February 21, 2005

Older post of interest on early modern humans in Europe

The recent discovery of the fraudulent behavior of a German anthropologist has upset our understanding of Upper Paleolithic prehistory, and especially the problem of Neanderthal-modern human co-existence. In an older post, I linked to a paper in Nature which casts doubt on the idea that modern humans initiated the Aurignacian technological revolution. That paper was also based on a redating of fossils which were once thought to be of Aurignacian age, but were found to be much newer. And recently, the older dates for Omo, a very old African sapiens specimen removed much of the excitement from the discovery of the idaltu hominid from Ethiopia.

Methinks, it would be a good idea for anthropologists to redate the major fossils in their collections, as our understanding of human prehistory should not fluctuate depending either on frauds or "preliminary" dates that persist for decades in the literature.

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