The Poepol of the Week Award goes to: Matt


Here is another good example of a real poepol, named Matt. He writes on the News24 Website: “We are Christians. My son is still young, but we are already doing our homework to find a good, Christian school for him that teaches Creation in place of Evolution and the Big Bang Theory.” ………….”The point is that in a country where we supposedly have religious freedom, in actual fact we do not. Either South Africa’s public education system relies on the ignorance of parents, or clearly violates our Constitution. ” Just because his dogma bullshit is not taught in the public schools anymore, he starts crying that his human rights are been violated. Typical persecution syndrome all fundamentalists suffer from. A good example of a self inflicted wound, that he is determined to inflict on his own child too. But he demands that it also gets inflicted on all other children, to make things more convenient for him and his delusional brethren. Lies for jesus. An ignoramus who clings to the “facts” of an ancient book written in the bronze age by an ignorant bunch of nomadic goat herders who treated their women like livestock. He doesn’t even know what the word theory means in context to evolution. This brain dead moron has never read a single book but his precious bible.

Congratulations Matt, you are South Africa’s Poepol of the Week!!!!

No religious freedom in SA

2011-07-21 13:06

by Matt

Brothers and sisters, we live in South Africa; a country that is purported to have freedom of religion.

To quote our Constitution: Section 31 states that “Persons belonging to a cultural, religious or linguistic community may not be denied the right, with other members of that community to enjoy their culture, practice their religion and use their language; and to form, join and maintain cultural, religious and linguistic associations and other organs of civil society.”

Section 16 contains detailed provisions with regards to freedom of expression, stating “Everyone has the right to freedom of expression, which includes freedom of the press and other media; freedom to receive or impart information or ideas; freedom of artistic creativity; and academic freedom and freedom of scientific research.”

Well, although this may be a part of our Constitution, I have just learned that there is at least one area where this is blatantly ignored, and as a result our freedom of religion is denied.

We are Christians. My son is still young, but we are already doing our homework to find a good, Christian school for him that teaches Creation in place of Evolution and the Big Bang Theory. We are doing this for two reasons:

1) Christianity and evolution are not compatible at all. The Bible teaches that God created everything, including us, and we are created unique, yet all in His image, which makes us special. The Big Bang Theory teaches that everything came from nothing and that we are just evolved from animals, which means we are nothing more than mere organisms. Although many have tried to mix Christianity with this theory, it is absolutely impossible to do so without compromising the Bible or adding to the Scriptures.

2) If Evolution et al were factual; that is, provable beyond any doubt, we would have no reason to deny our son that teaching. If schools want to teach about the existence of the theory, that is fine. But school textbooks make the theory out to be factual when it has still never been proven. Worse, they use lies to support the theory and pass them off as facts. For example, Ernst Haeckel devised the notion in 1869 of “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny”. For 5 years he travelled throughout Germany to tell people that there is proof for human evolution because our embryos briefly display “gill slits” like fish. His own university, the University of Jena, held a trial and he confessed that he had deliberately lied – with false claims and false drawings of embryos – in order to get people to believe in evolution. However, 137 years later, this proven lie is still used as “proof” in many textbooks and TV documentaries. I simply refuse to have my son lied to at school!

We are perfectly within our rights to do so. Apparently though, it is too much for me to ask that my son is not taught lies. In other countries, it is possible you have your child excluded from a particular class or subject on the grounds that it goes against your religious belief. However, I have learned that this is not possible in South Africa. The school district decides on the curriculum, including which subjects are required. If your child is in a public school and you object for whatever reason to a subject; if that subject is required teaching, the school is required to teach your child this subject regardless of your feelings.

Complaining to the school is futile because their curriculum is dictated by the school district. If you have further objection, your only recourse is to take it to the Department of Education. So far, my experience with them in general is that you write to them and they flat out ignore you.

The point of me writing this is NOT to start a creation-evolution debate. We have plenty of those on News24 already! The point is that in a country where we supposedly have religious freedom, in actual fact we do not. Either South Africa’s public education system relies on the ignorance of parents, or clearly violates our Constitution.

In the case of my concern, I write as a Christian but this particular topic easily applies to followers of Christianity, Judaism and Islam, for all are founded on the belief that there is a Creator God.

