Re: Is this all there is?

17 May 1995 13:08:29 GMT

Phil Nicholls ( wrote:
: In article <3paehe$>,
: Erin Miller <> wrote:
: >In article <3p96uc$>,
: >Phil Nicholls <> wrote:
: >>
: >>Cremo and Thompson do a fairly good job of describing some of the
: >>debate over the Latolei footprints. However, there conclusion that
: >>this is evidence for anatomically modern Homo sapiens rests on the
: >>premise that if the foot was modern the rest of the critter was
: >>modern also. Modern means just like ours.
: >>
: >>Wrong. Very wrong. In most organisms mosaic evolution is the rule,
: >>not the exception. Assuming that the footprints are modern-looking,
: >>this may simply be evidence for an early species of Homo, something
: >>pre- Homo habilis. Anatomically modern Homo sapiens is defined by
: >>features of the skull, not the foot.
: >
: >True. And regardless of what sort of creature made those tracks, the
: >evidence is still there (crystal clear, IMHO) that the foot bones which
: >are attributed to Austalopithecus afarensis, as much as the D.J/T.W. crew
: >want to huff and puff and blow the house down, IN NO WAY MADE THOSE
: >FOOPRINTS. I've yet to hear a sound argument that complies with the
: >anatomy and the footprints.
: >
: >-erin

: I agree. So what do you think? Early Homo, pre-habilis (sensu lato)?

: Yes, I know we can't KNOW, but what does you gut tell you?

My database keeps telling me that H. erectus did not descend from
whatever it is that we keep calling H. habilis (which seems fairly
closely related to A. africanus), but is instead a sister group. There
are transitional specimens, in the 1470 group, but the main group of the
habilines were still too arboreal at the stratigrafic levels we know them
at. Interestingly, Ardipithecus appears to be defined on the basis of
plesiomorphic characteristics, and is closer to an ancestor of Homo (and
of Pan/Gorilla) than A. afarensis is. The rumored discovery of
Paranthropus in 5 MY old sediments, suggests that all we have at present
is a fairly sparse sample of a complex evolutionary radiation, with a lot
of local subspecies.

Harry Erwin
PhD student in comp neurosci: "Glitches happen" & "Meaning is emotional"