When one of the first Homo erectus specimens was discovered in Java in 1891, it was deemed pathological by many; even called a "microcephalic idiot" by a prominent scientist of the day. And even as late as 1998, skeptics have suggested that Neanderthals were victims of cretinism.I asked Jungers his take on the apparent urge to pathologize. “I consider it to be a scientific example of cognitive dissonance,” he said. “Here’s something out of the blue, no one anticipated; everyone’s got their mind made up about the course of [human] evolution. To have your scientific world view jarred like that is difficult to accommodate. It’s easier to dismiss it than to assimilate it.”
He is certainly right about that.