So what does this mean for my son’s education? Well, he is currently attending a very good crèche in our area. He is learning Christian stuff; however, the crèche is a feeder school for a local public school, which will teach him material for which we have valid reasons to object. Or to put it simply, what is the point of the crèche teaching him certain values when public school will teach the exact opposite?

And as parents who are now worried about what our son will learn at school, with clear ignorance of our rights by the public education system, it looks like we have no option but to go private. Right now the only school we can find in a 20km radius is in Modderfontein, which means we will have to move to an area where rent is double; it means paying a lot of money each month. Fortunately for us, we could just about afford it, even if we have to make cutbacks. But not everybody can afford private school, can they?

One day, it is my dream to start a Creation Ministry in South Africa to teach people and get people saved, as well as fight the Department of Education. But in my current absence of paperwork, money and backing, all I can do for now is plead with parents to take an active interest in your children’s school curriculum and make sure that what they are being taught is both correct, and not in violation of your right to religious freedom. If either of those is in question, storm the schools, districts and Department of Education with your complaints. It is our duty as parents to give our children the best of everything and to protect them from the ills of the world – such a pity that one of those ills is the very government that is meant to serve us!

Finally, just something that all Christian teachers should seriously consider:

James 3:1 – My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.

Matthew 18:6 – But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.

In other words, in your role as a teacher it is vital that you be truthful, because it is you who receives the greater condemnation – for if you teach something that is wrong, your pupils will believe you and they will go on to teach others that which is wrong. And be extremely careful about what you teach our children, and know what Jesus says about those teaching something that goes against His Word and corrupts the children!

I would welcome the Department of Education to answer and refute what I write – because that would mean they’re addressing the concern of worried parents. I doubt they will though…


Baie goeie artikel geskryf deur Jaap Claassens.


