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age-based defns

i am severely biased against age-based definitions.  let me tell you
why:  in my early days when dating a site in which Neanderthal skeletal
remains were found just below a travertine layer, the french used an
age-based defn for what they understood to be neanderthal.  i dated
the travertine at 151 +/- 12 ka, and the archaeologist in charge of the
site immediately said, "well, they can't be neanderthals then."
he and many other european archaeologists firmly believed that 
neanderthals by defn were younger than 80 ka.  now no one adheres to
this definition for obvious reasons.  i firmly believe that we would
be equally silly to use age to define what is or is not a fossil.
Bonnie A.B. Blackwell,                          bonn@qcvaxa.acc.qc.edu
Dept of Geology,                                off: (718) 997-3332
Queens College, City University of New York,    fax: (718) 997-3299
Dept of Earth \& Environmental Sciences,        messages: (718) 997-3300
The Graduate Center, CUNY,                      
Flushing, NY, 11367-1597, USA