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Tue, 25 Oct


Endless Forms Seminar Series

Seminar with Professor Bernard Wood

"Towards a more realistic interpretation of the human fossil record"

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Seminar with Professor Bernard Wood
Seminar with Professor Bernard Wood

Time & Location

25 Oct 2022, 17:00 BST

Endless Forms Seminar Series

About the event

The majority of attempts to reconstruct the evolutionary history of the hominin clade

proceed as if the hominin fossil record is a precise, accurate, and comprehensive

record of human evolutionary history. In this contribution we review the various ways in

which the apparent scarcity of early hominins on the landscape means that the existing

hominin fossil record almost certainly falls short of this assumption, especially with

respect to taxic diversity, as well as the spatial and temporal distribution of known taxa.

We also suggest that interpretations of the hominin fossil record are particularly

affected by practices that likely violate the principles of reproducibility, as well as by

confirmation bias. The hominin fossil record should be seen for what it is; an

incomplete record of human evolutionary history that limits what should be said about

it. Generated narratives should be treated as heuristic devices, not as accurate and

comprehensive descriptions of past events.

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