“Bybelse Moraliteit”
Author: Jaap Claassens
Date: 10/21/2009 16:40 h
Bybelse Moraliteit
Hoekom bestaan die absurde siening dat geloof nodig is vir moraliteit? Sou dit wees dat mense nie sal weet wat die verskil tussen goed en kwaad is nie tensy dit deur God aan hulle geopenbaar is nie? Pateties! Elke gemeenskap, hetsy of dit gevestig is op geloofsoortuigings of nie, erken die basiese beginsels van moraliteit, Of sou die idee bestaan dat geloof nodig is vir moraliteit omdat mense andersins nie sou omgee as God nie beloning en saligmaking vir goeie gedrag gee en sonde straf nie?
Hoekom verstaan voorstanders van godsdiensonderrig in skole nie dat die beswaar teen alle vorms van godsdiens is en dat Christene nie uitgesonder word nie en dat die beswaar slegs op Staatskole betrekking het nie. Die herhaaldelike beskuldiging dat die Christendom geteiken word, is ‘n moedswille verdraaiing of blote onnoselheid.
Hoe lyk die Christelike moraliteit soos weerspieël in die Bybel en wat vir Christene so heilig is dat hulle dit aan onskuldige kinders wil opdring, in elk geval?
God straf herhaaldelik mense vir die sondes van ander:
o Hy straf alle moeders deur hulle aan pynlike kindergeboorte te onderwerp vir Eva se sonde.
o Hy straf alle mense deur hulle tot arbeid te verdoem vir Adam se sonde (Gen. 3:16-18)
o Hy berou sy skepping en in ʼn oomblik van woede pleeg hy volksmoord en verwoes die ekosisteme van die aarde deur ʼn vloed oor die aarde te bring. (Gen.6:7)
o Hy verhard Farao se hart teen die vrymaking van die Israeliete (Ex. 7:3) om daardeur geleentheid te skep om verskeie plae oor Egiptenare te bring, wat as hulpelose onderdane van ʼn tiran, geen aandeel in sy besluit gehad het nie.
o Hy vermoor al die eersgeborenes, selfs dié van slawemeisies, ondanks die feit dat hulle geen aandeel in die onderdrukking van die Israeliete gehad het nie.
o Hy straf die kinders, kleinkinders, agter kleinkinders en agter-agter kleinkinders van dié wat enige ander gode dien. (Ex. 20:3-5)
o Hy straf die Israeliete deur vier-en-twintig duisend te dood omdat sommige van hulle seks met die Moabitiese vrouens gehad het. (Num. 25: 1-9)
o Hy gee aan Dawid opdrag om ʼn sensus van sy manskappe op te neem en stuur daarna ʼn plaag en dood sewentig duisend van sy volgelinge as straf omdat daar oënskynlik iets met die opname skeef geloop het. (2Sam. 24;10-15)
o Hy stuur twee bere om twee-en-veertig kinders wat Elisa oor sy kaal kop gespot het, te verskeur. (2Kon. 2:23-24)
o Hy verdoem en dreig die inwoners van Samaria omdat hulle in opstand is teen hom, dat hulle kindertjies verpletter sal word, dat die mans met die swaard gedood sal word en dat die swanger vrouens oopgesny sal word. (Hos. 14:1)
o Hy beveel mense om owerspeliges, homoseksueles en mense wat op die sabat werk dood te maak. (Lev. 20:10; 20:13; Ex. 35:2)
o Hy beveel dat mense wat bloed eet; wat velsiektes het; en wat seks met hulle vrouens het terwyl hulle menstrueer, uit die samelewing verban moet word. (Lev. 7:27; 13:46; 20:18)
o Mense wat vloek moet gestenig word (Lev. 24:16)
o Prostitute, moet lewendig verbrand word.(Lev. 21:9)
o God beveel die Israeliete herhaaldelik tot xenofobiese geweld. (Ex. 34:11-14; Lev. 26:7-9) en volksmoord teen talle stede en stamme. Hy beveel hulle om geen genade te betoon nie en om enigiets wat asemhaal nie te spaar nie: (Num. 21:2-3; Num. 21:33-35; Deut. 2:26-5; Jos. 1-12; Deut7:2)
o Slawerny word geoorloof (Lev. 25:44-16; Ef. 6:5; Kol 3:22)
o Vaders mag hulle dogters as slawe verkoop (Ex. 21:7)
o Slawe mag geslaan word so lank hulle net vir twee daarna bly leef (Ex. 21:20-21; Luk. 12:45-48)
o Mans mag soveel vrouens en bywywe vat as wat hulle wil aanhou, aangesien owerspel vir mans net seks met ʼn getroude vrou, behels het. (Lev. 18:20)
o Krygsgevangenis mag oor afgronde gegooi word om hulle te dood (2 Kron. 24:12)
o Kinders mag geoffer word om God se hulp tydens oorlog te verkry (2 Kron. 24:12) of om Hom te oorreed om ʼn hongersnood te beëindig. (2 Sam 21)
o Hy vertel ons dat Hy nie gekom het om vrede te bring nie maar die swaard en tweedrag tussen gesinslede te bring. (Mat. 10:34 – 37)
o Hy belowe die saligheid aan die wat hulle vrouens en kinders ter wille van Hom in die steek laat. (Mat. 19:29, Mark. 10:29, Luk 18:29-30)
o Hy beveel dissipels om hulle vrouens en kinders te haat. (Luk. 14-26)
o Hy gee opdrag dat kinders wat op hulle ouers vloek doodgemaak moet word. (Mat. 15:4-7, Mark. 7:9-10)
o Petrus en Paulus onderskryf die despotiese reël waar vrouens die swye opgelê word en hulle mans as gode moet eerbiedig. (1 Kor. 11:3, 14:34-35, Ef. 5:22-24, Kol. 3:18, 1Tim 2:11-12 en 1 Pet. 3:1)
En wat het Christus te sê gehad oor hierdie wette?
Mat 5:17-18. “Moenie dink dat Ek gekom het om die wet of die profete ongeldig te maak nie. Ek het nie gekom om hulle ongeldig te maak nie, maar om hulle hulle volle betekenis te laat kry. Dit verseker Ek julle: Die hemel en die aarde sal eerder vergaan as dat een letter of letterstrepie van die wet sal wegval voordat alles voleindig is.” en
Luk. 13:17 “ “Tog is dit makliker vir die hemel en die aarde om te vergaan as dat een lettertjie van die wet verval.”
Ten slotte ʼn enkele aanhaling van Mark Twain: “It ain’t those parts of the Bible that I can’t understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand.”
Bronne: Die Bybel; Elizabeth Anderson “If God is Dead, is Everything Permitted?”en Mark Twain.

