This is Homo ergaster, a species very similar to the Homo habilis we just discussed, last chapter. Claims vary as to the age of this claimed ancestor of modern Man, estimates ranging from it being anywhere from 1.9 to 1.5 million years old. Of course regarding fossil ages we may as well just flip our coin again, as we have seen already the tendency to change our dating of these specimens by tens, and sometimes hundreds of thousands of years. Either, then, ergaster thrived for a 400,000 year period, or our guesses as to its antiquity are that far off. In truth we should assume the latter assumption, as we have very few fossils as evidence, certainly not enough to represent this species as a species thriving for 400 millenia.
“Homo ergaster” means “working man,” a name it has been given because of the possibility that it used stone tools. In its characteristics ergaster looks at times a lot like habilis, but other representative fossils look very different and so it sometimes is considered a sub-species of Homo erectus, our next subject. This indecision is likely due to problems classifying the fossils found. As we will see, the remains cited for ergaster might actually be from different sorts of creatures, and possibly, real Men. A look at the fossil record is then imperative.
There are supposedly remains from 20 individuals of this line, I count 22. Look here and here. Immediately one will notice that many of the same fossils attributed to Homo habilis, or Handy Man, are also attributed to this Homo ergaster, or Working Man. This boosts the fossil number count considerably.
Let’s then sort out this situation. The following fossils we have already discussed, and are attributed variously to either Handy Man or Working Man, or both:
If you follow the fossil numbers we cited last post, and compare them to the ones I will cite presently, you will see that sequential numbers do not always indicate that they came from the same species. This happens when fossils from a dig are discovered in sequence, labeled in that sequence of discovery, and then later reallocated to a different species, or rejected as insignificant, or of known origin. This is another shady aspect of fossil discovery, that is, the tendency to variously assign these discovered bones in the absence of anything even near certainty. The probability is low, indeed.
Some of these fossils, I should mention, are also now “officially” classified as erectus specimens! Well, just because they eliminate the “man” does not mean they have to waste “good fossils!” After all, the Leakeys and associates have already been paid…
Regardless, let’s look at the remaining fossils that claim to be evidence of anything like a “Working Man.” The pertinent fossils were all dug up either near Dmanisi in Georgia, Koobi Fora in Kenya, or at our old stomping grounds the Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania. Once again we will see the Leakey Enterprises Inc. responsible for these “discoveries.”
First, let’s take a look at the evidence from this famous Olduvai Gorge. Here it is:
There she is, the entire evidence of this species from Olduvai Gorge. Bits and pieces are put together, molded, sculpted, and joined with Bondo, apparently, to give us this specimen. Just try to locate the “before” photos, on the internet, in the library, from museums, etc., and expect to encounter great difficulty. If a picture is worth a thousand words, let’s take this “evidence” as another product of certain “scientists” scurrying to show some fruit for their “labors”— and expenses incurred—and move on to more, we hope, more certain evidence that Working Man ever existed.
Similarly, the comparatively recently-discovered evidence from Dmanisi (1999) is also small and questionable. What we have are two craniums that came in lots of pieces, as usual, with the caveat “assembly required.” Luckily we have the pictures of this evidence from Georgia:
This above is the reassembled d-2280, below, d-2282. One has to wonder, still: what happened to d-2281?
This find is interesting because it hails from one of the few places we have discussed so far that does not still have a thriving and prominent ape, monkey, chimp, or other simian population. Try to find a source for the distribution of all simians and you will find the road difficult to travel. This is because, as you know, humans are classified as hominidae in the same way as is the chimpanzee. This, we should make careful note, is a huge scientific error of classification. Simply because species look similar (and I am still fascinated by, and find difficulty looking away from, the simians whether live, in pictures, on TV, or in movies…they are fascinating creatures to observe…) does not make them the same. Bats and birds, e.g. Without much doubt the Georgian Man, Homo georgicus, is a gibbon, or something like a gibbon. I have made a collage to illustrate this, below. There are two views of georgicus on the left, two of a gibbon on the right; you should know that I could use different gibbon skull samples to get even closer to the actual appearance of georgicus:
Every good taxonomist knows that shared characteristics are not themselves indicative of special difference. What do we make of the porpoise, for another example? It is by all scientific claims as intelligent, if not more intelligent that the monkey. Some dogs are more intelligent than monkeys as well, depending on how you consider the ability to be “trained” a sign of intelligence. A porpoise looks nothing like land creatures which share the same basic cardiovascular system. It looks very similar to a fish, which it very much is not. We are right to be as curious about chimps as we are about porpoises, wrong to think we are no more advanced than they are. To create, to deviate from instinct, is distinctly human.
