The Imaginative Road to Homo Sapiens


by Laurence D Smart B.Sc.Agr., Dip.Ed., Grad.Dip.Ed



[Free to print and distribute. Copy must be in full.]

Textbooks and journals often have family-tree diagrams of ape-men, which intend to show the evolution of Homo sapiens (human beings). The diagram below is an example of this type of artwork.



But, how many of these ape-men really belong in the drawing, and in the order in which they are placed. A search of the literature in the mid 1990's showed that these diagrams are fabrications.


Pliopithecus - Now classified as an extinct ancestral ape.

(source - "Early Man" Life Nature Library, Time-Life International: Netherlands, 1969 p:36)


Proconsul - Now classified as an extinct monkey-like creature.

(source - Science News, Dec 15, 1990 p:380)


Dryopithecus - Now classified as an extinct ape.

(source - Dr Duane T. Gish "Evolution - The Fossils Say No!", Creation-Life Pub: San Diego (USA), 1978 p:102)


Oreopithecus - Now classified as an extinct primate. A dead-end in human evolution.

(source - "Early Man" Life Nature Library, Time-Life International: Netherlands, 1969 p:31)


Ramapithecus - Now classified as an ape-like creature on the ancestry of the orangutan.

(source - New Scientist, Vol. 28, Jan 1982 p:48)


Australopithecus - Now classified as an ape-like creature, most likely an ancestor of the pygmy chimp.

(source - CexN Technical Journal, Vol. 6, part 1, 1992 p:11)


Paranthropus - Now reclassified Australopithecus robustus.


Advanced Australopithecus - Unknown (confusion).


Homo habilis - Now classified as an Australopithecine ape (confusion).

(source - New Scientist, May 21, 1987 p:27)


Homo erectus - Confusion as to what to classify them.

(source - G.P. Rightmire, "The evolution of Homo erectus", Cambridge University press: Cambridge, 1990 p:86)


Archaic (early) Homo sapiens - Now classified as a race of early modern human. (Fossil mixture)

(source - D. Pilbeam "The origins of Homo sapiens: The Fossil Evidence", in "Major Topics in Primate and Human Evolution", B. Wood et al (eds), Cambridge University press: Cambridge, 1986 p:333)


Solo Man - Now classified as a Homo erectus.

(source - Martin Lubenow, "Bones of Contention", Baker Book House: Michigan (USA), 1992 p:171)


Rhodesian Man - Now classified as an archaic Homo sapiens.

(source - Martin Lubenow, "Bones of Contention", Baker Book House: Michigan (USA), 1992 p:171)


Neandertal - Now classified as a variety or race of modern Homo sapiens.

(source - Quarterly Review of Biology, Vol. 32, 1957 p:348-363)


Cro-Magnon Man - Now classified as modern Homo sapiens.

(source - Encyclopedia Britannica, Vol. 6, 1968 p:792)


Modern Homo sapiens- Modern humans.



What does some of the literature say about these human ancestral trees?

"Why had he [Dr. Pilbeam] changed his position on human origins? He said that it was not due to the discovery of only one particular specimen, but the recovery of various materials made him realize that his previous statements, which had been made so adamantly, were really based on very little evidence. He began to wonder, since they were based on so little evidence, why he had held them so strongly. It made him think about the nature of scientific thinking, and this precipitated a very profound change in his approach to analysing data. He said that many of the statements made in the field of human origins had "very little to do with the real data and a great deal to do with unstated assumptions"...".

Luther D. Sunderland, "Darwin's Enigma - Fossils and Other Problems" (4th ed.) , Master Book Pub: California (USA), 1988 p:86


"The fossil record pertaining to man is still so sparsely known that those who insist on positive declarations can do nothing more than jump from one hazardous surmise to another and hope that the next dramatic discovery does not make them utter fools ..... Clearly, some people refuse to learn from this. As we have seen, there are numerous scientists and popularizers today who have the temerity to tell us that there is 'no doubt' how man originated. If only they had the evidence..."

Willaim R. Fix, "The Bone Peddlers" Macmillan Pub. Co: New York, 1984 p:150-153