Re: Okay seriously now (AAT again)

Phil Nicholls (
26 Dec 1994 18:08:18 GMT

In article <3ddsdi$>,
Pat Dooley <> wrote:
>>This is a far cry from the characterization offerred by Pat that
>>A. afarensis walked like she was wearing flippers. Sussman and
>>Stern attribute the inefficience to retention of some arboreal
>>adaptation. How this helps the AAH position is beyond me.
>I was quoting Roger Lewin. I've heard the arboreal adaptation line
>before but it leaves a lot of questions open. Chimps and Gorillas
>are less arboreal than their common ancestor (and ours). They
>are spend most of their time on the ground. Our ancesors, according to
>stayed in the trees longer or went back to the trees before
>returning to the ground, much more erect and bipedal than other
>apes. I couldn't accept such an evolutionary U-turn without
>lots of fossil evidence.

Roger Lewin is a science writer, not an anthropologist, zoologist or
any other branch of science concerned with evolution. He does an
excellent job of describing the significance of scientific work and
I miss his contributions to the journal Science on recent developments
in various fields.

There is no evolutionary u-turn involved here. I suggest you actually
read Stern and Sussman's article. They claim that many aspects of
A. afarensis postcranial anatomy suggest that they were not completely
terrestrial. They were probably more terrestrial than modern chimps
but still returned to the trees. The limb proportions and the amount
of phalange curvature are compatable with those of the bonobo.

Given the fact that you have accepted the AAH without ANY fossil evidence
I find it strange that you would have problems with a conclusion based on
some of the best analysis of australopithecine postcrania available.

Philip "Chris" Nicholls Department of Anthropology
Institute for Hydrohominoid Studies SUNY Albany
University of Ediacara
"Semper Alouatta"