But we will discuss this later, after we finish trying to understand the scientific, Evolutionary explanation for the Origin of Man. So we continue again back to Homo ergaster, as the band Rush would say, “they call him the Working Man.” The fossils, as we said, are interesting, and it makes us want to look seriously at what may be different between these discoveries and the rest of the skulls we have found previously. I’ve put together another little collage to show a comparison, accepting for its sake that the fossil fragments have been honestly (I doubt it) accurately (ditto) assembled:
Please note these are not to accurate scale. Working Man, Homo ergaster top left, in these samples shares most characteristics with Australopithecus, Lucy. The distance from the nasal cavity to the upper jaw and teeth is too long, the brow ridge is too profound, and the assembly of the jaws and ridges along the side of the head too arbitrarily reconstructed to be definitive. Pieces that definitely are force-fit even appear. If assembled one way, it can be seen as human, another, as simian.
Actually, Evolutionists and even Creationists debate as to what this thing is, some of both claiming ape as I am here, others, early human. Here is another picture of this specimen which shows the ape character of Homo georgicus, which is what this Georgian type of Working Man is called:
The only problem here for our “ape” appellation is the lack of apes in current Georgia. The fact that more recently legs of this species have been discovered does not aid the cause for this creature’s humanity, as it seems those limbs are more indicative of an Australopithecine. May we say, the legs found were forced to fit the skull already in our possession? What proves the relation of the parts? We need to look then at the discoveries from the other places, to see more evidence.
All we have left is the evidence from Kenya, almost all found by the Leakeys (and collaborators). KNMER 3734 (1), 3889 (2) and 3892 (3) are insignificant and probably pieces of humans, or at least, Homo erectus. I have yet to find photos of their evidence, but they’re being catalogued everywhere and spoken of as if their classification is problematic. Here are the rest of the not-so important fossils:
(5) KNMER 730 Skull Fragments (M. G. Leakey 1970)-
“Traits correlate with both ergaster on one hand, and erectus on the other”
(6) KNMER 731 Mandible Fragment
(7) KNMER 819 Mandible Fragment-
“Although placed in the general classification of Homo, is also a candidate for boisei. Because of its greater robusticity, it is placed into ergaster instead of habilis”
(8) KNMER 820 Juvenile Mandible Dentition-
“…compared closely to the erectus specimen from Zhoukoudian. This specimen is placed by many under the H. erectus classification”
(9) KNMER 992 Mandible (C. Groves and V. Mazakin 1975)
“Dated to 1.5 million years. KNM-ER 992 is the type specimen for Homo ergaster”
(10) KNMER 1466 Left Side of Cranial Vault-
“Thick and rather robust features could also place this specimen with H. erectus or even as a robust H. sapiens”
(11) KNMER 1478 Cranial Fragments-
“Highly eroded, this piece has proved to be hard to identify, yet has been place[d] under the genus Homo”
(12) KNMER 1593 Skull Fragments
(13) KNMER 1648 Parietal Fragment
(14) KNMER 1808 Adult Skull Fragments
(15) KNMER 1811 Mandibular Fragments
(16) KNMER 1812 Mandible Fragments
(17) KNMER 1821 Right Parietal Fragment
(18) KNMER 2592 Left Parietal Fragments
(19) KNMER 2595 Right Parietal Fragment
(20) KNMER 2598 is an Occipital fragment
As you can see, what is ape, what is human, what is in-between, is a matter of much debate. No other “pre-human” we have discussed so far has so divided both Evolutionists and Creationists alike.
Scientifically, this indecision about classification is to be expected for any “missing link,” and I think as far as missing links go, this Working Man, if any, is the one. But, as we have discussed, many problems with the evidence exist, and some scientists have even speculated that many years ago apes did roam the areas inland of the Black Sea; some even claim that the apes, or possibly even humans, originated in Asia, and not Africa. This also indicates a migration, and perhaps a testament to the long-standing existence of the simians (again by “simian” I mean primates and hominids other than Man). The apes have been around for quite a while. As has Man.
If we accept the explanations we have so far given for the lack of evidence, still, for anything like a proof of Evolution’s theory about the Origin of Man, then there are two more important finds that we need to consider carefully, before we jump the gun and discard out of hand all this mumbo-jumbo about any Working Man. Yes mumbo-jumbo, you know, the talk about what these creatures ate, how fast they grew, how fast they could run, their biting power, etc. It gets really deep…the farther out we go.
Because I only actually swim when necessary or for exercise (I love to float, stand, bask in the sea, though… e.g.), and am always leery about the depths, and the accompanying darkness when entering deep waters–where I have no firm contact with Earth–I try to, as often as possible, ground my, in this case nautical, flights of fancy somehow. Similarly, I need to ground myself, in the hunt for the Origin of Man, in objective Truth. By this I mean, I need to base myself in what is verifiable, in our case here, on just what we can discern from the evidence.
