Re: Death of a hypothesis

Elaine Morgan (
Thu, 4 Jul 1996 12:52:00 GMT

In article <4q00ps$> wrote...

> Elaine Morgan (Elaine Morgan <>) writes:
> >In article <> wrote...
lf a big favor. Go to your local bookstore
> and order two books. One is called _An Introduction to Human
> Evolutionary Anatomy_ by Leslie Aiello and Christopher Dean (Academic
> Press). The other is by Tim White and is either called Human
> Osteology or The Human Skeleton, I can't remember which. I have the
> former but not the latter but I have USED the latter and it is
> excellent.

Thank you for the refs.>
I;'ve got the Aiello and Dean. I'll get the other if I can track it
down. And I'll look up the relevant passage in the a & d. ( I use it
for reference, I don't claim to have read it all through)

> While your at it, get a copy of John Fleagle's Primate Adaptation and
> Evolution.
> The posterior nasal spine is formed in the midline by the horizontal
> plates of the palatine bones. This ridge can be felt by rubbing your
> tongue along the roof of your mouth toward the back. It has
> absolutely nothing to do with the shape or support of the nose but is
> present in all primates.

Okay we're talking terminology again. Mea culpa. I shouldn;t talk about
anything until I've acquired the vocabulary. I was told quite fiercely
by a german professor in Valkenburg that it was rubbish for me to try to
correlate the down-pointing nose with anything that happened prior to
Lucy because, he said, the nasal spine did not appear until erectus.
He must have been using the wrong term too.
> The nasospinale is an anatomical landmark in the midsaggital plane of
> the face at the lower margin of the left and right nasal appetures.
> It is not a bone but a point on the skull used to take measurements of
> nasal height. It is also present on all primates.
> The bone seen in midline dividing the nasal cavity is called the
> vomer. The vomer provides no support for the fleshy part of the nose
> and is present in all primates.

I know what the vomer is and \I was not talking about that
> Finally we have the nasal bones themselves. The anterior nasal spine
> is formed by the meeting of the nasal bones in the midsaggital plane.
> All primates have nasal bones and an anterior nasal spine.
> The most forward point of the nasal bones in Homo sapiens projects
> beyond the nasospinale. In all other species of primate and in all
> other hominids, with the excception of neandertals, this is not the
> case.

This is what I was talking about. I was under the impression that
there was an incipient tendency to such a projection from erectus
onward. I'll try to track down the illustration which gave me that
impression and if I find it \I'll give you the reference.

> In humans the nasal bones are responsible for the size and shape of
> the nose. There is considerable variation in the size, shape and
> orientation of the nasal bones.

You seem to be adumbrating the idea that since the nasal bones vary so
much in humans, that lessens the significance of the fact that the
conformation in all humans is nevertheless different from the
conformation in all other apes, specifically by the fact that in us it
projects and in them it does not project.
> Find some primate skulls, Elaine and look at them in profile. Then
> look at a human skull.
I have got lots of pictures of them . What am I supposed to see that
would dissuade me from thinking there might be some reason why the most
forward point of the nasal bones projects in us and not in them?