Re: Who Killed the Australopithecines?

Sun, 2 Apr 1995 23:24:00 GMT

In article <3lmuid$>,
HARRY R. ERWIN <> wrote:
>BARD ( wrote:
>: In article <>, BARD <> wrote:
>: Re: Erwin's Statements...
>: You're really quite wrong about "A. species." One of the
>: principle characteristics of Australopithecines is that
>: were *NOT* arboreal. That's to say, the very evolution
>: of this species was a response to the major environmental
>: chages in Africa 7.5 to 4.5 million years ago. The jungle
>: begin to receed in places like Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania and
>: Omo and Afar in Ethiopia. Monkeys became A. species.
>Oh? Catarrhine monkeys are descended from Miocene apes that developed a
>folivorous adaptation. Look at Victoriapithecus. It seems to be closest
>to Pliopithecus in its features.
>The root of the African Ape/A./H. clade was just slightly more primitive
>than A. ramidus. (When I replace the characteristics of A. ramidus by
>something just one step more primitive in those areas where features
>continue to change in A. afarensis, it pops in most parsimoniously between
>Graecopithecus and the base of the African Apes. Hence bipedalism was not
>an adaptation to moving around on the ground as ->a way of life<-, but
>rather to moving around on the ground when down from the trees. We don't
>see loss of arm and leg adaptations to tree-climbing (such as curved
>finger bones and the divergent hallux) until H. erectus. So A. and early
>Homo stayed up in the trees when they could; there just weren't as many
>trees to stay up in and they had to come down part of the time.
>: Please, in the future, find out what you're talking about
>: before saying such silly things.
>Would you like chapter and verse?
>: The Most Glorious Bard
>Harry Erwin
>Doctoral student in computational neuroscience


You'll note that neither great apes or chimpanzees are
tree dwelling. Yet you persist in the notion that Piths
who share less arboreal characteristics than either, were.

This doesn't make sense no matter how you twist it.
Further, the notion that H. erectus was the first true
terrestrial suggests that suddenly there appeared on
the African savanna this amazing hominid who walked while
all the other primates leaped-frogged on their knuckles and
knees. Perhaps you should call him "Adam" rather than
H. erectus.

In any event, the question, "Who Killed the Austrolopithecines?"
goes unanswered. You mention this business of "niche" and
"niche contraction" without describing what it is you mean. Piths
were not only omnivores but, in their time, the most intelligent
creatures on earth. I suggest you think more deeply
about what you're learning in class. That's to say, when you
talk about Piths, models of inquiry used for other zoological
phenomenon may not apply.