Some believe objective Truth does not exist and by virtue of that will argue against my claim. They will argue that objectivity is an illusion, when in reality true objectivity, I argue, is the perfection of subjectivity, and the proper aim of the ego. That there are words on the computer screen (or printed page) you are reading right now is an objective truth; whether these words are true, or whether you even pay attention to the words you read, are completely different questions, and both these latter assume the former is true. To refute any position, or defend it, you must recognize and explicate it. To argue further, such that the words are not really words, say what is on the screen is just a representation of words, would make any discussion likewise impossible. Everything will be babble.
Objective truth is, by analogy here, like the surety about the existing of those words. To try to apply this same claim to what the words, or the theory might say, and so try to discern whether the claims expressed by the words “are correct” or not, would be debatable, and ideally requires what is known as real scientific investigation. Truth is about certainty, while science is about probability. By Truth then we mean only something that is evidently true, or which follows from certain conditions. Prejudices aside, biases and affiliations aside, the instruction of our parents aside…what then is True?
Truth in the classic, major sense, is that “wisdom,” (greek sophia) or “knowledge” (episteme) which is beyond doubt. Its analogy is mathematics, where in that system 2+2=4, and that there are 180 degrees in a triangle. It was the same search for this (again) that later led Descartes to declare the cogito, or the “I exist” as the first Truth of this kind, debate over which declaration continues to this day. Part of the problem, it seems, with this Evolution versus Creation debate, is this Evolutionary discarding of Truth along with surety and God. As for the Creationists, they run into the same trouble in that they demand more surety from science that, again ideally, it is supposed to impart. Properly explicated, science only suggests, with honesty in experimentation and reporting, what might be the Truth, and it never goes beyond the evidence, and never accepts the evidence as valid until other confirmations are achieved.
There exists a plethora of theoretical science surrounding Evolution, and let us say that most we have looked at is not worth an objective damn. Here we are, almost to modern human beings, in our quest for Evolution’s answer for the Origin of Man, and all we have been shown as evidence for our efforts are archaic chimps, apes, monkeys, and bones given ages so varied science ought to be ashamed of its lack of internal investigation into its accepted tools and methods.
But I promised more evidence of Homo ergaster, who after all is supposed to be our subject this chapter. As I say fossils from two individuals remain for us to discuss. One is KNMER-3883, which I consider of little value:
There is left then one most important discovery, and that is the Homo ergastus specimen known as “Turkana Boy,” the famous 1984 discovery led by Leakey Inc. Turkana Boy is variously assigned to Homo ergaster or Homo erectus, and this is relevant, not in that it proves yet again the problems with classification regarding these things, but also because the consensus for the Working Man is that it is likely a Homo erectus. I would say Turkana Boy has a better chance of being Homo antecessor, actually, and should probably be. Nevertheless, he is claimed to have been about 10 or 13 years old when he died. Here, I present, Turkana Boy:
Imagine how the extra vertebrae can be explained as a vestigial reason for back pain! Despite it’s impressive appearance, as in these photos:
The strength of the leg bones, the primitive aspects of the reconstructed skull, the 300+ pieces most of which are skull parts, and even the close up of the face, make me want to go against Creationists and Evolutionists alike here, and call Turkana Boy yet another primate:
Here is some example of the speculation or I should say propaganda concluded about this fragmentary skeleton, which could be made up of parts of different individuals. Notice how this Turkana Boy skull differs from the other Ergasters we have been considering. Here, the speculation example, put forth by its discoverers. I will take out of italics and put in bold type all the questionable conjecture:
“The boy was about ten years old at death – because of his more rapid maturation, comparable to a modern lad’s early-to-mid teens. At about five foot four he was tall for his age, of linear build, long-limbed and strongly muscled. He contrasts with hominids such as Australopithecus and H. habilis, who were shorter overall, deep-chested and pot-bellied, with short legs and long, powerfully muscled arms suggesting appreciable arboreal activity. Turkana Boy’s pelvis and leg anatomy are essentially modern, pointing to striding bipedalism with no hint of climbing adaptations, so indicating a fully terrestrial niche…” (source here).
My gut feeling here is that this individual is unmatched, meaning Turkana boy’s head is on someone else’s body parts. We have no feet, the actual fossils show varied degrees of wear, and the reconstruction has been extensive. One almost gets the feeling this creature was developed simply to keep the Evolutionary spirit alive. Here is a better photo of the parts before their being glued together, wired together, and put on display:
It is just not enough. Two or three more, from the same area, more complete, and we might have something here. I would entertain further evidence supporting that this creature is human. But for me this isolated fractional skeleton just does not provide anough evidence, even added to the rest we have examined, for any proof of a Working Man.
I will close with the reconstructions of Turkana Boy, and some other Working Man, Homo ergaster reconstructions. Next time, we continue our survey, and we examine whether the next in line, Homo erectus, is finally the clear original Man.
A satirist could surely have a field day: