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WikiProject Anthropology (Rated C-class, Top-importance)
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First post[edit]

The information contained in this article seems to be incorrect when comparing it to the definitions found here: —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 04:58, 22 March 2005 UTC)

(Note:  Post above referred to an early version of the article.) — Athænara 23:00, 24 February 2007 (UTC)
I agree that the stub 'Paleoanthropology' defines paleoanthropology in a wider sense than the dictionary linked above, and, indeed, than the Oxford English Dictionary. However, I feel that the explanation given on the page is in line with what a university anthropology student would understand by the term (it is certainly closer to the definition I was given when I was such a student). The article merely puts the simple definition, 'the study of fossil bones' or the OED's 'The branch of anthropology that deals with fossil hominids', into a meaningful context.
Should this stub form part of the article on physical anthropology, or human evolution? The Gilly 05:12, 1 January 2006 (UTC)

Human Origin[edit]

I understand that this does relate with evolution, but the study of human origin is indeed more interesting than the origin of animal and plant life, though it doesnt exclude those factors. I would enjoy reading more on this subject. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 17:36, 13 February 2006 (UTC)

Assessment of the article[edit]

Time for an assessment. I notice in the history that quite a few users built this up and a few aren't on anymore. Wiki has grown some so maybe it is time for an assessment.

  • The article seems to be in the right place for a "history of palaeoanthropology" topic and it is in fact such a topic. Palaeoanthropology has to be distinguished from its history. There really is no palaeoanthropology in here, only the history. Large parts of it are duplicated under the "History of Palaeoanthropology" subsection of Human evolution. In fact it is cluttering up the Human Evolution article as it appears to be about the evolution of the study of evolution and not about the evolution. The two are distinct; e.g., From Ape to Angel is about the history and Origins Revisited is about the evolution.

Here are my suggestions. 1) Convert this into a history of palaeoanthropology article with a line up front saying "this article is about the history of palaeoanthropology. For information on the evolution of humans, see Human evolution." It shouldn't be too much trouble to clean the article up on that basis. 2)Remove the duplicated material from the Human Evolution article and leave a line stating "For information on the history of anthropolgy .... This will allow a cleaner article, Human Evolution, which also happens to need cleanup.

I would have said something like this in the discussion of Human Evolution but that article is now so sprawling and the discussion so lengthy and fragmented (Wiki-chaos) that I doubt anyone would even see it much less consider it.

These are big topics and I am sure there are many ways to organize them. My suggestions are based on what is there now, which is where we seem to have to start. There are more anthropology articles on Wiki now so I suppose a lot of the cleanup will be offloading material to the other articles and referencing those. After all, one article is not going to cover human evolution, but 50 or 100 might if we use cascades of links. Dave 03:15, 21 January 2007 (UTC)


I have decided to raise some questions about the citations. I do not doubt that there the citations are accurate (though, I do not know that they are either), however, there does seem to be a problem with an article that focuses only upon the history of the subject as opposed to the subject itself (a point made above). There also seems to be a lack of genetic information, and, *of course*, PICTURES! The genetic information would be most likely to yield scientifically reproducible evidence of a truthful kind, the history of the subject does seem to be marred in some politics, and hence, it might be best to remove the section and create a separate article for it. MrASingh 13:53, 24 Feb 2007 (UTC)

See also listing[edit]

If no one objects, I'd like to remove the three individuals in the See Also section. There's no reason to list these three and not hundreds of others, many of whom are much more notable than these. Thanks. TimidGuy (talk) 17:56, 20 May 2011 (UTC)


The article is good and readable, but isn't Australia missing? As far as I can see discoveries there in the last 30,20 (?) years have blown the received wisdom on the timescale of Australian settlement to pieces. --Radh (talk) 19:08, 7 January 2013 (UTC)

Controversy section[edit]

Yesterday, I added a section called Controversy to the article, in which I mentioned the work done by Michael Cremo and his book Forbidden Archeology. I named the section so because the contents of the section are about something that is often seen as controversial. Now I see that an anonymous user has removed the section, with the comment "There is no legitimate controversy. Also WP:UNDUE". First, I don't understand what is meant with "no legitimate controversy". What is it that is illegitimate, and why is that?

Second, the article WP:UNDUE starts with saying that "Editing from a neutral point of view (NPOV) means representing fairly, proportionately, and, as far as possible, without bias, all of the significant views that have been published by reliable sources on a topic. All Wikipedia articles and other encyclopedic content must be written from a neutral point of view". This article (Paleoanthropology) is already angled from the mainstream view, which is and have been affected by confirmatory bias and is therefore not neutral.

