The Onion, the satirical newspaper, has a really funny faux-news article, Anthropologists Trace Human Origins Back to One Large Goat.
It skewers perfectly the debates earlier this week about what past fossils count in the human lineage or not (Scientific American: Was “Ardi” Not a Human Ancestor after All?; ScienceNews: Human Ancestors Have an Identity Crisis), as well as older debates over Out of Africa/multi-regional evolution and Mitochondrial Eve.
So the Onion:
The 17-year inquiry into the origins of the human race brought together 12 top anthropologists from around the world to pursue the single-large-goat theory, which participants in Monday’s presentation assured audience members “felt more plausible when we came up with it, really it did.”
The landmark study culminates in this week’s release of a 270-page report explaining the structure of prehistoric humans’ short, upturned woolly tails and identifying the roots of early Indo-European† language in goat bleating, which, Ochs stated, “maybe [they] should have double-checked real quick” before the paper went to publication.
And just for some fun, dueling quotes from the anthropologists involved in the “Ardi” debate.
Bernard Wood – lead author of new study critical of saying “Ardi” is our ancestor:
“Researchers have to stop publishing papers that say, essentially, ‘This fossil is an early hominid, so suck it up and accept it. Nature and Science could change this practice overnight if they wanted to.”
Tim White – lead author of earlier study proposing Ardi as our ancestor:
“With no new data, no new ideas, no new methods, no new hypothesis, no new experiments, no new fossils, not even a new classification, this paper will leave everybody wondering what’s happened to the peer review process at Nature.”
Link to The Onion’s Anthropologists Trace Human Origins Back to One Large Goat