Re: Morgan and creationists

Karen (
Sun, 28 Jul 1996 01:26:25 -0700

Elaine Morgan wrote:

> The fossil record shows that all the Rift Valley hominids died at the
> water's edge - on the edges of lakes, in river beds, in swamps , in
> flood plains. All the fossil hunters have been taught that that is
> because of taphonomicakl bias - that is where they died, but only a
> naive amateur would imagine that that was where they lived.

I am not sure exactly what you mean here. What sort of taphonomical bias
are you talking about? Lots of populations of humans live near water, in
the present and in the past. I don't think that anybody can argue with
that. One only has to look at the archaeological record to see the many
prehistoric peoples who lived near waters' edge and supported themselves
with a fishing/diving/type economy. I hunt for fossils but nobody has
ever told me that only a naive amateur would imagine that a person lived
close to water. While it is true that many animals go to water when they
are sick and some die there, I don't think anybody contends that no
hominids ever lived near water.

> So when they dig up a skull, they have been conditioned to say to
> themselves "How fascinating. This creature could have lived on the
> savanna, or maybe in the mosaic, or perhaps in the woodland. Anywhere,
> in fact, except where I found it."

I don't think you are being quite fair here. In some sense, we are all
conditioned from the day we are born (and some would contend from before
the day we are born). One could argue that you too have been conditioned
and biased regarding taphonimical issues, but what would be the point?
> I quite accept that their watery graves do not prove they or many
> of their relatives didn't live
> in some other place where their bones would not have been preserved.
> But don't try to tell me their watery graves prove they did *not*
> live by the water. They leave the question wide open.

I didn't see the original post and can't argue with your statement there!
I would have to agree that a watery grave doesn't constitute proof that
an animal didn't live by water.