News FocusPaleoanthropology

Glasnost for Hominids: Seeking Access to Fossils

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Science  30 Aug 2002:
Vol. 297, Issue 5586, pp. 1464-1468
DOI: 10.1126/science.297.5586.1464

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Outside researchers are vying for quicker access to key specimens of our earliest ancestors, but fossil discoverers say they need control over new finds in order to prepare and analyze them carefully. In particular, researchers are sparring over what happens during the crucial period between the initial announcement of an exciting discovery and publication of a more detailed description or monograph, which might come years or even a decade or more later. Indeed, the National Science Foundation plans to hold a winter meeting on the topic, and the American Association of Physical Anthropologists is considering voluntary guidelines.