Ralph L Holloway (
Wed, 5 Jul 1995 11:01:42 -0400

On Tue, 4 Jul 1995, Elaine Morgan wrote:

> I cannot resist quoting from a new book by Daniel.C. Dennett (pub Simon
> and Schuster) highly praised by Richard Dawkins, Jared Diamond, Edward
> O. Wilson, et al. He says;
> "During the last few years, when I have found myself in the company of
> distinguished biologists, evolutionary theorists,
> paleo-anthropologists, and other experts, I have often asked them just
> to tell me, please, exactly why Elaine Morgan must be wrong about the
> AAT."
> He continues: " I haven't yet had a reply worth mentioning, aside from
> those who admit, with a twinkle in their eyes, that they have often
> wondered the same thing."

I haven't read Dennett yet, but to rely on Dawkins, Diamond, and
E.O. Wilson (the latter one of the most foremost entemologists of our
time, a real expert on insect sociality) as some sort of argument against
antiATT positions is simply nuts. One reason you have so few
palaeoanthropologists tackling the ATT position is that most simply do
not regard either the Hardy or Morgan position to be credible position,
one with a suite of anatomical characteristics, functional
interrelationships, geochronicity, and fossil evidence that is anywhere
near as parsimoniuous as the classical alternative, i.e., an adaptation
to increasing dessication, much of it one the interface of forest and
"savannah", the latter being "dessicated" only relative to the former.
For all I know, the Pope may prefer the Hardy-Morgan paradigm, but
it hardly makes it any more appealing or worthy of contemplation. I've
been in the game for 31 years now since I took my doctorate at Berkeley
in '64, and almost all of the hundred or so colleagues I've met simply
roll their eyes up into their frontal lobes when the ATT thing is
discussed. The Press enjoys all this no end, and so makes it possible for
many a screwball theory to be aired, dissected, rehashed, and so forth.
There is a market for all this, and all the better, I guess. Reading
through these posts makes it clear that prottagonists and antagonists
alike have to sharpen their appreciation of what is evidence and what
isn't, and in that sense some progress is made. In the end, we are
witnessing religious behavior here, however, when people such as Dawkins,
Diamond, and Wilson are trotted out as the experts, who, with twinkles in
their eyes, suggest that perhaps Hardy-Morgan are on to something. This
is primitive logic and religious posturing. Try it with some expert
paleoanthropologists who actually study bipedal locomotion such as Russel
Tuttle, Owen Lovejoy, Jack Prost, Bruce Lattimer, Morbeck, Stern, Alan
Walker, Leslie Aiello, und so weiter...
Hence the removal of my hat to those interested enough to join
battle. Ralph Holloway.