Re: Who Killed the Australopithecines?

Paul Vinkenoog (
Sun, 02 Apr 95 13:03:02 GMT

BARD wrote:

[ ... ]

" Evolution suggests a progression in adaptability. Working
" backwards we see the Pith's hands and feet were more evolved than
" the chimpanzee; the chimp's more so than the baboon; the baboon
" more than the tarsier, etc...

Hey, hey, hey! Some of my best baboons are friends, and their hands
are much more evolved (truly opposable thumb & stuff, hence better
precision grip) than those of chimps.

" Piths could do more things, travel greater distances, eat a wider
" variety of food, employ more clever ways to get this food; evade
" danger better, and yet the chimpanzee survives and the Pith
" doesn't.
" Why?

An educated guess: because, in the ecological niche they occupied,
they were outcompeted by Homo Habilis. Chimps occupy a niche that is
different from that of both Homo and Australopithecus. If chimps would
have had to compete with either A. or H. in the habitat of the latter,
they wouldn't have stood a chance (chimps, that is).

" And... not finding something is not "99.99999" proof it doesn't
" exit. In this decade alone several species thought long extinct
" have been discovered still with us.

This is true. But I don't think it's likely that a large terrestrial
animal like Australopithecus could survive up to this day, yet be
completely absent in the fossil record since 1.5 million years, and
not only never be seen by humans, but also leave no detectable traces
of their food-gathering activities.

But the idea that someday, Piths *might* be discovered somewhere is of
course very fascinating... fascinating enough to believe in. (Another
of my favorites: imagine Gigantopithecus surviving somewhere in the
dephts of Siberia!)

Paul Vinkenoog

Paul Vinkenoog (netwerkend voor de massaas)
Postbus 93640
1090 EC Amsterdam