Table of Contents
Part V: The Fallacy of Anthroplogical
How Reconstructions Deceive
It is common
knowledge, now, not only that Neanderthal Man walked erect precisely
as healthy modern man does but that he actually had a greater
cranial capacity, in excess of 1600 cc., compared with modern
man's 1400 cc. Many today believe that Neanderthal Man is still
with us and that we would scarcely look at him twice were we
to meet him on the street in modern clothes. The impressions
which can be created by an artist, starting with the same basic
skull, are apt to be quite varied indeed, as will be seen by
the three drawings in Fig. 14 which I have copied from the sources
In 1939, a year earlier, Alberto
Carlo Blanc and Sergio Sergi reported in Science the finding
of a Neanderthal skull in a cave at Monte Circeo in Italy: (6)
Two other Neanderthal skulls
have been found in Italy, one in 1929 and the other in 1935,
both in the Sacopastore region near Rome, but neither is as well
preserved as the new discovery. However, the occipital opening
at the base of one of the skulls was particularly well preserved
enabling Professor Sergi to establish for the first time that
Neanderthal Man walked erect and not with an ape-like posture
with head thrust forward as previously believed. The horizontal
plane of the opening in the skull shows that the bones of the
neck fitted perpendicularly into the opening, causing the posture
to be erect as in present day man.
It is true that
this news may have come too late for the printer to agree readily
to making any changes in the dust jacket of the book or the illustrations
in it, yet it seems likely that if this had been a publication
dealing with physics or chemistry in which a basic error of such
importance to fundamental theory had been made known to the author
one year before his book was published, he would most assuredly
have made some attempt -- for his own reputation's sake, if not
in the interests of truth -- to correct the error, either by
changing the text or appending a correction notice. But anthropology
apparently does not feel any such necessity.
A report from the Associated Press,
(7) on the finding
of Tepexpan Man not far from Mexico City underscores the uncertainty
of popular reconstructions. Following the usual custom, the public
had at first
6. Monte Circeo: reported in Science,
vol.90, 1939, supplement, p.13.
1 of 18
7. Newman, M. T., Globe and Mail, Toronto, April 4, 1951.
been presented with a
portrait of this gentleman, appropriately downgraded in appearance
to fit current theories of man's evolution. But in an interview,
M. T. Newman said, "Look at some of the reconstructed heads
of this individual...They look thick-headed, stupid, and bestial.
But now we are trying to be more realistic. . . Obviously, early
man had to be intelligent or he would not have survived."
The Smithsonian Institute had taken the same skull, and T. D.
Stewart and a Washington artist, Leo Steppat, set to work reconstructing
the head. The result was, in the words of Dr. Newman, "Not
a bad looking fellow -- not too far removed from a typical southwestern
Indian." The fact is that there is a strong tendency on
the part of anthropologists to take advantage of public gullibility
and to supply, upon the slightest pretext, hypothetical missing
links, because as Wilson Wallis said,
(8) "Since the day of Darwin, the
evolutionary idea has largely dominated the ambitions and determined
the findings of physical anthropology, sometimes to the detriment
of the truth."
Recently, in a notice in the American
Journal of Physical Anthropology, which I presume was written
by the editor (the same T. D. Stewart), the following warning
with respect to such reconstructions was issued: (9)
From the skull, it is quite
impossible to reconstruct the character of the hair, eyes, nose,
lips, ears, eyebrows, skin creases, fullness, or expression.
In short, it is impossible to reconstruct the appearance of the
Nevertheless, such fancy reconstructions
are to be found in almost every book dealing with the evolution
of man. It is highly desirable that they should be dropped for
they do real harm. Their creators have endowed them with traits
and expressions which follow the formula that the earlier the
type, the more brutal; the later the type, the nobler of expression.
