Monday, March 12, 2012

Evolution quotes #44

"With the emotional elements of adventure, sacrifice and reward all compounded
in the discovery of a new fossil, together with the soul-stirring aspects of
ancestor worship, it might seem that the odds are heavily stacked against an
objective analysis by the individual who by custom has the right of first
pronouncement. Earnest Hooton, a prominent Harvard anthropologist of the 1930s
and '40s, recognized this trap as 'the psychology of the individual discoverer
and describer.' He wrote that 'The tendency towards aggrandizement of a rare or
unique specimen on the part of its finder or the person to whom its initial
scientific description has been entrusted, springs naturally from human egoism
and is almost ineradicable.'"

Roger Lewin (noted science journalist), Bones of Contention (New York, NY: A Touchstone Book published by Simon & Schuster Inc., 1987), pp. 25-26 citing Apes, Men and Morons, published by Putman, 1937, p. 112

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