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Homo habilis is an invalid taxon (Talk.Origins)

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Response Article
This article (Homo habilis is an invalid taxon (Talk.Origins)) is a response to a rebuttal of a creationist claim published by Talk.Origins Archive under the title Index to Creationist Claims.

Claim CC041:

Homo habilis is an invalid taxon. It is a taxonomic waste bin in which several different types have been placed.


CreationWiki response: (Talk.Origins quotes in blue)

1. At least two different species have been assigned to Homo habilis, but that does not make the taxon invalid. OH7, its type specimen (which defines the taxon), clearly differs from other named species. As more fossils are found, we will get a better idea of the ranges of variation and thus of what constitutes different species.

According to Evolutionists Homo habilis had average cranial capacity (brain size) of 650cc, yet the type specimen OH7 has a cranial capacity of only 363cc which is compatible with that of a chimp. Since OH7 was a child, its adult cranial capacity has been extrapolated to 674cc.

This extrapolation is odd given the fact that the "Taung Child" with a cranial capacity of 405cc was extrapolated to adult cranial capacity of 440cc. The "Taung Child" was given only an 8% increase while OH7 was given a 86% increase. If the same increase is applied to OH7 as was given to the "Taung Child" the result is an adult cranial capacity of 392cc or about average for a chimp. Even if OH7 was younger than the "Taung Child", it could have had an adult cranial capacity within the range of Australopithecus afarensis.

Furthermore a close examination of OH7's teeth shows considerable similarity to those of Australopithecus afarensis[1]. It is therefore reasonable to conclude that OH7 is a young Australopithecus afarensis. The degree fragmentation of OH7 further increases the possibility of it being a young Australopithecus afarensis.

Another fossil classified as Homo habilis called KNM ER 1813 has a cranial capacity of 510cc. This is just above average for an Australopithecus and just 10cc above the accepted range of Australopithecus africanus. KNM ER 1813 also has similarities to Australopithecus africanus suggesting that it could be at the extreme end of the Australopithecus africanus range[2]. Even if it is not Australopithecus africanus it is clearly an Australopithecine.

OH 24 is also classified as Homo habilis, and it has a cranial capacity of 590cc, putting it in the upper end of the Australopithecus range, thus suggesting that it is most likely an Australopithecus.

KNM ER 1470 is the only remaining skull ever classified as Homo habilis that is more than fragments. However it is no longer classified as Homo habilis and as such it hammers the final nail in Homo habilis' coffin.