Re: Who Killed the Australopithecines?

Phil Nicholls (
21 Apr 1995 14:07:52 GMT

In article <>, BARD <> wrote:

>>Please note the last sentence in the second paragraph of my original
>>message. Australopithecus robustus may have continued to exist until
>>as recently as 700,000 years ago, well after the extinction of
>>Homo habilis and well after Homo erectus left Africa.
>>The only sign of violence we can see in any of the Australopithecine
>>fossils is some evidence that leopards considered them good prey.
>>Your proposal is an extraordinary claim and extraordinary claims
>>require extraordinary evidence. You have presented NO evidence
>>MY position is that there is no evidence as to what caused the
>>extinction of Australopithecines and therefore there is no reason
>>to suspect and unnatural demise.
>>Phil Nicholls "To ask a question you must first

> I repeat....
> What *EVIDENCE* do you have that A. species demise
> was due to natural extinction?

I am, perhaps mistakenly, under the impression that we are talking
about scientific evidence here. To repeat my previous answer,
I don't know what caused the extinction of any species of Australo-
pithecines. You are the one proposing a specific cause and therefore
the burden of proof is on you, not me.

I assume natural extinction because there is no evidence to suggest
otherwise. You are the one proposing a specific cause. All you are
being asked to do is to support it with some evidence.

Try completing the following statement:

IF Homo ___________ [fill in species] killed off Australopithecines,
THEN we should find _____________________________________________
__________________________________________________ [indicate
observations from the fossil record that you predict should indicate

To put forward a hypothesis you have to have an IF/THEN relationship
between your explanation and the data.

If you can't generate predictions then you don't have a hypothesis.

Phil Nicholls "To ask a question you must first
Department of Anthropology know most of the answer."
SUNY Albany -Robert Sheckley SEMPER ALLOUATTA