Re: New finds at Sterkfontein?

KLessa (
31 Jul 1995 16:13:57 GMT

In article <3vgfr2$> (Rosemarie Smith) writes:

> This very valuable find was 'overlooked' by all previous researchers.

Unfortunately, it is not that unusual for hominid bones to be mistaken
for those of other large primates. The slowness of the "discovery" is
also not surprising, given the huge number of fossils found in the last
decade in South Africa, many of which are only now being worked on and

> Sounds like it could be the making of a hoax, as details are vague or
> missing and hype is first on the agenda.

A *hoax*? Incredibly doubtful. It's possible that Tobias and Clarke
are *wrong*, of course, about their interpretation of the fossils'
functional morphology--given the differences of opinion on them someone
is bound to be. But Tobias and Clarke are highly respected
researchers. The idea of a deliberate hoax being perpetuated by these
two is laughable. And almost any hominid fossil discovery is
accompanied by hype--an unfortunate, but commonplace, state of affairs
in paleoanthropology.
Katey Coffing

Katherine E. Coffing
Cell Biology and Anatomy
Johns Hopkins University Medical School