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The Talk.Origins Archive: Exploring the Creation/Evolution Controversy

Walk Like an Australopithecine

Post of the Month: January 2001

by Floyd

Subject:    Re: Did the Neanderthals have Souls?
Newsgroups:,, alt.religion.christian
Date:       January 26, 2001

(Aaron) Bible believer wrote:

> "Rodjk #613" <> wrote in message news:94o2eu$c0i$
> > In article <XcLb6.13645$>, "(Aaron) Bible believer" <> wrote:


> > > No, that is your proof, like Lucy and the rest. Bone pieces from hundreds
> > > of feet away, claimed to be the same skeleton. Real science, huh!
> >
> > Uh, you do know this is false. Lucy was found in one place.
> > Creationist liars (but I repeat myself) tried to make it seem like Lucy
> > was found in different places. But it lies.
> > See:
> >
> >
> >
> > Want to show yourself to be different from most creationists?
> > Admit that you were wrong about the bones of Lucy.
> > I'm not holding my breath.
> > Rod #613
> I may have mixed up what I was talking about. Lucy however was a tree
> dwelling primate, not a human.
> Aaron...

[snip remainder]
Aaron, you probably sincerely believe this, but I can assure you that you are mistaken. Look at the image of "Lucy" at
First, look at the hip bone (innominate) and "tail" bone (sacrum). The sacrum is the lower (distal) end of the spine, it must have been in line with the spine when the creature was alive. Since it attaches to (articulates with) the innominate, we know the position of the innominate during life as well. "Lucy's" innominate bone, which you can see half of in this image, was shaped like a shallow bowl. This makes sense if Lucy walked upright, since it would keep her internal organs supported. If she was arboreal ("tree-dwelling") and a quadruped, this shape would be useless. Less than useless, in fact, since it would have made childbirth more difficult than a standardly shaped quadruped's pelvis ("pelvis," "innominate," and "hip bone" are all approximately interchangeable terms for the same collection of bones, by the way. Each term has a slightly different meaning, but they all refer, generally, to the illium, ischium, pubis, and sacrum, just so you aren't confused. Look it up in any anatomy textbook, but I recommend Tim White's Human Osteology, second edition, but Gray's Anatomy is online at ). Basically, "Lucy's" pelvic structure looks a lot like ours. See the modern human skeletal system illustrations at
Compare human bones to the same bones in a baboon at and you will see that it's quite easy to tell the bones of different species apart. The differences in skeletons are related to the different ways animals move around.
Look again at Lucy's spine. Notice how the lower vertebrae are wider, side to side, than the upper ones. Go back to the comparison between human and baboon skeletons and look at the different vertebrae. Notice how ours get wider, closer to the bottom. That's because in creatures that stand upright, the spine is supporting a lot of weight. In creatures that walk on all fours, each vertebra is only supporting a little bit of weight. Lucy's spine looks a lot like ours, only shorter, of course, because she was only about 3 feet tall. While you're at the comparative anatomy site, look at the cranium (skull) from the "inferior" (basal) view. The large hole, roughly in the center of the human skull, but closer to the back of the baboon skull is called the "foramen magnum" (it actually just means "big hole" in Latin). This hole is where your spinal column passes out of your brain and down your spine. Baboons, because they walk on all fours, have their foramen magnum close to the back of their head, so they are looking forward when in their normal position. If humans had their foramen magnum in the same place as baboons and other quadrupeds, close to the back of the head, we'd be staring up into space all the time. Since our foramen magnum is at the base of our skulls, we look forward when we are standing upright. There is not much of Lucy's skull available, but skulls of other members of the same species also have their foramen magnums at the base of their skulls, rather than toward the back. The knees of upright walkers and four-footed walkers are also different, and again, Lucy's knees were much more like ours than like those of any tree dweller or quadruped.
    Basically, from the neck down, Lucy and the rest of her species were very similar to us, except much smaller. The only major differences between them and us (other than size) are in the head. They had brains that were only about the size of a large apple, or perhaps a grapefruit, at most. Their teeth were slightly different as well, but more like ours than like any other animal alive today.
    I'm not sure, but I suspect that your apparent disagreements with evolution are based on an assumption that it somehow conflicts with the Bible. I assure you, it doesn't. It is quite possible to be a good Christian and still accept the findings of modern science. A few people like Henry Morris, Duane Gish, and Kent Hovind might try to convince you otherwise, but they are mistaken. They don't understand evolution much, if at all, and they don't seem to understand religion all too well either. Seriously, though, don't take my word for it, look it up for yourself; read, research, explore. The biological sciences are fascinating and provide a wonderful insight into all the beauty of the natural world. If you consider yourself a good Christian, you owe it to God to try to use the brain he gave you to understand and learn about the world he made. Hope that helps.

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