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Reason and Revelation Volume 28 #5

“Almost,” or Hardly, Human

In April 2008, National Geographic published an article by Mary Roach titled “Almost Human” (213[4]:124-145). In the article, Roach highlighted the savanna-woodland chimps that she observed while visiting anthropologist Jill Pruetz in eastern Senegal, West Africa. Roach was mesmerized by chimpanzees “dropping from the trees and moving out into the open expanses of the savanna” (p. 132). She wrote: “It is as though we are watching time-lapse footage of human evolution, the dawn of man unfolding in our binoculars” (p. 132). The chimps of eastern Senegal soak in water holes, use teeth-sharpened sticks to spear hand-sized bush babies, laugh, kiss, pick their scabs, and do many other things that allegedly reveal “how similar they are to us” (p. 144). Supposedly, the chimps are “almost human” (p. 125).

Unfortunately, evolutionists so often overlook the chasm that separates man and chimp. Although evolutionists are fond of focusing on the similarities between humans and chimpanzees in order to bolster the case for human evolution (similarities that might also be found among other animals as well), the fact remains that man can do many things that animals never have been (and never will be) able to do.

Consider man’s ability to speak. The Bible tells us that Adam was created with this ability “in the beginning.” The very day he was created, he named all of the animals before him (Genesis 2:19), and later he used language to offer excuses as to why he disobeyed God. Humans carry on conversations all the time. But when is the last time you heard chimps converse with one another using words? The gift of speech, a fundamental part of man’s nature, likens him to God and separates him from the rest of creation (cf. Genesis 1:26-28).

Unlike animals, man has the creative ability to design and make spaceships that travel 240,000 miles to the Moon, to make artificial hearts for the sick, and to construct computers that can process billions of pieces of information per second. Animals, on the other hand, cannot do such things because they lack the creative ability that God gave only to man. Beavers may build huts, spiders may weave webs, and chimps may soak in water holes, but they are guided by instinct. Thousands of attempts have been made to teach animals to express themselves in art, music, and writing, but none has produced the hoped-for success.

Also, unlike animals, man always has sought to worship a higher being. Even when he departs from the true God, man still worships something, whether it is a tree, a rock, or even himself. No race or tribe of men anywhere in the world lacks the desire and ability to worship. Chimps, however, never stop to sing a hymn of praise or offer a prayer of thanks to their Creator.

Until National Geographic witnesses chimps bridging these kinds of gaps that separate man and chimp, we suggest they adopt different titles for their human evolution articles. Chimps are nowhere close to being “Almost Human.”


Roach, Mary (2008), “Almost Human,” National Geographic, 213[4]:124-145, April.

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