Looking up all the references is a lot of work - one of the reasons nobody normally verifies these, but trust the writers. As you will see, the writers are banking on this, but it is not a good thing to trust the WTBTS writers. Please find the Bibliography worked out for quotes 38-51, covering the heading "WHAT ABOUT HUMAN EVOLUTION".
Interesting is that many quotes are from the [u]preface[/u] of books, where the authors honestly explain the difficulties and assumptions related to evolutionary science.
[b]What about human evolution?[/b]
At the beginning of the 20th century, all the fossils that were used to support the theory that humans and apes evolved from a common ancestor could fit on one billiard table. Since then, the number of fossils has increased. Now it is claimed that they would fill a railroad boxcar.
Actual Reference 38:
An often repeated creationist canard insists that all known human fossils would fit on a billiard table. This was probably true in the late 19th century, but it has not been true for a 100 years. Known human fossils number in the thousands and represent the remains of hundreds of individuals. They are more numerous and better studied than the fossils of any other vertebrae group, because the intense interest that people have for the bones of their ancestors has driven them to devote far more effort to collecting and studying fossil humans than say fossil horses or herring. Having seen most of the major collections of human fossils in the world’s museums, we can assure our readers that those collections can no longer be laid out on a billiard table. It would be hard to cram them all into a boxcar.
However, the vast majority of those fossils consist only of single bones and isolated teeth. Complete skulls – let alone complete skeletons – are rare.
Explanation of Actual Reference 39:
What this book further attempts to do, bearing in mind that results from studies of small numbers of post-cranial fossils have not been overly persuasive within the profession, is to carry out these studies using large samples. This means that we can better know populations through averages and variations, and be less dependent upon the vagaries of single, possibly far from average, specimens. Such studies have to be based upon teeth, because these are the only anatomical parts that are available in such large samples. Using teeth means we lose the functional inferences that can be readily derived from post-cranial bones. But we gain from the marked improvements in the sample sizes.
Perhaps the only consensus now is that there is no consensus.
Actual Reference 40:
At any point in time, the number of hominin genera and species recognized by the majority of specialists will be limited, reflecting the merging into a single category of specimens previously categorized as separate. But in turn new claims for taxonomic uniqueness keep the pool large, until affected by their own cycle of merger. Figure 1 is indicative of the addition of new taxa to the hominins; while most of these have subsequently been subsumed and disappeared from the literature, the chart shows that the pattern of new names for new finds show no signs of introduction of new genera has declined since 1970. There has been a substantial number of different classificatory schemes, both from those associated with the newer discoveries and from those standing to one side of these. [u]Perhaps the only consensus now is that there is no consensus.[/u]
Both ‘splitters’ – those who favour multiple species and genera – and ‘lumpers’ – those who prefer a classificatory and phylogenetic scheme with fewer taxons – vary in the criteria they consider essential to their classificatory scheme.
Nothing is known of the actual timing and mode of divergence of the African ape and hominid lineages.
Actual Reference 41:
With the discovery of Ardipithecus, Orrorin and Sahelanthropus, our knowledge of hominid evolution before the emergence of Pliocene species of Australopithecus has significantly increased, extending the hominid fossil record back to at least 6 million years (Myr) ago. However, because of the dearth of fossil hominoid remains in sub-Saharan Africa spanning the period 12–7 Myr ago, [u]nothing is known of the actual timing and mode of divergence of the African ape and hominid lineages[/u]. Most genomic-based studies suggest a late divergence date—5–6 Myr ago and 6–8 Myr ago for the human–chimp and human–gorilla splits, respectively—and some palaeontological and molecular analyses hypothesize a Eurasian origin of the African ape and hominid clade. We report here the discovery and recognition of a new species of great ape, Chororapithecus abyssinicus, from the 10–10.5-Myr-old deposits of the Chorora Formation at the southern margin of the Afar rift. To the best of our knowledge, these are the first fossils of a large-bodied Miocene ape from the African continent north of Kenya. They exhibit a gorilla-sized dentition that combines distinct shearing crests with thick enamel on its 'functional' side cusps. Visualization of the enamel–dentine junction by micro-computed tomography reveals shearing crest features that partly resemble the modern gorilla condition. These features represent genetically based structural modifications probably associated with an initial adaptation to a comparatively fibrous diet. The relatively flat cuspal enamel–dentine junction and thick enamel, however, suggest a concurrent adaptation to hard and/or abrasive food items. The combined evidence suggests that Chororapithecus may be a basal member of the gorilla clade, and that the latter exhibited some amount of adaptive and phyletic diversity at around 10–11 Myr ago.
The classification and the evolutionary place of hominid fossils has been under constant debate.
Actual Reference 42:
One of the main reasons of the [b]different interpretations[/b] of the evolutionary way of the hominids is that [u]the classification and the evolutionary place of hominid fossils has been under constant debate[/u]. It is caused partly because hominid fossils are not plentiful – inspite of the growing number of the fossils – and perhaps partly because there are a number of rival discovery teams, and the importance of a new hominid fossil discovery is enhanced if the discovery apparently requires new classifications and/or new interpretations.
