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Heidelberg Man: The Evolutionist's Jawbone of Life

by  Jeff Miller, Ph.D.

A lack of evidence for transitional forms in the fossil record that prove that ape-like creatures evolved into humans should spell the demise of the theory of evolution. And yet, a lack of such evidence has not stopped most evolutionists from unashamedly promoting their theory. Darwin, himself, conceded in his day that geology “assuredly does not reveal any such finely graduated organic chain; and this, perhaps, is the most obvious and serious objection which can be argued against this theory [i.e., the theory of evolution—JM]” (1956, pp. 292-293, emp. added). Over 150 years of fossil discoveries have not helped evolutionists in their hunt for transitional fossils, as we have documented elsewhere (cf. Harrub and Thompson, 2003; Thompson, et al., 2002). Instead of turning to the view of origins that is in keeping with the evidence, the evolutionist typically “hunkers down” and searches even harder for elusive “missing link” fossils. Enter Heidelberg Man.

Heidelberg Man, named Homo heidelbergensis, was based on a single jawbone (known as the “Mauer Jaw”) discovered near Heidelberg in Germany in 1907 by Daniel Hartmann (Raymond, 1947, pp. 280-281; Foley, 2001). The fossil was recognized by Hartmann to be very human-like, though bigger and more “robust” (Foley, 2001). Concerning Heidelberg Man, Donald Johanson, American paleoanthropologist and discoverer of the famous “Lucy” fossil, explained that Hartmann, like the founders of other famous fossils, thought his “fossil was something special, deserving at least a distinct species name,” even though “[h]is finder recognized that he was a man” (Johanson and Edey, 1981, p. 36, emp. added). In spite of the jawbone’s strong similarity to a human jawbone, Hartmann decided to give its owner a special name and put him in “a species of his own” (Johanson, p. 36), thus giving him immediate notoriety and giving evolutionists immediate glee.

Observe, however, that just because a fossil is a little bigger does not mean it is not a human. If paleontologists recognize the fossil to be very man-like, only bigger, why not just call it a big man? The popular atheistic Web site, TalkOrigins, even notes that Homo heidelbergensis is also known by some evolutionists as Homo sapiens, but an “archaic” version (Foley). One has to wonder what the late wrestler, Andre the Giant’s, or Goliath’s jawbone (1 Samuel 17:4) would look like beside a “modern” human jawbone. Should Andre have been designated Homo heidelbergensis instead of Homo sapiens because of his size?

Consider: why might evolutionists be so reluctant to admit that Heidelberg Man is simply a big, “modern” man? Could it possibly be that they are so desperate to find transitional fossils that their fossil finds tend to be tainted and interpreted in such a way as to support their agenda? This would explain why the discovery of a single jawbone could cause such elation and ultimately unsubstantiated claims, especially by evolutionists in the news media. The claim that a “missing link” fossil has been found and evolution has been further proved is quickly spread far and wide, when in actuality, a single human-like jawbone creates quite a meager case as a transitional fossil in support of evolutionary theory. Might evolutionists also refuse to admit that Heidelberg was a simple, “modern” man because such a being could not have existed in the time period they believe Heidelberg Man lived, according to their assumed evolutionary timelines? Regardless of the reason, the result is that the bulk of the scientific community exhibits a bias against alternate, plausible interpretations of the fossil evidence (e.g., the creation perspective on fossil finds) due to their unfounded assumption that the Creation model is somehow not scientific. Such alternatives are not even considered. Instead of being open-minded in drawing conclusions from the scientific evidence—allowing it to lead him where it will—the evolutionist interprets all the evidence through tainted lenses. Without such evolutionary bias and assumption in place, the conclusion one would draw upon finding the “Mauer Jaw” would be totally different.

The truth is, God placed a certain amount of potential variation in the human genetic code when He wrote it, as He did in all living beings. That variation allows for differences in bone size and small variations in bone structures as well. But there is no evidence that that variation leads to evolution between kinds. A quick glance at the differences in skull structures of people living today highlights the fact that God made the human anatomy with the potential for small distinctions in skeletal structure. Every species on the planet comes with a variety of shapes and sizes, and yet those differences do not call for species distinctions, and certainly do not prove organic evolution. Humans have always been humans, and humans have always produced humans. Heidelberg Man is just another misnamed “modern” man with a special name.


Darwin, Charles (1956 edition), The Origin of Species (London: J.M. Dent & Sons).

Foley, Jim (2001), “Heidelberg Man,”

Harrub, Brad and Bert Thompson (2003), The Truth About Human Origins (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).

Johanson, Donald C. and Maitland A. Edey (1981), Lucy: The Beginnings of Humankind (New York: Simon and Schuster).

Raymond, Percy E. (1947), Prehistoric Life (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press).

Thompson, Bert, Brad Harrub, and Eric Lyons (2002), “Human Evolution and the ‘Record of the Rocks,’” Apologetics Press, /apcontent.aspx?category=9&article=153.

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