Re: Orangs as Closest

Matthew O. Fraser (
Thu, 01 Aug 1996 20:50:35 -0400

In article <4tqh3r$>, (HARRY R.
ERWIN) wrote:

> Unlikely based on anatomy and recently collected fossils, but possible.
> BTW, I entered the new data on Ankarapithecus meteai into my database last
> night. Nothing conclusive, although it looks a bit later than
> Lufengpithecus and close to the ancestry of the orthograde hominoids. The
> whole Lufengpithecus/Ankarapithecus/Sivapithecus/Dryopithecus/
> Ouranopithecus area is a morass.

Hey Harry,

Well, from what I remember, the dental enamel of Sivapithecus (=
Ramapithecus, right?), possibly Ouranopithecus (not sure on that one),
Pongo and the generally
accepted hominids was distinctly like humans (thick) and unlike the other
apes (thin).

You all will have to forgive me. From around 6 years of age until after
the first year of graduate school in Physical Anthro, my lifes dream was
Paleoanthropology. Then came Reagan, then came University stipend cuts,
then came opportunity in another program in which I could study primate
reproductive physiology (and maybe get a job). That break from the
PaleoAnthro line happened around 10 years agao, so I'm a little rusty.
Wanna get back into it in some way, though.

I think that I saw, either here or on another paleontology/evolution NG,
that cladistics was out of style. Is that true? I cut my teeth on that
type of analysis.

I digress. Back to the question at hand.

I remember that there were also differences in the allocation of
incisor/canine teeth with respect to premaxillary/maxillary position, as
defined by sutures. This, too, was common to hominids, Sivapithecus,
Ouranopithecus and Pongo, and different from other pongids.

I know the DNA evidence points to chimps as the closest relative, but what
about these morphological traits: 1) Are they true; and 2) Don't they
count for more than DNA, which is problematic in some of its assumption,



Matthew O. Fraser "If you can't answer a man's
Department of Pharmacology arguments, all is not lost.
School of Medicine You may still call him
University of Pittsburgh vile names"
Pittsburgh, PA 15261 John Homans