Re: AAT Questions...

Alex Duncan (
27 Jul 1995 22:33:14 GMT

In article <3v8t61$> pete, VINCENT@REG.TRIUMF.CA

>My objection was not to reasoned debate, nor even dismissal of
>the hypothesis, if well justified. I simply object to the idea
>that there is no merit to speculation which cannot presently
>be resolved using fossil evidence. Consider, for instance, the
>discrediting of the `man the noble hunter' school of theories
>of human origin, in favour of the slinking carcass thief. Neither
>has any fossil support, but the latter is a better match to
>the probable abilities of a nascent biped looking for a new
>niche. While probably never demonstrable as it stands, the
>scavenger idea may lead to further speculations which prove
>ultimately useful. Of course it also has contemporary implications,
>which reflect the evolution of social values since the beginning
>of the century when the hunter theme was dominant.

The neat thing about the scavenging hypothesis is that it enables us to
make predictions about what kind of carcass consumption sequences we
would see, and so on. Some of these predictions have been validated.
For example, there are bones in Pleistocene localities that have cut
marks from tools on them, on top of carnivore tooth marks. Pretty
substantial proof that hominids had secondary access to the carcass, I

The AAH should also permit predictions about what we see in the fossil
record. I haven't seen much of it yet though.

Alex Duncan
Dept. of Anthropology
University of Texas at Austin
Austin, TX 78712-1086