Re: AAT reply from Elaine Morgan

Sir CPU (
28 Dec 1994 15:32:56 -0500

David Woodcock writes:

The proto-hominids survived; selection on the savanna favored
improved bipedalism. Several nonobvious factors favored survival.
There were fewer types of large carnivores on the savanna than there
are today. Very probably the modern big cats were absent; certainly
the canids were. Hyenas are night hunters. Thus foraging during
the day wasn't quite as dangerous as one might think.


No big cats in Africa? I think you are mistaken. In fact, I think they
were actually BIGGER than modern day cats. For example the "saper-toothed"
tiger which fed on mammoths was larger than the modern day lion.

There is also a fairly famous example of a leopard tooth which fits quite
snuggly into an early human skull.

And I would be very surprised if there were not canids in Africa as well.
The modern day hunting dogs and jackels have ancestors which go back
millions of years, certainly farther than human ancestors.

Also, hyenas are very opportunistic. The will hunt at night, or in the
late afternoon. It depends on the food supply.

I would imagine that the savannha was a very dangerous place for our early
ancestors. Certainly for a slow bipedial ape, with relatively poor earing
(especially compared to other savanna creatures) and almost no sense of
smell. While our eysight is good, it really is not much better than most
carnavoirs, who can actually see much better in the dark than we can, and
probably better than our early ancestors as well.

This is one of the problems I have with the savanna theory happening early
after our tree-dwelling stage. I think it is obvious that the savanna
would be a very dangerous place for our slow ancestors, and our ancestors
could only have ventured out onto the savannas after they had developed
suffecient tool technology in order to protect themselves.

Troy Kelley