|The hominin family tree is frequently revised, but researchers disagree about where many fossils should be placed on the tree. Credit: K. Cantner, AGI.|
Alexandria, VA - Human evolution and paleoanthropology are tricky subjects, not just because of the rarity of these fossils, but also because human nature seems to be getting in the way of modern taxonomy. In a field that is generally governed by logical rules when it comes to identifying new fossils, scientists are noticed there are some peculiarities applied to our own genus, Homo.
The story of the genus Homo is as much rooted in historical cultural norms as it is in the modern scientific sector. The institution of the 1700s Linnaean classification system left the definition of Homo as the highly philosophical "to know thyself," and even today scientists must face the challenges of human exceptionalism and now-defunct evolutionary theories trickling into their studies. Added complexity comes from the fact that there are still so many questions about where the demarcation of different species is is often highly debated as well. [...] EurekAlert! / Link 2