The Instigator
Pro (for)
21 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

The Fossil Record Provides Scientific Evidence for Macroevolution

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/10/2012 Category: Science
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 6,949 times Debate No: 28019
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (10)
Votes (6)





(1) Opening Statements
(2) Rebuttals
(3) Counter-Arguments
(4) Rebuttals
(5) Closing Arguments


(1) No plagiarism
(2) No semantics
(3) No arguments in the comment section


Systematic knowledge of the physical or material world gained through the scientific method [1].

The available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid [2].

The scientific terminology for a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world, based on a body of facts that have been repeatedly confirmed through observation and experiment [3].

The change in genetic composition of a population over successive generations, which may be caused by natural selection, genetic drift, migration, inbreeding, hybridization, or mutation [4].

Major evolutionary change, especially with regard to whole taxonomic groups over long periods of time [5].

A group of living organisms consisting of similar individuals capable of exchanging genes or interbreeding [6].

Any organism exhibiting all or most of the characteristics typically associated with life, including growth, adaption, metabolism, homeostasis, reproduction, response to stimuli, and cellular composition [7].

The totality of fossilized artifacts and their placement within the earth's rock strata [8].

Transitional Fossils

Contrary to popular creationist claims, there exists an immensely rich abundance of transitional fossils, all of which provide strong and compelling evidence of macroevolution [9]; however, despite the overwhelming acceptance of such fossils within the scientific community, many creationist groups have (to no avail) attempted to refute the legitimacy of these remarkable remnants of earth's biological history.

Given the fact that there exists much too many fossils to discuss adequately within an 8,000 character limit, I shall focus this round primarily on discussing transitional hominid and horse fossils.

Current evolutionary theory teaches (and overwhelming evidence suggests) that chimpanzees are the closest living relatives of humans [10]; as such, we should expect the fossil record to exhibit organisms which are morphologically intermediate between humans and chimpanzees, and it does.

Figure 1.0

Provided by

As can be clearly seen from the above image, there certainly exists fossils of past organisms which exhibit a mixture of human and ape-like characteristics, thus fulfilling the prediction of evolution theory. (In-depth information on these fossils and more can be obtained from

Furthermore, the following figure also reveals a few transitional horse fossils:

Figure 1.0

Provided by

As the above image clearly demonstrates, the fossil record is strongly indicative of the fact that modern day horses descended from three-toed, dog-sized creatures.

Fossil Chronology

If the evolutionary interpretation of the fossil record is correct, we should expect the geological order in which fossils appear in the Earth's strata to be consistent with the standard phylogenetic tree [11]; for example, seeing as how homo sapien sapien arrived after homo habilis, we should not observe homo sapien sapien fossils in the earliest strata layers in which homo habilis appears [12].

However, seeing as how the fossil record is incomplete, a small margin of potential error should be expected. For example, Dr. Douglas Theobald has stated concerning the matter:

"Based on the fossil remains of modern species and the known gaps in the current paleontological records of extinct species, the observation of transitional species "out of order" by 40 million years should be fairly common. This degree of "play" in the fossil record is actually rather minor, considering that the fossil record of life spans between 2 to 3.8 billion years and that of multicellular organisms encompasses a total of 660 million years. An uncertainty of 40 million years is equivalent to about a 1% or 6% relative error, respectively— rather small overall [13]."

With this, it is interesting to consider the continued statement of Dr. Theobald:

"...within the error inherent in the fossil record, prokaryotes should appear first, followed by simple multicellular animals like sponges and starfish, then lampreys, fish, amphibians, reptiles, mammals, etc...Contrary to the erroneous (and unreferenced) opinions of some anti-evolutionists, studies from the past ten years addressing this very issue have confirmed that there is indeed a positive corellation between phylogeny and stratigraphy, with statistical significance [14]."

Dr. Theobald also provides another interesting example, stating:

"An early analysis published in Science by Mark Norell and Michael Novacek examined 24 different taxa of vertebrates (teleosts, amniotes, reptiles, synapsids, diapsids, lepidosaurs, squamates, two orders of dinosaurs, two orders of hadrosaurs, pachycephalosaurs, higher mammals, primates, rodents, ungulates, artiodactyls, ruminants, elephantiformes, brontotheres, tapiroids, chalicotheres, Chalicotheriinae, and equids). For each taxa, the phylogenetic position of known fossils was compared with the stratigraphic position of the same fossils. A positive correlation was found for all of the 24 taxa, 18 of which were statistically significant...Additionally, if the correlation between phylogeny and stratigraphy is due to common descent, we would expect the correlation to improve over longer geological time frames (since the relative error associated with the fossil record decreases). This is in fact observed. We also would expect the correlation to improve, not to get worse, as more fossils are discovered, and this has also been observed [15]."

Therefore, it becomes quite evident that fossil chronology clearly confirms and supports the theory of evolution.

Neanderthal DNA

Although humans are not a descendent of homo neanderthalensis, both species are closely related.

Moreover, Neanderthals were relatively advanced; for example, the Smithsonian Institute states:

"Neanderthals made and used a diverse set of sophisticated tools, controlled fire, lived in shelters, made and wore clothing, were skilled hunters of large animals and also ate plant foods, and occasionally made symbolic or ornamental objects. There is evidence that Neanderthals deliberately buried their dead and occasionally even marked their graves with offerings, such as flowers [16]."

Creationists generally assert that Neanderthals must have been human; however, now that the entire genome of homo neanderthalensis has been sequenced, it has become blatantly evident that such claims are simply wrong. Speaking on the matter, the Smithsonian Institute states:

"The Neanderthal mtDNA sequences were substantially different from modern human mtDNA...Most human sequences differ from each other by on average 8.0 substitutions, while the human and chimpanzee sequences differ by about 55.0 substitutions. The Neanderthal and modern human sequences differed by approximately 27.2 substitutions [17]."

Therefore, given their DNA, homo neanderthalensis fossils provide powerful evidence of macroevolution.


[10] Ibid.
[11] Ibid.
[12] Ibid.
[13] Ibid.
[14] Ibid.
[15] Ibid.
[17] Ibid.


Pro gives us a list of skulls that supposedly belong to creatures "morphologically intermediate between humans and chimpanzees." Until he actually tells us what human and chimpanzee features they each possess, he hasn"t proved his case. Evolutionary theory holds that as animals progressed up the evolutionary scale, they became more capable of surviving. Why, then, is the "inferior" ape family still in existence, but not a single one of the presumed intermediate forms in Pro"s list, which were supposedly more advanced in evolution? Today we see chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans, but no "ape-men." Why should every one of the more recent and supposedly more advanced "links" have become extinct, but not the lower apes?

There are three distinguishing marks between the anatomical structure of humans and apes:
1) The way the skull is joined to the spine, balanced upright in humans, sloping in apes.
2) Human feet are flat for walking upright. Ape feet are long and curved for grasping branches.
3) Ape teeth are very different from human teeth.

Show me a fossil that has feet, teeth and skull posture halfway between an ape's and a human's and I'll be shocked to see it. None of Pro"s skulls fit this criterion - some are human, others are from apes, none are intermediates. Australopithicine skulls B and C are nothing more or less than apes. Australopithicines like Lucy have their skulls joined to their spines like apes, they have long curved hands and feet for grasping branches (longer and more curved than a chimpanzee for instance) and their teeth are those of an ape. Anatomist Zuckerman wrote: "When compared with human and simian [ape] skulls, the Australopithecine skull is in appearance overwhelmingly simian"not human. The contrary proposition could be equated to an assertion that black is white."[1] He also said: "Our findings leave little doubt that .".". Australopithecus resembles not Homo sapiens but the living monkeys and apes."[2] Richard Leakey called it "unlikely that our direct ancestors are evolutionary descendants of the australopithecines."[3] If any australopithecines were found alive today, they would be put in zoos with other apes. No one would call them "ape-men."

Similarly, there is nothing to distinguish homo habilis skulls D and E from modern humans. The habilines are calculated to have had a brain about half the size of the average modern human's. But the habilines were also small in stature, so their brain was not small in relation to their body size, like modern pygmies. Neanderthal man was also undoubtedly human. The vivid imagination of evolutionist pictured him as bent over, stupid looking, hairy and apelike. Now it is known that this mistaken reconstruction was based on a fossil skeleton badly deformed by disease.

When he described H. neanderthalis in 1875, Hermann Schaffhausen depicted him as a shambling brute, dragging his knuckles along the ground - an ape-man. After half a century of revision, Cave and Strauss were able to announce in the _The Quarterly Review of Biology_ (1957) that Neanderthals sewed clothes from animal skins, used fire for cooking, built shelters and gave their dead a ritual interment which included placing flowers in the grave. Finally they observed that if he were given a bath, a collar and tie, Neanderthal Man would pass unnoticed in the New York subway. Why would chimps outlive the more evolved, more intelligent Neanderthals?

