An anthropologist’s sensational and irresponsible statement about apes and hominids
Via Todd White, via Jonah Goldberg, I’ve come across another article on Ardipithecus ramidus, at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, by David Templeton, which presents the views of anthropologist Owen Lovejoy.
The article is sensationalist and incoherent. First Lovejoy, as quoted by Templeton, states that the discovery of Ardipithecus shows that, rather than hominids being descended from the ancestors of modern apes, apes are descended from hominids!!!
The first major analysis of one of the earliest known hominids suggests that humans may not have evolved from apes.The passage I’ve just quoted was also quoted by White and Goldberg, without commentary (Goldberg quotes a correspondent who criticizes Lovejoy, but the correspondent also makes a hash of the subject). Templeton then continues, basing his remarks on his interview with Lovejoy:
Because of its antiquity, Ardipithecus takes us closer to the still-elusive last common ancestor [of humans and modern apes].But to say that apes continued to change after the ancestors of humans split off from the ancestors of today’s apes 6 million years ago, is obviously very different from saying that apes descended from hominids.
Thus Lovejoy’s initial statement, presented by Templeton, that apes are descended from hominids is nonsensical. He doesn’t explain it at all, and then he says just the opposite.
I hereby move that all popular journalism about evolution and related subjects be banned. It’s worse than useless. But the problem is, the scientists are little better than the journalists. Much like the journalists, the scientists allow themselves to say whatever they feel like saying, with no concern for whether it is internally consistent or not, and even whether it makes sense or not.