Re: Waiter, there's an ape in my soup!

David M woodcock (
26 Dec 1994 22:53:28 GMT

Very interesting information on bonobo fish foraging.

My guess is that this behavior is indeed a "primitive retention"
from the common ape-hominid ancestor. But then I think
tool use and cooperative hunting found
in common chimps are as well. In this I follow Menzel's

We need good Pan fossils dating to 4-2 Ma. My guess is they'll
be more similar to bonobos than to common chimps.

My notion of the late Miocene adaptation is the least specialized
of the apes widening its diet --eating more small creatures, insects,
and fish. Using tools -- termite probes, stones to crack nuts,
digging sticks -- to get more food. And learning the rudiments
of group defense and cooperative hunting from intense resource
competition with various monkey species at fruiting trees. By the
time hominids begin spending much time on savanna they are
one of the most flexible of the opportunistic foragers.

They are ready not only to scavenge hyena kills, but armed with
clubs and sharp bones prepared to confront the giant baboons of
the period, and to pick off the occasional kid/foal/etc. Thus, sexual
dimorphism is also a pre-adaptation.

The more we learn of the range of nonhuman hominoid behavior, and
of the Pliocene fossils the less improbable and more inevitable
the Mio-Pliocene adaptations that set the stage for Homo appear.

Philip, is there any evidence of lions,cheetah,leopards in
Africa before 2.5 Ma ? My impression was at least the lion
evolved in Eurasia. what evidence is there ?

--David Woodcock