The book Forbidden Archeology illustrates this bias very well, as it consists of numerous examples of reports that have been banned from mainstream archeology because they contain evidence that don't fit the dominant views of human origins and antiquity. It is over 900 pages long, required eight years of research consisting of reading a large number of reports in many different languages, ant it has had a large impact on media ([1]). It summarizes research done by other people who have in many cases risked or ever sacrificed their careers; the research that has been summarized has most likely taken far more than eight years in total, and I still don't see any trace of it in the rest of this article.

We need to have this section in the article in order to make it more neutral. I have therefore restored the section.

If you want to improve on the section, please feel free to do so. If you think the name "Controversy" is misleading or incorrect, please feel free to change it to anything you think is more suitable. —Kri (talk) 14:15, 3 May 2014 (UTC)

When I said “There is no legitimate controversy.” what I meant is that the issue is not controversial amongst legitimate scientists.
The portion of WP:UNDUE that I was referring to was the part that says “For example, the article on the Earth does not directly mention modern support for the Flat Earth concept, the view of a distinct minority; to do so would give undue weight to it.”
This article is discussing a mainstream view. Cremo’s view is that of an ultra-minority. It should not be discussed in this article.
Your suggestion that the mainstream view needs to be balanced by Cremo’s ridiculous view is inappropriate. Attempts to treat pseudoscientific hogwash as if though it were just as legitimate as real science are prohibited by WP:VALID. (talk) 14:48, 3 May 2014 (UTC)
To say that the theory is pseudoscientific hogwash and call it ridiculous sounds to me like you are trying to disparage the theory without having enough facts to back it up with. Please meet the facts I have presented with facts of your own instead of using superficial words.
You are saying that Cremo’s view is that of an ultra-minority. That is not the case; the book has over 200,000 copies sold and translations in more than 13 languages. Although what matters is probably whether the theory is correct or not, and what kind of impact it has on the subject, not how many followers it has.
The comparison with the Flat Earth concept may be funny, but is not very fair; in that case there are not a large number of reports of evidence backing up the theory, but there are in this case.
Please try to contribute to the discussion more constructively, otherwise I don't think I want to continue having it with you.
The section deserves to be in the article, and it doesn't make any harm, so I'm restoring it again. If you want to help improve it instead of completely removing it, you're still free to do so. —Kri (talk) 15:49, 3 May 2014 (UTC)
WP:ONEWAY forbids this kind of content on a mainstream page explicitly. We have an article on Michael Cremo, and be aware that there are discretionary sanctions that can be imposed against users who edit war over such material. jps (talk) 16:09, 3 May 2014 (UTC)
Agreed. I wonder how many Christian Creationist books have been written which disagree with the scientific view on how long homo sapiens has been on earth. Should we include them? Cremo is also a creationist, just another type. Creationism of any stripe doesn't belong here. Dougweller (talk) 16:12, 3 May 2014 (UTC)

Kri, don’t tell a biologist he doesn’t know about biology. If humans were as old as Cremo says they are then humans would have had vertebral columns before the earliest forms of segmentation arose. Humans would have had fingers before anything else had fins. Humans would have had kidneys before anything else had protonephridia. And humans would have had well developed endoskeletons before anything else had notochords. The suggestion that humans could have had derived features before those features existed in their most primitive forms is absurd.

Furthermore, Cremo’s proposal would have humans living on an earth whose atmosphere they couldn’t even breathe.

Also, the genetic distance between humans and chimps and bonobos goes a long way towards establishing our place in the tree of life.

Cremo’s bullshit has no place in this article. We shouldn’t pretend that Cremo’s war on reality is anything more than creationism. (talk) 18:04, 3 May 2014 (UTC)

