After all the scandals with human evolutionary ancestors in Europe, Asia and America, special attention was paid to excavations taking place in Africa. Almost all ape fossil remains found here were classified into their own species. Such classification gave the impression of a great group of such creatures as Plesianthropus transvaalensis, Paraanthropus robustus, Paraanthropus crassidens, Telanthropus capensis, Australopithecus africanus, Australopithecus transvaalensis, Australopithecus robustus, Australopithecus prometheus and other half-human, almost-human and very-close-to-human creatures. Consequently, it was stated that differences between those individuals did not extend to age, sex and individual differences, and all finds were classified as representatives of one extinct ape species - australopithecus (southern ape). The most complete (up to 40%) skeleton of Australopithecus afarensis was found in 1974 near Hadar (Ethiopia) by D. C. Johanson's expedition. The find was given the name Lucy. At first Lucy was declared to walk upright (bipedal locomotion as they called it). The reason for this conclusion was a badly damaged (crushed) knee joint, the state of which allowed it to conjunct both human and ape like. Lucy's pelvis, to the great sorrow of the discoverer, did not match the idea of bipedal locomotion, but to excuse this problem they declared "her pelvis to be somewhat distorted." Years later it was announced that the notorious knee joint was found 2400 meters from the skeleton. Moreover, it was found 80 meters deeper (according to the strata chronological scale suggested by the excavator himself, the knee had to be a half million years older than its owner). The experts who examined Lucy are still arguing. They can not estimate which extremities of that amazingly complete skeleton were longer - arms or legs. The mystery of Lucy's sex also troubles the experts; - they are not sure whether Lucy was female or male.6 Detailed study of all morphological parameters of all kinds of australopithecus lead to the conclusion that they differ both from humans and apes much more then humans differ from apes, so they cannot be the transitional form between a man and an ape.
Modern medical brain scanning instruments also made it possible to define a great difference between human and ape fossils.7 The human inner ear contains a precise mechanism - a labyrinth filled with fluid. This labyrinth is lined with fine hairs which sense the movements of fluid as the body moves. This mechanism helps upright man to walk steadily and to control movements of the body. All humans - both modern and fossil - demonstrate striking similarity and perfection of inner ear construction. Because of this many scientists consider them to be classified into a single species, Homo sapiens. As for australopithecus, they have a labyrinth closely resembling the gorilla and chimpanzee.
The last wild human ancestor that was dropped out of our family tree was ramapithecus: a crooked human-like creature standing upright, who received it's name after the hero of Indian epos, Rama. Little was gleaned from ramapithecus - just a couple of dozen teeth and several pieces of jaw (the largest one was no bigger then 5 cm). All these remains were found in 1932 near Delhi, and these fossils became the ground for the famous full-size reconstruction of this creature. First the teeth were identified as remains of three different kinds - ramapithecus, sivapithecus (after Indian god Siva) and driopithecus. But the difference between those teeth was within the age difference range. The extreme fragmentation of the material allowed the artists to build from the same teeth both an ape-like and human-like jaw. That was the reason for ramapithecus to be considered an ugly human ancestor. But in the seventies more complete jaws of ramapithecus were unearthed, and they were quite similar to the jaws of the modern orangutang.
The history of evolutionary anthropogenesis would not be complete without mentioning the Neanderthal man. For a long time he was called a transitive stage between ape and man. Honestly speaking, he has not filled this role in any way. At some period he was classified into a peculiar human race. In 1908, Marcelline Boule, professor at the Institute of Human Paleontology in Paris, performed reconstruction of a skeleton found near the village of La-Chapelle-aux-Saints (France). Boule added some interesting details to his model. The big toes on Neanderthal man's reconstruction he situated as thumbs, so the human feet were turned into an ape's prehensile organs. Thus the Neanderthal man had to walk like a chimpanzee, ambling along on the outsides of his feet. The knee joint as reconstructed by Boule was angled in such way that the poor Neanderthal man had to shuffle along with his knees bent. The spinal column was absolutely straight and the head was thrust forward so that he had to lift his head in a strange way to look forward. Ape features of the Neanderthal man were quite obvious for everybody who looked at the reconstruction.
