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Human evolution: “Taxonomic and undefinable mess”


Well, we thought so.

But it wasn’t something we could really say in a world where Bimbette, looking as concerned as her current hairstyle makes possible, interviews a Darwin-in-the-schools lobbyist, knowing that no one will question the intelligence of either party as long as the bimbette appears to take her interview subjects seriously.

Okay, seriously: Further to Questions re recent Naledi human evolution find (some relate to the quality and sponsorship of the work), here’s Jeffrey H. Schwartz’s view (he’s the skeptic re homo habilis):

What to do? As I recently advocated in the journal Science, it’s about time paleoanthropologists acknowledged what a taxonomic and undefinable mess the genus Homo has become, and restudy the human fossil record without preconceived notions and the historical weight of overly used names. We must start from scratch, comparing in greater detail than usual specimens in order to see how they sort out, first into groups one might call by species, and then into larger groups we may give genus names to. It may be necessary to revive genus names that had been proposed early on, but what I predict is that we will see a picture of hominid taxonomic diversity that mirrors the diversity of virtually every other animal.

And see also: Human ancestor claims driven by politics, or so it seems. This stuff recalls Dmanisi, which of course got silted over.

That’s the thing; it always does get silted over. The whole field would otherwise largely collapse.

Oh wait, big international news: Bimbette’s contract was just renewed.

See also: Why her contract was certain to be renewed

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ppolish, The lumper vs splitter dispute is regarding defining groups, it has nothing to do with relationships. goodusername
This problem is exacerbated by the "your cousin is a chimp" Dawkins brigade. Lumpers. "If one or more of these other humans had survived into contemporary times, our taxonomic classification scheme for humans and great apes would undoubtedly look much different. Instead of focusing on the similarities between humans and chimpanzees, or humans and gorillas, we would likely shift our attention to focusing on the similarities between humans and … other species of humans." http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/the-great-ape-taxonomy-debate/ ppolish

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