Pro"s use of mtDNA sequencing is also no proof of evolution because current scientific research has shown that "morphological and behavioral differences between humans and chimpanzees are predominately due to differences in the regulation of genes rather than to differences in the sequence of the genes themselves."[4] So even with a 27.2 mtDNA sequence difference, Neanderthals would still be the same as modern humans once their genes are regulated the same way, and their behavior suggests that they were.

As for the horse"s evolution, Evolutionist Hitching says: "Once portrayed as simple and direct, it is now so complicated that accepting one version rather than another is more a matter of faith than rational choice. Eohippus, supposedly the earliest horse, and said by experts to be long extinct and known to us only through fossils, may in fact be alive and well and not a horse at all"a shy, fox-sized animal called a daman that darts about in the African bush."[5] How could this animal outlive the more evolved intermediates? When skin and tissue is placed on the bones of such creatures it becomes clear that their relationship to modern horses is purely imaginative. What about Philohippus and Merychippus? Even if these are horses, should it surprise us that there are fossils of horses of different sizes and shapes? Even today, horses vary from very small ponies to large stallions. All are varieties within the horse family. Experimentation on mutation shows that mutation always runs into the limits of variation.[6] So by what mechanism did horses evolve?

Pro"s mtDNA cannot prove common ancestry with chimps, because these comparisons came about through reassociation kinetics which only uses single-copy fractions of DNA. Many other genes are found in high-copy and low-copy fractions which are left out of the analysis, and virtually the entire genome is now known to be functional in some aspect and the non-coding regions have been shown to provide many critical control features and nucleotide templates.[7] Ebersberger et al did a study in which a large pool of human, chimp, orangutan, rhesus and gorilla genomic sequences was used in constructing phylogenies; he summaries it this way: "For about 23% of our genome, we share no immediate genetic ancestry with our closest living relative, the chimpanzee." "Thus, in two-thirds of the cases a genealogy results in which humans and chimpanzees are not each other"s closest genetic relatives...In accordance with the experimental evidences, this implies that there is no such thing as a unique evolutionary history of the human genome. Rather, it resembles a patchwork of individual regions following their own genealogy."[8]

The fossil record is more consistent with sudden creation than evolution. An extensive study done by the Geological Society of London and the Palaeontological Association of England found that life appeared suddenly with no intermediate links between species.[9] In the layers above the Cambrian outburst of life, the testimony of the fossil record is repeatedly the same: New kinds of animals and plants appear suddenly, with no connection to anything that went before them. And once on the scene, they continue with little change. Discover magazine notes one such example: "The horseshoe crab .".". has existed on earth virtually unchanged for 200 million years."[10] Are there any fossils of birds evolving a beak from a reptile jaw? Is there any fossil evidence of fish fins turning into amphibian legs? No, there isn"t.

1 Journal of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, January 1966, p. 93
2 Beyond the Ivory Tower, by Solly Zuckerman,"1970, p. 90
3 Origins, p. 86
4 Georgia Institute of Technology (2011, October 25). 'Junk DNA' defines differences between humans and chimps. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 10, 2012, from
5 The Neck of the Giraffe, by Francis Hitching,"1982, p. 31.
6 Burke, Molly K., Joseph P. Dunham, Parvin Shahrestani, Kevin R. Thornton, Michael R. Rose, Anthony D. Long. 30 September 2010. Genome-wide analysis of a long-term evolution experiment with Drosophila. Nature, Vol. 467, pp. 587-590.
7 Bergman, J., The functions of introns: from junk DNA to designed DNA, Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith 53(3):170"178, 2001
8 Ebersberger et al., ref. 30, p. 2269.
9 Should Evolution Be Taught? John N.Moore,1970, pp. 9,14,24; New Scientist, "Letters," September"15,"1983 p.798
10 Discover, "The Tortoise or the Hare?" by James Gorman, October 1980, p. 89.
Debate Round No. 1


Intermediate Characteristics of Transitional Fossils:

Here my opponent asks why evolutionarily inferior species, such as the modern ape family, managed to survive while other evolutionarily superior “ape-men” died off; the answer is rather simple. Organisms adapt to suit their environments; therefore, neither humans nor apes are evolutionarily inferior or superior to one another – humans are better suited for their environment, while apes are better suited for theirs; to say otherwise is tantamount to saying that orange-peelers are superior to apple-peelers because orange-peelers are better at peeling oranges.

Furthermore, my opponent has challenged me to list the intermediate features of all hominid fossils provided in the first found. Unfortunately, such a challenge is simply unreasonable given an 8,000 character limit; however, my opponent has nevertheless stated that he would be “shocked” to see a fossil which possessed intermediate stages of ape-to-human skulls, feet, and teeth; therefore, I shall present herein one fossil in particular which effectively meets this criterion – Australopithecus Afarensis:


The Royal Society states,

“…In small-brained, bipedal Australopithecus the foramen magnum [the hole at the base of a skull into which the spinal cord connects] and occipital condyles were anteriorly sited, as in humans, but without the foramen's forward inclination.”

Therefore, A. Afarensis shared a mixture of human and ape foramen magnum characteristics.


As to feet, in an article entitled “Lucy Had a Spring in Her Step,” Science Magazine states:

“A 3.2-million-year-old foot bone from a member of Lucy's species, Australopithecus afarensis, reveals that this hominin was no flat foot: It had already evolved arches and a stiff midfoot similar to living humans…The bone also shows that A. afarensis had abandoned the flexible midfoot that apes use to grasp tree branches, in favor of an arch that makes upright walking more efficient [2].”

Hence, it is quite obvious that the feet of A. Afarensis possessed both ape and human characteristics.


The Australian Museum lists a number of things which make the teeth of A. Afarensis intermediate between humans and apes. Just a couple of such characteristics are stated as follows:

“[The] jaws and teeth [of A. Afarensis] were intermediate between those of humans and apes. [The] jaws were relatively long and narrow. In the lower jaw, the teeth were arranged in rows that were slightly wider apart at the back than at the front. In the upper jaw, the placement of the last molar results in tooth rows that curve in at the back…[The] back molar teeth were moderate in size and were human-like in having a ‘Y-5’ pattern. That is, they had five cusps arranged so that the grooves between the cusps form a Y-shape [3].”

Therefore, considering all of the above listed information, I submit that Australopithecus afarensis effectively meets the criterion set by my opponent.

Sustaining Transitional Fossils:

Concerning the various transitional fossils mentioned in my first argument, my opponent presents various contentions challenging the legitimacy of such fossils being actual intermediates; however, such contentions, as I hope to demonstrate, are simply insufficient to support the conclusions asserted by my opponent.


I believe I have already shown above that Australopithecines possessed a demonstrable mixture of ape and human characteristics – they were certainly not purely ape-like as my opponent asserts. Concerning my opponent’s quote of Dr. Solly Zuckerman, the Talk.Origins website states:

“Solly Zuckerman attempted to prove with biometrical studies (based on measurements) that the australopithecines were apes. Zuckerman lost this debate in the 1950's, and his position was abandoned by everyone else. Creationists like to quote his opinions as if they were still a scientifically acceptable viewpoint [4].”

Furthermore, as to my opponent’s quote from Richard Leakey, such a quote was made in reference to skull 1470. At the time, Leakey was under the impression that skull 1470 belonged to Homo habilis. In full context, the quote says:

“This remarkable skull confirmed two things. First, that the human ancestral line, Homo, originated much earlier than most people suspected, earlier perhaps by as much as a million years. Second, because the history of Homo goes back that far, it means that these individuals were living at the same time as some of the earliest australopithecines, making it unlikely that our direct ancestors are evolutionary descendants of the australopithecines--cousins, yes, but descendants, no.” (Origins 1977)

Concerning this, states:

“The actual quote from Origins, then, indicates the authors' belief that although humans did not evolve directly from Australopithecus we did evolve from a common ancestor…It should be noted that since the writing of Origin skull 1470 has been determined to be a member of the species Homo rudolfensis and to be more recent than original estimates, thus making it more likely that Australopithecus is in fact our ancestor [5].”

Therefore, my opponent’s quotes are outdated and taken out of context.


It seems my opponent is making the assertion that Homo habilis was human; however, such an assertion couldn’t be further from the truth.

Habilines possessed various characteristics which differed significantly from humans (such as longer arms, larger jaws, heavier brow ridges, etc. [6]) Moreover, anyone can tell the difference simply by looking at the skull of a Habiline:

Figure 1.0

Provided by


Although my opponent asserts that Neanderthals were humans (they’re actually more of a subspecies of humans) there exists numerous differences between Neanderthals and modern day humans, including heavy brow ridges, a long low skull, a robust skeleton, etc [7].


