Did humans evolve from apes?

ape-man
Artists’ impressions of Homo erectus have most often depicted some really primitive, subhuman ‘ape-man’. However, the evidence that these were people (that should even share our species name) is mounting. So artists’ renditions are gradually shifting toward a much more obviously human appearance, as here.

by and

Published: July 11, 2017

Humans did not evolve from chimps, gorillas, or orangutans. However, according to Darwinian evolution, humans are related to modern apes in that we shared a common ancestor.

Since Charles Darwin first proposed the basis for such ideas in the 19th century when he wrote On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life, molecules-to-man evolution has increasingly been taught as fact. Later, he fleshed out the idea of human evolution from a common ancestor with apes in The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex.

The concept that humans and apes share a common ancestor contrasts with what we read in the Bible, because on the sixth day God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” (Genesis 1:26) Further, in verse 27: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” In Genesis chapter 2 it gives us more details, including that God made Adam from ‘dust’ and fashioned Eve, the first woman, from part of his side.

The two contrasting explanations for our existence—and for apes—have obvious philosophical/faith starting points because neither side can go back in time and observe how everything came into being. Both sides can only examine what we have in the present and draw conclusions from that.

Biblical creationists accept the Bible as an eyewitness account of that—for us—unobservable beginning. Thus, we can expect that by examining anything from germs to giraffes, that the data will best fit the presupposition of a perfectly created life-form that now exists in a world that is imperfect because of the Fall (Genesis 3). Therefore, we can expect (predict) that all life-forms now are not as genetically ‘perfect’ as their first parents.

So, ‘Did humans evolve from apes’ is really part of the bigger question, ‘Did humans and apes, and everything else, evolve?

The answer is no, nothing ‘evolved’ in the sense that Darwin proposed through naturalistic, unguided processes. Instead, God created everything (including Adam and Eve) in six, 24-hour days and it was very good, as we are told in Genesis 1:31.

Because we can trust the Bible as real history, we know that

(a) all life was created about 6,000 years ago,
(b) there was a global Flood of judgment on the world, which only eight humans and a limited number of creatures survived, and that
(c) all air-breathing land animals are descendants of those that walked off Noah’s Ark about 4,500 years ago.

The DNA evidence

Chimpanzees are said to be the closest relatives of humans. There is an oft-repeated claim that human-chimp DNA is 98% (or more) similar. This figure was based on rather primitive comparisons published in 1975. These early reports were popularized by evolutionists, but this was long before even the initial drafts of the human and chimp genome that were announced in 2001 and 2005, respectively. As explained in Evolution’s Achilles’ Heels, and other places, with our modern understanding of genetics, we now know that “98%” is simply not the case.1 Even with genes that are similar between chimps and humans, the similarity is closer to 80%. If we consider the genes that chimps have that humans don’t and vice versa, the similarity drops to 70% or even less. However, the 98% myth persists.

Not enough time!

For the sake of the argument, let’s assume that the human and chimp genomes derived from a common genome in the six or seven million years since evolutionists say that humans and chimps split from the common ancestor. Then there is a need to account for 35,000,000 single-letter (base-pair) differences that had to arise and become fixed in the two genomes (i.e. the original letter in that location was replaced completely from the line to humans or the line to chimps); tens of millions of chromosomal rearrangements also had to occur, spread, and fix; as well as tens of millions of base-pair (‘letter’) insertions and deletions. (See Evolution’s Achilles’ Heels chapter 2 for more details). In short, there is simply insufficient time for evolutionists to account for the differences between chimp and human DNA, even with highly unrealistic assumptions in favour of it happening.2

Evolutionary time is measured in generations, not years. In six million years, there would only have been a few hundred thousand generations since chimps and humans were supposedly the same species. How then can there be enough time for so many brand-new genes to arise and be integrated? Each generation would have to select and retain an unbelievably huge number of mutations. This problem has come to be known as Haldane’s Dilemma. Despite claims to the contrary, Haldane’s Dilemma has never been solved. Modern knowledge of the genetic differences between chimps and humans shows that the problem is far greater for evolutionists than even Haldane imagined.3

Adam and Eve?

wikipedia.orgaustralopithecus
Australopithecus afarensis (‘Lucy’) fossil parts. A top evolutionist anatomist concluded that this is a unique extinct primate that is anatomically further from both apes and humans than these are from each other—definitely not ‘in between’.

