Anthropology is so entertaining!

John Hawks makes a very good case that Homo naledi is a distinct species from H. erectus. He persuaded me, anyway, and it’s well worth reading.

Also entertaining. There is some savage snark in there aimed at Jeffrey Schwartz (oh, man, I’ve long known Schwartz as a hack, not for his anthropology, but for his atrocious abuse of genetics) and Tim White. Data, evidence, and inside baseball!


  1. John Harshman says

    Schwartz is famous (if that’s the right word) for his long-term advocacy of the claim that orangutans are our closest relatives. As far as I know he still holds that position, but he really has to work hard to ignore all the molecular data. And of course he has really weird views about Hox genes too.

  2. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Great rebuttal. Somehow I think the egos of those being rebutted won’t allow them to listen to the valid criticism.

    This appears to be a great example of how open publishing can aid in the disemination of what has been learned to date. I especially liked the printable bone images.

  3. NitricAcid says

    Most papers like this are somewhat fun to read, but a lot of it is over my head. But I did get one very important thing from this.

    You can download and print a copy of the actual bones.

    That is SO freaking cool.

  4. leerudolph says

    You can download and print a copy of the actual bones.

    That is SO freaking cool.

    I couldn’t tell from the article (but maybe I just missed it? perhaps by not recognizing some term or another that would make it clear to a better-educated reader) whether that means 3-D print or not. Which if so is REALLY freaking cool.

  5. numerobis says

    You get the 3d shape files, so yes, you should be able to 3d print them.

    They used the virtual 3d models to do a lot of their study: calculate the cranial volume and shape and so on. It’s a lot easier than the old ways of doing things.

  6. birgerjohansson says

    I want to 3D-print this fossil! “Pre-reptile may be earliest known to walk upright on all fours”
    Too bad there is no DNA left, it would have blended in so well in the GOP primaries…
    — — — —
    Distinct species? Yes, compare the hominids* to horses and you would expect hominids to be equally diverse, across space and time.
    *Or are they called homimins? I don’t know where the chronological cutoff for the terms is .