My opponent asserts that the Hyracotherium (Eohippus) is nothing more than a hyrax; however, as can be seen from the below image, such is simply not the case:

Figure 1.1

Provided by

Concerning my opponent’s quote of Francis Hitching, it is well known that such a man is nothing more than a liar and a charlatan who lacks any scientific credentials whatsoever; he has claimed that he is a member of the Royal Archeological Institute, that Stephen Jay Gould co-authored his book, and that Richard Dawkins supports his work – all such claims have been proven false; hence, Francis Hitching can in no wise be quoted as a reliable source [8].

Cambrian Explosion:

Here my opponent claims that the fossil record is more consistent with creation rather than evolution. To support such a claim, my opponent mentions the so-called “Cambrian Explosion,” stating that there are no transitional fossils of organisms found above the layers of the Cambrian. Nevertheless, my opponent’s claims are utterly and demonstrably false; for example, intermediate fossils between arthropods and worms (called lobopods) have been found in the Cambrian [9].

I certainly don’t mean to say that the Cambrian record isn’t incomplete – it is; however, there exists several plausible explanations for this; for example, the Skeptic’s Dictionary states:

“[One] explanation [for the Cambrian explosion] is that the earth was a frozen snowball [due to the ice age] until about the Cambrian Period and that sudden melting brought about a "climate shock" that triggered the evolution of multi-cellular animals. [10].”

My opponent raises a few other minor points (such as gene exresstion, the survival of less intelligent species over smarter ones, etc); however, I've ran out of room.

In conclusion, I again submit that the fossil records supports macroevolution.







[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid.



"Organisms adapt to suit their environments" " this was Pro"s big answer to why the ape family survived and the intermediate forms between them and us did not. So he is left with the ridiculous conclusion that dumb apes were able to survive all the droughts, floods, snows, quakes, famines, and other environmental changes in history, but the far more intelligent Neanderthals were unable to find a way!

Pro quotes The Royal Society"s mention of a "bipedal Australopithecus" and talks about Lucy"s feet. There is a useful discussion on how Australopithecines, especially Lucy, have been misrepresented as human ancestors in Forbidden Archaeology (Cremo and Thompson, 1993, p 728-739). I am quoting from page 730:

"Evidence for arboreality in postcranial anatomy of A. afarensis.

1. General anatomy of Lucy's shoulder blade was characterized as "virtually identical to that of a great ape and had a probability less than 0.001 of coming from the population represented by our modern human sample" (Susman et al, 1984, pp 120-121).

2. Lucy's shoulder blade has a shoulder joint which points upwards (Oxnard 1984, p334-i; Stern and Susman 1983, p284) This would allow "use of the upper limb in elevated positions as would be common during climbing behavior" (Stern and Susman, 1983, p284).

3. A. afarensis wristbones are apelike. "Thus we may conclude that A.
afarensis possessed large and mechanically advantageous wrist flexors, as might be useful in an arboreal setting" (Stern and Susman, 1983, p282).

4. A. afarensis metacarpals [the bones in the palm of the hand] "have large heads and bases relative to their parallel sided and somewhat curved shafts -- an overall pattern shared by chimpanzees". This "might be interpreted as evidence of developed grasping capabilities to be used in suspensory behaviour" (Stern and Susman 1983, pp 282-3).

5. The finger bones are even more curved than in chimpanzees and are
morphologically chimpanzeelike. (Stern and Susman 1983, pp 282-4; Susman et al 1984 p. 117; Marzke 1983, p 198).

6. A. afarensis humerus (upper arm bone) has features that are "most likely related to some form of arboreal locomotion" (Oxnard 1984, p.334-1; see also Senut 1981, p.282).

7. One of the long bones in the forearm, the ulna, resembles that of the pygmy chimpanzee (Feldsman 1982b, p.187).

8. Vertebrae show points of attachment for shoulder and back muscles
"massive relative to their size in modern humans" (Cook et al 1983, p.86) These would be very useful for arboreal activity (Oxnard 1984, p 334-i).

9. "Recently Schmid (1983) has reconstructed the A.L. 288-1 rib cage as being chimpanzeelike" Susman et al 1984, p 131).

10. Blades of hip oriented as in chimpanzee (Stern and Susman 1983, p.292.) Features of afarensis hip therefore "enable proficient climbing" (Stern and Susman 1983, p. 290).

Lucy's feet, hands, arms, body and musculature are those of an arboreal ape, and her feet are even longer and more curved than a chimpanzee's, therefore, the best bipedal gait Lucy could manage would be worse than a modern chimpanzee"s. How can such poor adaptation be evidence of human ancestry? Your Australopithicines are incapable of supporting an erect posture because they are adapted for arboreal life. They are apes, this is why the specialists who described their type specimens called them Asutralopithius, meaning "Southern APE." I"ll trust their anatomical measurements in the lab above the opinions of overenthusiastic Darwinists Pro quotes from the headlines of Science Magazine. In fact, three scientists from the departments of anatomy, anthropology, and zoology at Tel Aviv University reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Vol. 104, pp. 6568-72, April 17, 2007) that the jawbone of the Lucy species (Australopithecus afarensis) is a close match to a gorilla's. The article says that "This finding was unexpected given that chimpanzees are the closest living relatives of humans." The scientists concluded that this pretty much discounts these australopithecines as having any role in being a human ancestor.

As for the "teeth," Here is Cremo and Thompson (1993 pp. 729-731) "In humans, the teeth in the jaw are arrayed in a parabolic curve, In the Hadar jaws, such as AL200, the teeth on either side of the jaw are set in straight parallel rows, as in the apes, although the rearmost molars are sometimes slightly displaced (Johanson and Edey 1981, pp 267-268). Both in apes and in the Hadar fossils the palate is flat (Johanson and Edey 1981, p 270). In humans it is arched. As in the apes, the canines of the Hadar jaws were conical. In humans, the inner surface of the canine is flattened. In order to accommodate the projecting lower canine of A. afarensis, the upper jaw has a noticeable gap between the incisor and the canine. This gap, called a diastema, is also present in apes but not in humans. Departures from the ape condition were minor. In an ape, the first premolar has a single cusp. In humans the first premolar has a prominent second cusp. In all of the Hadar specimens except Lucy, the first premolar has a slightly developed second cusp (Johanson and Edey 1981, p 270)."

"All in all, the apelike condition of the Hadar jaws is so pronounced that even Johanson admitted: 'If David Pilbeam were to find any of them in Miocene deposits without any associated long bones, he would surely say it was an ape.' (Johanson and Edey 1981, p 376)." So Pro hasn"t met my three criteria. I"ll let the readers choose whom they wish to believe between honest scientist and those committed to Darwinism.

No matter what fossils are found they can be claimed as "transitional" either because they are claimed to look a little bit more human than the usual apes or a little bit more ape-like than the usual humans. What makes this approach unscientific nonsense is that all known ape fossils are within the range of modern or extinct apes while all known human fossils are within the range of modern or extinct humans. The only reason evolutionists give them intermediate status is because they are ideologically commitment to a Darwinist viewpoint. Small stature in humans is known to produce abnormal anatomical features resembling ape-like characteristics, such as the jaw and dentition (because the individuals have the same number of teeth as us in a much more confined space) and the length of the arms. That is why many pygmy's faces look different to ours (showing prognathous teeth and jaws). Just a few miles to the east of Olduvai George where Homo habilis was found, in the forests of Zaire are the Mbuti people who in stature, brain capacity, and way of life, are comparable to the habilines. So clearly the habilines and Neanderthals were human.

Zukerman"s views were confirmed by Charles Oxnard, Professor of Anatomy and Human Biology at the University of Western Australia in the 1980s. Far from being abandoned, many specialists today agree with them; if I had room I"d quote them.

Eohippus was discovered in 1841 by paleontologist Richard Owen, who did not call it Eohippus because, upon careful observation, it did not look like a "hippus" (horse) at all. He called it "Hyracotherium" because it resembled a modern day Hyrax (a Daman). The skull and teeth of Hyracotherium are different than that of the modern Hyrax, but its bone structure, size, habitat and way of life are very similar, suggesting it was of the same kind. Further, the birth of three toed horses still happens today, so Merychippus to Eqqus is just variation in the horse kind, not evolution of one species into another.

Evolution holds that life evolved from very simple to complex forms, but the first forms of life preserved in the fossil record are far from being "simple." Some species of the unjustly called "primitive" amoebas have as much information in their DNA as 1,000 Encyclop"dia Britannicas. I"m out of room, more next round.
Debate Round No. 2


First and foremost, I would like to thank my opponent for his relatively swift reply; however, I cannot thank him for plagiarizing a significant portion of his arguments from various sources (primarily from a debate between Richard Milton and Jim Foley which can be found at Such an action clearly violates the first rule of this debate; nevertheless, I shall proceed to formulate a refutation of my opponent's contentions.

