Monday, September 29, 2008

More Controversy Surrounding Toumai

Expatica has an article which details the new round of name-calling with regard to the fossil known as Toumai. The article notes:

Toumai's big defender is French palaeontologist Michel Brunet, a professor at the prestigious College de France, who says Toumai walked the Earth shortly after chimpanzees and hominids diverged from a common ancestral primate. Brunet has been roundly attacked in other quarters. Critics are incensed that he has given a hominid honorific (Sahelanthropus tchadensis) to a creature whose cranium, in their view, was too squashed to be that of a pre-cursor of Homo sapiens.

There are many other problems, apparently, including provenance. Without that, your arguments are pretty much without merit. In another situation, Günter Bräuer dated the Eliye Springs cranium using morphological criteria to around 140-170 kya, when in fact, it was eroding out of a river bank. Sometimes, you just don't know. Read the whole thing.

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