Gelukkig is nie al die Afrikaners bygelowig en deur die kak nie. Dis op Rapport se blog geskryf.


Dewald 10/21/2009 9:10:36 AM
Hoekom moet my belastinggeld gebruik word om kinders te onderrig uit ‘n boek wat vertel die aarde is plat, wat die omtrek van ‘n sirkel verkeerd bereken, wat vertel donkies kan praat en dat die hoogste berg net meters onder die Hemel is? ‘n Boek wat die Amerikas, Australië, Ysland en Antarktika ontken? ‘n Boek wat vertel dat ‘n vrou van menstruasie genees is deur aan ‘n Jood se rok te vat? ‘n Boek wat vertel dat jy mense kan stenig oor seks? ‘n Boek wat preek ‘n oog-vir-‘n-oog in in dieselfde asem draai die ander wang? ‘n Boek wat vertel miljoene soutwaterspesies het ‘n varswatervloed oorleef? ‘n Boek wat op een plek vertel dat God ‘n sensus aangevra het en op ‘n ander plek het Satan dieselfde sensus aangevra? ‘n Sensus! ‘n SENSUS! Kreefetery is sonde, mense met brille mag nie in die tempel ingaan nie. ‘n Boek wat vertel mense met ‘n ekstra spook in hulle kan gif drink en niks oorkom nie? ‘n Boek wat vertel dat Josefus Kaiafas op seker die heiligste dag van die jaar ‘n hofsitting gehou het, wat sy eie kop sou kos? ‘n Boek wat vertel Israel is weg uit Egipte uit Kanaän toe, in die tyd wat Kanaän in elk geval deur Egipte regeer is?! Dit is so laf om te sê die Afrikaner is weg uit Suid-Afrika en uit onder Zuma om in die Oos-Kaap te gaan woon!

Geloof is hoogstens vermaaklik. Ek betaal vir vermaak uit my eie beursie, nie uit belastinggeld nie.

Tipiese Afrikaner fundie “denke”. Lees gerus hier wat hierdie poepol op die Rapport se blog geskryf het. Fok, maar daar is darem maar ‘n klomp dom fokken dose in ons ou volkie. Geen breins nie. En geen redenasie vermoens nie. Glo net in spoke, en ander stories.


Gereformeerde Dominee
10/20/2009 6:46:12 PM

Brentie dankie vir jou eerlike en opregte manier hoe jy die bose magte van satan hier in die bek reuk.
Evolusie is ‘n produk van die Illuminate wat aan Darwin oorgedra is net soos Marx die vlag draer van kommunisme was. In beide gevalle moes hulle eers hulle siele aan satan verkoop om later beroemdes te kon word. Hierdie sataniese beweging poog om alle kinders se siele te steel en dit uit te verkoop aan satan.
Die Hoer van Openbaring profesie is besig om voor ons oë in vervulling te kom. Die skepping is deur die enigste ware God ongeveer 7000 jaar gelede gedoen. Die aarde bestaan baie langer as dit. Satan het die eerste probeer doen nadat hy uit die hemel verban is . God het satan se werke vir ewig vernietig deur Adam en Eva (die mens) op die planeet te sit om daaroor te heers. Eers met die skepping 7000 jaar gelede het die perfekte wêreld begin met die mens as die kroon ( heerser namens God) daaroor aangestel.
Satan en sy evolusie priesters sal nooit weer beheer oor die aarde verkry nie. Ons lewe beslis in die laaste paar jare van die huige bestel voor die Here gaan kom om finaal die kaf van die koring te skei. Die wat geseënd is en die gawe van Profesie ontvang het kan saam getuig dat die Here in ons geslag gaan kom. ‘n Geslag volgens die profetiese waarheid is 40 jaar . Die profetiese klok staan op net voor 12 uur. Wees gereed om jou skepper te ontmoet , die tyd is min .
Die Einde begin op die 21 Mei 2011 .

