Proconsul & Ramapithecus
Proconsul evolved from the apes 20-25 million years ago. The fossil evidence proves that Proconsul evolved into Ramapithecus, which evolved into Australopithecus. The existence of these part ape, part humans, proves that humans evolved.
The Facts Are .....
Proconsul is a collection of bones unearthed in Kenya, some of which have been assessed at 18
million years old. In the 1930's and 40's its human-like features led to speculation that it was the common ancestor of humans and apes. Later finds led to its description being changed to that of an animal which walked on four legs with its palms down like monkeys, was tailless, and lived in trees.
Today, Proconsul is not accepted as proof that humans and apes came from a common ancestor.
"Reader's Digest Book of Facts", Reader's Digest Ltd: Sydney, 1985 p:11; J. Whitfield Gibbons, "Britannica Book of the Year", Encyclopaedia Britannica Inc: Chicago, 1986 p:296; Hermann K. Bleibtreu "Britannica Book of the Year", Encyclopaedia Britannica Inc: Chicago, 1985 p:163
A recent analysis of the hip bones of Proconsul indicate that the creature should not be regarded as a 'missing link'. A complete Proconsul left hip bone was compared to 275 hip bones of modern monkeys and apes, showing that it was generally monkey-like, sharing features common with the baboons. Science News, Dec 15, 1990 p:380
Until 1979 Ramapithecus was called a human ancestor. This was based on an assessment of a few teeth and small skull fragments. Reconstruction of a full skull, found in the Himalayan Mountains, suggests that Ramapithecus are fossil ancestors of the Orangutan, not humans. New Scientist, Vol. 28, January, 1982 p:233; Richard Leakey, "The Making of Mankind", Abacus: London, 1982 p:48
Analysis of the teeth and dentition of Ramapithecus by such experts as Richard Leakey, Roger Lewin and W.C.O. Hill have led them to conclude that their characteristics were very similar to those of the Gelada Baboon ( Theropithecus gelada). This indicates that they should be considered to be an extinct species of apes or baboons, rather than half-human ancestors. Richard Leakey & Roger Lewin, "Origins", MacDonald & Janes: London, 1977 p:68+; W.C.O. Hill, "Primates: Comparative Anatomy and Taxonomy", Vol. VIII - Cynopithecinae, Edinburgh University Press: Edinburgh, 1970 p:536-538
Analysis of Ramapithecus fossil material led palaeontologists David Pilbeam and Peter Andrews to the conclusion that they were not part of human lineage, but rather that of the Orangutan. Nature, Vol. 295, No. 5846, 1982 p:185-186; Science News, Vol. 121, No. 5, January 30, 1982 p:84
Some palaeontologists have discovered that Louis Leakey incorrectly pieced together the skull fragments of Ramapithecus. This made the jaw more closely resemble that of a human. Natural History, Vol.
88, No. 7, 1979 p:86-91
"The case for Ramapithecus as an ancestral human has been weak from the start and has not strengthened with the passage of time." Written by Adrienne L. Zihlman & Jerold M. Lowenstein in their article "False Start of the Human Parade", in Natural History, Vol. 88, No. 7, 1979 p:91
Ramapithecus was initially considered to be partially human. It is now known to be fully ape-like, and cannot be used as a missing link. Scientific American Vol. 226, 1972 p:94, 101