Wolpoff v. Swisher

Al Curtis (alc@azotus.com)
Thu, 09 Jan 1997 19:28:45 GMT

I have just finished reading a new article by Milford Wolpoff at
http://www.dealsonline.com/origins/news/article19.html in which Prof.
Wolpoff declines to criticize the new dates proposed by Swisher, et al
for the Ngandong fossils and the Sambungmachan skullcap. Instead, he
questions the assignment of the aforementioned specimens to H. erectus
when it should be clear (according to him) that they bear far more
resemblance to nearby H. sapiens. Here, quoted, is the initial summary
of his position:

>.......there are a number of reasons why Ngandong and
>Sambungmachan must be regarded as Homo sapiens and not "Homo erectus":
>1.Ngandong and Sambungmachan show notable similarities to Late Pleistocene
>Native Australians;

>2.The Kabuh Indonesians are among the ancestors of Holocene and living
>Native Australians and Ngandong and Sambungmachan are temporally and
>anatomically intermediate between them. If they were both "Homo erectus"
>and dated as recently as suggested, it would suggest the interpretation of
>polygenism - different populations became Homo sapiens at different times -
>and this is unacceptable;
>3.The evolutionary trends in a Kabuh to Ngandong lineage are the same as
>trends in other evolving Homo sapiens populations and it is unlikely these
>changes reflect parallelisms between species.

While the article goes on to make some cogent points, I find some of
Wolpoff's reasoning to be convoluted at best. I do, however, feel very
uncomfortable with the new dates. Has anyone with a better knowledge
than I of the Java specimens read the article? Where does the argument
fall down? Or does it?

Alfred A. Curtis