Re: An alternative to ST and AAT

Phillip Bigelow (
Mon, 02 Dec 1996 20:10:58 -0800

Thomas Clarke wrote:
> In article <> Phillip Bigelow <> writes:
> >1) Collection of raw data (on-going)
> > How many different species of each hominid can we find?
> > How different from each other are these distinct species?
> > Is there a temporal trend in each character-trait change?
> > What is the polarity of this change?

> You omit one thing. How do you go about finding new fossils?
> Do you keep looking in the same old places, or do you hypothesize]
> about the "lifestyles" of early hominids in order to find
> new search locales?

The usual practice in paleontology is to:

1) Find sedimentary rocks of the appropriate age.
2) Determine what processes deposited these rocks. Then,
3) If one is looking for land vertebrates,
then lacustrine and fluvial and aeolian and
floodplain deposits are the
preferred rock facies to prospect.
4) If one is looking for aquatic verts. then scratch
aeolian and floodplain deposits, and just search lacustrine
and fluvial. The paleoenvironment of marine verts is pretty self-

> >2) Analysis of the raw data (on-going, and much to be done)
> ... list of practical research questions omitted for brevity ..

> Also, I think the existence of your list implies that hominid
> fossils are "special". After all they are the fossils of your
> most immediate "ancestors".

Hominid fossils aren't any more special than is a good-quality fossil
Desmatophocinae skull, as far as I am concerned.
My interests are in verts' OTHER than hominid. I was simply suggesting
a list of appropriate questions that can be addressed by analyzing
hard data (fossil evidence). *Some* speculation is required in science,
but I get really bored with excessive speculation. That is why
I tend to stress fossil evidence, rather than the pervasive
tendency of some on this newsgroup to use comparative
soft-tissue anatomy between modern H.s.s. and hypothetical hominids.
The soft tissue anatomy of hypothetical hominids, in addition to those
already-discovered fossil hominids, will never be conclusively