A number of years ago I visited Dr. Graeme Latimer at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History to talk about the orangutan theory of human evolution. This was not long after a new artisitc rendition of the famous 'Lucy' skeleton discovered by people working at the Cleveland Museum.
Dr. Latimer's was not at all happy for the new Lucy portait. He felt that there was no basis for it because molecular sequence similarities between humans and chimpanzees had excluded any other option, and besides, there was no morphological evidence either. When it was pointed out that there was indeed considerable cladistic morphology shared between humans and orangutans, Dr. Latimer expressed his distain for cladistics as well. Never mind that cladistics was supposed to be the modern foundation of phylogenetic systematics.
Primate paleontologists who study fossils where DNA is no longer present are caught in a contradiction. If DNA is the proof of evolutionary relationship and necessary to demonstrate such relationships, and morphology is unreliable as it generates the 'wrong' conclusion, how can primate paleontologists (or any paleontologist) study the fossil record when morphological features are all there is to study?
Paleontologists sometimes respond with the bizarre, an unscientific, notion that if morphology is all there is, then one has to use it even if it cannot be used for assessing relationships among living organisms!
Portrait of 'Lucy" by William L. Parsons. Based on skull reconstruction by Kimbel et al (2004)
Orangutan characters in Lucy and other early hominids
Palate The posterior region of the palate (green) in australopiths is thicker than the anterior region (towards the premaxilla - pm)