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Hominid fossil databases are a very difficult undertaking to curate and create. One of my mentors and colleagues, Dr. Henry Gilbert created a very impressive Fossilized.org database. He organized the fossils based upon geography, phylogenetics, history, species, and geochronology. I consider it a one of a kind database.

Fossilized.org Screenshot

Evolution of Man

It troubles me to see that Hans Peter, author of the German website, The Evolution of Man, has taken all of Dr. Gilbert’s data and used it in his own database without any citation. This is is blatant data theft and it is disrespectful. Gilbert has a liberal copyright toward his database for the structure, design and content. He effectively has released the data under a Creative Commons noncommercial attribution only license; making easy for one to use his data as long as its appropriately cited. When someone makes it so easy to share data with just a citation, it prompts me to wonder what is Hans Peter trying to accomplish?

I’ve sent an email out to Hans Peter to ask him what his motivations are and request he appropriately site Fossilized.org. I am waiting to hear back from him and will update once I do.

I also wanted to ask you, Anthropology.net, readers how you feel about this phenomenon among colleagues. Does it bother you? If not, why? If so, how can we prevent it from happening?

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