The probabilities are that the expression of early man was no
less benign than our own.
true this observation is was beautifully borne out in 1937 when
Karl Absolon reported his amazing findings at Vestonice. A summary
of his work appeared in the Illustrated London News (10) and here we have a series
of photographs of the beautiful carved head, done in ivory. In
Dr. Absolon's words, it is "the earliest known portrait
of a human being." In his article, he remarked:
There was little hope of obtaining
anything clearer anthropologically than current reconstructions.
It can therefore be imagined what a surprise it was for anthropology
when the sculpture portrait of fossil man was brought to light
in Vestonice. Some heretic, some sacrilegious
8. Wallis, Wilson, "The Structure of
Pre-Historic Man," in The Making of Modern Man, Modern
Library Series, 1931, p.75.
9. Stewart, T. D. in American Journal of Physical Anthropology,
vol.6, 1948, p.321 f.
10. Absolon, Karl, Illustrated London News, London, Oct.
man had deserted the religion of his
fathers, and in defiance of all tradition carved the portrait
of a true face. The portrait shows a very noble, fine, animated
face -- a long nose, arched ridges over the eyes, and a long
remarked, "The face recalls some classical portrait from
some old oriental civilization, or even a modern drawing, such
as the head of Christ by the Dutch painter, Jan Toorop, in his
Night in the Cathedral."
Wood Jones was always speaking
out against reconstructions of any kind, which were merely intended
to prejudice the viewer's mind in favour of an evolutionary history.
He said, with some scorn: (11)
In the story of the origin of
the proto-human stock, and the subsequent emergence of man, there
is but little legitimate room for most of the fancy portraits
with which pseudoscience has been so ready to arrest uninstructed
attention. We have all grown used to the picture of the slouching
brute with shaggy hair and elongated arms that is lumbering into
a stage of partial uprightness as it toils along the pathway
of the origin of man.
One of the most recent and most
sumptuous publications upon the comparative cerebral anatomy
of the primates has shown this progress in graphic form that
renders the ascent the more vivid, since it depicts it as taking
place up the laborious slopes of a hillside. Here the slouching
hairy beast toils lumbering upwards, seizing sticks and stones
as weapons by the way, and passing from stark hirsute nakedness
to the comparative modesty of a skin apron and ultimately to
the decent obscurity of a cave.
Were it well attested that man
was derived from the stock of the large brachiating anthropoid
apes, especially were there any justification for the greatly
laboured "gorilloid" heritage in man, these pictures
might claim sanction, as do those of the ancestral horses from
the findings of comparative anatomy and paleontology, but this
sanction is wholly lacking.
There is no justification for the
picture of the slouching, semi-erect Ape Man, though every investigator
who . . . attempts an interpretation of the remains of some ancient
human skeleton seeks first to determine evidences of the presence
of these characters.
one were to compare the impression created in the mind by the
carved head found by Dr. Absolon and the reconstruction of Neanderthal
Man which was displayed in the British Museum, there is no doubt
that, of the first, one would certainly say, Here is a thoughtful,
intelligent individual -- perhaps even a philosopher. And one
would say of the other, Here is a brutal man little influenced
by culture and probably with essentially animal tastes and little
power of reflection. We associate a low intelligence with unrefined
features. Sometimes the association is justified, but sometimes
it is not. If one compares the reconstructed face of Pithecanthropus
erectus shown in
11. Jones, F. Wood, Man's Place Among the
Mammals, Arnold, London, 19 29, pp.362-365.
Fig 16 with the photograph
of a Russian delegate to the Cairo Conference which took place
in 1958, the fallacy of such association becomes at once apparent.
