Oddities&Endities

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Say it ain't so...


Evangelicals urge museum to hide man's ancestors
By Mike Pflanz in Nairobi
(Filed: 12/08/2006)

Powerful evangelical churches are pressing Kenya's national museum to sideline its world-famous collection of hominid bones pointing to man's evolution from ape to human.
Leaders of the country's six-million-strong Pentecostal congregation want Dr Richard Leakey's ground-breaking finds relegated to a back room instead of being given their usual prime billing.
The collection includes the most complete skeleton yet found of Homo erectus, the 1.7 million-year-old Turkana Boy unearthed by Dr Leakey's team in 1984 at Nariokotome, near Lake Turkana in northern Kenya.
The museum also holds bones from several specimens of Australopithecus anamensis, believed to be the first hominid to walk upright, four million years ago. Together the artefacts amount to the clearest record yet discovered of the origins of Homo sapiens.
They have cemented the global reputation of Kenya's Great Rift Valley as the cradle of mankind, and draw in tourists and locals to the museum's sprawling compound on a hill above Nairobi.
Church leaders aim to hijack that process. "The Christian community here is very uncomfortable that Leakey and his group want their theories presented as fact," said Bishop Bonifes Adoyo, the head of Christ is the Answer Ministries, the largest Pentecostal church in Kenya.
"Our doctrine is not that we evolved from apes, and we have grave concerns that the museum wants to enhance the prominence of something presented as fact which is just one theory."
Daily Telegraph

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