Studies of mitochondrial DNA, which is inherited from your mother, show that all humans had a single female ancestor.4 Likewise, studies of the Y-chromosome, which is only inherited from your father (to son!), show that all humans had a single male ancestor.5 Of course the evolutionary time scales attached to these individuals don’t match the Bible, but recalculations based on measurements of mutation rates in today’s world show that the biblical time frame is consistent with the data.

The world-wide genetic evidence in humans is consistent with the Bible’s history, that we are all descendants of Noah’s family, beginning some 4,500 years ago.6

Genetic decay

The number of mutations added to the human genome each generation is now known to be so high that it is inevitable that the human genome is deteriorating. This points back to a created perfection in the recent past.7 The same problem applies to all other complex creatures. This is another serious problem for the evolutionary idea that mutations and natural selection created humans and chimps from a common ancestor 6–7 million years ago. As the Russian geneticist, Alexey Kondrashov, remarked, “Why aren’t we dead 100 times over?” (he was assuming the evolutionary time frame).8

Fossils?

Are there really ‘ape-men’? An objective analysis of the claimed ape-men fossils shows that there is much wishful thinking involved, which is driven by the desire to ‘prove evolution’, or to justify the funding from National Geographic (e.g.), given to find ‘ape-men’.

There are a range of Homo species, including Neandertals. These are all descendants of Noah’s family. One exception is Homo habilis (‘handy man’), which some prominent evolutionary anthropologists acknowledge is actually a mixture of bones that came from non-human primates, such as australopithecines (Lucy’s kind), as well as humans (hence it not surprisingly looks like an ‘ape-man’). Homo habilis could justifiably be called an ‘invalid taxon’; that is, it never existed.

Other than that, objective numerical analysis shows that Australopithecus (‘southern ape’), supposedly the ancestors of humans (Homo spp.), are just types of apes that are not intermediate between chimps and humans.

That is, based on the fossils, there is no coherent story of human evolution from a common ancestor with apes, which is not surprising, considering the genetic evidence that shows they never existed.9

Conclusion

By reading the associated links to this article and books such as Evolution’s Achilles’ Heels, or by searching creation.com, you can learn more about this subject and when next someone asks you about any human-ape connection, you too will be able to gently suggest that they perhaps should take a closer look at the evidence.

References and notes

  1. Tay, J., Could humans have evolved from an ape-like creature through slow and gradual mutations? September 2016; creation.com/could-humans-evolve. Return to text.
  2. Ref 1. Return to text.
  3. Rupe, C.L. and Sanford J.C., Using Numerical Simulation to better understand fixation rates, and establishment of a New Principle: Haldane’s Ratchet, Proceedings of the 7th ICC, Creation Science Fellowship, Pittsburgh, 2013; creationicc.org, accessed 18 July 2016. Return to text.
  4. Wieland, C., A shrinking date for ‘Eve’, J. Creation 12(1):1–3, April 1998; creation.com/eve. Return to text.
  5. Batten, D., Y-Chromosome Adam? J. Creation 9(2):139–140, August 1995; creation.com/y. Return to text.
  6. Carter, R., Adam, Eve and Noah vs Modern Genetics, 11 May 2010; creation.com/noahgenes. Return to text.
  7. Williams, A., Human genome decay and the origin of life, J. Creation 28(1):91–97, April 2014; creation.com/human-genome-decay. Return to text.
  8. Catchpoole, D., Time—no friend of evolution, Creation 34(3):30–31, July 2012; creation.com/time. Return to text.
  9. Line, P., Fossil evidence for alleged apemen—Part 2: non-Homo hominids, J. Creation 19(1):33–42, April 2005; creation.com/apemen2. (See also part 1). Also Batten, D., Artistic Ape Anecdotes. Return to text.
Tay, J.,
Ref 1.
Rupe, C.L. and Sanford J.C., Using Numerical Simulation to better understand fixation rates, and establishment of a New Principle: Haldane’s Ratchet, Proceedings of the 7th ICC, Creation Science Fellowship, Pittsburgh, 2013; creationicc.org, accessed 18 July 2016.
Wieland, C.,
Batten, D.,
Carter, R.,
Williams, A.,
Catchpoole, D.,
Line, P.,

