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Paleospecies as cognitive construct: The meme of “Homo floresiensis”


Eckhardt, Robert B; Henneberg, Maciej (2021). Paleospecies as cognitive construct: The meme of “Homo floresiensis”. Anthropological Review, 84(3):317-336.

Abstract

Creation and subsequent abandonment of a number of earlier species considered human ancestors: Eoanthropus dawsoni, Hesperopithecus haroldcooki, Homo gardarensis and Ramapithecus punjabicus is presented using cases from the history of science. This review indicates that the fossil evidence for these species has been questionable from the beginning but that mental images – memes – they invoked were attractive to students of human evolution and as such persisted even if not confirmed by further finds, with new research still being disputed. Against this background the status of the recent construction of the hominin species “Homo floresiensis” is discussed showing that despite dubious interpretations of the objective data and a relatively long time of non-confirmation due to paucity of newly discovered skeletal remains, the “species” still exists in minds of scholars and in the scientific literature extending into textbooks.

Abstract

Creation and subsequent abandonment of a number of earlier species considered human ancestors: Eoanthropus dawsoni, Hesperopithecus haroldcooki, Homo gardarensis and Ramapithecus punjabicus is presented using cases from the history of science. This review indicates that the fossil evidence for these species has been questionable from the beginning but that mental images – memes – they invoked were attractive to students of human evolution and as such persisted even if not confirmed by further finds, with new research still being disputed. Against this background the status of the recent construction of the hominin species “Homo floresiensis” is discussed showing that despite dubious interpretations of the objective data and a relatively long time of non-confirmation due to paucity of newly discovered skeletal remains, the “species” still exists in minds of scholars and in the scientific literature extending into textbooks.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Evolutionary Medicine
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Health (social science)
Social Sciences & Humanities > Anthropology
Uncontrolled Keywords:Anthropology, Health (social science)
Language:English
Date:1 September 2021
Deposited On:02 Feb 2022 15:15
Last Modified:18 Jun 2024 03:36
Publisher:Versita Open
ISSN:1898-6773
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.2478/anre-2021-0023
  • Content: Published Version
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)