Re: Modern Neanderthals?

D K Murray (
Tue, 22 Oct 1996 17:10:05 +0100

Response to Rohinton Collins:

Of course taxonomy should elucidate phylogeny, that's what it's for.
Hence the importance of exercising great caution before splitting
species: to avoid creating confusion re phylogeny. Rogue lumping
would cause confusion too, but at least one would be less likely to
run out of paper while writing out one's family tree.

What I remain to be convinced of is that splitting, in this case (H.s.n. vs
H.n.), does in fact improve our understanding of phylogeny. Concise
synopses of the arguments, and evidence, for will be impartially
read, by me anyway.

The Pan/Homo issue is of interest because it relates to the overall
shape of primate/hominid taxonomy, and, as you say yourself, taxonomy
should elucidate phylogeny. The case does not rest solely on genetic
evidence, but also, arguably, on cognition and, dubiously, on
morphology. As with H.s.n. vs H.n., I am in neither camp, and would
be interested to hear reasoned arguments, with evidence. However, I
have no objection in principle to letting them in, as long as they
behave themselves.

I suspect that you underestimate the present value of genetic
evidence in relation to morphological in elucidating phylogeny,
though as you wisely imply, time will tell. can't
be... <gasp>... a Lamarkian?!?

The Oz finds are detailed elsewhere in this Newsgroup, unfortunately
without much detail. The gist is claimed evidence of human habitation
in Oz as long ago as 170,000 yrs.bp.

Twin Peaks has already been kindly elucidated in this thread by a
Mr.Scripture. It was about frankincense.

Bye eh noo, as they say in Shetland, from (Mr.) Diarmid Murray (but
this name is already in use for my home e-mail address, I'm posting from work)