Re: Archaic H. sapiens???

Michael McBroom (
Thu, 16 Jan 1997 22:12:11 -0800

MSCob wrote:

> Michael, I believe that Lieberman's reconstructions of the soft
> tissue of ancient skulls have been rejected by most physical
> anthropologists from the time they were first published. I do not know
> the details; perhaps you should check with a physical anthropologist. I
> have the impression that Lieberman, a well-known phoneticist, continued to
> publicize his claims, and his linguistic reputation gave weight to his
> physical anthropology work in the eyes of publishers and general readers.

Lieberman's reputation nowadays appears to be the result of his work on
the biological origins of language, not his prowess as a phonetician
(which is considerable, I might add). I've read quite a bit on this
subject, since it is my chosen area of study -- works by linguists who
are involved in this area, as well as works by paleoanthropologists.
The impression I get is that, while Lieberman's and Laitman's theories
are not beyond dispute, they are at least recognized as having some
plausibility. From where I sit, it seems as if the evidence that they
have presented helps to clarify the picture considerably. I would like
to see somebody re-evaluate L&L's earlier works using more modern and
sophisticated technology.


Michael McBroom
CUSF Linguistics