For however much we may disagree with Russian ideology, the fact
remains that this delegate must have been a shrewd and highly
intelligent man, since the Russians would not make the mistake
of sending an idiot to represent them. It may be that this delegate
did indeed have a larger brain than Pithecanthropus, with whom
we are comparing his head form. But it is not at all certain
that cranial capacity is related to intelligence, and therefore
Pithecanthropus could have had much more intelligence than we
give him credit for, in spite of the fact that his cranial capacity,
according to Howells, (12) was between 950 and 1000 cc. in volume. According
to Jan Lever, (13)
Anatole France had a cranial capacity of only 1100 cc., as did
also Gambetta and Justus von Liebig. Franz von Weidenreich questioned
seriously whether anything at all could be determined with respect
to intelligence on the basis of cranial capacity. (14) Franz Boas expressed the
same opinion: (15)
By analogy we associate lower
mental traits with brute-like features. In our naive everyday
parlance, brutish features and brutality are closely connected.
. . . We are also inclined to draw inferences in regard
to mentality from a receding forehead, a heavy jaw, large and
heavy teeth, perhaps even from inordinate length of arms, or
an unusual development of hairiness. It appears that neither
cultural achievement (in this case, associated weapons, etc.)
nor outward appearance is a safe basis on which to judge the
mental aptitude of races.
It is not surprising,
therefore, to find Gaylord Simpson, (16) in a review of LeGros Clark's History of the Primates:
An Introduction to the Study of Fossil Man, remarking with
manifest approval, "The book contains no restorations of
prehistoric men or other fossil primates, and is not provided
with a graphic phylogenetic tree." Simpson adds, "This
is a well written, modest book, for which we should be duly thankful."
After all this, it is amazing to find Sir Gavin de Beer publishing
an impressive Atlas of Evolution in 1964, which is replete
with "wholly speculative portraits" of fossil protohominids
and men such as Proconsul, Java Man, Pekin Man, Neanderthal Man,
etc. (17) As an
illustration of how wildly such modern reconstructions of a
12. Howells, William, Mankind So Far, Doubleday
Doran, New York, 1945, p.138.
13. Lever, Jan, Creation and Evolution, Grand Rapids International
Publication, 1958, pp.158, 159.
14. Weidenreich, Franz von, "The Human Brain in the Light
of Phylogenetic Development," Scientific Monthly, Aug.,
15. Boas, Franz, The Mind of Primitive Man, 2nd edition.,
New York, 1939, pp.16, 17.
16. Simpson, G G., in Science, vol.110, 1949, p.455.
17. Cousins, Frank W., Fossil Man: A Reappraisal of the Evidence,
Evolution Protest Movement, England, 1966, p.46.
Fig. 16. This series of four photographs (A,
B, C, D) shows the stages of reconstruction of Pithecanthropus
erectus. (E) The Russian delegate to the 1958 Cairo Conference.
single specimen can differ from
each other, Fig. 2 (Part I, Chapter
1) shows three alternatives for Zinjanthropus, which many anthropologists,
including a number of Christian anthropologists, believe to have been
one of man's ancestors. I venture to suggest that "one of
man's ancestors" is an understatement. If there is any scientific
validity whatever in these three reconstructions, Zinjanthropus must have
been three of man's ancestors. It makes one wonder if anthropologists
are even taking themselves seriously, let alone expecting the intelligent
public to do so.
There are other kinds of reconstructions
which are equally deceiving and more so, because the deception
is so subtle. The originators of such illustrations must know
that they are less than honest, and yet they do not hesitate
to adorn their works thus nor is any protest against such misrepresentations
raised by their colleagues.
An excellent example of what I
mean will be found in an authoritative work by Weidenreich entitled
Apes, Giants, and Man. In Fig. 17, which is redrawn with
precision from the original, two series of three skulls in section
are shown, with the brains indicated by stippling. The object
of this particular series is to show how the brain may be enlarged
progressively in two different "species." I have put
the word "species" in quotes for a very good reason.