Lees hierdie as jy nog nie gered is nie.

Waarom is Afrikaners so gatvas en verbete?


Waarom is Afrikaners so gatvas en verbete?

2009-10-17 03:08

Max du Preez

Hoekom is so baie Afrikaners so onverdraagsaam, so allergies vir nuwe idees en vir verandering? So gatvas?

Die antwoord moet sekerlik by die geskiedenis lê – die rowwe pioniersdae van die 18de eeu; die Groot Trek en vestiging van die Boere-republieke in die 19de eeu; die kultuur van sterk leiers en getroue volgelinge; die dogmatiese Calvinisme wat sedert die vestiging van die Duitse, Hollandse en Franse setlaars 350 jaar gelede soos ’n goue draad deur die geskiedenis loop en steeds sentraal tot die Afrikanerkultuur is; die jare van laer trek omdat die res van die nasie en die wêreld die Afrikaner se politieke lewenswyse verwerplik gevind het.

Ek sien ’n nuwe opwelling in hierdie onverdraagsaamheid – ’n nuwe vasskop in die dogmatiese loopgrawe. Ek vermoed dit is omdat Afrikaanse mense al weer baie onrustig en onseker voel, waarskynlik weens ’n sterk gevoel van bedreiging.

Daar is ’n amper maniese vrees vir die onbekende, ’n diepe versugting dat hul lewens moet ophou verander.

Ons moet dit probeer verstaan, maar ons moenie daarmee vrede maak nie. Dit is myns insiens in niemand se belang dat Afrikaners hulself weer uit die nasie defini­eer en gif spoeg op almal wat krities na hulle kyk nie.

Die laaste ding wat Afrikaners nou moet doen, is om na ’n volkstaat van die gemoed te onttrek.

Die Afrikaanse media het ’n belangrike rol om te speel om die ruimte vir diskoers oop en vry te hou en om die Afrikaanse gemeenskap in kontak met die res van die land te hou.

Want die eerste manifestasie van die nuwe onverdraagsaamheid is juis dat andersdenkendes weer doodgeskreeu en uitgevloek word.

Daar is twee onlangse voorbeelde van belangrike, aktuele debatte wat toe nie debatte was nie, maar vloeksessies: godsdiensonderrig op skool en Afrikaans as onderrigtaal op Stellenbosch en ander universiteite.

Prof. George Claassen van Skepties Suid-Afrika is ’n ernstige intellektueel en ’n gerekende akademikus. Hy is nie sommer ’n hierjy-skollie wat aandag soek nie. Hy is boonop ’n streng etiese mens. Hy het ons almal ’n guns gedoen deur die vraag hard en duidelik te vra: Is dit grondwetlik, is dit gewens dat staatskole die aard van ’n spesifieke godsdiens aanneem? Ons is immers ’n sekulêre staat en ons Grondwet is baie duidelik daaroor dat ons algehele godsdiensvryheid het.

Arme George en sy ganse familie en voorgeslagte is binne twee weke só uitgeskel en inderdaad gedreig – en dit in die naam van Jesus Christus, die Seun van die God van Liefde – dat hy in sy dop gekruip en sy veldtog laat vaar het. Kwalik die gedrag van ’n fanatiese ateïs wat oorlog teen die Christendom verklaar het.

Dié wat wel argumente aangebied het, het meestal gesê die meeste mense in Suid-Afrika is Christene, daarom moet staatskole Christelike skole wees.

Ek vermoed dieselfde mense is voor in die koor wanneer daar om minderheidsregte gepleit word en swart Suid-Afrikaners daaraan herinner word dat demokrasie nie net gaan oor wie meer as die helfte van die steun het nie.

Baie ander het weer gesê staatskole moet hul Christelike karakter behou, want leerlinge wat nie Christene is nie, mag mos maar die godsdiensonderrig misloop. My Afrikaanse Moslem-buurman het juis verlede week vir my vertel hoe hy sy hele skoolloopbaan (by ’n Christelike staatskool) lank gemaak het of hy ’n Christen was, net om nie as heiden of die Antichris uitgesonder te word nie. Toe sy pa uitvind hy het saam met die Christene gebid en gesing, het hy hom ’n helse loesing gegee.

