Re: Missing Link (was Human Chimp Gorilla)

Stanley Friesen (
Sun, 28 Jul 1996 03:16:25 GMT

Sorry about the delay in responding - I have been busier than I

Mike Muller <> wrote:
>These examples are not dealing with the morphocharacters possess by the
>classic erectus holotype of keeling, TMJ shape, torus shape and position
>of brain, and occipital characteristics. Which the African material does
>not possess.

The reference I cited - Rightmire's _The Evolution of Homo erectus_,
disagrees with this statement. On page 236 (of my edition) he
discusses a "diagnosis" of _Homo erextus_ that mentions torus
morphology, frontal keeling at the very least as being diagnostic of
that species. He follows this with the statement "_Homo erectus_ as
defined in this way is known from Indonesia, China, northwest Africa,
and the sub-Saharan region." Furthermore, he discusses keeling in the
specimen KNM-ER 3733 earlier (this just from a quick scan of the
index, and a cross-check wih the text).

[Also, the comparisons I cited before were only a small selection of
the large series of comparative grphs in chapter 6]
>> I suspect that African H. erectus came *from* Asia. ...
>> How can this be? Simple - new species tend to arise in small
>> peripheral populations ... In fossil contexts this
>> is called "Punctuated Equilibrium".
>I think tht Gould would take exception to that definition!
Actually, he said so himself in one of his essays in "Natural
History"! Specifically he stated that PE is based on Ernst Mayr's
speciation model as viewed from a geological time perspective.

I just filled in the details.
>> Simply put, I would guess that the origin of Homo erectus was a
>> punctuation event - a rapid evolutionary transition, taking probaly no
>> more than 25,000 years (1,000 generations). Note, this is rather less
>> than the *uncertainties* in the dates of the earliest Asian H.
>> erectus!! This means that the appearance of H. erectus would be
>> virtually instantaneous, fossil-wise.
>The newest Ar/Ar dating of Asian materials is not uncertain and giving
>sound dates for classic erectus from 1.8 on the Mojokertoand the
>thermoluminescence dating is providing dates to much less than 100,000
>for the Ngandong materials.

And, as I said, speciation takes less than one quarter of that span.

[And if the date is cited as "1.8 Mya" then is *is* uncertain to the
tune of aout 100K. It would have to be cited as "1.80 Mya" to have a
*hope* of being in conflict with rapid speciation of the sort I am
talking about - and even then uncertainties as high as +/-15,000 are
possible, I would need to check the original sources for specific
citation of levels of uncertainty -- NO dates are absolutely certain,
all have at least some scope of uncertainty].

The peace of God be with you.

Stanley Friesen