In column 1 we have three animals who genuinely belong to one
species, an Irish Wolfhound, an English Bulldog, and a King Charles
Spaniel. In column 2, as a parallel series, are shown the skull
of a gorilla, of Pithecanthropus, and of a modern European. The
object of these two series of skull outlines with the size of
the brain indicated, is simply to convince the unwary that just
as a wolfhound can become a spaniel (by artificial selection,
of course), so the gorilla can become man (by natural selection,
of course). What has changed the facial form of the first series
is the fact that the brain has been enlarged for some reason
by a process of breeding. The assumption is then made that the
same thing probably took place with respect to man, his enlarged
brain resulting in the kind of facial form which so distinguishes
him from the apes. Pictorially, the two series of skulls present
a convincing parallelism. But anyone who does a little thinking
about the matter will soon see that there are several major fallacies
in this scheme.
To begin with, it is obvious to
any lover of dogs that despite the affection and gentleness of
spaniels which makes them such desirable pets, they do not have
the intelligence that the wolfhound has, i.e., the intelligence
of the Alsatian type of dog, the type used for police dogs and
for "seeing eyes" for blind people. And if it came
to survival, there is not much doubt whether
the first animal or the
last animal in Weidenreich's series would stand the best chance.
Altogether, then, even granting that these are indeed one species
so that some kind of natural selective process might by
a strange freak of circumstance bring about the evolution of
the spaniel out of the English Bulldog out of the Irish Wolfhound,
it would certainly be a freak circumstance and not the normal
pattern as visualized by the evolutionists themselves. If the
spaniel were turned wild, it is almost certain that after a few
generations it would revert to the wolf dog type, so that Weidenreich's
canine series really demonstrates precisely the opposite of what
he is trying to prove.
Turning, then, to column 2, we
have an even more ridiculous situation, really, because we know
that gorillas and modern men do not belong to the same
species -- whatever may be said of Pithecanthropus. Thus, in
reality, the whole business is not merely unscientific, it is
positively deceitful. It only shows how a false concept can so
dominate the thinking of an otherwise highly intelligent man
that even devotion to truth is weakened. In any struggle between
the first specimen and the last specimen in column 1, the first
specimen would undoubtedly be the victor. By contrast it is most
likely that the reverse would be true in column 2. In what sense,
therefore, does this contribute anything either for or against
the theory of the evolution of man?
It is interesting to find in the
same volume which contains this highly deceiving series of drawings,
that the learned author draws attention to the way in which Thomas
Huxley committed the unforgivable sin of presenting the same
kind of deceptive diagram. Weidenreich reproduces the famous
series of four skeletons (Fig. 15) from Huxley's original work,
in which we see an orangutan walking behind a chimpanzee, walking
behind a gorilla, walking behind a man. The "message"
is clear. However, Weidenreich points out that the first three
figures have been "doctored," the apes being depicted
in an abnormally erect position. On the other hand, the man has
been depicted with a slight stoop. As Weidenreich put it, (18) "In other words,
the individual skeletal elements in Huxley's drawing are nearly
correct in their form and proportions, but the poses Huxley has
given them are artificial and not characteristic." Thus,
the stooping gorilla becomes "Pithecus erectus" and
the upright man becomes "Anthropus ebentus" in order
to fool the public. It is rather like the pot calling the kettle
black to find Weidenreich commenting thus on Huxley's diagram.
18. On Huxley's diagram, see F. Weidenreich,
Apes, Giants, and Man, University of Chicago Press, 1948,
Haeckel was by no means alone in this tendency to
doctor drawings to suit. He was apparently accused by his colleagues
of "dishonesty" in this regard, and his words of admission
are rather revealing. (19)
I should feel utterly condemned
and annihilated by the admission, were it not that hundreds of
the best observers and biologists lie under the same charge.
The great majority of all morphological, anatomical, histological,
and embryological diagrams are not true to nature but are more
or less doctored, schematized, and reconstructed.
mentions embryological reconstructions. In a paper entitled,
"Darwin and Embryology," Sir Gavin de Beer made this
Seldom has an assertion like
that of Haeckel's "theory of recapitulation," facile,
tidy, and plausible, widely accepted without critical examination,
done so much harm to science.
