Mailbag: Loren Eiseley

Re: The ‘amazing’ Boskops:

Mr. Hawks: I don't know that Loren Eiseley was quite the amateur you've depicted in your blog. He was elected President of the American Institute of Human Paleontology by his peers - an uncommon distinction - and apparently without equal within the John Hawks biography.

Reading over what I wrote, I don’t think I’ve described Eiseley as a dilettante. He was an anthropologist and became provost of the University of Pennsylvania. He was also quite a wonderful writer, which became his enduring legacy. But he did no professional work on Boskop material and his essay brought attention to the question long after it had ceased to be of serious paleoanthropological interest.

I don’t tend to blame Eiseley, who should have known better but took some poetic license in what is quite evidently not a scientific paper. I think it remarkable that the idea would be brought back from oblivion despite the evidence!