Re: AAH update (was: Bipe

J. Moore (
Sat, 8 Jul 95 13:58:00 -0500

Pa> In that case, please advise which other primates have gone through the
Pa> major skeletal changes that constrain them to 100% bipedalism. (Gibbons
Pa> don't work; they are virtually 100% arboreal and so far off the human
Pa> line as to be irrelevant to the discussion).

As I have pointed out before, it is laughably ludicrous for you or any
AAT-supporter to say that brachiactors such as gibbons are "so far off
the human line as to be irrelevant to the discussion" when *their*
theory depends on comparisons between humans and whales, dolphins, pigs,
hippos (both regular and pygmy), sea gulls, crocodiles, sea snakes and
turtles, seals, sea otters, and "any hairless aqautic mammal", not to
mention (at least somewhat closer to home) Japanese macaques and proboscis
monkeys. Why do you continue to insist that gibbons alone, out of all
the animal world, receive this special "not applicable" treatment?

Pa> >Pa> It's obvious that the last ape to reach
Pa> >Pa> the safety of a tree would be
Pa> >Pa> the first one eaten.
Pa> >
JM> >See how chimps take care of the problem in similar environments.

Pa> You miss the point. I was referring to species, and to the old joke
Pa> about the two safari hunters who, when they were out of ammunition, were
Pa> confonted by a rather hungry lion. Hunter #1 says, "Let's run".
Pa> #2 says, "Why? The lion can run faster than either of us.". #1 replies,
Pa> "Yes, but I can run faster than you." The tottering ape going through
Pa> the transition to exclusive bipedalism would always be #2 - what I'd
Pa> call a "disadvantageous intermediate".

You continue to insist that the only method available to deal with
land-based predators is to run away. If, instead, you'd like to look at
reality, see how chimps take care of the problem in similar environments.

Pa> << yet more nonense about sharks deleted>>

You just *hate* those facts about predators, don't you...

Pa> The point remains; there is no evidence that sharks would have been a
Pa> major predator of semi-bipedal apes frolicking in the shallows.

I do think that they were minor compared to the horrendous problems that
crocodiles would've presented... Among sea otters, only about 10-15%
of the dead each year are due to shark attacks...but then the sharks
are actually after the harbor seals, sea lions, and elephant seals.
That's still "a major predator", but I don't think they would be "*the*
major predator".

Pa> If a semi-bipedal ape being pursued by a leopard tried to escape up a
Pa> tree, I suspect it wouldn't have a hope in hades.

As I have repeatedly shown, a similar animal, the chimpanzee, doesn't
even have a problem with leopards when they're *on the ground* (except
in heavily forested areas). Rather than *suspecting*, you might try
*inspecting*...the literature, that is.

Pa> If a land mammal makes it to
Pa> shore when pursued by a crocodile, it is generally safe. (Just saw
Pa> nature program showing hapless zebras stupidly trying to cross crocodile
Pa> infested waters despite ample evidence that preceding zebras were having
Pa> a little difficult with the crocs. Those that got ashore were not
Pa> pursued, although some lions were waiting to catch the injured).

You must have missed these parts of another post:

pg. 83:
"From this concealed position they can launch themselves out of
the water with astonishing speed, and may make a rush of several meters
up a beach to snap at prey approaching the shoreline. Even large
crocodilians are capable of vaulting almost vertically out of the water
to a height of more then 1.5 meters (5 feet) to snap at birds or animals
on river bancks above them."

pg. 176:
"The final lunge may carry the attacking crocodile several times its
own length up the beach. Acceleration imparted by the powerful tail
is combined with a simultaneous forward swing of the hind legs as the
crocodile beaches. The toes and feet dig into the bank and the powerful
legs lever the body upward. If the bank is steep, the crocodile appears
to vault straight out of the water. If the prey is still out of reach,
the hind-leg stride may be repeated and the crocodile may lower its head
and hook it over the top of the bank to support its body for another
stride. Many an unsuspecting antelope or relaxed fisherman has been
seized in this form of attack, even when 1.5 meters (5 feet) above the

from: 1989 *Crocodiles and Alligators*
Various editors and contributors: Consulting Editor, Charles A. Ross
(Museum Specialist, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, National Museum of
Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., USA)
Facts on File: New York and Oxford.

Of course the real problem is your hominid has to make it to shore
first, when crocodiles are generally not detected before they attack,
and once they grab you, they rarely let go.

Pa> On statistical grounds alone we can dismiss the shark threat. Whether or
Pa> not apes marooned on Danakil island had anything to fear from mythical
Pa> African Salt Water crocodiles remains to be seen.

Statistics? You mean like "There are three kinds of lies...lies,
damnable lies, and statistics"? And you're now claiming that Nile
crocodiles are "mythical"... My, what long arms you have...

Pa> The point is that the slightest disadvantage in the short term
Pa> translates into extinction in the long run.

This distinctly non-evolutionary view of life is the notion that "only
perfectly adapted species survive". It wasn't correct when the Sebago
Shoe Company said it in their ad in the *New Yorker*, and it isn't
correct when you say it.

Pa> You obviously don't understand that process or you would not have used
Pa> the phrase "critically disadvantageous" and gone on about surving "long
Pa> enough to raise a few kids".

Pa> Oh dear. I see you believe that evolution will proceed so long as the
Pa> adaptations are not "horribly disadvantageous".

Like it or not, that's how evolution works.

Pa> Since your understanding of evolution is so limited, it
Pa> is obviously pointless to discuss the problem of disadvantageous
Pa> intermediates with you.

Feel free not to. But if you bring up that phony and non-evolutionary
"principle" again, I'll have to point out to you yet again that it
doesn't exist.

JM> >You know, like standing around in crocodile-infested water
JM> >4-8 hours a day would be.

Pa> Now, that's a great example of a strawman argument for you.
Pa> Pat Dooley

The definition of a strawman argument is this:
Strawman Argument: (np) 1. Stating a misrepresented version of an
opponent's argument for the purpose of having an easier target to
knock down.

You have agreed that your purported aquatic ancestors would be standing
or swimming around the water for 4-8 hours a day, and we know that
crocodiles, rather than being "mythical" or "hypothetical" (as some
would have it), are actually very real, large, vicious predators which
have lived in large numbers in all the various habitats that have been
proposed for the putative aquatic hominid. So that wasn't a strawman
argument at all, but instead a real good question.
Any theory of a land-based transition *must* deal with the problem of
predators; why is a theory you espouse to be accorded this special
"no explanations required" treatment?

So maybe you'll be so good as to explain how your purported aquatic
ancestors managed to survive while standing around in
crocodile-infested water 4-8 hours a day.

Jim Moore (

* Q-Blue 2.0 *