Sweating and Bipedalism

Phil Nicholls (pn8886@csc.albany.edu)
11 Jan 1995 20:37:54 GMT

In article <3evin2$7hr@newsbf02.news.aol.com>
patdooley@aol.com (Pat Dooley) writes:

> The fossil evidence strongly suggests scavenging by early
> homos. The signs of bones being cracked for its marrow are
> unmistakable. That was one niche where they might have had a
> chance after the predators had finished with a carcass. The
> AAT proponents would suggest the bone-splitting skill was
> aquired cracking open shell fish and crustacea.

This is because the AAT proponents don't bother to look at
data, they prefer to make it up as they go along. If you
would bother to look at an ethogram for chimpanzees you will
find that they use rocks to open hard shelled fruits. Since
the behavior exists in chimpanzees it is unlike to owe its
origin to aquatic adaptations (which never occurred in the
first place).

>> I'm suggesting that an early development of the sweat system
>> may be the factor (along with a highly developed social
>> system, of course, linked with our unique mental adaptations)
>> which eliminates the problem of the disadvantageous
>> intermediates. Bipedalism isn't as uniquely human as our sweat
>> system. Ostriches run all over the savanna.

> Both are equally unique. The Ostrich is not bipedal in the
> human sense because its legs, spine and pelvis are not aligned
> in a vertical plane. The penguin is the closest thing to a
> bipedal bird. Eccrine sweating is uniquely or nearly unique to
> humans. It is used by any non-primate savannah animal, it
> isn't used by any other ape, and I doubt Nicholas Phillips
> claims that it occurs amongst monkeys.

Neither is unique. All primates can walk bipedally. Some are
able do it better than others. How quickly you forget the
bonobo example I posted not long ago. All birds are bipeds
when they are not in flight and are therefore not good
analogies. It doesn't matter that the biomechanics are not
identical becauses humans have merely specialized a behavior
that exists in all primates, just as gibbons have specialized

As for sweating, about a week ago I post a detailed look at
the subject. Sweating in primates is a function of brain size
and body size. When primates do sweat, they sweat with their
eccrine glands which are distributed in rhesus monkeys and
chimpanzees EXACTLY as they are in humans. I have been
waiting for a response from Elaine on this since the article
that lead me to most of the sources was in the same issue of
the Journal of Human Evolution as the Wheeler article she
cites in her book.

> And a question for the noon-day sun niche theorists: what
> happened during the other half of the year; the wet season?

On the bushvelt (savanna) the rainy season is distinguish from
the dry season in that during the rainy season it does rain
every once in a while. When it does rain you get these
tremendous downpoors and impressive thunderstorms which last
about a half hour or so. Then the sun comes out and it is hot

Philip "Chris" Nicholls Department of Anthropology
Institute for Hydrohominoid Studies SUNY Albany
University of Ediacara pn8886@cnsunix.albany.edu
"Semper Alouatta"