Position of the SAP Board of Directors on sending fossils into space
The Board of Directors of the Société d'Anthropologie de Paris (SAP), established in 1859, wishes to express its deepest disapproval and strongest condemnation of the sending into space of original fossils belonging to the species Australopithecus sediba and Homo naledi. The SAP Board thus expresses its full agreement with the statements made by the American Association of Biological Anthropologists (AABA), the European Society for the Study of Human Evolution (ESHE), the Paleoanthropology Society and Society for American Archaeology (SAA), and the British Association for Biological Anthropology and Osteoarchaeology (BABAO). The SAP Board of Directors would particularly like to:
- reiterate that SAP is extremely attentive to the treatment of human remains and to the dignity, care and respect to which they must be subjected;
- underline the inestimable heritage value of these South African remains, and the total incompatibility between the way they have been treated and this heritage value, as well as the above point;
- recall, in connection with this heritage value, the provenance of these remains from the "Craddle of Humankind", awarded by UNESCO as a "World Heritage Site";
- finally, this sending into space of fossil hominin remains represents a paroxysmal manifestation of the hyper-mediatization of certain researchers, irrespective of the quality of their work. This drift is unfortunately totally inherent to the hypercompetitive research system that prevails throughout the world, and which is ontologically in total opposition to the very nature of research.
The Board of Directors of the Société d'Anthropologie de Paris
Motion carried by electronic ballot on 20 September 2023 (15 for, 0 against, 1 abstention)