Hobbit’s, Lumpers, and Open Access: Paleoanthropology Talking Points

Hobbit Fossil

Hobbit Fossil

Science Saturday on BloggingHeads.tv had one of my favorite bloggers on it this week.  John Hawks, of the University of Wisconsin, and of JohnHawks.net was interviewed by Razib Khan of Gene Expression on a number of talking points in the field of Paleoanthropology.

Here’s a scattered list of notes about the interview:

Lumpers vs Splitters:  What do you want to get out of the word “species”, anyway?

Computer software analysis of data in science:  assumptions are hidden in the code; implicit assumptions, how do you sort THAT out?

HOBBITS!  Homo floresiensis.  A new species or just pathology?  Rotations of pre-molars and asymmetric skeletal structure doesn’t look good.  That is, is this “Hobbit” a good model of it’s population?

Open Access Fossils?  Should more data be made available in an open format so that all scientists can have access to it?  Or would that increase the likelyhood of scientists getting “scooped”?

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3 responses to “Hobbit’s, Lumpers, and Open Access: Paleoanthropology Talking Points

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