Re: AAT reply from Elaine Morgan

Phillip Bigelow (
Thu, 29 Dec 1994 18:41:43 GMT (David M woodcock) writes:

Troy Kelley writes:
>>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.

David Woodcock writes:
>Nope I said "Very probably no modern big cats" when proto-hominids
>emerged on savanna about 5-6 Ma ago.[from context of whole posting
>it was clear I was using proto-hominid as ancestors of hominids and
>African apes.] From my reading of the literature 12 years ago there
>was no evidence of the modern lion in Africa prior to 2 Ma ;
>my memory is not so clear on the leopard, but I think there was
>none for it as well. However, big carnivore fossils are rare;
>some may have turned up since then, hence my caveat.

This African fossil felid faunal list is from R.L. Carroll, _Vertebrate
Paleontology and Evolution_, 1988, p. 633:

Acinonyx Upper Pliocene- Recent, Africa

Afrosmilus Late Miocene Africa

Dinofelis Lower Pliocene, Late Pleistocene Africa

Felis (Leptailurus, Lynx, Neofelis, Panthera, Printinofelis)
Middle Miocene, Recent Africa

Homotherium Upper Pliocene Africa

Lynx Lower Pliocene, Upper Pleistocene Africa

Machairodus Lower Pliocene, Upper Pleistocene Africa

Megantereon Upper Pleistocene Africa

Pseudaelurus Late Miocene Africa

Syrtosmilus Late Miocene Africa

I have no idea what percentage of these cats are large. Someone else will
have to dig up that information. :)

By the way, the sabertooth cat, _Smilodon_, only occurred in North and
South America, and only in the Pleistocene.

Hyaenids appeared in Africa in the Miocene (Savage, 1978).

Canids (dogs) appear in Africa only in the Pleistocene (Berta, 1987).

Savage, R.J.G., 1978. Carnivora. _in_ V.J. Maglio and H.B.S. Cooke
(eds.). Evolution of African Mammals, pp. 249-267. Harvard
University Press.

Berta, A. 1987. Origin, diversity, and zoogeography of South
American Canidae. _in_ B.D. Patterson and R. M. Timm
(eds.). Studies in Neotropical Mammalogy: Essays in Honor of
Philip Hershkovitz. Fieldiana Zoology.

Troy Kelly writes:
>>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

A marginal marine or open coastline for an obese biped like your aquatic
ape, wouldn't help either, as far as quick escapes go. Obese animals
have a hard time evading predators, including the semi-aquatic ones. A
hippo (an obese semi-aquatic) is so slow, that it doesn't even try to evade
a predator. It is a very dangerous animal in its own right. A small, obese,
semi-aquatic primate would be a very slow sprinter/swimmer in the water. In
addition, it isn't as dangerous an animal as the hippo is, so it would have
no "last-resort" defenses if (heaven forbid) it were ever overtaken in the