? Didn't you even look at the web page
illustrations I mentioned previously? And what a remarkable coincidence it
is that, if Weidenreich fudged all the skulls to fit his image of an ape
man, they so closely resemble the skull of Homo erectus later found in

>> Nor are the ten skeletons simply a "minor mystery!" The following is a
>> quote from Bowden's book, pp 95-96 --

>> [big Bowden excerpt snipped]

>> But the publication of the reports of these ten skeletons did have one
>> effect: they established very firmly in some minds the idea that Pekin
>> man was now dissociated from the possibility of "monkeyhood" and was
>> associated with men. If nothing else, the reports did that.

Oh, come one. As the excerpt you gave shows, the idea of ten skeletons,
nine of them headless, was so improbable that most scientists were pretty
skeptical of it, especially since the information was only coming through
newspapers. If news of them died so quickly, they can't have been that
influential. As I said, the idea that some journalist garbled his
information is far more probable than the idea that ten skeletons were
suppressed by the evilutionist conspiracy. Note that none of the sources
for this come from China. The discovery of 10 skeletons on a huge site
like Zhoukoudian would be virtually impossible to suppress.


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