Re: On the importance of sticks.

Peter Mitchison (
Fri, 17 Mar 1995 02:25:20 +0000

In article: <3jqshc$> Robert Scott <> writes:

> In article <> Peter Mitchison,
> writes:
> >When pondering the process by which our ancestors left the relative
> >safety of the trees and walked abroad on the savannah,
> And...
> In article <> Peter Mitchison,
> writes:
> >
> >So having moved our ancestors successfully on to the plains, why did
> >they then stand upright? Because they could see further, of course. If
> You presume that savannah environments and the evolution of bipedalism
> correspond in time. There is considerable evidence that this is perhaps
> not so. Fully bipedal hominids may have preferred forests or woodlands
> and morphological evidence suggests the were also climbers.
And here I was thinking that, with both behaviour and sticks fossilising
poorly, my beautiful theory was safe from inconvenient facts. I suppose that
you could imagine a half way house situation where the proto-hominids (is
there an official term for the first apes on our branch of the family tree?)
slept in the trees but took day-trips on to the plains to feed. I would like
to hear more about the evidence you mention to see whether that is a

There is another matter that may lend weight to my more general point about
weapon carrying. Hominids have (uniquely among primates I believe) silly
little mouths and pathetic dentition. It is hard to see what advantage this
characteristic gives us but surely this change could not have taken place if
the oral weaponry of our cousins had been needed. If the hominids didn't need
it they must have surely have had something else to defend ourselves with.
I have seen no discussion of this matter in the popular literature. Is there
an accepted theory?

Peter Mitchison EMail

We have all of the ingredients, we just don't know what we are cooking. Douglas Adams.