Paleoanthropologists and Morphology

Susan S. Chin (
Tue, 9 Jul 1996 04:52:05 GMT

In article <> Holly writes:

>... A. ramidus has been written up and published twice in
> your research....and all of White's analysis was
>morphological....cranial, dental and post-cranial. And when he publishes
>again I am willing to bet that it will be a morphological
>treatment...hell he's a morphologist!

I'm not sure why there is a problem with relying primarily on morphology
when describing and naming a new fossil species and/or genus.
Paleoanthropologists specializing in osteological remains are trained to
recognize the minute details which distinguish one fossil from another
based on anatomical differences of the specimen. It's all in the
morphology. I'm sure isoptopic analyses may be able to reveal even more
about A. ramidus. But for now, we all just want to know what these
creatures looked like from the remains that have been recovered by White
and his colleagues. So yes, when White, Suwa and Asfaw publish the
results of their analyses, I fully expect morphological data. It's the
foundation for all future studies. I don't see why there should be a
problem with this.