RE: Who Killed the Australopithecines?

TeKnO-RaVe-StOmPeR (
23 APR 95 16:44:12 GMT

In a previous article, (BARD) wrote:
->In article <3nah4b$>,
->JoeBeaver <> wrote:
->>BARD writes:
->>>JoeBeaver <> wrote:
->>To claim that genocide is the cause of Australopithecine extinction would
->>be to make a logically unnecessary assumption and would violate Occam's
-> So sue me.....
-> I kind of like BARDS idea that genocide is the cause of Australopithecine
extinction. However I have only seen the assertion of such so far
and have not seen his post which provides support for the argument.

But I guess one need not have any evidence to propose a theory. In
fact, I have a few of my own which are far more plausible than those
BARDS (not to denigrate in any way BARDS theory).

My theory is that the Australopithecines were a thriving, vivacious
species, superior in many ways to their hominoid counterparts, but
silently, unknown to the poor Australopithecines, a deadly virus
was spreading within their ranks. This virus was one that moved
with deadly efficiency from group to group, member to member, killing
each individual without regard to sex or age. This is supported
by the fossil evidence which for the most part shows absence of
physical trauma in the deceased. Such would be expected in the
presence of a killer virus.

The species as a whole was prone to catch this horrible virus
because of the fact that the Australopithecines were a social
species. That is, members of a group infected by this virus would
occasionally interact with members of another group. In this manner
the deadly virus leapfroged throughout the entire species. Only
the fact that the Australopithecines were not *too* social prevented
them from being wiped out immediatly. It was a *long* drawn out
affair, though tragic in its consequences nonetheless. In fact
one poignant example of its tragic nature is the family of
Australopithecines discovered at hadar who had been infected by
the virus from the lone survivor of another group which had
been wiped out. This family or social group all caught the
virus at the same time and died more or less together, clutched
in each others arms. The only evidence that they ever existed
lays in a bundle of fossilized bones for us to examine.

There is a lesson to be learned here for those who care to listen.
And that is, despite the greatness of a species, no matter how
high it rises, it can be wiped out in a geological instant from
those little, devestating viruses. We don't know if the virus
which killed the Australopithecines is still with us today, lurking
in some as yet unknown population, or even if it could harm us
humans, but the threat is still there. Peronally I think that
the Australopithecines caught the virus from attempts to interbreed
with apes, however I have no evidence to support this claim.
Yet we should remain cautious when dealing with the apes in the
event that this was indeed the case.

I grant permission to everyone to quote my theory and hope that
it rises to the stature of BARDS illustrious theory of genocide.
Thank you.