Re: I have a question...

J. Moore (
Sun, 14 May 95 14:53:00 -0500

He> Jack Dart ( wrote:
He> : Can anyone tell me if there has been research done looking for the
He> : ancestors of non human primates. All that I've ever heard about
He> : or have been taught is that Homo arises from Australopithecus.
He> : I want to know if maybe it is possible that the so called robust
He> species
He> : of Aust. are actually precursors to modern Gorilla.

He> : Any suggestions, or proof?

He> There's lots of publications on this. You might start with the new
He> Cambridge book. (Encyclopedia of something... It's cocktail-table
He> in paperback.) Gorilla is not descended from any Australopithecus
He> species. In my character database, there are at least 10 major
He> characteristic changes seen in A. species that G. lacks, and perhaps
He> half dozen in the reverse direction.
He> --
He> Harry Erwin

Further, the by now pretty extensive evidence from molecular studies
indicates a divergence from gorillas (and chimps) much earlier than the
various robust australopithecines. Of course, one thing that'd be nice
to have would be more fossils of "proto-gorillas" and "proto-chimps";
the lack of these fossils (probably due to the type of habitat they seem

to be stuck in, and which their ancestors likely were as well) makes the
hominid fossil record look wonderfully full. It's certainly not that
people aren't looking. (Sometimes it seems that people get the idea
that fossil hunters just go around looking for hominids, and throw
whatever else they find on a trash heap. "Ah, that's just a
million-year-old chimp...," as the paleoanthropologist flips it over
a shoulder.) Believe me, they really *want* to find those old apes.

Jim Moore (