Contested Bones


Author: Christopher Rupe and Dr. John Sanford

This new, up-to-date analysis takes a critical look at the bones, or fragments of bones, that supposedly represent ape-to-man evolution.  What is the evidence that we have and what do the experts say, and do they agree… or are they hotly contested?


Contested Bones is the result of four years of intense research into the primary scientific literature concerning those bones that are thought to represent transitional forms between ape and man. This book’s title reflects the surprising reality that all the famous “hominin” bones continue to be fiercely contested today—even within the field of paleoanthropology.

This work is unique in that it is the most comprehensive, systematic, and up-to-date book available that critically examines the major claims about the various hominin fossils. Even though the topic is technical, the book is accessible for a broad audience and is reported to be engaging even for nontechnical people.

Contested Bones provides new insights regarding the history of paleoanthropology, and the sequence of discoveries that bring us up to the current state of confusion within the field. The authors provide alternative interpretations of the hominin species. Surprisingly, the conclusions of the authors consistently find strong support from various experts within the field.

This book addresses a wide variety of important topics… “Which, if any, of the species gave rise to man?” “Did ‘Lucy’s’ kind walk upright like modern humans or did they live among the trees like ordinary apes?” “Was ‘Ardi’ the earliest human ancestor?” “Were ‘Erectus’ and the newly discovered ‘Naledi’ sub-human or were they fully human?” “What are the implications of the growing evidence that shows man coexisted with the australopithecine apes?” “Are the dating method consistently reliable?” “What does the latest genetic evidence reveal?” “Can we be certain that man evolved from an australopith ape?”

Contested Bones brings clarity to a fascinating but complex subject, and offers refreshing new insights into how the pieces of the puzzle fit together.



In Contested Bones, Rupe and Sanford have thoroughly investigated, from the primary sources, the fossil evidence for human evolution. The most prominent fossil “ape-men” are carefully examined in separate chapters. Rupe and Sanford show that the bones really are contested, even within the field of paleoanthropology. The unreliability of the various dating methods and their associated problems are described in a single illuminating chapter. In the chapter on genetics the authors (well qualified in the field) succinctly describe the barriers to ape-to-man evolution. Written in a style that non-scientists can understand but fully documented for the expert reader, Contested Bones is a brilliant analysis that no serious-minded person should ignore. The origin of man has profound implications for how we view ourselves, live our lives, and relate to others. I highly, highly recommend this book.

Terry Mortenson, PhD

History of Geology


Human evolution is the crux of evolutionary theory. Finally, a book is out that addresses in depth the most recent fossil evidence that bears on this very important topic. This book builds upon Marvin Lubenow’s Bones of Contention, published in 1992 and revised in 2004. This new book will help fill a large gap on this important topic. This is especially important since many major new finds have been discovered since 2004, which have significantly changed the thinking of many paleoanthropologist. What do the bones tell us about human evolution? Is there any type of consensus among experts in the field regarding the meaning of both the new and the old findings? These questions are answered in detail in this new book.

Jerry Bergman, PhD

Dr. Bergman has 9 degrees and has taught biology, genetics, chemistry, biochemistry, anthropology, geology, and microbiology at the college level for over 40 years. He has over 800 publications in 12 languages and 20 books and monographs.

Additional information

Weight 1.1875 lbs


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