Re: AAT reply from Elaine Morgan

Richard Sharpe (sharpe@nmesis)
21 Dec 1994 04:58:04 GMT (Elaine Morgan) writes:
: I'm a newbie just catching up on the backlog, This is my second
: attempt to respond to a lot of comments in one go, I'm not too sure
: how this thing works.
: Re Bipedalism. There is a growing realisation that b.p. cannot have
: been a response to savannah conditions because it predated the
: emergence of the savannah environment as we know it by millions of
: years. Tim White's recent discovery of Lucy's ancestor A. ramidus
: reinforced this....Recently too K.D.Hunt revealed that among savannah
: chimps the occasional bipedal behaviour is only observed in the wooded
: areas not on the open grassland....Peter Wheeler's thermoregulatory
: hypothesis has had a good innings but his conclusions are challenged
: by three other anthropologists in current issue of Journ. Hum.
: Evol...Re bipedalism emerging to carry foraged food from savannah back
: to trees: what food? Handsful of seeds, nuts, berries? The trek back
: would consume more energy than these would supply, and b.p. long
: predated hunting....Re b.p. emerging to spot distant predators: it is
: also a great way of enabling them to spot you - and they run faster.

[Numerous other points deleted]

I want to deal with only one point. That of:

:Re b.p. emerging to spot distant predators: it is also a great way of
:enabling them to spot you - and they run faster.

I think this demostrates a lack of understanding of the benefits that
group living confers to individuals, and particularly, the group defence
strategies that are available and are used by primate groups in the face
of some fearsome predators, eg leopards, lions, etc.

IMO, being able to spot predators early is extremely useful to group
living species, and allows them to quickly deploy their other strategies
to minimize the damage to the group. Moreover, it does not matter much
from an evolutionary point of view, if one individual (male) is killed
by a predator. It is interesting to note that baboons employ a strategy
of making lots of noise and placing lower ranking males between the
threat and the rest of the troop (particularly the females, children,
and highest ranking male).

If hominids were similar to chimpanzees in their mating habits,
adult males would have much to gain from dying for the females and
their offspring, as any infant could be theirs.

So, I think that there are very strong grounds for discarding this

: Elaine Morgan.

Richard Sharpe,, Ph: 61-8-235-7237, FAX: ...-7299
Digital Equipment Corporation, 139 Frome St, Adelaide 5001, South Australia, OZ
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