Re: Who Killed the Australopithecines?

Phil Nicholls (
22 Apr 1995 12:33:59 GMT

In article <>, BARD <> wrote:
>In article <3n8e7o$>,
>Phil Nicholls <> wrote:
>>> BARD
>>I am, perhaps mistakenly, under the impression that we are talking
>>about scientific evidence here. To repeat my previous answer,
>>I don't know what caused the extinction of any species of Australo-
>>pithecines. You are the one proposing a specific cause and therefore
>>the burden of proof is on you, not me.
>>I assume natural extinction because there is no evidence to suggest
>>otherwise. You are the one proposing a specific cause. All you are
>>being asked to do is to support it with some evidence.
>>Try completing the following statement:
>>IF Homo ___________ [fill in species] killed off Australopithecines,
>> THEN we should find _____________________________________________
>> __________________________________________________ [indicate
>> observations from the fossil record that you predict should indicate
>> genocide].
>>To put forward a hypothesis you have to have an IF/THEN relationship
>>between your explanation and the data.
>>If you can't generate predictions then you don't have a hypothesis.
>>Phil Nicholls "To ask a question you must first
> _______________________________________________

> The fossil record has its limitations...

Yes, it does.

> Therefore it is not a mistake to remove our
> paleo anthropologist hats in place of
> others.

Fine. What other hat are you talking about and what evidence does
it provide about Australopithecine extinctions?

> If we do this we may encounter ideas far more
> compelling than those suggested by a few incomplete skeletons.

Fine. But let me remind you that this newsgroups name is

Now in terms of reconstructing evolutionary events there are two
ways you can go. One is to make comparisons between living species
and use the data you acquire to reconstruct evolutionary patterns
of descent and perhaps make inferences about the functional significance
of some modifications.

The second way to go is paleontology and paleoecology which together
can help you reconstruct long dead creatures and their environments.

Now we have yet to hear you discuss evidence of ANY kind. Therefore
I will ask again.

WHY do you think Australopithecines were victums of genocide?

Phil Nicholls "To ask a question you must first
Department of Anthropology know most of the answer."
SUNY Albany -Robert Sheckley SEMPER ALLOUATTA