Re: Sub-human

Glenn Morton (
Wed, 16 Jul 1997 21:19:06 -0500

At 08:53 PM 7/15/97 -0500, Dick Fischer wrote:

>Your positioning of Adam was at 5.5 mya which would place him at the
>head of all the non-ape precursors to mankind including the
>The distinction you make here of A robustus not being on "the direct line
>to humans," puts your Adam in the dubious position of fathering non-humans
>(or sub-humans). Or am I missing something?

Your question assumes that if a group left no genetic material to future
generations then they can't be human. That is defining humanity in an odd way.

As I have admitted several times, but this always seems to be missed, I am
ambivalent about Australopithecus. What I would really like to see happen
is for some more advanced form of Homo sp. indet. to be found in rocks much
older than 2.33 myr, which is the oldest to date. (however, theologians have
yet to really deal with even that longevity for our genus) A small,
geographically localized population of Homo sp. indet.[species
indeterminate] However, the data may show, eventually that Australopithecus
was indeed "human" in which case, I think it would be good to follow George
Murphy's advice and be willing to revise theology if it were needed. As of
this moment, the behavioral evidence for people like us stops somewhere
around 2.5-2.6 myr ago, when the earliest known stone tools are found.

Do I have an evidentiary gap in what I believe happened in the past? Yes.
I will not go beyond the observational data and try to make up data or
minimize the difficulty here.

But as to having Adam being the father of sub humans, that I would expressly
reject. If eventually it turns out that Australopithecines are behaviorally
human, then I would say that Adam is their father. If some side group of
them went extinct, and left no genetic record here on earth, then I would
liken that to the Man Dan Indians who have left no genetic material on earth
today since they were all wiped out by small pox and war. Nor would I reject
the humanity of the Ojibway men who have failed (almost totally) to pass
their Y-chromosomes on to people today. During colonization, the European
colonizers, killed the men or made them outcasts, and took the women for
wives and mistresses. This process has lead to the interesting result as
Wolpoff and Caspari relate,

"Wub-e-ke-niew wanted to learn about his own line of descent,
and to do so he worked out the genealogy of the
Ahnishinahbaeojibway. He entered some 60,000 names and
relationships into his computer. What he learned is that the
vast majority of patrilineages could be traced, not to Aboriginal
Indigenous Americans, but to Euroepan sources. he wrote a book
on this topic. Clara, who had done much of the analysis,
estimates that some 99 percent of the people who identify
themselves as Ahnishinahbaeojibway have Europoean patrilines.
Reasons for this are complex and purposeful. In a second phone
call, Clara told us she believes the high level of European
patrilines in the descendants of indigenous peoples is not
unusual in areas of European colonization. It reflects the
colonization process, and in some cases subsequent government
"So there is yet another interpretation for the Y chromosome
studies, if not the one that satisfies, perhaps the one that is
true. The lack of variation in male-tansmitted Y chromosomes
from 38 men sampled around the world may well be the best
reflection we will have of what happened during the cneturies of
European conquest, colonization, and displacement of native
peoples."~Milford Wolpoff and Rachael Caspari, Race and Human
Evolution, (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1997), p. 363-364

So, my criteria for who is a descendant of Adam, is not who has left genetic
material to future generations, but who was BEHAVIORALLY human. As I have
over and over said, I don't know what to do with the Australopithecines and
I have gone back and forth on his status(you can find statements I have
written which support his humanity and you can find them which deny it).
Fire and stone tools would count in his favor, but there is so little of
that type of evidence with the australopithecines. If this indecision on my
part is to be counted against my views, then so be it. At the very least, it
is honest about the lack of data available to us.


Foundation, Fall and Flood