Maar meestal het mense vir George gesê hy is ’n vieslike ongedierte en God sal hom straf.

Toe ek op skool was, het onderwysers my geleer dat Afrikaners die uitverkore volk is wat deur God na Donker Afrika gestuur is om die barbare te tem. Apartheid kom uit die Bybel, het hulle gesê, nes die meeste dominees van daardie dae. Die Rooms-Katolieke was nie Christene nie, die Jode het Liewe Jesus doodgemaak en die Moslems was die Antichris.

Die Apostolies en ander hêppie klêppies was laeklas-Afrikaners en jy moet eintlik jou hond op die Sewendedagadventiste sit as hulle by jou kom aanklop.

Gelukkig het my ouers dié soort twak uitdruklik verwerp en ’n verdraagsame, liefdevolle weergawe van Christenwees aan hul kinders oorgedra.

So watter weergawe van die Christelike geloof wil jy hê die juffrou moet jou bloedjie mee beïnvloed, liewe beswaarde leser?
Sal jy kwaad wees as sy sê Jesus wou hê mense moet eers gedoop word as hulle volwasse is en self ’n keuse kan maak?

Of as sy sê ’n mens moenie die Bybel as ’n historiese dokument sien nie en dat alles in die Bybel nie letterlik opgeneem moet word nie? Of dat die aarde volgens die Bybel presies 6?000 jaar oud is en inderdaad in sewe dae deur God geskape is? Dat homoseksualiteit ’n aartssonde is? Dat jou kind se Moslem- of Hindoe-maatjie die vyand is wat vir ewig in die hel gaan brand?

My kind se spiritualiteit is primêr my verantwoordelikheid, minstens tot in haar tienderjare. Dit is my taak om haar gebalanseerd groot te maak, ’n sin van etiese waardes, reg en regverdigheid te gee en van genoeg insigte en alternatiewe in te lig sodat sy ingeligte, verantwoordelike keuses vir haarself kan maak as die tyd vir haar ryp is.

Geen onderwyser durf daarmee inmeng nie. (Nou gaan ek ook seker geskel en gedreig word. Die dierbare broers en susters in Christus gaan hul duime weer blink SMS met beledigings en verkleinerings.)

Hierdie argumente is heeltemal deur die onverdraagsames, wat hulself Christene noem, gestoomroller. Ek vermoed dit gaan vir baie nie eens soveel oor hul Christenskap nie, maar oor ’n intense weersin daarin dat enigiemand verder torring met hoe hulle wil lewe.

Want kom ons wees maar eerlik: Vir Afrikaners (dalk is dit universeel so) is die kerk baie meer ’n kulturele en gemeenskapsinstelling as ’n spirituele een.

Miskien is dit iets wat George Claassen en Skepties Suid-Afrika ook in gedagte moet hou: Of mense se geloof nou irrasioneel
of onlogies is of nie, religie speel ’n belangrike rol in groepe se gemeenskapslewe.

Die taaldebat, veral sover dit Stellenbosch aangaan, is ’n ander debat wat toe nooit juis ’n debat geword het nie, maar eerder ’n moddergooiery en ’n stel van verspot-simplistiese eise.

Soos: As die Engelse hul eie universiteite kan hê, hoekom nie die Afrikaners nie? En: As jy in Duitsland by ’n universiteit wil gaan studeer of klasgee, moet jy eers leer Duits praat, so hoekom eis ons nie dat studente en lektore by Stellenbosch eers Afrikaans magtig is nie? En enigiemand wat die absurde logika daarvan uitwys, is ’n verloopte Afrikaner en ’n ANC-gatkruiper.

Selfs die doktore en professore wat taalbul-hoede dra, is baie traag om in debat te tree oor kwessies soos die onhoudbaarheid dat Stellenbosch voorgraads oorweldigend wit en bruin gaan wees met ’n amper totale uitsluiting van swart as net Afrikaans voorgraads as onderrigtaal gebruik word.

Soos die absurditeit om briljante internasionale akademici uit Stellenbosch te hou omdat hulle nie Afrikaans kan praat nie – die voorbeeld van Stephen Hawking is onlangs genoem.

