Re: ALEX's References

Phillip Bigelow (
21 Aug 1995 16:19:22 -0700

Elaine Morgan <> writes:

(regarding published research by Latimann and Lieberman, amongst others):

>More basically,they do not even set out to address my question of why
>the larynx descended. They discuss the date of this event and its
>consequences, but not the reason for it. They try to establish the
>date by attempting to relate the descended larynx with the shape of the
>basicranium of fossilised skulls. They are handicapped by the fact that
>the only extant example they educe of an animal with a descended larynx
>is Homo sap., and it is always risky generalising from a sample of one.

True, but it is even more risky to generalize from a *hypothetical* sample,
such as your purported "aquatic ape" species, in which we have *no* samples
to work with. You have refused to be discouraged by a lack of such
study-able material, and have made some sweeping generalizations about the
nature of the "animal" (which by your own admission, remains hypothetical and
not real). You tend to miss that fact from time to time.

>Alex says: "loss of most of the body hair will prove to be adaptive,
>provided you're sweaty enough". Well, he should consult here with Phil
>Nicholls who will tell him how copiously our friend the patas monkey
>sweats, and how effectivly, and yet its coat is thick and deep and
>lustrous, even on the flanks where it would be so expendable. Why
>do you think that is?

I think this is abundant evidence that both the thermo-regulatory experts
and the AAT-sheep don't know as much about the nature of sweat glands + fur
as they think. The ambiguity of the data at hand does not lend itself easily
to either side. In such a situation, a wise scientist wouldn't use the data
to bolster his/her argument at all. Wait another 10-20 years or so, then
check to see if the sciences of thermo-physiology and the evolution of soft
tissues are adequately advanced to address these questions.
It truely amazes me how these discussions quickly become debased by
assuming that adequate background research has already been done.
In this case, it certainly has not, even though there is a plethora of
papers in the journals. Still, you cannot make inferrences on the
termo-regulatory evolution of hominids if you don't yet have a
well-understood model for thermo-regulation in extant animal species. It
does no good to put the cart before the horse.

(still blazing away with field work in Montana)