Re: Ramidus Bipedal?

NeilFoglia (
9 Jun 1995 21:01:27 -0400

"Keith A. Dever" <> writes:

>Has it been determined whether A. ramidus was bipedal? If it was not,
>what will be done with the genus?

>Keith Dever

The question of bipedalism has not, I believe been determined. Although I
think we will be hearing something on this soon.

Regarding the genus. Last time I answered a similar question I got myself
into some hot water.
White et al have recently made available the new genus designation of
Ardipithecus for the Aramis hominids. (Nature May 4, 1995)
Last time I tried to state this I made the error of declaring that the
name of these hominids had been "officially change". That statement was
immediately pounced on by Dr. T.R. Olson. From him I learned that there
is some controversy as to the taxonomic placement of these finds. I have
since noted that in Tattersall's "The Fossil Trail" the end papers have an
illustration which parenthetically includes the name which Olson mentioned
to me,( i.e., A. praegens). Tattersall unfortunately does not offer an

As for the last question, that is, what if the Aramis hominds are found
not to be bipedal, what effect on the genus will this have? Since I enjoy
going out on a limb, my guess is that if they were not bipedal, then the
repercussions will not be confined to the genus designation but may ignite
a controversy over the family designation as well. If I am not mistaken,
bipedalism is one of the most important characteristic of the family
hominidae. Any attempt to include the Aramis hominids in the family
hominidae would then have to consider the status of the family Pongidae.
With the two families be merged? Or will a new family be established to
accomodate the Aramis finds? Another option might be to broaden the
characteristics of the family hominidae beyond bipedalism. I am not quite
sure how a cladistic classification method would resolve this. But I'm
sure the arguments would be very interesting and informative.

Now that I've speculated a bit I guess I should be prepared to take my
lumps. Well folks, fire away. I'll just chalk it up as another learning

Neil Foglia