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Delimitating species in paleoanthropology


  • Tim White is a Professor of Integrative Biology and Director of the Human Evolution Research Center at the University of California at Berkeley. He co-directs (with Berhane Asfaw and Giday WoldeGabriel) the Middle Awash research project in Ethiopia. E-mail:


Evolutionary biologists created a large twentieth-century literature about delimiting biological species. Paleontologists contributed the unique complications of deep time. Toward century's end, one participant wrote: “In all probability more paper has been consumed on the questions of the nature and definition of the species than any other subject in evolutionary and systematic biology.”[1]