Did humans evolve from apes?
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?
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
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
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
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
- 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.
- Ref 1. Return to text.
- 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.
- Wieland, C., A shrinking date for ‘Eve’, J. Creation 12(1):1–3, April 1998; creation.com/eve. Return to text.
- Batten, D., Y-Chromosome Adam? J. Creation 9(2):139–140, August 1995; creation.com/y. Return to text.
- Carter, R., Adam, Eve and Noah vs Modern Genetics, 11 May 2010; creation.com/noahgenes. Return to text.
- 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.
- Catchpoole, D., Time—no friend of evolution, Creation 34(3):30–31, July 2012; creation.com/time. Return to text.
- 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.