Look, it is very good issues that you are pointing out, and I honestly don't know how to respond to them; I really think those questions also have to be answered. But I do see that the evidence that Cremo presents create problems for the current mainstream view as well. I'm not saying that the mainstream view is completely incorrect, just that it has some issues that need to be addressed. —Kri (talk) 12:18, 4 May 2014 (UTC)
Kri, on Wikipedia we do not treat fringe views in the same way that we treat mainstream views. Mainstream views are typically presented without fringe commentary. However, the reverse is not true at all. Fringe views are frequently subject to considerable criticism from mainstream sources.
This is a mainstream article and WP:UNDUE dictates that it is to be free from fringe commentary. Conversely, Michael Cremo’s claims should not be presented to the reader without criticism from mainstream sources. This has the dual function of preserving the integrity of Wikipedia and also preventing every article from becoming an “article about a controversy” style article like Shakespeare authorship question or Ancient Egyptian race controversy.
And believe me; you do NOT want every article to be like Ancient Egyptian race controversy. (talk) 13:14, 4 May 2014 (UTC)
I think it's unfair. Wikipedia is basically the place where everyone goes to find facts about new subjects, and if the main article for a subject doesn't bring up issues with the mainstream view, people are not going to find out about them. People need to know that there are a lot of evidence that has been completely ignored in the mainstream science; it is their right to know. To censor findings from the main article just because they are considered a fringe view is just making sure they will continue to be a fringe view, simply because no one is going to know about them. So it is basically like a bad spiral, preventing the facts from ever reaching the public. Do you see what I mean? —Kri (talk) 14:24, 4 May 2014 (UTC)
But Cremo's views will always be a fringe view, because they will never be accepted by the mainstream. We are basically a mainstream encyclopedia. Cremo has a place in Wikipedia but not in this article, just as (repeating myself) other creationist views don't have a place in this article. Nor do ideas about aliens seeding humankind on the earth. All these views claim to have evidence, but they don't. Dougweller (talk) 16:43, 4 May 2014 (UTC)
The archeological findings presented in the book mustn’t suffer because of the belief of the author of the book; that isn’t how science works. The findings were also not found by Cremo, but by other people with various beliefs. Forbidden Archeology is not creationism; it's basically just a collection of archeological findings.
Anyway, the fact that mainstream archeology has chosen to ignore these findings makes mainstream archeology biased in itself. That makes this article biased, since it only includes the mainstream archeological view. If the mainstream view is clearly biased, the article must represent some other source as well in order to be neutral. —Kri (talk) 16:14, 6 May 2014 (UTC)
I've removed the tag as inappropriate. Cremo's 'findings' are a mixture of 19th century unverified claims and fantasy. He has his own article, but his ideas do not belong here. Dougweller (talk) 17:48, 6 May 2014 (UTC)
Kri - Michael Cremo's views are pseudoscience, thus should not be mentioned on this article. There is no controversy over his work as far as the scientific community is concerned. His alleged "evidence" has been debunked by scientists, only fringe proponents support his paranormal claims about human origins (yes Cremo believes humans originated in a spirit world and "devolved" to earth with the help of alien entities billions of years ago). That is sci-fi fantasy, not science. See the entry for Michael Cremo in Brian Regal's book Pseudoscience: A Critical Encyclopedia. pp. 23-24 for some further reading. Goblin Face (talk) 20:43, 6 May 2014 (UTC)
The tag is actually very appropriate. We are having a dispute about the neutrality of this article, which is the only thing the tag states. :) —Kri (talk) 23:39, 16 May 2014 (UTC)

I see no controversy - what I do see is one user trying to use this article to support pseudo-scientific nonsense published by a religious organization. Seems when the content the user wanted to include was rejected per consensus here said user decided to declare a controversy and tag the article. Nah ... please push your pseudoscience elsewhere. Vsmith (talk) 01:45, 17 May 2014 (UTC)

Yep, this is only controversial for those who reject the scientific consensus - Cremo, Ken Ham, John Morris, etc -- all the various brands of Creationists. Tags aren't meant to hold articles to hostage until a certain viewpoint is added. Dougweller (talk) 08:17, 17 May 2014 (UTC)

new edits October 2015[edit]

Hi! I think the article could use some revision. The head section and the history section was (mainly) copied from one (secondary) source ( However - please join in and check my grammar, spelling... - please.

Wikirictor (talk) 22:55, 1 October 2015 (UTC)

Not a good first setence[edit]

Paleoanthropology, or paleo-anthropology (from Greek παλαιός palaiós "old, ancient", ἄνθρωπος ánthrōpos "man, human" and the suffix -λογία -logía "study of"), is the combination and a sub-discipline of paleontology and biological anthropology and is the study of the formation and the development of the specific characteristics of humans (hominization) and the reconstruction of evolutionary kinship lines in the family Hominidae by studying fossils, such as petrified skeletal remains, bone fragments, footprints and associated evidence, stone tools, artifacts, and settlement localities.

This is such a big mouthful with so many impediments, I'm finding it easier to recast the sentence than to delineate the issues.

Paleoanthropology or paleo-anthropology—a sub-discipline of biological anthropology and paleontology—is a branch of archaeology which seeks to understand the early development of modern humans, a process known as hominization, through the reconstruction of evolutionary kinship lines within the family Hominidae from biological evidence (such as petrified skeletal remains, bone fragments, footprints) and cultural evidence (such as stone tools, artifacts, and settlement localities). The term paleoanthropology derives from Greek palaiós (παλαιός) "old, ancient", ánthrōpos (ἄνθρωπος) "man, human" and the suffix -logía (-λογία) "study of".

I think I'm actually going to put that in. — MaxEnt 13:53, 7 October 2017 (UTC)

In the end, I went further still. I wasn't trying to harm the pedantry, merely pace it more suitably to the human mind (rather than the squirrel mind). — MaxEnt 14:21, 7 October 2017 (UTC)