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Further Reading

Readers’ comments
Bernard G., Australia, 11 July 2017
I recently enjoyed tremendously, reading both Evolution’s Achilles’ Heels and The Greatest Hoax on Earth. And now this awesome article shows up in my inbox! I think, even if by some “miracle”, Evolution can overcome all the challenges you have explained above - insufficient time (Haldane’s dilemma), genetic decay and fraudulent transitional fossils - there is still one big problem. The problem is not about “if” Biological change has happened or the size of the change but “TYPE” of change required to turn an ape ancestor into humans. The type of mechanism which can add new genetic information is assumed but never demonstrated. Where is the evidence that Natural Selection is a creative force; capable of giving rise to complex human thought, speech, writing and reasoning capabilities (absent in apes)? How can mutations which cause the loss, corruption or degradation of genetic information ever hope to “add” new functional genetic information? The answer, I am constantly told, is to just give it a billion years or two. Hahaha....
Graham L., United Kingdom, 11 July 2017
There is the underlying assumption here that any disproof of evolutionary theory is evidence for the truth of the description of the creation of life in Genesis.
Don Batten responds
This seems like a tacit admission that the evolutionary story does not stack up, as we have argued. But then you apparently don't like the alternative that we have stated. There are really only two options: either things were created or they made themselves (evolved). Then, how many options are there for creation? Considering the evidence for the Bible as the revelation of the Creator of the Universe, there does not seem to be any other realistic option.
Dan M., United States, 11 July 2017
Why would National Geographic offer such close minded predefined funding to find the missing link and prove a preconceived paradigm? Wouldn't a self proclaimed so called science magazine be more interested in finding and funding the truth no matter where it leads independant from personal paradigms? All this does is encourage falsification of the data to get the reward and just goes to show an agenda rather than a scientific truth seeking endeavor! It also shows the desperation of the atheistic evolutionists to salvage their paradigm that is in serious trouble! If your paradigm doesn't support the data, abandon it! But that is inconceivable to the committed evolutionist. It's a great time to be a creationist even given the marginalization and heckling of the mainstream scientific community because the observations better fit our paradigm and we can be confident of our salvation! I pray society would abandon this evolutionary fantasy and cease rebellion because Jesus said, "he who is not with Me is against Me" and when he returns, you don't want to be against Him!
Chris R., Australia, 13 July 2017
Not enough time? The seven million years of evolution in each lineage represents about 350,000 generations in each (assuming 20 years per generation). How many mutations happen per generation? Estimating mutation rates is not easy (at least without assuming common descent): it is hard to find a few changed nucleotides out of 3 billion that have not changed. By studying new cases of genetic diseases, individuals whose parents' do not have the disease, however, it is possible to identify and count new mutations, at least in a small number of genes. Using this technique, it has been estimated[1] that the single-base substitution rate for humans is approximately 1.7 x 10^-8 substitutions/nucleotide/generation, that is, 17 changes per billion nucleotides. That translates into ~100 new mutations for every human birth. (17 x 3, for the 3 billion nucleotides in the genome, x 2 for the two genome copies we each carry). At that rate, in 350,000 generations a copy of the human genome should have accumulated about 18 million mutations, while the chimpanzee genome should have accumulated a similar number. The evolutionary prediction, then, is that there should be roughly 36 million single-base differences between humans and chimpanzees. That accounts nicely for 35,000,000 single-letter (base-pair) differences that had to arise and become fixed in the two genomes
Don Batten responds
I think you need to read the article a little more carefully. Note "...and become fixed in the two genomes..." [emphasis added]. And particularly the next paragraph about Haldane's Dilemma (check the references, which explain the problem of fixation and the huge problem for evolution of the lack of time for it to happen). You have assumed that random mutations alone, without natural selection, explain the differences between humans and chimps. Fixation requires natural selection to operate, and that takes time, too much time for evolution.
Chris R., Australia, 19 July 2017
