Inspired by Darwin, the Dutch anatomist Eugene Dubois set sail in 1891 for Indonesia in search of the missing link between humans and apes. On the island of Java, he discovered a tooth, a femur bone, and a skull with a low forehead and enlarged brow which came to be called “Java Man.”
Dubois immediately assumed—in the tradition of many men before him—that these non-Europon features were indicative of the non-human ancestor to Homo sapiens. Based on later fossil finds this “missing link” was classified as a pre-human species Homo erectus (upright man). In the book, Contested Bones, authors Rupe and Sanford (R&S) make the case that based on the phenotypical distinctives of skull shape and brain size, paleoanthropologist Splitters like Dubois have improperly classified the bones of Homo erectus as coming from an extinct transitional form between Australopithecus and modern humans. R&S detail four problems Splitters like Dubois face if they wish to deny Homo erectus falls within the taxon of Homo sapiens.
The lack of agreement among paleo-experts on which skulls to include in the group Homo erectus illustrate the problem of classifying these fossils as a distinct species. Some experts recognize that certain specimens currently classified as Homo erectus could easily be classified as Homo sapiens if they had only been found in another location. …
#3–The Culture Bias Problem
A bias toward European cultures as superior has led many paleoanthropologists to conclude Homo erectus lacked human intelligence. However, the evidence of extensive cultural inventory demonstrates that this prejudicial assumption is wrong. …
However, the problem for evolutionary theorists gets worse because recent evidence shows that Homo erectus had a large cultural inventory greater than the Tasmanians. Homo erectus were capable of all of the following (Rupe, 72):
Boat-building and sailing
Language and reasoning
Bone and stone tools
Kinship and family structures
The evidence is clear from cultural inventory that Homo erectus was human and it is, in part, a cultural bias that prevents ND Splitters from recognizing their humanity.. More.
Discussion of this problem usually turns on: Okay, so Darwin was a racist, like almost all upper-class British men of his time. So what? Can’t you people just get over it? That was a long time ago, you know! Why not worry about racism today?
We can’t just get over it in this case because racist assumptions are embedded in the very classification of some anatomically human fossils. That makes it racism today.
Not only that but, let go long enough, this sort of thing becomes immune to fresh attacks of contrary evidence. Pop science writers repeat what paleontologists say. So no, we will keep talking about it as long as these types of implicit assumptions continue to be made, contra evidence.