Re: Dissecting the Aquatic Ape: Bipedalism

Philip A. Nicholls (
Sat, 06 Jul 1996 18:55:03 -0400

Paul Crowley wrote:
> In article <>
> "Elaine Morgan" writes:
> > 5 Though it is just remotely possible that we both inherited
> > knuckle-walking strategies and our ancestors later abandoned them, it is
> > highly unlikely. In the ape fetus but not the human one knuckle pads are
> > not found; there is no trace that we ever had them
> I have hair on the backs of my hands and on the proximal phalanx
> of each finger, whereas the last two phallanges of each finger are
> hairless. These latter would have been in contact with the ground
> and possessed knuckle pads had my ancestors ever knuckle-walked.
> Is this a common hss feature? If so, is it evidence of a knuckle-
> walking lca?
> Paul.

This is not evidence of a knuckle-walking lca, Paul. The evidence is
rather strong that the lca was not a knuckle-walker and that this
is a locomotor specialization unique to pongids.

Knuckle-walkers have a facet that supports the hyperextension of the
metacarpal-phlangeal joint. This facet is not present on any hominids
nor is it present in the few postcranial remains available for middle to
late Miocene apes.