Re: Dissecting the Aquatic Ape: Bipedalism

Paul Crowley (
Mon, 12 Aug 96 14:21:13 GMT

In article <> "Gerrit Hanenburg" writes:

> Bonobos frequently range in riverine and swamp forests.
> Lowland Gorillas in the Ndoki Forest in Congo readily wade through
> water and feed on starchy sedges in the swamps.

I suspect that swamps in, or close to, forests are generally too
acid for fossilization. What's wanted is deposition in a lake, or
in a fairly fast or deep river or in an estuary. Adolph Schultz
reports that 33% of his collection of 260 skeletons of wild gibbons
had at least one healed fracture and 34% of his orang skeletons
(page 194). So it's likely that every gibbon experiences many
dangerous falls.

Also these animals will readily drown; (he reports the drowing of
a gibbon in a shallow pool of rainwater in its cage). A fall into
water is likely to be lethal. All this should create a large
taphonic bias towards gibbons and orangs, and probably towards
arboreal primates generally.

Also I'd love to hear how they get water in a drought. They
are so clumsy on the ground that I'm sure they climb down over-
hanging branches to the water, wherever they can.