Quote 43 & 45:
Actual Reference 43 & 45:
UNBRIDLED hoopla attended the unveiling of a 47-millionyear-old fossil primate at the American Museum of Natural History in New York on 19 May. The popular press immediately hailed the specimen as a “missing link” in human evolution. Some called it the “eighth wonder of the world”. Google even incorporated an image of the fossil into its celebrated logo. Now that the first proper description of the fossil, nicknamed Ida, has been published, the task of separating the scientific significance of the fossil from the mass of public relations hype can begin. Ida is the first known member of a new genus and species (Darwinius massillae) belonging to an extinct group of early primates called the adapiforms, whose overall proportions and anatomy resemble those of a lemur. What does this tell us about her place on the family tree of humans and other primates? The fact that Ida retains features found in all early primates indicates that she belongs somewhere closer to the base of the tree than living lemurs do. But this does not necessarily make Ida a close relative of the anthropoids – the group of primates that includes monkeys, apes, you and me. To be connected in this way, Ida would have to have anthropoid-like features that evolved after anthropoids split away from lemurs and other early primates. Here she fails miserably: Ida is not a “missing link” in human evolution. She is, nevertheless, a remarkably complete specimen that promises to teach us a great deal about the biology of some of the earliest and least human-like of known primates. For this, we can celebrate her discovery as a real, if incremental advance. If Ida herself offers only limited extra insight into primate evolution, the PR campaign which greeted her raises the marketing of science to unprecedented heights. As a practising scientist, I applaud fellow scientists’ efforts to promote their findings to a wide audience. But there remains an important difference between the type of publicity that scientists work towards and that which rock stars, sports personalities and politicians seek.
The currency that we trade in is rooted in data and objectivity. If we ever allow marketers and publicists to divorce us from that simple standard, we will quickly find our work being evaluated on the same basis as the advertising campaign for the next world tour of the Rolling Stones. Shall we all begin tuning our guitars?
Whole article can be found at:
Quote 46 is in line with actual reference:
“With limited data it is difficult to assess accurately the survival rate of different late Pliocene and Pleistocene fossil hominins. With such data it is easier to study the survival rate of newly patented species in the literature. The recovery of fossil hominin skeletal material operates, and has always operated, in a contemporary framework: that of physical access, national priorities, research funding and individual research passions. The interpretation of these finds, and in particular their initial naming, so frequently claiming uniqueness, emphasizes the subjectivity of these frameworks. The leader of a research team may need to over-emphasize the uniqueness and drama of a ‘discovery’ in order to attract research funding from outside the conventional academic sources, and they will certainly be encouraged in this by the print and electronic media, looking for a dramatic story.”
“Any facial ‘reconstructions’ of early hominids are likely to be misleading.”
Context of Actual Reference 47:
Depending on the reconstruction technique (Russian, British or American) there may be slight variation in the size of the nose and/or mouth. Mouth size for example can differ up to 1 cm.
One group of researchers used brain size to speculate which extinct creatures were more closely related to man admitted that in doing so, “they often feel on shaky ground.”
Context of Actual Reference 48:
Here is a foreword in a book simply explaining a number of educated assumptions. “We use these (Brain size) to offer speculations about the interrelatedness and evolution through time, and even here we [u]often feel on shaky ground”[/u].
“Scientists have failed to find a correlation between absolute or relevant brain size and acumen amongst humans and other species. Neither have they been able to discern a parallel between wits and the size or existence of specific regions of the brain, excepting perhaps Broca’s area, which governs speech in people.”
Actual Reference 49:
The above, plus: “Why have we failed to find this correlation? Because anatomically, the human brain is very similar to that of other primates because humans and chimpanzees share an ancestor, that walked the earth less than 7 million years ago.”
“Neanderthals may have been a true human race”
Actual Reference 50:
“Since their first discovery, Neandertals have served as an out-group for interpreting human variation. Their out-group role has changed over the years because in spite of the fact that Neandertals are the most abundant of all fossil remains (or perhaps because of this) their interpretation is the most controversial of all human fossils. Many believe them to be a different, albeit human-like species, but recent genetic evidence supports anatomical interpretations indicating that interbreeding with other humans was an important aspect of human evolution. The combination of anatomical difference and restricted gene flow between populations suggests the possibility that [u]Neanderthals may have been a true human race[/u].”
“Such pictures as this are based on the biases and assumptions of researchers and artists, not on facts.”
Actual Reference 51:
“We view our pictures only as ancillary illustrations of what we defend by words…The familiar iconographies of evolution are all directed, sometimes crudely, sometimes subtly, towards reinforcing a comfortable view of human inevitability and superiority. The starkest version, the chain of being or ladder of linear progress, has an ancient, pre-evolutionary pedigree.”[/