Re: Orangs as Closest

2 Aug 1996 13:21:39 GMT

Matthew O. Fraser ( wrote:
: 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).

It seems to be an ancestral character of the clade.

: ---trimmed---

: 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.

Not really, except that I understand paleoanthropologists are regarded as
backward. Of course, some cladists are extremists as well.

: 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 understand the real workers have found that teeth are not very useful in
classifying hominoids.

: 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,
: IMO.

I don't use the DNA data, but it seems to show that the trichotomy among
Pan, Gorilla, and the hominids may have actually happened that way--i.e.,
those two speciation events 7 MYr ago occurred almost simultaneously.
Gorilla never pairs with the hominids in my data, but Pan tends to

Harry Erwin, Internet:, Web Page:
49 year old PhD student in computational neuroscience ("how bats do it" 8)
and lecturer for CS 211 (data structures and advanced C++)