Suff'rin' on the savannah (was Re: AAT reply from Elaine Morgan)

11 Jan 1995 09:24:34 GMT

In <> writes:

` I haven't seen data on this (I still say this would be a great thesis
` topic!) but I expect that a man could easily catch a medium-sized ungulate
` within a half mile when the temperature is above blood temperature, and
` under those conditions a lion won't even look at you. An early hominid
` wouldn't need to run a marathon.
Sorry, but I don't think I can buy that. A lion could easily
overtake a small bipedal hominid without even breaking into
a lope. And considering the hominid's utter lack of defences,
she becomes the preferred course for lunch. The only other
prey animals out there are either extremely fast sprinters,
or tough customers equipped with nasty sharp bits. The little
hominids would be the proverbial free lunch. Also consider
that a lot of other prey animals breed yearly, and produce
rapidly maturing offspring. I can't see hominids venturing
out into the savannah until they have mastered the technology
and social organization for a rock-throwing, branch-wielding,
howling group defense. The noon-day sun won't be enough to
slow down a hungry predator.

` By the way, I wouldn't call any of the hominids scavengers; I think a more
` accurate term is "opportunistic". They ate what they could get, but always
` the premium food is animal flesh, both muscle and organ meat.
Again, that's a bit of a leap. Our dentition is still optimized
for a fructivore. Seems to me it would take quite a while for
our little arboreal friend to get to the point where she could
down a mass of rotting meat without dropping dead from the
bacterial toxins.

It seems to me that wherever it might be, the first tree folk
to plant their wobbly legs back on terra firma had to have
somewhere relatively safe to get their chops together before
they struck out onto the open grassland. By the time they
were able to take their place on the savannah, all or at least
most of the really interesting developments must have already
taken place.

========================================================================== <== faster % Pete Vincent % Disclaimer: all I know I
% learned from reading Usenet.