Sustaining the Bipedality of Australopithecus Afarensis:

My opponent quotes a passage from Forbidden Archeology listing 10 characteristics exhibited in A. Afarensis indicative of arboreality (tree dwelling), and therefore concludes that the ability of bipedal locomotion must have been absent from the species; however, such an argument is simply a non sequitur.

No reputable scientist contests the fact that A. Afarensis was able to live in trees; however, simply
because an organism exhibits arboreal characteristics doesn't automatically negate the possibility of it being bipedal; in fact, the position currently held by scientists (and supported by all available evidence) is that A. Afarensis possessed the ability to live both in trees and on the ground [1].

I've provided a video at the top of this post which adequately discusses the evidence for A. Afarensis bipedality.

Furthermore, the entire idea of a fossil being "transitional" is that it exhibits characteristics of both a biological ancestor and its evolutionary descendents. The fact that A. Afarensis possesses both ape and human traits is entirely consistent with the position of evolution theory; therefore, I don't understand why my opponent believes he can refute the transitional status of A. Afarensis simply by pointing out its ape-like characteristics while simultaneously ignoring its human-like ones.

Lastly, my opponent also asserts the non-transitional status of A. Afarensis based on claims concerning the ape-like characterisics of its jaws and teeth; besides the fact that my opponent has plagiarized such statements from the earlier mentioned Foley-Milton debate, the fact that australopithecines exhibit ape-like characteristics poses no problem for evolution theory. Again, my opponent's attempt to debunk the transitional status of A. Afarensis simply by focusing on its ape-like characteristics and ignoring its human-like ones is simply insufficient to make his case.

The remaining portion of my opponent's argument consists heavily on questioning the intellectual honesty of scientists who find and identify transitional fossils. I'll leave it to the voters to decide if the majority of scientists intellectually bias and somehow collectively involved in an elaborate conspiracy to propagate evolution (particularly transitional fossils) and ignore all evidence to the contrary.

Sustaining Transitional Fossils:

My opponent once again raises contentions against the transitional fossils I've provided, and once again his contentions are insufficient to make his case.

Homo Habilis and Neanderthals:

Here my opponent argues that because the modern Mbuti people (pygmies) and Homo Habilis share comparable physical characteristics and lifestyle traits, Habilines must have been human; furthermore, my opponent oddly uses this claim to argue that Neanderthals were humans as well, despite the fact that the argument has nothing to do with Neanderthals.

Not surprisingly, this is an argument my opponent must have gotten from the Foley-Milton debate, as I have been unable to find any other source which purports such a claim; therefore, I shall simply provide Foley's response to Milton when Milton made the same argument:

"You haven't provided *any* evidence about pygmy brain size...or any of [your] other claims here about habilis, for that matter. In response to repeated requests for evidence, Milton merely evades the request and repeats his assertions [2]."

To my knowledge, Milton never did provide any evidence for his claims.

Furthermore, I've already provided an image of a Habiline skull, clearly demonstrating the strong difference from humans; moreover, here is another image depicting the difference between a Neanderthal and Human skull:

Figure 1.0

Provided by

I'll leave it to the voters to decide based on an examination of the anatomical differences shown and discussed here whether or not Neanderthals and Habilines were humans.


Here my opponent contends that despite the fact that eohippus and hyrax have completely different skulls, teeth, and tails, other characteristics indicate they are from the same "kind." Unfortunately, "kind" is not a scientific taxonomical classification. If my opponent wishes to debate this point, he must define what a "kind" is. In any case, no scientist I know of holds the opinion that an eohippus and hyrax are the same thing.

My opponent also argues that because certain horses are born with three toes, merychippus is not actually a transitional fossil, but only a demonstration of variation within the horse species; however, what my opponent has failed to explain is why no "one-toed" horses are found in the fossil record during the Miocene epoch [3]. The fossil record strongly indicates that all past horses possessed three toes; therefore, the appearance of multiple toes on modern-day horses is best explained by atavisms ("An atavism is the reappearance of a lost character specific to a remote evolutionary ancestor and not observed in the parents or recent ancestors of the organism displaying the atavistic character [4]").

The Survival of Less Intelligent Species

My opponent seems to be under the misapprehension that more intelligent species will always outlive less intelligent ones; although greater intelligence certainly does give a species the upper hand, it in no wise always guarantees their survival on an absolute scale. To say otherwise is tantamount to saying that educated people will always out-live uneducated people; such is simply not the case, as there are always exceptions.

With the room I have left, I'd like to briefly address my opponent's assertion (made in the first round) that there are no fish-to-amphibian or reptile-to-bird transitional fossils.

There are plenty of reptile-to-bird transitional fossils. Dr. Douglas Theobald lists a great many of them:

"[Some reptile-to-bird transitional fossils include] Eoraptor, Herrerasaurus, Ceratosaurus, Allosaurus, Compsognathus, Sinosauropteryx, Protarchaeopteryx, Caudipteryx, Velociraptor, Sinovenator, Beipiaosaurus, Sinornithosaurus, Microraptor, Archaeopteryx, Rahonavis, Confuciusornis, Sinornis, Patagopteryx, Hesperornis, Apsaravis, Ichthyornis, and Columba, among many others [5]."

Moreover, one prime example of the evolutionary transition from fins to legs is Tiktaalik. The University of Berkeley's website on evolution states,

"Tiktaalik is technically a fish, complete with scales and gills — but it has the flattened head of a crocodile and unusual fins. Its fins have thin ray bones for paddling like most fishes', but they also have sturdy interior bones that would have allowed Tiktaalik to prop itself up in shallow water and use its limbs for support as most four-legged animals do. Those fins and a suite of other characteristics set Tiktaalik apart as something special; it has a combination of features that show the evolutionary transition between swimming fish and their descendents, the four-legged vertebrates — a clade which includes amphibians, dinosaurs, birds, mammals, and of course, humans [6]."



Cambrian Explosion (530 mya)
Pro claims that lobopods are intermediates between worms and anthropods, but this is false because (1) lobopods appear in the Cambrian explosion at the same time as anthropods, not before, disqualifying them as intermediate ancestors, and (2) we do not have a progressive sequence of intermediate lobopods leading from annelid worms to arthropod crustaceans as required by macroevolution. To explain the absence of intermediates in the Cambrian, Pro"s quote suggests that a global ice age before the Cambrian explosion may have stalled development of complex organisms or kept populations down so that such fossils would be a rare find today. But the Ediacaran phyla which predate the Cambrian contain numerous soft-bodied organisms. The abundance of these fossils debunks the assertion that Precambrian animals were rare. (McCall (2006). Yet the Ediacaran fossils are not widely believed to be the progenitors of modern taxonomic groups such as the metazoan phyla which explode so abruptly in the Cambrian period. Even more devastating to the ice-age excuse is the fact that the ice age is thought to have ended 100 million years prior to the Cambrian explosion (630 Mya), so there was no ice-age at this point at TalkOrigins suggests.

Evidence is mounting that Neanderthals were no different from humans today. "Blades were first produced by Homo sapiens during their colonization of Europe from Africa approximately 40,000 years ago. This has traditionally been thought to be a dramatic technological advance, helping Homo sapiens out-compete, and eventually eradicate, their Stone Age cousins. Yet when the research team analysed their data there was no statistical difference between the efficiency of the two technologies. In fact, their findings showed that in some respects the flakes favoured by Neanderthals were more efficient than the blades adopted by Homo sapiens"Many long-held beliefs suggesting why the Neanderthals went extinct have been debunked in recent years. Research has already shown that Neanderthals were as good at hunting as Homo sapiens and had no clear disadvantage in their ability to communicate. Now, these latest findings add to the growing evidence that Neanderthals were no less intelligent than our ancestors.
Metin Eren, an MA Experimental Archaeology student at the University of Exeter and lead author on the paper comments: "Our research disputes a major pillar holding up the long-held assumption that Homo sapiens were more advanced than Neanderthals. It is time for archaeologists to start searching for other reasons why Neanderthals became extinct while our ancestors survived. Technologically speaking, there is no clear advantage of one tool over the other." (University of Exeter (2008, August 26). New Evidence Debunks 'Stupid' Neanderthal Myth. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 10, 2012, from

Mounting evidence continues to humanize Neanderthals despite evolutionary bias: The discovery of a human hyoid bone (related to the larynx or voice box) indicates that Neanderthals had speech and language ability equivalent to ours. (Bower, B., Neandertals to investigators: can we talk? Science News 141(15):230, 1992) In 1998 they found a Neanderthal-human "hybrid" skeleton in Portugal, indicating that humans interbred with Neanderthals. (Archaeological Institute of America (2005, May/June). "Look Before You Date." Archaeology. Insider. Vol. 58, No. 3)

Pro"s photos of Neanderthal"s skull appears different from ours because it is older, hence more eroded and a different color, and has lots of cracks because they were hunters of dangerous animals (so they often sustained head injuries), and they tended to succumb to diseases like rickets and arthritis, hence slight bone deformity. Despite this, when put in the same color these skulls look much the same as ours:
Reconstructed face of the Gibraltar 2 (Devil's Tower) Neanderthal child, and another Neanderthal

According to a January 1996 edition of National Geographic, researchers at the University of Illinois were able to use computer morphing techniques to fit pictures of living people onto Neandertal skulls, proving that their appearance was no different from folks living today. All Neanderthals features such as heavy brow ridges can be found
in folks alive today as in the pictures below:

Survival of the Dumbest
My opponent argues that educated people don"t always outlive uneducated people. Now this strikes me as a bazaar argument to make considering the gap between Neanderthal man and chimpanzees. Remember Pro"s excuse was to blame the extinction of Neanderthals on their environment, which begs the question, how could chimpanzees overcome environmental difficulties that humans were unable to meet? How could a nation of retards make it where a nation of intelligent minds failed?

