Scientific Methods

Thursday, April 13, 2006



Most interpretations of early hominin phylogeny recognise a single early to middle Pliocene ancestral lineage; this is represented best by Australopithecus afarensis because it gives rise to a radiation of taxa in the Pliocene. This was reported in relation of the new fossil discovered west of Lake Turkana.

A 3.5 million year old cranium, showing a unique combination of derived facial and primitive neurocranial features is assigned to a new genus of hominin. These findings point to an early diet-driven adaptive radiation, provide new insight on the association of hominin craniodental features, and have implications for our understanding of Plio-Pleistocene hominin phylogeny.

The skull was named Kenyanthropus platyops, which means flat-faced, was found in Kenya. Over the decades, one supposed ape-man after another has been presented to the public with great confidence as being ancestral to humans-only to quietly drop off the tree later. Each time, humanists have been gloating, some Christians have been panicking and the media buzzing.

The dropping off of the tree usually happens because of new information, based on careful analysis by trained anatomists which gradually accumulates to the point where the original claim can no longer be sustained. Scientists believe that the discovery has raised more questions than answered and now we have confusion on knowing with certainty who our earliest ancestor is.

We have always assumed Lucy as our ancestor and how we need to re-evaluate that idea. In the absence of any other fossil in the time between about 3.8 million and three million years ago, the only possible human ancestor that could be claimed was Australopithecus afarensis. Now that we have a new form of early hominid from the same period that is quite distinct from afarensis, the anthropologists will have to decide which of these forms of early human actually lies in our ancestral tree it cannot be both it can be either Kenyanthropus or Australopithecus.


Dianah Nangammbi Cilla CSIR P.O Box 395 Pretoria 0001 Email: Tel: +27 12 841 2133 Cell: +27 73 121 3589 Website:


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