But the more scientists knew about the Neanderthal man, the harder it was to convict him of being primitive. Neanderthal men lived all over Europe from the Crimea to Spain. They lived in a kind of hut which they built often in entrances to caves. They used fire to cook their food, sometimes using hot flat stones as pans. They solved the problem of insufficient wood (during the Ice Age Europe was not so rich in plants) burning dry bones in their furnaces. Neanderthal men produced not only various tools, they are known to have made musical instruments. The flute from the leg bone of a bear was found near Nove Goritsa (Slovenia) in one of Neanderthal settlements. It has the same pitch as modern flutes and the basic key of B flat. Deep in a cave in southern France a complex quadrilateral artificial structure was found consisting of arranged pieces of stalagmites and stalactites.8 It proves the fact that Neanderthal man used some sort of portable light. The structure was so complex that the builders would have had to communicate with each other, so they developed a language with abstract geometrical concepts without which group work would have been impossible. Neanderthal man had a sense of life after death and they buried their dead. A pollen analysis of one grave from Shanidar cave (Iraq) has revealed that the burial ceremony included the laying of flowers on the grave. Flowers found on the grave were yarrow, cornflower, thistle, hyacinth, hollyhock and woody horsetail. Sometimes remains have been found of invalids who had sustained injuries long before their death. Such invalids needed care and help, and that means this society was aware of compassion and mercy. Sometimes both Neanderthal man and modern man can be found in the same burial place. One Neanderthal man was found who had chain armor and iron arrow-heads.9
Boule's "reconstruction" raised more and more doubts with every new discovery. And in 1957 William Strauss (John Hopkins University) and Anthony G. E. Cave (Medical College of St. Bartholomeo Hospital) had to return to studies of Neanderthal man from La-Chapelle-aux-Saints. That was the moment when all the "mistakes" and "errors" of reconstruction made by Boule were revealed. It was clear that Boule's patient suffered from hard arthritis, which caused jaw and spine deformations. All other characteristics (including feet, knee and pelvic joints) of the old fellow were quite modern. So, the conclusion was made: If he could be reincarnated and placed in a New York subway - provided that he was bathed, shaved and dressed in modern clothing - it is doubtful whether he would attract any more attention than some of its other denizens.10 But since 1957 our world has changed à lot, and some say now it may not be necessary to wash and shave Neanderthal man to enjoy the same effect.
Concerning fossil man as a whole, his presence could be traced in almost any geological strata. It includes fossils, footprints, tools, vessels, decorations, coins, etc. And it is impossible to explain the majority of such finds as practical jokes, intrusive burial, or earth movements. These multiple finds, often concealed, compose a significant argument against fossils ascribed to our animal ancestor, about which anthropologists are used to saying, can still be placed, with room to spare, inside a single coffin.11
At the same time, progress in other sciences, genetics in particular, made it possible to use a truly scientific approach to solve man's ancestry question. It was discovered12 that people living all over the world - Australia, Asia, America, Africa, Europe - have identical DNA genetic information kept in human cells' mitochondrias. Simple coincidence is quite impossible, because this code is very complicated, so from this we can conclude that we inherited mitochondrial DNA. Mitochondrias are a kind of power station for the cell and are outside of its nucleus, that is why only the mother passes on mitochondrial DNA to her children. Thus, all humans are descended from one woman, who was just as human as we are. Analyses of genetic diversity carried out in the Graduate University for Advanced Studies in Japan showed13, that any two people from different ends of the earth have genes more identical to one another than do two gorillas from the same West African forest. But these studies had as the conclusion - the information14 about Y-chromosome found only in the nuclear genes of men. It has been found that Y chromosomal genes of men from all ethnic groups are virtually alike. This means that we share a common father as well.