Ek weet self nie wat die oplossing is nie. Ek sou graag wou sien dat Afrikaans as akademiese taal voortleef, maar ek weet ook dit is ongesond en polities onhaalbaar om swart studente weens taal uit te sluit. Die debat is só onverkwiklik dat ek ná al die jare steeds nie vir myself kan besluit watter beleid ek moet steun nie.

Ja, bring maar die skeltaal. Dié van ons wat glo in oop gesprek en verdraagsaamheid moet maar die beledigings soos water oor ’n eend se rug laat afvloei.

Fossil finds extend human story


By Jonathan Amos
Science reporter, BBC News

Ardipithecus artist's conception (Science)

An impression of what “Ardi” would have looked like based on the fossil finds

An ancient human-like creature that may be a direct ancestor to our species has been described by researchers.

The assessment of the 4.4-million-year-old animal called Ardipithecus ramidus is reported in the journal Science.

Even if it is not on the direct line to us, it offers new insights into how we evolved from the common ancestor we share with chimps, the team says.

Fossils of A. ramidus were first found in Ethiopia in 1992, but it has taken 17 years to assess their significance.

The most important specimen is a partial skeleton of a female nicknamed “Ardi”.

If Ardipithecus ramidus was not actually the species directly ancestral to us, she must have been closely related to it
The Ardipithecus project team

The international team has recovered key bones, including the skull with teeth, arms, hands, pelvis, legs, and feet.

But the researchers have other fragments that may represent perhaps at least 36 different individuals, including youngsters, males, and females.

One of the lead scientists on the project, Professor Tim White from the University of California, Berkeley, said the investigation had been painstaking.

“It took us many, many years to clean the bones in the National Museum of Ethiopia and then set about to restore this skeleton to its original dimensions and form; and then study it and compare it with all the other fossils that are known from Africa and elsewhere, as well as with the modern age,” he told the journal.

“This is not an ordinary fossil. It’s not a chimp. It’s not a human. It shows us what we used to be.”

Tree life

The fossils come from the Middle Awash study area in the Afar Rift, about 230km northeast of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital.

Natural History Museum’s Professor Chris Stringer: “The skeleton is very primitive”

Some of the characteristics of the animal’s skeleton are said to echo features seen in very ancient apes; others presage traits seen in later, more human-like species.

The scientists say 1.2m-high (4ft) Ardi was good at climbing trees but also walked on two feet. However she did not have arched feet like us, indicating that she could not walk or run for long distances.

“She has opposable great toes and she has a pelvis that allows her to negotiate tree branches rather well,” explained team-member Professor Owen Lovejoy, from Kent State University, Ohio.

“So half of her life is spent in the trees; she would have nested in trees and occasionally fed in trees, but when she was on the ground she walked upright pretty close to how you and I walk,” he told BBC News.

Locator map

That she lived in what would have been a wooded area 4.4 million years ago is somewhat challenging, says the team. It had been thought that early human evolution was driven, if only in part, by the disappearance of trees – encouraging our ancestors to walk on the ground.

“These creatures were living and dying in a woodland habitat, not an open savannah,” said Professor White.

Because of its age, Ardipithecus is said to take science closer to the yet-to-be-found last common ancestor with chimps, our close genetic relatives.

And because many of Ardipithecus‘ traits do not appear in modern-day African apes, it suggests this common ancestor may have existed much further back in time than had previously been supposed – perhaps seven or nine million years ago.

Comparisons with modern chimp and gorilla anatomy also underline just how much these African apes themselves have evolved since parting company with the line that led eventually to modern humans.

Rapid evolution

Asked whether A. ramidus was our direct ancestor or not, the team said more fossils from different places and time periods were needed to answer the question.

“We will need many more fossil recoveries from the period of 3-5 million years ago to confidently answer that question in the future,” the scientists said in a briefing document that accompanied their journal papers.

“But if Ardipithecus ramidus was not actually the species directly ancestral to us, she must have been closely related to it, and would have been similar in appearance and adaptation.

Ardipithecus skull reconstruction (Science)

It has been a 17-year investigation to assess the discoveries

Independent experts in the field are struck by how primitive Ardipithecus appears compared with the Australopithecines, another group of hominid (human-like) creatures from Africa that lived slightly nearer to us in time.

