EUGENE M. MCCARTHY, PHD
It was unearthed in a road construction project near Ceprano, Italy in 1994 (Manzi et al. 2001). The fact that the material was of human origin was recognized by Italo Biddittu of Rome's Institute of Paleontology, who happened to be present when the remains came to light.
Location of Ceprano|
There is a tendency among paleoanthropologists, and among biologists in general, to assign species names to specimens that might just as well be assigned to existing taxonomic names. Something about erecting a new name makes even a rather humdrum specimen take on a glow that would otherwise be absent. With a new name one tends to assume that something profoundly different and new has been discovered. It's like a distribution company renaming and re-releasing an old movie. Many people are tricked and go to see it again. The same thing works for fossils. Call an old dog fossil a "canithere" or a "kyphomorph" and you teach it new tricks. It becomes (at least for those who haven't studied their Greek and Latin roots) somewhat more interesting. Call it a dog, and it may send an otherwise willing audience to the Land of Nod. The same is true of the fossils of humans and human relatives. Who's going to get excited about yet another specimen of Homo erectus? Haven't we had more than enough of those? That's why a new hominid specimen named, say, Homo rosa might not, by any other, previously used name, smell as sweet!Wikimedia
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