Re: AAT Questions...reply to E. Morgan...

Ralph L Holloway (
Mon, 17 Jul 1995 22:22:29 -0400

On Mon, 17 Jul 1995, Elaine Morgan wrote:

> Reply to Holloway.
> I will name no more names of people who think I am not a crackpot. I
> won't even betray the one who figured on your proffered list of the
> great and good. In your book they instantly become non-persons, and I
> know that even when the non-persons have become the majority, you will
> still be faithfully flying the flag for the flat-earthers
(This is surely the kettle calling the pot black)
This kind of snotty and simply untrue reply does you no great credit,
Elaine. It shows you to be simply incapable of reason, and having a
propensity to get dirty and go to the mat when it is unnecessary.. If I
demur from
granting Dawkins, EO Wilson, Calvin, and now Robin Dunbar expertise as
researchers into the evolution of human bipedalism, where does that
indicate that I regard them as "non-persons"? Please keep it in mind that
the phrase "non-persons" is yours, not mine. Shows where your mind is,
and it confirms for me that perhaps I should entertain the hypothesis
that it is really you who is the "non-person"... You really want to go down
this personal vindictive road?

> You keep reiterating that there are many brilliant and illustrious
> people (I don't deny the brilliance) who despise AAT. You seem amazed
> that that doesn't make me roll over and play dead. Well, if they opened
> their lips and gave their reasons I might be swayed by their arguments.
> But the tactic of silent contempt, while it may impress their
> students, leaves me cold. Brilliant people have backed the wrong horse
> more than once in scientific history.

This is just ad hominem crap, and I'm frankly surprised you would let it
off your keyboard. I have never said anything about "many brilliant and
illustrious people, blah, blah." As I recall, I said there are several
paleoanthropologists who have spent their lives studying primate
locomotion and hominid bipedalism in particular, I mentioned but a few,
and suggested I had never heard their support for your HYPOTHESIS, (I'm
tired of seeing it elevated to the status of "theory".) If I said they
"despise AAT", I stand corrected, because I've haven't heard anything
positive yet about AAH from the experts, nor have I heard them talking
very seriously about your hypotheses. I'll be truly amazed to discover
long in the future that they backed the wrong horse. .. You ever have
trouble getting your head through the door?

> Thank you for confirming my hunch that you haven't read my last two
> books. It must make it a lot easier to condemn a theory out of hand
> when you don't confuse the issue by finding out what it actually says.

My participation in this thread was to come in after reading so much bad
primatology from your two adherants, Troy and Dooley. But you are
absolutely confirmed in your conclusion, Elaine, I have not read your
books in full, and I am not altogether sure that I should, would, or
will. I have no real investment in theories of bipedalism except to have
a fair sense of what constitutes evidence. All your name dropping
business of the last few posts rubbed me the wrong way re: evidence for
> You said "Nothing's been disproved, Elaine." Does this mean that the
> savannah theory in all its pristine glory, has not been abandoned after
> all? That is odd, because recently on this thread someone who referred
> to the torrid-heat scenario was rebuked for contructing a straw man to
> attack, on the grounds that nobody believes in that any longer. Could
> you perhaps tell us what kind of habitat you personally believe
> Afarensis lived in? That would be really helpful in clarifying the
> matter.

I think A. afarensis lived in a mixture of environments: savannah, Gallery
forest adjacent to streams. I would not expect that their bipedal
adaptation meant that they spent all their time out in the savannah. I
have no problem imagining that they retained some aspects of arboreal
adaptations, such as climbing with greater facility than say, early Homo.
I accept their footprints at Laetoli as being made by A. afarensis, and
that they were truly bipedal. I know of nothing that I have studied in
the last 36 years of my student and professional teaching life that leads
me to accept any of the items you and your followers mention as true
evidence for an aquatic phase in either hominid or hominoid evolution.
I sincerely doubt, however, that my personal beliefs could really be
helpful in "clarifying the matter". I stand by what I said earlier. All
the new finds and analyses of possible arboreal rententions do not mean
that the standard model of bipedal evolution have been disproved. The
newer finds, in particular Ardipithecus, haven't even been described yet.
I mentioned it before and I will say it again. I think, from all I
have read and studied, that the AAH thing is very farfetched, and that I
find it easier to believe that some of the UFO sightings can be proved
more easily than AAH. After all, each of ten billion galaxies has about
ten billion stars, and that's just in this Universe, not counting all the
possible other universes. That one planet in one of these 10 to the 20th
power might be bright enough to solve gravity problems but be stupid
enough to visit Earth seems to me more probable than the scenarios I have
seen here.
Ralph Holloway.