One species in particular, Australopithecus afarensis, the famous “Lucy” fossil found in 1974, is very strongly linked into the human story because of its developed walking ability.

For Ardipithecus ramidus to also sit on that direct line seemed to require some rapid evolutionary change, commented Professor Chris Stringer from London’s Natural History museum.

“With Australopithecus starting from four million years ago, one would have thought that things would have moved further down the line by 4.4 million years ago,” he told BBC News.

“OK, you can have very rapid change, perhaps; or Ardipithecus might be a residual form, a relic of a somewhat older stage of evolution that had carried on. Perhaps we will find something more like Australopithecus at 4.4 million years old somewhere else in Africa.”

‘Missing link’ hominid fossils revealed


‘Missing link’ hominid fossils revealed

Artist's impression of `Ardi¿, whose almost intact skeleton, unearthed from a desert in Ethiopia, writes a new chapter in human evolution. Photograph: PA WireArtist’s impression of `Ardi¿, whose almost intact skeleton, unearthed from a desert in Ethiopia, writes a new chapter in human evolution. Photograph: PA Wire

Fossil remains of a short human-like creature that lived 4.4 million years ago could be the closest thing yet to the mythical “missing link”, it was revealed today.

The almost intact female “hominid” skeleton, unearthed from a desert in Ethiopia, is the oldest known and writes a new chapter in human evolution.

Ardipithecus ramidus , nicknamed “Ardi” by scientists, possessed an amalgam of human and ape or monkey traits. Experts believe she stood about four feet tall and walked on two legs on the ground some of the time, while also living in trees.

However scientists were surprised to discover that her anatomy was very different from that of present-day chimpanzees.

Ardi lacked the acrobatic ability of the modern-day apes and did not swing or hang from branches. Instead she would have climbed carefully on all fours, grasping with her long hands and feet.

Her face was more vertical and human-like than a chimp’s, having a jaw that jutted out less and was not armed with sharp, dagger-like canine teeth. She is believed to have been omnivorous, eating berries, fruits and roots as well as small mammals.

Ardi is also thought to have had a back that was long and curved like a human’s rather than short and stiff like a chimpanzee’s. Yet her lower pelvis was large and primitive, sharing similarities with African apes.

Humans and chimpanzees are believed to share an as-yet undiscovered common ancestor which lived between about five and seven million years ago.

Previously it had been assumed that very ancient hominids close to the point where the two struck out on different evolutionary paths would closely resemble chimps.

Ardi’s unusual bones suggest this was not the case. Scientists now believe modern chimpanzees have been extensively shaped by evolution, and should not be viewed as “proxies” for the last common ancestor of African apes and humans.

Despite having some strongly human characteristics, Ardi was still a lot less human than the famous “Lucy” – another primitive hominid from Africa that lived a million years later.

Lucy’s partial skeleton, found in Ethiopia in 1974, was the oldest comprehensive set of hominid remains known before Ardi’s discovery. Her species, Australopithecus afarensis , was an adept biped that seemed to be fully committed to life on the ground.

Professor Tim White, from the University of California at Berkeley, one of the leading authors who described Ardi today in a special issue of the journal Science , said: “In Ardipithecus we have an unspecialised form that hasn’t evolved very far in the direction of Australopithecus . So when you go from head to toe, you’re seeing a mosaic creature, that is neither chimpanzee, nor is it human. It is Ardipithecus .”

He added that Charles Darwin was “very wise” on the subject of human origins, warning of the dangers of making rash assumptions about our heritage.

“Darwin said we have to be really careful,” said Dr White. “The only way we’re really going to know what this last common ancestor looked like is to go and find it. Well, at 4.4 million years ago we found something pretty close to it. And, just like Darwin appreciated, evolution of the ape lineages and the human lineage has been going on independently since the time those lines split, since that last common ancestor we shared.”

Piecing together and analysing the skeleton took 17 years of painstaking work.

Older individual hominid fossils have been found, including a skull from Chad dating back more than six million years, and a number of other teeth and bone fragments. But Ardi is easily the most ancient complete set of skeletal bones to be unearthed so far.