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Ancient teeth don’t rewrite human history after all

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From Michael Greshko at National Geographic:

Despite claims of a new origin story for humans, the fossils more likely belonged to a very distant branch on the primate family tree.

Study leader Herbert Lutz, the deputy museum director at the Mainz Natural History Museum, says that he and his colleagues have been dumbfounded by the teeth for the last year. Their paper, posted online Friday on the article-sharing platform ResearchGate, claims that the teeth bear a close resemblance to some extinct African relatives of modern humans.

The canine tooth described in the paper has an unusual, intriguing shape, says University of Toronto paleoanthropologist Bence Viola, an expert on the teeth of humans’ extinct relatives. However, the molar—which he says is the more important tooth for classification purposes—contradicts any case for a human connection.More.

This is clearly another case of hope morphing into hype.

But there has definitely been some progress. We are no longer in the Piltdown Man phase where the fraud went on for decades because few were even allowed to examine the “missing link” icon.

<em>Teapot</em> Cobalt Blue More important, what we are finding today does not necessarily confirm our cultural beliefs. For example, Neanderthal man did not turn out to b a subhuman brute. If he had turned out to be exactly what we expected, we should be suspicious because we had only cultural beliefs, not information.

See also: Was the exposed Piltdown Man fraudster framed?

Neanderthal Man: The long-lost relative turns up again, this time with documents


A deep and abiding need for Neanderthals to be stupid. Why?


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