Analysis of the skull and other remains at Dmanisi suggests that scientists have been too ready to name separate species of human ancestors in Africa. Many of those species may now have to be wiped from the textbooks.
You mean, the ones vigorously defended at controversial textbook hearings?
The scientists went on to compare the Dmanisi remains with those of supposedly different species of human ancestor that lived in Africa at the time. They concluded that the variation among them was no greater than that seen at Dmanisi. Rather than being separate species, the human ancestors found in Africa from the same period may simply be normal variants of H erectus.
Here’s the kicker: The level of variation between the skull remains at Dmanisi could well be matched among modern humans waiting for the bus in a multicultural city.
What makes the find controversial is that much ideology around human evolution depends on a variety of not-quite-human species that once walked the Earth (but one rose above its fellows or prevailed over them). If there is no real evidence for more than one human species, ever, well, the unity of the human race is more consistent with traditional non-materialist assumptions than modern materialist ones.
In any event, this is better news for Fred Flintstone than for The Ascent of Man.