Paleospecies as cognitive construct: The meme of “Homo floresiensis”

Authors

  • Robert B. Eckhardt Laboratory for the Comparative Study of Morphology, Mechanics and Molecules, Department of Kinesiology and Huck Institute of the Life Sciences, Pennsylvania State University
  • Maciej Henneberg Institute of Evolutionary Medicine, University of Zurich; School of Biomedicine, The University of Adelaide

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.2478/anre-2021-0023

Keywords:

meme, “Homo floresiensis”, Flores, species

Abstract

Creation and subsequent abandonment of a number of earlier species considered human ancestors: Eoanthropus dawsoni, Hesperopithecus haroldcooki, Homo gardarensis and Ramapithecus punjabicus is presented using cases from the history of science. This review indicates that the fossil evidence for these species has been questionable from the beginning but that mental images – memes – they invoked were attractive to students of human evolution and as such persisted even if not confirmed by further finds, with new research still being disputed. Against this background the status of the recent construction of the hominin species “Homo floresiensis” is discussed showing that despite dubious interpretations of the objective data and a relatively long time of non-confirmation due to paucity of newly discovered skeletal remains, the “species” still exists in minds of scholars and in the scientific literature extending into textbooks.

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Published

2021-09-30

How to Cite

Eckhardt, R. B., & Henneberg, M. (2021). Paleospecies as cognitive construct: The meme of “Homo floresiensis”. Anthropological Review, 84(3), 317–336. https://doi.org/10.2478/anre-2021-0023

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