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"Flipperpithecus" was the name of the "humanoid species" arising from a fossil find that is most likely part of dolphin's rib. The name "Flipperpithecus" was given by anthropologist Dr. Tim White and reported in Science News.[1]

The science magazine New Scientist reported the following:

A five million-year-old piece of bone that was thought to be a collarbone of a humanlike creature is actually part of a dolphin rib according to an anthropologist at the University of California-Berkeley.[2] [3]

Dr. Tim White, anthropologist at the University of California-Berkeley likened the incident on par with the "Nebraska man" and "Piltdown Man" incidents.[2] Dr. White stated regarding the fossil find, "Seldom has a bone been hyped as much as this one."[2] Anthropologist Dr. Noel Boaz from New York University who made the original classification of the fossil has countered, "I have not gone any further than the evidence allowed." [2][1] Dr. Boaz described the fossil find and defended his stance regarding the fossil find in the journals Nature, the American Journal of Physical Anthropology and Natural History. However, at a meeting of physical anthropologist his fellow anthropologist were skeptical of the find some stating that at first glance the bone looks nothing like a collar bone.[1] Dr. White stated that "to be a clavicle, the specimen should have an S...curve, but it does not.[2] Dr. White also stated the blunder may force a rethinking of theories among evolutionary theorists on when the line of man's ancestors separated from that of apes.[2] Johns Hopkins University anthropologist Alan Walker stated that there is a long history of misinterpreting various bones as humanoid clavicles and that it is a amorphous bone and scientist should be very judicious in interpreting it.[1]

Dr. White added "The problem with a lot of anthropologists is that they want so much to find a hominid that any scrap of bone becomes a hominid bone."[2]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 W. Herbert, Science News. 123:246 (1983)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 Ian Anderson, "Hominoid collarbone exposed as dolphin's rib", New Scientist, 28 April 1983, page 199.

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