De Beer then
shows how determined an effort was made to demonstrate his theory
by a number of workers in the field, especially Hyatt and Wurtenburger
who, as he points out, published a beautiful series of fossil
ammonites. These were arranged in sequences which seemed to prove
the theory of recapitulation. De Beer then remarked: (21)
So seductive did this picture
appear that some years were to go by before A. Pavlov in 1901
showed that, if ammonite shells are arranged in such a sequence,
the stratigraphical order of the geological succession has
to be reversed [his emphasis]. In other words, Wurtenburger's
and Hyatt's series falsified the evidence and were utterly valueless.
A similar case
is reported in much more recent times by Professor G. Gaylord
In fishes, there is a recent
seriation from forms with no bone to forms with extensive bone.
Comparative anatomists formerly unanimously agreed that this
corresponded with a historical sequence in the stated direction,
but directly historical studies (by A. S. Romer) now indicate
that the real time sequence was in the other direction [emphasis
In short, unanimous
agreement among the experts is no guarantee whatever of truth.
One wonders whether, if a Christian paleontologist had conducted
the historical studies which Romer did, would he even have been
able to find a publisher, let alone have convinced Gaylord Simpson
of the truth of the matter? Science is far
19. Haeckel's reply as given in Dawn, Sept.,
20. de Beer, Sir Gavin, "Darwin and Embryology," in
A Century of Darwin, edited by S. A. Barnett, Heinemann,
London, 1958, p.159.
21. Ibid., p.160.
22 Simpson, G. Gaylord, "Historical Biology Bearing on Human
Origins," Cold Spring Harbor Symposia on Quantitative
Biology, vol.15, 1950, p.56.
from the objective exercise
it would appear to be in the eyes of the general public. Reconstructions
leave so much to the imagination that they invite sensationalism
and this strongly appeals to the public, helping to promote sales
and thus to provide a wider exposure of a man's ideas -- always
a rewarding experience.
We are still in the company of
pots calling kettles black, for this particular form of public
entertainment (or deception -- Barnum equated them) is still
as popular as ever. Speaking at the Cold Spring Harbor Symposia
on Quantitative Biology in 1950, G. Gaylord Simpson made this
In passing, I may say that a
prudent paleontologist is sometimes appalled at the extent of
restoration indulged in by the anthropologists, some of whom
seem quite willing to reconstruct a face from a partial cranium,
or a whole skull from a piece of the lower jaw, and so on.
Of course, this temerity is inducted
by the great popular interests of the subject and the fact that
fragments do not impress the public.
Then, too, the worst examples are in
popular publications and are not likely to mislead the professionals,
still. . . .!
terminates precisely as Simpson terminated it. One might suppose
from this that he would himself avoid at all costs the presentation
of reconstructions of any kind which involved the slightest element
of deceit. Yet, unfortunately, he was himself so dominated by
evolutionary philosophy that he could not limit himself to the
evidence but extrapolated always in such a way as to make the
evidence support the view he held. In presenting experimental
findings for publication in scientific journals, it is important
to avoid adding to the data on the basis of pure assumption.
For example, in
23. Ibid., p.57.
Fig. 18 are shown three
curves which reveal the course of the effect of a certain drug
on one particular physiological function of man. For reasons
which are not important in the present context, we had this information
for only that part of the experimental time interval covered
by the solid line. Since we knew, obviously, that the drug effect
was zero at zero hour of injection, we knew that the solid line
would ultimately start from the y axis at zero minutes at the
point marked with an asterisk. The temptation, of course, was
to join the asterisk to the beginning of the solid line with
a smooth curve, thus completing the graph. But this would have
been quite improper from a scientific point of view: for there
is no evidence to show what the course of the effect followed
by the drug was during that interval. It would have been pure
assumption. Yet Simpson's works are
frequently accompanied by geological trees intended to show the
relationships between animals in a series, in which the solid
lines represent what is known of these relationships with reasonable
certainty and then dotted lines are used to assure the viewer
that ultimately all the lines stem originally from a single source,
thus reinforcing the "truth" of evolution. Remember
that the dotted lines are purely presumptive. Although they would
possibly be correct if evolution were true, from a purely scientific
point of view there is still really no justification for them
since actual evidence is entirely lacking. To this extent, the
unsuspecting reader is deceived.
