Re: AAT reply from Elaine Morgan

Troy Kelley (
Fri, 30 Dec 1994 14:03:40 GMT

Subject: Re: AAT reply from Elaine Morgan
From: Phillip Bigelow,
Date: Thu, 29 Dec 1994 18:41:43 GMT
In article <> Phillip Bigelow, writes:
> (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
>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.
> <pb>
>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
>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
>a predator. It is a very dangerous animal in its own right. A small,
>semi-aquatic primate would be a very slow sprinter/swimmer in the water.
>addition, it isn't as dangerous an animal as the hippo is, so it would
>no "last-resort" defenses if (heaven forbid) it were ever overtaken in
> <pb>


Thanks for your post about the feline ancestors. I knew there had to be
some cats in Africa. And, for once I agree with your last post, that
things would be dangerous for a "small,obese, semi-aquatic primate".
Although no one ever said anything about an "obese" primate, and I think
your comparison to a hippo is streatching it a bit, but I do think that
the world was a very dangerous place for our early ancestors, whether it
was in the water OR on the plains.

Troy Kelley