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Contested Bones is the result of more than 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 paleo-anthropology, 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.














John Sanford

PhD, Geneticist


As a Cornell University professor, John has conducted genetic research for over 30 years. This research has resulted in more than 100 scientific publications, and several dozen patents. John is presently President of Logos Research Associates, and President of Feed My Sheep Foundation.


John’s most significant contributions to science have been: 1) the Biolistic Process; 2) the book Genetic Entropy; 3) development of Mendel's Accountant (a comprehensive and biologically realistic numerical simulation of the mutation/selection process); and 4) lead organizer/editor of the Cornell symposium and subsequently published proceedings entitled Biological Information--New Perspectives.


As a geneticist, John has always had very broad interests, which has ruffled the feathers of some. John has published papers ranging from plant breeding, to plant evolution, to plant genetic engineering, to genetic vaccinations, to engineered parasite resistance, to HIV gene therapy, to the nature of biological information, to the limits of natural selection, to genetic degeneration. Most recently John has been publishing on problems associated with human evolution. This has caused him to critically exam the hominin fossil record. This would seem to have drawn John away from genetics. Surprisingly, study of the human fossils has brought John full circle—back to genetics. For more about John, go to or

Christopher Rupe

BA, Biologist


Chris Rupe is a biologist and graduated from SUNY Geneseo in 2009. Since 2011 Chris has been a Research Associate at FMS Foundation. Chris has researched a broad range of biological topics—ranging from the origin of life, to bacterial evolution, to whale evolution, to the famous riddle of “Haldane’s Dilemma.” Chris has published numerous articles on these topics.


For the last 5 years, Chris has been researching human evolution and the hominin fossil record. Chris has been studying paleoanthropology in depth—which has required the study of hundreds of technical papers and dozens of related books. According to senior co-author John Sanford (above), Chris’ research on this topic is similar in scope and depth to a PhD research project, and his enormous contribution to the writing of this book is comparable to a PhD dissertation.

Chris Rupe, Potrait.jpg

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.


The world's leading creation expert on dating methods fully endorses chapter 12...

It is very clear and understandable, with logical development of the arguments. I especially like the way you have shown via the examples of the KBS Tuff controversy and “dating” of the H. naledi bones how conflicting the methods are because they never agree. I think you did a brilliant job.

Andrew Snelling, PhD 


At a time when books promoting human evolution have become a cottage industry, and seemingly every so-called “hominin” fossil scrap, or piece of ancient human DNA analyzed, is greeted with the predictable headline: “new evidence rewrites the story of human evolution”, Contested Bones by Christopher Rupe and Dr. John Sanford is a welcome relief. Not succumbing to evolutionary herd mentality, the authors dare to challenge the ruling paradigm in paleoanthropology. I enthusiastically recommend this book to those genuinely seeking answers.

Peter Line, PhD

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