Review by Greg Neyman
© 2006, Old Earth Ministries
A report by Ryan Jaroncyk on the Creation Ministries International website on 14 November 2006 claimed that a hybrid fossil with Neanderthal and modern human features proves that the two species interacted and interbred.1
There are two competing ideas at stake here. Young earth creationists have long argued that Neanderthals were human. On the other hand, secular scientists and old earth creationists believe that Neanderthals are a distinct species, and they did not contribute to our modern-day gene pool. Interestingly, this new article does not dispute the fact that Neanderthal is a distinct species.
The skeleton in question for this article was first discovered in the 1950s in Romania. Recently, an anthropologist (Trinkaus) re-examined this specimen, and determined that it had features of both Neanderthals and modern humans. Because of these blending of features, he makes the claim that these two species interbred in Europe.2 He makes this claim independent of mitochondrial DNA evidence, which we will examine below. Interestingly, this same scientist is also responsible for a previous claim of interbreeding, from a discovery in 1998. In addition to the scientific evidence, one must also examine the “pride” factor involved. Trinkaus and his team have an agenda to prove, so that they can be proven right.
To confuse the issue, the young earth author goes on to include claims about similarities between Neanderthal and human culture. While interesting, this information is nothing more than a smoke screen to hide the fact that the scientific evidence for interbreeding is lacking. The real clincher is in his next section, titled Human DNA? He reports that...
“At least one Neanderthal sample of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) appeared to reveal substantial divergence from modern human mtDNA.”
The young earth author is referring to the initial mtDNA study done in 1998, which showed that Neanderthals did not contribute to the modern gene pool. To put doubt upon this information, he states that even in the evolutionary community, there is a raging debate over the human-Neanderthal relationship based on mtDNA evidence. However, despite his claim, there is no "raging debate."
In typical young earth fashion, Jaroncyk omits key information that would damage his argument. Although he wrote this article in 2006, he only mentions the mtDNA study from 1998. He omits the mtDNA study from a second Neanderthal done in 1999. He also omits the mtDNA study from a third Neanderthal specimen in 2000. In addition, a fourth and fifth study, from 2002 and 2004, were also omitted.3 All of these studies corroborate each other’s findings that Neanderthals and humans did not interbreed. How can young earth creationists be expected to come to the right conclusions about Neanderthal/human relations if they are not given all of the information? It’s simple…young earth creationist organizations do not want them coming to a conclusion that is contrary to young earth beliefs, so they omit key information to keep their followers in the dark.
The young earth world is full of deceit and misinformation that keeps its followers in the dark, so that they will not defect. In the young earth world, ignorance is bliss.
1 'A New Neandertal/modern human fossil hybrid", by Ryan Jaroncyk, published at http://www.creationontheweb.com/content/view/4750/
3 Fossil Hominids: Mitochondrial DNA, from Talk Origins
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