Some authors avoid
putting in the dotted lines and to this extent are being more
strictly scientific -- or at least appear to be. They are fulfilling
the letter of the law, as it were, but not really the spirit
of it. For it is not at all difficult to so curve the lines towards
each other without actually joining them, in such a way that
the eye itself inevitably completes the process of making a "tree"
out of what is otherwise merely a group of loose twigs. The "message"
is the same, and it gets across to the reader. As an illustration
of what I mean by this, Fig. 19 is reproduced from an excellent
study of the subject by Frank Cousins (24) whose diagram was taken from de Beer's work. The
absence of actual connecting links tends to be entirely overlooked.
extent to which this kind of pastime can be carried is rather
well shown in Fig. 20 taken from a paper by Kermack and Mussett
entitled "The First Mammals." (25) The most casual study of this "suggested family
tree of the vertebrate animals" will show that it doesn't
remotely resemble a genealogical tree. Not one twig is joined
24. Cousins, Frank W., ref.17, p.21.
25. Kermack, K. A. and Frances Mussett, "The First Mammals",
Discovery, April, 1959, p.145.
Fig. 19. Animal Phylogeny, after Sir Gavin
to another. There are
more disconnections than connections and the dotted lines which
provide the only justification for titling the diagram as a tree
are, of course, completely hypothetical. Yet the public becomes
so accustomed to this kind of propaganda that it is no longer
recognized for what it really is, but is taken as factual evidence
for evolution. (26)
One cannot help but recall the
statement made by W. D. Wallis in a paper entitled (27) "Presuppositions
in Anthropological Interpretations," in which he pointed
out that at least two generalizations are usually implied, though
never stated. The first is that more data may be inferred from
older remains than would be considered sound to infer from contemporary
remains. There is much less danger of being found out if one
is wrong. And the second is that in dealing with prehistoric
man, inferences may be made on material much less abundant than
would be necessary if contemporary man were being discussed.
To use his words, "The further we proceed into the gloom
of the prehistoric, the clearer our vision. Hence things which
could not possibly be inferred if the data were contemporary
man, can, thanks to this illumination in the gathering dusk of
remote ages, be inferred with confidence."
26. It is most encouraging to note that the Geological Society
of London has recently published a symposium entitled, "The
Fossil Record" (Burlington House, London, 1967, xii and
828 pp.), which contains papers by 126 authorities, occupying
a total of some 800 pages, with innumerable charts and graphs.
The encouraging thing is that approximately 90% of these elaborate
charts and graphs indicate only the overlap in time of the various
animal forms which have characterized the successive geological
ages, and do not connect them by hypothetical lines, such as
are common to almost all other textbooks. This notable volume
demonstrates clearly that such information can be displayed usefully
without making evolutionary assumptions. This I would consider
to be objective reporting of the data at its best.
27. Wallis, Wilson, "Presupposition in Anthropological Interpretations,"
American Anthropology, vol.50, July-Sept., 1948, p.560.
Fig. 20. Family tree of the vertebrates.
On the left is a geological time scale. Note how the dotted lines
are "bent" to conform to the theory.
has been entirely negative and it would be a pity to close it
without saying something on the positive side. For there is,
no doubt, much to be said in favour of attempting such reconstructions
if the object is genuinely to inform rather than indoctrinate
It has often been observed, and
Wood Jones was one of those who wrote about the matter at some
length, that a change took place in the method of research, and
in the central theme and prime concern of the life sciences once
Darwin's work had established the evolutionary approach to nature.
Previously, great interest had been attached to the study of
the relationship between form and function. After Darwin,
this interest declined rapidly and the consuming interest became
the question of structure.