Reptile-to-Bird Transitions
I don"t have room to discuss all Pro has listed, but I"ll say something on Archaeopteryx (1) Its fossilized remains reveal perfectly formed feathers on aerodynamically designed wings capable of flight. The fact that its wings were fully developed suggests this was not a being changing from one species into another, but a separate kind altogether. If evolution is true, we should find reptiles with undeveloped wings progressing toward becoming "complete" wings, where are they? (2) Its supposed reptilian features are found in birds today, and it doesn"t even predate birds, because fossils of other birds have been found in rocks of the same period as Archaeopteryx. (The Neck of the Giraffe, pp."34, 35; Science, "Feathers of Archaeopteryx: Asymmetric Vanes Indicate Aerodynamic Function," by Alan Feduccia and Harrison B."Tordoff, March 9, 1979, pp."1021, 1022)

Zuckerman and Bipedality
Zuckerman found the foramen magnum behind the centre of the skull as in apes, rather than in the centre of the skull as in humans, refuting Pro"s claim of a human characteristic here in A. Afarensis. (Beyond the Ivory Tower, p. 79) Zuckerman headed the Department of Anatomy at the University of Birmingham in England for many years, and was scientific adviser to the British government. Zukerman and a team of scientist based this conclusion on 15 years of intense study, comparing hundreds of fossils in great detail. His view that australopithecines were not bipedal was not abandoned as TalkOrigins claims, but taken up by other experts such as Charles Oxnard, Professor of anatomy and human biology and a leading expert on the australopithecine fossils. (Scientific American, Feb. 1976) Also in agreement were Randy Susman, Jack Stern and Bill Jungers of the Stony Brook Institute ((Lucy"s Child, p. 194), and Russel Turtle of the University of Chicago. ((Lucy"s Child, p. 196). These experts realized that with feet more curved than a chimpanzee"s it would be impossible for australopithecines to walk upright like humans. Oxnard concluded that they "are now IRREVOCABLY REMOVED FROM A PLACE IN THE EVOLUTION OF HUMAN BIPEDALISM." ((The Order of Man: A Biomathematical Anatomy of the Primates, p. 332). Lucy doesn"t even have the locking mechanism in the knees that allows us to stand upright. In 1994 Jack Stern expounded these views to the 63rd Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists. (Duane Gish, Evolution: The Fossils Still Say No, p. 257). A biochemical examination of the hip and thigh of Australopithecus concluded that it was not bipedal (C Berge, Journal Human Evolution, 1994, pp.259-273)
Debate Round No. 3


Sustaining Neanderthals as a Human Sub-Species:

Here my opponent mentions that Neanderthals communicated and created tools just as efficiently as homo sapiens sapiens at the time, and therefore concludes that they were most likely identical to modern-day humans; however, the position I'm advocating is that Neanderthals exhibit both anatomical and genetic differences which distinguish them from Homo sapiens sapiens. The fact that they possessed impressive craftsmanship skills or were capable (to some extent) of communication is simply irrelevant to my case.

The reason I say Neanderthals were only capable of communication to a certain extent is due to the shape of the Neanderthal's larynx, which is highly indicative of limited elocution [1]. The hyoid bone found in Neanderthals is indeed evidence of speech; however, it's certainly not enough to establish complex communication [2].

The evidence that Neanderthals were unique from modern-day humans lies simply in the fact that their skeletal makeup is notably dissimilar from that of our own [3], as well as the fact that their mitochondrial DNA differs significantly [4]. In the first round of this debate, my opponent did raise one criticism against the mtDNA argument which I unfortunately never had room to address; therefore, I shall do so now.

Simply put, my opponent attempts to make the case that because morphological differences between humans and chimpanzees are due to gene expression, Neanderthals may have been identical to Homo sapiens sapiens due to the manner in which their genes were expressed, despite the fact that the genes themselves were significantly different.

In fact, my opponent further went on to make the case that the behavior of Neanderthals is actually evidence that their genes were expressed in a manner consistent with Homo sapiens sapiens.

Unfortunately, this argument completely ignores the point at hand. If Neanderthals are truly Homo sapiens sapiens as my opponent suggests, then why are their genes significantly different? Whether or not the said genes of both species are expressed in a similar fashion is completely irrelevant to the fact that the genes themselves differ to such an extent as to conclusively demonstrate separateness of species [5]. It's as simple as that.

Is my opponent truly making the case that despite considerable gene differences (not to mention anatomical dissimilarities), Neanderthals and Homo sapiens sapiens are actually the same type of human? With all due respect, such an assertion is simply absurd, which is precisely why no reputable scientist subscribes to such an idea.

As to the anatomical differences between the two species, I've provided a video at the top of this post which discusses some of the dissimilarities found in the skulls, including different noses, brow ridges, face shapes, and brain capacities.

My opponent also attempts to argue that some modern-day humans exhibit cranial features similar to that of Neanderthals. Unfortunately, showing us the faces of a few living people is simply insufficient to make a compelling point; my opponent is going to need to provide images of actual skulls if he wishes to go anywhere with his argument.

Survival of the Fittest Isn't Survival of the Smartest:

My opponent again raises the point that less intelligent species were able to outlive the more intelligent Neanderthals. What my opponent simply fails to realize is that survival of the fittest doesn't always mean survival of the smartest. What it ultimately comes down to is which species was better adapted to their environment.

Let me provide one simple example. Cockroaches possess an incredible resistance to radiation exposure; therefore, in a situation where a human and a cockroach are exposed to radiation, chances are good that the cockroach is going to out-live the human, despite the fact that the human is significantly smarter; therefore, it ultimately comes down to which species is better equipped to face their environment, not necessarily which one is more intelligent.

Sustaining Archaeopteryx as a Transitional Fossil:

Contrary to my opponents claims, Archaeopteryx possess numerous reptile-like features which are absent in modern-day birds. Such features are strongly indicative of reptile-to-bird transition.

One article on the Talk Origins website lists 23 reptilian features found on Archaeopteryx. Some such features include:

1. Lack of a bill
2. Trunk region vertebra are not fused, as in all other modern birds
3. Neck attaches to skull from the rear (as in dinosaurs), not from below as in modern birds
4. Possesses teeth, unlike any other modern bird
5. Nasal opening separated from the eye by a large hole, as is typical with reptiles, but not birds
6. Various bones, including foot bones, hand bones, and tail vertebra aren't fused, as in modern birds.

Much more can be said of archaeopteryx to support its status as a transitional fossil between reptiles and birds; however, my character limit would not suffice.

The full list can be found at

Lastly, I respectfully request that my opponent provide sources that I can actually access and read for myself.

Zuckerman and the Scientific Abandonment of his Position:

I will attempt to cover this point briefly. In short, my opponent argues that a number of modern-day scientists still accept Solly Zuckerman's position on A. Afarensis bipedality. I hope to refute the examples he's provided herein; the following quotes are from the Talk Origins website:

Charles Oxnard:

"Charles Oxnard (1975), in a paper that is widely cited by creationists, claimed, based on his multivariate analyses, that australopithecines are no more closely related, or more similar, to humans than modern apes are...Oxnard's results were based on measurements of a few skeletal bones which were usually fragmentary and often poorly preserved. The measurements did not describe the complex shape of some bones, and did not distinguish between aspects which are important for understanding locomotion from those which were not. Finally, there is 'an overwhelming body of evidence', based on the work of nearly 30 scientists, which contradicts Oxnard's work [6]."

Randall Susman and Jack Stern:

"Stern and Susman do claim Lucy was arboreal. They also claim she was bipedal, although probably not walking identically to humans. The differences may have been bioenergetic, or a lesser amount of extension in the knee or hip. These differences are certainly not dramatic enough to preclude the idea that Lucy was evolving towards full-time human bipedality, and in fact Stern and Susman consider her to be an excellent example of a transitional form [7]."

