The New Scientist has an article talking about how a baboon bone was found in the Lucy skeleton.

Creationist sites like this, https://christiannews.net/2015/04/23/evolutionary-embarrassment-part-of-famous-ape-man-skeleton-actually-came-from-baboon/, and Dr. David Menton are claiming that the Lucy fossil is another hoax like Nebraska man.

Are we sure that the Lucy fossil is not a hoax? (I am not trolling, I really want to know the truth, and when I search, I get mostly creationist sites).

  • 9
    $\begingroup$ Creationist websites are not a source of information. You can read the paper which the news article is referring to, or at least its abstract, and see that none of the scientists involved are claiming that Lucy is a "hoax". $\endgroup$
    – canadianer
    Jul 18, 2019 at 22:45
  • $\begingroup$ Although evolution concerns biology, your question is one of palaeontology requiring expert knowledge and familiarity with the particular fossil. It is not on topic here, and you are unlikely to find anyone here more knowledgeable than the professional experts who have analysed it. If someone here with a doctorate told you it was true or untrue, why would you believe them? You have to make your own choice whether to trust the published work of generations of scientists or believe the conspiracy theorists. We can’t make it for you. $\endgroup$
    – David
    Jul 18, 2019 at 23:20
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is about palaeontology not biology in terms of SE Biology. $\endgroup$
    – David
    Jul 18, 2019 at 23:21
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ There's dozens of other australopithecus in better condition that Lucy's bones, so there are literally 100's of times more heavy evidence than Lucy. If you want very interesting reading, check out the Homo Naledi discovery. You can read about the circumstances of Lucy's discovery on Wiki, and there are 100'ds of references where scientists have argued the finer points of the discovery. $\endgroup$ Jul 19, 2019 at 16:23
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @David paleontology is completely withing acceptable biological topics. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Jul 21, 2019 at 19:17

1 Answer 1


Per the comments, the actual paper seems pretty like a pretty straightforward operation of normal science:

  • Somebody noticed something that looked off about one of the bones and decided they'd look into it more carefully.
  • They found that yes, that bone appears to have been an accidental inclusion, and in fact the rest of the skeleton makes more sense without it.
  • The original conclusions are not weakened in any way, but are in fact strengthened by cleaning up a minor mistake.

It might have come out otherwise, but in this case, as in most cases, careful criticism and examination of scientific work ends up making the whole enterprise more coherent.

It's frankly not even very interesting, scientifically, which is probably why you're finding discussion of it mostly on creationist sites. Note also that the creationist article linked uses sloppy language like "proof" and "part ape, part human" that tend to indicate a massive lack of understanding of both science in general and evolution in particular.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ It is also worth mentioning the historic hoax anthropoids were discovered by scientists basically as soon as scientists were allowed to see the specimens. They are what happens when people try to circumvent the scientific process and go dirrectly to the media instead. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Jul 21, 2019 at 19:23

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .