Re: bipedalism and AAH

Phil Nicholls (
7 May 1995 00:17:25 GMT

In article <3ogj13$>,
Kevyn Loren Winkless <> wrote:
>In <> (J. Moore) writes:

>>Actually, as Phil Nichols has pointed out (repeatedly!) in this
>>newsgroup, actual tests with chimpanzees has demonstrated that even for
>>those knuckle-walking apes, bipedalism is no less efficient a mode of
>>getting around. So the entire above argument is meaningless; the
>>question has been answered by scientific experimentation.

>Yes, this is the case, but this also assumes that the common ancestor was
>a knucklewalker. My explanation above covers the possibility (which
>seems to have been repeatedly asserted by AAH proponents) that this
>ancestor was as yet just a generalized primate, unspecialized for either
>knucklewalking or bipedalism. The question I was replying to was: why
>would an unspecialized primate develop toward bipedalism rather than
>quadrapedalism (or something to that effect)? Anyway, we're saying the
>same thing (I think you might have confused what I wrote with inclusions
>from previous posts).

Sorry, no. That is, the studies which I have cited repeatedly disproves
the assumption that bipedalism is less efficient that quadrupedalism at
least when it comes to walking. The measurments were taken on chimpanzees
because they are living and it is somewhat difficult to take these
readings on fossils.

My point is that the common ancestor was not a knuckle-walker as has
been fairly well demonstrated, that it was most likely an arboreal
ape (clearly indicated by Lucy's limb bone proportions and curved
toes) and very likely a suspensory feeder. The latter adapation
would predispose it to be a biped when it moved on the round, much
the same as gibbons and spider monkeys who are modern suspensory
feeders. This is not to imply that humans are descended from either
spider monkeys or gibbons.

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