William Jungers:

"Jungers does not say or even imply that Lucy did not walk upright. Quite the opposite, in fact. His paper says: '
Diagnostic details of the knee joint and bony pelvis of A. afarensis are compelling indicators of a bipedal adaptation [8].'"

Russell Tuttle:

In my research, I could find nothing which even slightly suggests that Russell Tuttle ascribes to the position of Solly Zuckerman. The page from "Lucy's Child" which my opponent uses as a source only speaks of the fact that Tuttle believes the Laetoli footprints were not made by A. Afarensis (although other scientists beg to differ); it says nothing of bipedality [9].

My opponent has also raised further contentions concerning the Cambrian explosion; however, I will have to try and find room to discuss that matter in the next round, as I've unfortunately exhausted my character limit.

[3] (I highly recommend visiting this source)
[4] [Smithsonian Institute]
[5] Ibid.


As I pointed out earlier, one, two, and three-toed horses still exist today and anyone can look at them and tell they are horses; so the fossils Pro originally presented in round 1 are simply examples of variation within the kind, not a transition of one species into something completely different as macroevolution demands. Yes, there are no one-toed horses in the Miocence period, but the fact that not all variations of the horse exited in this period does nothing to show that a horse can become another kind of animal or another animal can become a horse. The history of black people is older than that of whites, but just because there are no whites at a certain time in human history doesn"t imply that the black to white transition is evidence of non-humans becoming humans. Blacks and whites are fully human in the same sense, just as one-toed and three-toed horses are horses in the same sense. In fact, even if I am very kind to Pro and include Mesohippus alongside Eqqus, how would this be any different from placing Michael Jordan beside a pygmy? Both are equally human, both are equally horses, both are examples of variation within the kind, but no new "kind" is coming into being. You get tall horses and short horses, but they remain horses; you have tall humans and short humans, but they always remain humans. Mutation always runs into the limits of variation, so there"s nothing new for natural selection to select.

The very characteristics that supposedly distinguish habilines from humans are found in people living today who are no less human than me or you. "Negroid skulls are renowned for exhibiting alveolar prognathism, and a wide nasal form (Gill, 1986; Bass, 1995)" The teeth of Negroids are large, and their palate shape is also very pronounced (Ubelaker, 1989) The Negroid mandible ramus is also low and wide (Krogman & Iscan, 1986). In summary, the Negroid in terms of craniofacial features is robust, with poor facial symmetry. Prognathism, as observed in Negroid crania is usually associated with a sloping forehead. All these traits combined, makes the Negroid appear very simian, hence the very old comparison of Negroids to apes, which is rooted in genuine observation in terms of cranial morphology between Negroids and apes. A notch observed in the Negroid sacral vertebrae, is "characteristic of pongids [apes]" but absent or far less pronounced in the other races (Baker, 1974)." (Wikipedia: Black Africans Prognathism) Habilines are much like modern pygmies: "In both types [of pygmy] the eyes tend to bulge, the upper jaw juts out, and the arms are longer than the legs." (Peoples of the World, Francis Huxley, 1971) "There are two types [of prognathism] alveolar prognathism, which is restricted to the tooth region, and facial prognathism, which affects a much larger area of the face causing it to jut out, so increasing the facial area. A small chin is characteristic of both conditions. Prognathism is considered a primitive feature, particularly as it is most commonly found in apes and ancient primitive men. The Andamanese [pygmies] have pronounced prognathism." (A Dictionary of Anthroplogy, David Davies, 1972) So the so-called ape-like characteristics in habiline fossils occurs in people today who are no less human than any of us. The idea that none of H. Habilus features are found in any modern humans cannot be proved by Pro comparing one habiline skull to a single human skull, because this one skull in his comparison does not accurately represent the full variation of human skulls.

Africanus Afarensis
Pro"s source claims that Australopithicus Afarensis had curvature in its teeth like that of a human, but I have already refuted this in my quote from Cremo and Thompson (1993 pp. 729-731) "In humans, the teeth in the jaw are arrayed in a parabolic curve, In the Hadar jaws, such as AL200, the teeth on either side of the jaw are set in straight parallel rows, as in the apes" (Johanson and Edey 1981, pp 267-268). Although he goes on to say that "the rearmost molars are sometimes slightly displaced," we should only take the word "sometimes" to indicate the exceptions to the rule, for even in humans they are deviations from the usual (or most popular) anatomy of skulls (such as prognathism, see Wikipedia: prognathism) but such variations both natural and by disease do not make such people more or less human than you are I in any sense. Therefore, a few exceptions in how the teeth of australopithicines are shaped doesn"t imply they were evolving into humans anymore than such exceptions in human prove we are evolving into gods. Such variation within the kinds doesn"t cause humans living today to be classified as a subspecies or missing link between other humans and apes; the same should be true of Afarensis if evolutionists are to be consistent with their logic.

In 1983 Randy Susman and Jack Stern described Lucy"s feet as being even more curved than a chimpanzee"s. ((Milton, Shattering the Myths, p. 207) How could feet with more curvature than a chimp"s be an example of evolution towards human feet I"ll never know. Pro"s source claiming that Lucy"s feet had human characteristics is simply wrong.

As I said before, "Zuckerman found the foramen magnum behind the centre of the skull as in apes, rather than in the centre of the skull as in humans, refuting Pro"s claim of a human characteristic here in A. Afarensis. (Beyond the Ivory Tower, p. 79)" Humans do not have a sigittal crest at the top of their skulls, but apes do. Zukerman"s team found this feature in the australopithecine fossils, and after comparing them to 800 ape skulls, concluded: "that the existence of sagittal crests in the australopithecines implied that they had carried their heads like apes and not like man" (Beyond the Ivory Tower, p. 85). Pro wants to create the illusion that Lucy"s bipedality is a settled issue, but this was far from evident at a gathering of anthropologists at the Institute of Human Origins in New York in 2009. Reporting on this event the NewYork Times said:

"The debate over whether the primate Lucy actually stood up on two feet three million years ago and walked--thus becoming one of mankind"s most important ancestors--has evolved into two interpretive viewpoints, three family trees, spats over four scientific techniques and too many personality clashes to count. ... The long and short of it is, according to a participant, that bipedality lies in the eye of the beholder" ("Did Lucy Actually Stand on Her Own Two Feet?" (New York Times, Aug. 29, 2009).

"Early artistic reconstructions mostly presented Neanderthals as beastly creatures"Reconstructions of Neanderthal men, women and children have become much more intelligent-looking and pleasing to the modern eye." (Wikipedia: Neanderthal) The humanization of Neanderthal has come a long way, I merely suggest it has a bit further to go. If it is our gene expression and not the DNA sequence that makes us human, I see no reason why I shouldn"t consider a man who looks and behaves just like me but who has differences in his genes to be human. This would only be variation within the kind. Further, Neanderthal DNA only appears to be different because much pertinent information is left out of the analysis.

To show the same problem in trying to establish similarity between humans and chimps" DNA, is suggest Pro read Human-Chimp Similarities: Common Ancestry or Flawed Research? by Jeffrey Tomkins, Ph.D, and Genomic monkey business"estimates of nearly identical human"chimp DNA similarity Re-evaluated using Omitted Data by Jeffrey Tomkins and Jerry Bergman. I"ll rebut his remaining objections next round as I"m out of space.
Debate Round No. 4


My opponent's latest post is predominantly nothing more than a repitition of his earlier arguments, all of which I believe I've effectively refuted in previous rounds; however, despite this fact, I shall nevertheless attempt to debunk such arguments yet again.

Sustaining the Evolution of Horses:

Again, my opponent states that some modern-day horses are born with three toes, and therefore concludes that such a characteristic is nothing more than variation within the horse "kind." Unfortunately, despite my previous statements, my opponent has once again failed to define what a "kind" even is, as it certainly isn't a scientific taxonomical classification. As far as I know, my opponent's definition of a "kind" could refer to anything as limited as a species to as broad as a kingdom.

Moreover, as I've stated previously, the fact that all modern horses in the miocene epoch exhibit multiple digits while only a rare few exhibit such a characteristic today is best explained by atavisms.

Furthermore, seeing as how my opponent hasn't actually provided any examples of modern-day three-toed horses
, we are unable to examine the limbs in detail. Of course, multiple digits aren't the only difference which exist between modern horses and their predecessors; rather, the "foot" as a whole is significantly different, as can be seen in the following image:

Figure 1.0

Provided by with some alterations made by me.

Therefore, even if a rare amount of horses happen to exhibit atavistic digits, I highly doubt their limbs fully resemble that of their predecessors, as I have been unable to find any examples of such.

And again, not even limbs were the only things different about ancient horses, as they also exhibited arched backs, shorter necks, smaller snouts, shorter legs, and longer tails, as well as lesser speed, agility, and intelligence [1].

