March 27, 2007 | David F. Coppedge

Leakey Manipulated His Apelike “Skull 1470” to Look Human

The skull of an alleged human ancestor Richard Leakey made famous in 1972 was poorly reconstructed, claims a paleoanthropologist who specializes in craniofacial biology.  According to Dr. Timothy Bromage of New York University, Leakey employed nonstandard principles while assembling the bones of his “Skull 1470”, giving the face a flatter, more human-like profile.  Many at the time of the discovery were stunned to find such a human-like face dated to 3 million years ago.  (This date was later revised downward to 1.9 million years.  The skull was later dubbed Homo rudolfensis and considered an ancestor in the direct line leading to modern man, Homo sapiens.)
    Employing rules that the eyes, ears and mouth of mammals must bear a precise relationship to one another, Dr. Bromage did his own reconstruction and found the skull “looked more apelike than previously believed.”  The computer-aided reconstruction reduced the brain size to less than half that of a modern human.  He said that the corrected skull has a “surprisingly small brain and distinctly protruding jaw, features commonly associated with more apelike members of the hominid family living as much as three million years ago.”  Dr. Bromage criticized the famous paleoanthropologist, judging that “Dr. Leakey produced a biased reconstruction based on erroneous preconceived expectations of early human appearance that violated principles of craniofacial development…. Dr. Leakey produced a reconstruction that could not have existed in real life.”  The erroneous interpretation, the article states, has been “widely accepted until now.”
Source: EurekAlert.  A larger image with caption can be found on Science Daily.

OK, let’s see if Leakey will recant.  Let’s see if the textbook publishers will fix the mistake.  His Skull 1470 raised quite a stir at the time and gained Leakey international fame.  Now, it comes out that Leakey’s personal bias dictated how he put the puzzle pieces of bone together.  How much does this go on in the dubious practice of paleoanthropology?  What other instances are out there right now with built-in bias?  Here it is 25 years after the discovery before the truth comes out.  Remember this next time this crowd trumpets some new missing link.  Today’s kids may not know it’s phony baloney till 2032.
    Bromage, for all his efforts in exposing Leakey’s bias, is still biased himself.  He still thinks man evolved from apes – just 300,000 years later than the current consensus timeline.  He still tosses around the millions of years and pictures Homo ergaster and Homo erectus belonging to some mythical pathway to man.  He still calls the apes Australopithecus and Paranthropus “hominids” and accepts the Darwin Party premise that we are evolved apes.  Let’s encourage him to keep exposing the bias in Leakey’s skulls.  This should get Leakey mad enough to counterattack by finding the bias in Bromage’s work.  The public will get the message: the tale of human evolution is all bias, all the time.

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Categories: Early Man, Fossils

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