Can I revise my comment since I can see I was not clear enough? Not enough time? (Revised by Chris R) The seven million years of evolution in each lineage represents about 350,000 generations in each (assuming 20 years per generation). It has been estimated that the single-base substitution rate for humans is approximately 1.7 x 10^-8 substitutions/nucleotide/generation, that is, 17 changes per billion nucleotides. That translates into ~100 new mutations for every human birth. (17 x 3, for the 3 billion nucleotides in the genome, x 2 for the two genome copies we each carry). The vast majority of these will be near neutral and below the selection threshold and can be fixed by genetic drift rather than selection. Assuming genetic drift is the only evolutionary force acting on an allele, at any given time the probability that an allele will eventually become fixed in the population is simply its frequency in the population at that time. The expected time before a neutral allele becomes fixed through genetic drift is 4Ne generations. ref: [link deleted per feedback rules]Genetic_drift#cite_note-21 At that rate, in 350,000 generations a copy of the human genome should have accumulated about 18 million mutations, while the chimpanzee genome should have accumulated a similar number. The evolutionary prediction, then, is that there should be roughly 36 million single-base differences between humans and chimpanzees. That accounts nicely for 35,000,000 single-letter (base-pair) differences that had to arise and become fixed in the two genomes.
Don Batten responds
You need to think about what you read on Wikipedia. You have assumed that every mutation is near neutral and goes to fixation by genetic drift in the 350,000 generations that evolutionists claim. The formula you cite shows that for an effective population of 10,000, a single mutation is going to take ~40,000 generations to achieve fixation. It is only in unrealistically tiny populations that genetic drift can achieve much at all (your Wikipedia article has simulation results showing just this). No, genetic drift does not explain even the single nucleotide differences. Furthermore, the number of near neutral but slightly deleterious mutations relentlessly accumulating means that progressive evolution of any sort is impossible; genetic decay is inevitable. We cited the paper by Rupe and Sanford, which you do not seem to have read, as it clearly shows the fallaciousness of the reasoning presented. Here is the link: Rupe and Sanford simulation paper. Quoting Rupe and Sanford: "We also show that the reason the vast majority of neutral mutant alleles fail to go to fixation, is because they lost due to drift, and this rate of loss rapidly approached 100% as population size is increased."
Martyn F., New Zealand, 21 July 2017
A recent question on "The Chaser" asked, "With what do humans share 50% DNA? The correct answer was "banana." The percentage similarity is therefore a flawed argument. Unless one is bananas.
Don Batten responds
This figure was given 'off the cuff' (no actual comparison has been made that I know of) by the British evolutionist Steve Jones, saying that, "‘We also share about 50% of our DNA with bananas and that doesn’t make us half bananas, either from the waist up or the waist down."
Mary H., Canada, 21 July 2017
I totally believe in the creation story of Genesis...we still have apes and monkeys of all kinds...they have not evolved and are still the same today as in the day of creation..
@GodTruthLove M., United Kingdom, 21 July 2017
On this topic: It is shocking to know that the formed Archbishop of Canterbury (Church of England) seems to think that we evolved from apes. He suggests the 'proto-humans' existed at some point. You watch/listen to him here: [link deleted per feedback rules]Wv0&feature=youtu.be&t=40m10s Watch/listen the part between 40min10sec and 42min25sec. (2 minutes) This is an official YouTube video from the 'Ministry of the Archbishop of Canterbury', from a dialogue at Oxford University between Archbishop Rowan Williams and Professor Richard Dawkins. The event was held on Thursday 23rd February 2012 in the Sheldonian Theatre, and was hosted by Sophia Europa (Theology Faculty) Oxford. No wonder that the Church of England (including the current Archbishop of Cantebury Justin Welby, its General Synod, and its House of Bishops) is compromising and promoting diluted doctrines and teachings in other topics like: homosexuality, same sex marriage, transsexualism, etc. walking away from the truths clearing expressed in the Word of God (Bible). God bless everybody. Including those pro-evolution, may He, in His mercy reach all of them at some point, and may they open their hearts to Him.
Gennaro C., Australia, 23 July 2017
"Humans did not evolve from chimps, gorillas, or orangutans..." Fine!I agree, because I am a believer in the God of the Bible. But suppose I would be an atheist, "The concept that humans and apes share a common ancestor contrasts with what we read in the Bible, because on the sixth day God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.”... doesn't it appeal to me. There is no whatsoever 'scientific' proof to convince me as atheist. Sure, the atheists build their belief up just on presuppositions, but we can't just say 'the Bible says so'. And in this article I did find no proof element to sustain our belief in the Bible as a contrasting theory against evolution. Thank you however for your brilliant work at CMI, you are in my daily prayers.
Don Batten responds
Thanks for your comment, Gennaro, and your prayers. The article shows (briefly) that the scientific evidence does not support the evolution of humans from a common ancestor with apes. That is, the evolutionary story is not supported. So, what is the alternative?