Ultimately however, I believe my opponent's argument ultimately boils down to an unfailing tendency to reject the transitional legitimacy of any and all fossils, despite how highly indicative they are of macroevolution.

Indeed, it seems that no matter how impressively smooth and progressive the fossil record is, creationists will claim (in the case of humans, for example) that a fossil is either a nothing more than a variation within the human "kind," or simply a full ape altogether. We see this especially with Homo erectus -- a fossil of which creationists have yet to come to a conclusive consensus on, as some claim it is human, while others claim it is simian; therefore, I will leave it to the voters themselves to decide whether or not they believe the fossil evidence presented herein is indicative of macroevolution.

Sustaining the Transitional Status of Habilines:

Throughout this debate, my opponent has sought to uphold the position that Habilines are actually humans; to accomplish this feat, he has made continuous claims that the cranial features exhibited in homo habilis are actually consistent with some modern day humans.

While it's certainly no secret that particular groups of humans exhibit cranial features somewhat comparable to that of habilines (we are, after all, biologically related to them), the similarities aren't nearly as comparable as my opponent seems to insinuate. In all actuality, Habiline and human skulls (including the skulls of blacks/aborigines) exhibit incredible differences, as can be seen from the image below:

Figure 1.1

Images provided by and

As I assume anyone will be able to see from the above image, Homo habilis and Homo sapiens sapiens are significantly dissimilar. No modern human exhibits characteristics entirely consistent with Habilines; for my opponent to suggest otherwise is odd, to say the least.

Sustaining the Transitional Status of A. Afarensis:


Here my opponent lists a few ape-like characteristics in the jaws and teeth of A. Afarensis in an attempt to demonstrate that such a species was nothing more than an ape. Again, by doing this, my opponent has once again completely ignored the human-like characteristics of A. Afarensis teeth. Obviously you can't determine whether or not a fossil is truly transitional simply by focusing on morphological aspects which are ape-like while completely ignoring the aspects which are human-like.

As I said before, the Australian Museum specifically lists the human-like aspects of A. Afarensis teeth [2], including the fact that the canine size is intermediate between apes and humans, and that the back molar teeth are human-like inasmuch as they have a ‘Y-5’ pattern.


My opponent quotes Susman and Stern to make the case that A. Afarensis possessed too curved a foot to be bipedal. I couldn't find much information on my opponent's source; however, the obvious problem with his assertion is that Susman and Stern (as I've stated before) are of the position that A. Afarensis was indeed bipedal [3].

Moreover, although my opponent has raised this contention more than once, I never really undetood his point. In all actuality, the very fact that A. Afarensis didn't possess a flat foot is compelling evidence in and of itself that it was bipedal. As Science magazine states:

"A 3.2-million-year-old foot bone from a member of Lucy's species, Australopithecus afarensis, reveals that this hominin was no flat foot: It had already evolved arches and a stiff midfoot similar to living humans. That means if Lucy were alive today, she could fit in high heels or march for miles without breaking her feet [4]."


Here my opponent goes back to using Solly Zuckerman as a way to justify his position that A. Afarensis lacked bipedality. As I've stated previously, Zuckerman's views are outdated and no longer accepted within the scientific community [5]; when my opponent presented scientists which he claimed subscribed to Zuckerman's views, I effectively revealed that they in fact did not. Apparently, my opponent has decided to blissfully ignore the evidence and simply restate his claims.

As to my opponents New York Times Article, it is incredibly outdated; although he cites the article as being written in 2009, it was actually written in 1983 [6]. Today, I know not of even one scientist who contests the bipedality of A. Afarensis, as there is simply too much evidence to suggest otherwise.

Sustaining the Transitional Status of Neanderthals:

Again, my opponent simply repeats his previous claims and blissfully shrugs off my previous contentions. Allow me to quote myself from the previous round:

"This argument completely ignores the point at hand. If Neanderthals are truly Homo sapiens sapiens as my opponent suggests, then why are their genes significantly different? Whether or not the said genes of both species are expressed in a similar fashion is completely irrelevant to the fact that the genes themselves differ to such an extent as to conclusively demonstrate separateness of species. It's as simple as that. Is my opponent truly making the case that despite considerable gene differences (not to mention anatomical dissimilarities), Neanderthals and Homo sapiens sapiens are actually the same type of human? With all due respect, such an assertion is simply absurd, which is precisely why no reputable scientist subscribes to such an idea."

As I've nearly reached the end of my character limit, I would like to lastly thank my opponent for engaging in this delightful and intellectually stimulating debate. Thank you :)





Pro tries to illustrate how apes outlived Neanderthals with a roach who outlives a human when they are both exposed to radiation; but this illustration fails because radiation would kill both apes and humans. The fact that Pro prefers to give a hypothetical scenario instead of telling us how apes outlived Neanderthals should tell you that he has no idea, and frankly, neither do other evolutionists. I have already shown that their long cherished theory that homo sapiens were able to eradicate them by the invention of blades is totally wrong. The creationist view that Neanderthals were human hasn"t compromised one bit, but over the years evolutionists" depiction of Neanderthals has come a great deal closer to what creationists were saying all along. "Early artistic reconstructions mostly presented Neanderthals as beastly creatures, emphasizing hairiness and rough, dark complexion. More recent reconstructions acknowledge that"there is reason to believe that Neanderthals were fair-skinned and probably with no more facial hair than modern man. Also, archaeological evidence exists indicating that they may have communicated by speech, used tools and engaged in artistic endeavours. Reconstructions of Neanderthal men, women and children have become much more intelligent-looking and pleasing to the modern eye." (Wikipedia: Neanderthal) This record should have made evolutionist less dogmatic in their assertions!

What of archaeopteryx reptile-like features? Well, lack of a bill is no more a reptile feature than a lack of blonde hair. A "feature" is defined as characteristics a thing possesses, not what it does not possess, so I don"t see where Pro was going with that argument. It had teeth, but there are birds today which still have teeth and yet are nothing more or less than birds as you can see in the photos in these links:

Archae"s teeth were the same as the teeth of other birds of his time (unserrated with expanded roots), but were not like the teeth of dinosaurs (serrated with strait roots). (The Auk, by Martin, Stewart, and Whetstone, p.86) As for other reptilian features, I"ll simply say that just because an animal displays features shared by another phyla does not make it a missing link: The duckbill platypus has fur like mammals, lays eggs and has a bill like birds, but no one thinks this is an intermediate between mammals and birds; it nurses its young with milk like mammals but uses sonar underwater like whales, but nobody thinks this is an intermediate between whales and mammals. Some painters use similar styles in their art, why can"t God use similar features in his?

The evolutionary view that reptilian scales and fins eventually developed into feathered wings is both fanciful and baseless. No intermediate specimens, exhibiting scales developing into feathers or front legs into wings have ever been found. Archaeopteryx already had fully developed wings perfectly feathered (not scales half developed into feathers). "But in Archaeopteryx, it is to be noted, the feathers differ in no way from the most perfectly developed feathers known to us." (A. Feduccia and H.B. Tordoff, in Science, 203 (1979), p. 1020)

"Perhaps the final argument against Archaeopteryx as a transitional form has come from a rock quarry in Texas. Here scientists from Texas Tech University found bird bones encased in rock layers farther down the geological column than Archaeopteryx fossils." (Richard Bliss, Origins: Creation or Evolution (1988), p. 46) I don"t have room to discuss all of archaeopteryx features, but ask yourself: if this is an example of when dinosaurs were evolving into birds, then how come birds existed before archaeopteryx? Two crow-sized birds were discovered in the Triassic Dockum Formation in Texas, 75 million years older than Archaeopteryx! (Nature, 322 (1986), p. 677) Four-winged birds were also discovered in rock layers below those containing archaeopteryx: (Xu, X. et al. 2011. An Archaeopteryx-like theropod from China and the origin of Avialae. Nature. 475 (7357): 465-470) There are no intermediate stages between archaeopteryx and the dinosaurs as evolution requires. "No intermediate fossils link Archaeopteryx with any of the groups from which it might have evolved."( Vertebrate Life, 3rd ed. by Heiser Pough and McFarland; New York: McMillan, 1989, pp. 468, 470) Since Pro seems occupied in attacking my sources, I"ll give him one to ponder on. Dr. Alan Feduccia is a die-hard evolutionist in every sense of the word. He is professor and former head of biology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and he authored an encyclopedia on evolution called The Origin and Evolution of Birds (1999). Yet even he had to admit: "Archaeopteryx probably cannot tell us much about the early origins of feathers and flight in true protobirds because Archaeopteryx was, in a modern sense, a bird." Science 259:790-793 (1993) He also says: "There are insurmountable problems with that theory. Beyond what we have just reported, there is the time problem in that superficially bird-like dinosaurs occurred some 25 million to 80 million years after the earliest known bird, which is 150 million years old." (Hypography Sci-Tech, Study confirms birds not dinosaurs,, 8/21/02) In other words, birds were around before dinosaurs even began evolving into birds, a complete contradiction of what the phylogenic tree of evolution predicts! Archaeopteryx"s grandfather wasn"t a dinosaur, he was a bird!

