August 24, 2004
Dating Disaster

While the headline of this Telegraph article ("Neanderthal Man 'never walked in northern Europe'") seems a bit of a non-sequitor, the text is still quite interesting:

Historians of the Stone Age fear that they will have to rip up their theories about Neanderthal Man after doubt has been cast on the carbon dating of skeletons by a leading German anthropologist.

It seems that a flamboyant German anthropologist got a bit, well, creative in his dating techniques:

Another apparent misdating involved an allegedly prehistoric skull discovered near Paderborn in 1976 and considered the oldest human remain ever found in the region. Prof von Zieten dated the skull at 27,400 years old. The latest research, however, indicates that it belonged to an elderly man who died around 1750.

Can you say "Piltdown man"? I knew you could...

Posted by scott at August 24, 2004 11:59 AM

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Anthropologists everywhere are gathering around their water coolers and coffee makers discussing these finds - wondering how they're going to recover from this doozy.

On the other side, the neo-religious quacks are throwing a party (break out the non-alcoholic champagne and suck on a lifesaver) celebrating the demise of modern science.

Posted by: ron on August 25, 2004 07:43 AM
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