why I love Boskop


2009-12-31

What Happened to the Hominids Who Were Smarter Than Us?

Yet today, although Neanderthals and Homo erectus are widely known, Boskops are almost entirely forgotten. Some of our ancestors are clearly inferior to us, with smaller brains and apelike countenances. They’re easy to make fun of and easy to accept as our precursors. In contrast, the very fact of an ancient ancestor like Boskop, who appears un-apelike and in fact in most ways seems to have had characteristics superior to ours, was destined never to be popular.

Well, what a lovely story. Only it's all based on 1920's era archology:

Return of the "amazing" Boskops | john hawks weblog

It's worse than I feared. The excerpt actually presents 1920's-era anthropology as if it were the state of our knowledge about Boskop and the "Boskop race" today. I have not found any passages in the book or chapter notes that contradict the excerpt's portrayal. I cannot find references or citations of post-1940 research on skeletal remains or archaeology from southern Africa. There's no hint of what happened after archaeologists began to use radiocarbon dating, nor do we hear even the identity of any specimens, except for the original (and fragmented) Boskop skull itself.

How can this be?

Oh, and for those who didn't get my title for this post: Boskoop is my fav kind of apple.

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alles Bild, Text und Tonmaterial ist © Martin Spernau, Verwendung und Reproduktion erfordert die Zustimmung des Authors

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