As for Neanderthals, anyone can look at the most recent reconstructions of their faces and see how human they are: In the 1957 Quarterly Review of Biology, Cave and Straus wrote that a Neanderthal dressed in modern clothes would pass unnoticed on the subway. What if a scientist were to show you proof that your mother"s genes differed from yours by 27.2 substitutions; would that be enough for you to deny her humanity? If so, what then would she be to you? An animal? Or could it be there is more to being human than evolutionists are willing to admit? Earlier in this debate I gave evidence that it is the expression of our genes that distinguishes us from the ape and not the sequencing itself. But what makes Pro"s mtDNA argument so silly, is that scientist tested the mtDNA of literally thousands of human beings to get the average divergence of substitution in our genes. How many Neanderthals did they test to get their average? Scientists only have five specimens, so they don"t really have an accurate average to tell how different they were!

Pro asked me what is a "kind," well, if two animals can interbreed they are of the same kind. He asked me why there were no one-toed horses in the Miocene period, but according to the National Geographic magazine of January 1981, p.74, the fossils of a three-toed and a one-toed horse were found trapped together in the same volcanic eruption (10 mya), proving they both lived together. But the entire horse series never appears in one location, it was constructed from fossils found in many different parts of the world. The series is formulated on the assumption of evolutionary progression, and then used to 'prove' evolution! This is circular reasoning. Its just another example showing that evolution does more accommodating the fossil record than predicting it. I"m out of room, and I thank Pro for this fun debate.
Debate Round No. 5
10 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by devient.genie 3 years ago
THOUGHTS 5:6--Nature is everything. Science is the essence of uncertainty, however when confronted with the unknown, satisfying an answer by saying "god did it", is not acceptable. Such lazy answers should be ridiculed to the fringe of society and let science continue to roll up its sleeves and keep looking :)

FamilyValues 3:2--When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she will not be freed at the end of six years as the men are. If she does not satisfy her owner, he must allow her to be bought back again. But he is not allowed to sell her to foreigners, since he is the one who broke the contract with her. But if the slave"s owner arranges for her to marry his son, he may no longer treat her as a slave but as a daughter. "If a man who has married a slave wife takes another wife for himself, he must not neglect the rights of the first wife to food, clothing, and sexual intimacy. If he fails in any of these three obligations, she may leave as a free woman without making any payment--Exodus 21:7-11 :)

WISHES 3:2--Remind everyone you know that if there is something we don"t know or don"t understand yet, it doesn"t mean that god exists. It just means that we have a lot to learn and to explore :)

Recognize 2:11--Traditional scripture teaches us nothing on how to live that we couldnt already figure out. Just because humans were neanderthals and needed biblical guidelines to inspire and define answers to questions, thanks for the kick start, but we got this from here :)

Paradox 1:11--The most ridiculous thing is, even if we had the power to go back in time, with all the empirical evidence of evolutionary truth we have, even when we prove and show it, the worst part is, the others would just end up adding that to the bible, therefore making it even harder for our conciousness to evolve, because the grip of religion and its ability to feast on our emotions of love, faith, and hope, would be that much more severe :)
Posted by Bodhivaka 3 years ago
The plagiarized statements made by my opponent are surrounded in quotation marks. The sources from which such statements were taken are cited directly afterwards.

"There is a useful discussion on how Australopithecines, especially Lucy, have been misrepresented as human ancestors in Forbidden Archaeology (Cremo and Thompson, 1993, p 728-739). I am quoting from page 730:"

"Lucy's feet, hands, arms, body and musculature are those of an arboreal ape, and her feet are even longer and more curved than a chimpanzee's, therefore, the best bipedal gait Lucy could manage would be worse than a modern chimpanzee's."

"In fact, three scientists from the departments of anatomy, anthropology, and zoology at Tel Aviv University reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Vol. 104, pp. 6568-72, April 17, 2007) that the jawbone of the Lucy species (Australopithecus afarensis) is a close match to a gorilla's...The scientists concluded that this pretty much discounts these australopithecines as having any role in being a human ancestor."

"No matter what fossils are found they can be claimed as 'transitional' either because they are claimed to look a little bit more human than the usual apes or a little bit more ape-like than the usual humans. What makes this approach unscientific nonsense is that all known ape fossils are within the range of modern or extinct apes while all known human fossils are within the range of modern or extinct humans."

"Eohippus was discovered in 1841 by paleontologist Richard Owen, who did not call it Eohippus because, upon careful observation, it did not look like a 'hippus' (horse) at all. He called it 'Hyracotherium' because it resembled a modern day Hyrax (a Daman)."
Posted by Bodhivaka 3 years ago
Seeing as how the question of plagiarism is still a topic of discussion in this debate, I will publicly post the portions of my opponent's arguments which he directly copied from other locations without any citations or indication that his material was coming from other locations.
Posted by tearfang 3 years ago
I also could not detect any signs of plagiarism in the argument made by con. The debate has ended so this can't affect voting anymore, but still the accusation seemed bizarre and unsubstantiated. I'd be interested to get the specifics of what was plagiarized here in the comment section (don't pm me, the accusation was made publicly so should the explanation.)

Also I'm new here and perhaps this is a naive question, but of what harm is cited pluralism isn't that the whole point of sources? and wouldn't that make an argument easier to respond to if you know how other ppl have already dealt with the same arguments? Furthermore, on any well trod topic how can one avoid copying other's arguments? Haven't the vast majority of arguments made for a specific point already been made by someone else or is original research expected in this forum. Again, excuse the uneducated nature of my forum format rules questions I have not debated on this site and wish to understand to norms and reasons behind the norms of debates here.
Posted by wrichcirw 3 years ago
Sorry, been meaning to vote on this but there's a limit as to how many scientific debates I can withstand. Given that PRO's assertions of plagiarism went completely uncontested by CON, PRO rightly won this debate.
Posted by Muted 3 years ago
How you guys find plagiarism so fast like that?
Posted by Bodhivaka 3 years ago
Muted, I have already sent Wrichcirw a message detailing the portions of Daley's arguments which were plagiarized. I have sent you a friend request so that we can discuss the matter privately.
Posted by wrichcirw 3 years ago
Hmmm...I'm going to wholly disagree that CON plagiarized. His information was well-sourced as well...what reason is there to make such a call?
Posted by wrichcirw 3 years ago
Posted by johnlubba 3 years ago
This debate looks interesting.
6 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Vote Placed by Muted 3 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: This debate jumped about way too much. I'm not giving Pro conduct because of Con's plagiarism, at which I'm still looking for. If one of the other voters or debaters will PM me with the specific quote and accompanying citation, I would be willing to change the vote accordingly. S/G and Sources I will tie, seeing that I do not consider creationist sources to be biased in the way iamnotwhoiam views it to be. Arguments go to Pro because Con dropped too many arguments. This debate was terrible, with little organizing on either debaters' part. Terrrible. (Edit: I have found, as did wi..whatever, no grounds for the charges of plagiarism. Hence, i will be countering those points. If you disagree with this, please PM me and we can discuss civilly and privately) (Edit: See Comments)
Vote Placed by drafterman 3 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro made a strong, more well supported case. Con suffered from plagiarism as well as some rather nonsensical arguments (why are there still "inferior" apes).
Vote Placed by UltimateSkeptic 3 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Conduct-Pro, Con plagiarized parts of his case. Spelling/grammar- Pro, Con's use of quotation marks where apostrophes are supposed to go is the reason for the ruling. Otherwise both had very nicly presented cases. Arguments- Pro. Pro presented the evidence and then Con asked him to prove the evidence by asking him to show transition. After Pro then showed the steps, Con failed to successfully argue against Pro's case. The failure by CON to not differentiate between survival of the fittest and survival of the smartest also really hurt his arguments.
Vote Placed by GorefordMaximillion 3 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: plagiarism on con. pro made stronger case, responded to all of con's rebuts, and also proved his case.
Vote Placed by iamnotwhoiam 3 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro presents a load of transitional fossils. Con denies they are transitional fossils. Science is on Pro's side. A Afarensis is a transitional fossil. Pro clearly showed it has human and (other) ape characteristics. You lose a scientific debate if you start waffling about "kinds". No-one knows what a "kind" is. Con overrates intelligence as an adaptive strategy. Sources Pro. His are all scientific and he doesn't cite Duane Gish.
Vote Placed by johnlubba 3 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: About to start reading, Vote to follow. Thanks for such an interesting debate. UI am up to round two, and still undecided, obviously, both are doing well.