Re: Australopithecus, Homo erectus, single species hypothesis

Jonathan E. Feinstein (
Fri, 17 Feb 1995 04:37:10 GMT

In article <3hrq6a$>, cc3265@albnyvms.bitnet writes:
>In article <3hrdbh$62s@jupiter.WichitaKS.NCR.COM>, (Jim Foley) writes:
><deletions to save space>
>>Given that Louis Leakey et al had apparently disproved the single
>>species hypothesis 12 years previously, why were R. Leakey and Walker in
>>1976 writing as if it was still widely accepted?
>>Was the 1964 evidence for different hominid species living side by side
>>not as strong as claimed?
>>Jim Foley (303) 223-5100 x9765
>>Jim.Foley@FtCollinsCO.NCR.COM NCR-MPD Fort Collins
>Personally, I think it was very strong evidence. However, you have to
>understand the field of paleoanthropology -- a very contentious group, full
>of big egos. The Single Species Hyp. was championed by some very big names
>in the field (notably Don Johanson, of "Lucy" and PBS specials fame) and
>so required quite a bit of evidence to be laid to rest. Even today there is
>controversy concerning A.afarensis and, also, H.habilis -- was there one
>species of each, or two, or ? And so it will go on ... unless someone can
>invent a time machine.

The Single Species hyp. certainly was being defended by very big names in
the field, but if Don Johanson was one of them, he certainly wasn't teaching us
that way at Case Western Reserve U. in 1972. Milford(?) Wolpoff or the other hand
was one of the strongest and most adamant supporters of the hypothesis at the
time and was also a member of CWRU's faculty. There was a notable tension in
the department at that time, in fact, over the two schools of thought because
the only two Phys. Anth. PhDs in the department were so diametrically opposed
on this issue. Now this was before Johanson had any claim to fame aside from
being a friend of the Leakeys & having worked with F. Clark Howell. He found
Lucy the next summer.


Immortality is something you need to grow into.