The great object was now
to establish relationships between different species of animals
rather than relationships between form and function within the
animal. Since the governing principle here was structural similarity,
the assumption being that animals which looked alike were related
and that the more nearly they looked alike the more closely related
they were, nothing else mattered much except to underscore these
homologies. Series of homologous structures were sought with
great eagerness and set forth pictorially in just the right way
to strengthen the impression that each was merely a modification
of the other and that all had a common genetic relationship.
The argument that the Great Designer had employed a basic principle
of operation, modifying it only as needs required, was forgotten
entirely. For the same reason the question of function had been
forgotten or overlooked. It was no longer a matter of interest.
Wood Jones pointed out that
the older paleontologists scored their great triumphs of reconstruction
because they understood so well the relationships which exist
between any particular bone and the special purpose which it
serves in the whole animal; and they understood also that not
infrequently a specialized bone structure serving a specialized
purpose usually meant a special kind of animal. Thus they saw
living forms as beautifully effective integrated systems, and
they were often able on the basis of a single bone to reconstruct
the whole animal. Again and again their reconstructions were
subsequently validated to an extraordinary degree when further
remains were brought to light.
of the most notable of the older naturalists was Georges Cuvier
who enunciated his famous Law of Correlation which stated that
if an animal develops one organ in an unmistakable manner, one
can infer from it the development of its other organs. (28) Animals with horns and
hoofs, for example, invariably possess teeth adapted to vegetarianism.
Animals with claws and ankle bones are necessarily equipped with
carnivorous teeth. Reptiles with a closed system of teeth are
vegetarian, while those with interlocking systems feed on other
According to Cuvier, this
correlation applied in the smallest detail and it must even be
theoretically possible, he claimed, to reconstruct the entire
body of an animal of which only a single organ is known. Wendt
said, "Cuvier really was able to reconstruct the complete
specimen from a single bone, from the fragment of a jaw (for
This ability was demonstrated to his students by Cuvier on a
number of occasions when the students were invited to bring him
a single bone from some animal of which they had the remainder,
and he would then take and reconstruct it, after the Sherlock
Holmes manner, into the complete animal.
Towards the end of his book, Wendt
records how some of Cuvier's successors showed an extraordinarily
"subtle detective sense" which enabled them to interpret
apparently barely decipherable fragments. Weinert and Klaatsch
appeared to have acquired the ability of looking at fossils through
a kind of mental "X-ray apparatus." (30) It was this ability which made it possible for these
masters of the art of reconstruction to describe an animal such
as Phascolomys, which was living at the time though quite unknown
to science, from some sub-fossil bones. (31)
Whereas, today, the majority of
reconstructions which mar the work of anthropologists are built
up essentially on the basis of an evolutionary philosophy, the
older naturalists were not dominated by this philosophy but were
guided by a clear understanding of the relationship between form
and function. In so far as our museums are now furnished with
reconstructions based upon this solid foundation, they are serving
the cause of Truth. In so far as they are furnished by reconstructions
which are inspired primarily by evolutionary philosophy, they
become centres of propaganda unworthy of the name of Science.
28. Cuvier, Georges: see Herbert Wendt, I
Looked for Adam, Weidenfeld, Nicolson, London, 1955, p.152.
29. Wendt, Herbert, ref.28, p.162.
30. Ibid., p.421.
31. Jones, F. Wood, Trends of Life, Arnold, London, 1953,
Imagination is a wonderful thing -- but man's imagination
can, as Scripture says, quickly become "vain." This
is particularly so when he deliberately rejects what God has
seen fit to reveal about his origin and nature -- each of which
bears on the other. "Convincing" as such constructs
of the imagination may be, one should not put one's trust in
them where man's supposed ancestors are concerned. They may be
entertaining, but they are seldom scientific, and often they
are most misleading.
Copyright © 1988 Evelyn White. All rights
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