The missing missing links: a challenge

We’ve talked here a few times about Utah state senator Chris Buttar’s wish to have a disclaimer about human evolution added to the state school board’s proposed position statement on teaching evolution:

Buttars believes the document should include new language: “There is not generally accepted agreement in the scientific community or (evidence) that has stood up to scientific scrutiny regarding the evolution of man from any other species.” (Deseret News, Aug 27 2005)

The reality is that there’s lots of good evidence for human evolution, including a number of habiline specimens that sit nicely midway between apes and humans. This doesn’t bother most creationists (like Buttars), because they’re blissfully unaware of them. Creationists often discuss Neandertals or Lucy at length, because it’s easy to dismiss them as humans and apes respectively, and pass over the habilines.

A few days ago Ed Brayton and I responded to a creationist over on Ed’s blog. The creationist, William Gibbons, had responded to an earlier query I had made to identify some of the best transitional hominids. His response illustrates the near impossibility of classifying hominids into two discrete groups of apes and humans. Although he seemed confident that Marvin Lubenow’s book Bones of Contention took care of the hominid fossils, his own answers sometimes contradicted Lubenow, not to mention reality. It’s not surprising that Buttars and Gibbons know nothing about these fossils, because it’s impossible to find out about them from creationist literature.

There are a number of habiline fossils that trouble creationists, but to keep it simple, let’s stick to the Dmanisi skulls, which I’ve mentioned here already. Here’s a general query to creationists: how do you classify the Dmanisi skulls, and why? Any takers?