chimps in the CEHE (on the savanna?)

Alex Duncan (
26 Oct 1995 03:38:12 GMT

In article <> H. M. Hubey, writes:

>I'm suggesting that you don't even know what shows
>up in an encyclopedia of human evolution, and certainly
>there are going to be no surprises there.

Well, the folks in the CEHE are more up-to-date than I would have given
them credit for.

It has been suggested that the CEHE is the only reference on human
evolution that Mr. Hubey has ever read. It now appears that he has not
actually read very much of it.

>From the article "Conservation of primates" by RJ Mittermeier & EJ
Sterling, p. 33:

"Some African species, such as baboons (Papio spp.), the vervet monkey
(Cercopithecus aethiops), the patas monkey (Erythrocebus patas) and the
common chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes), live in open or lightly wooded

>From the article "Studying human evolution by analogy" by R Foley, p. 337:

"Recent studies on savanna-dwelling chimpanzees in Senegal and Tanzania
may be particularly relevant [for drawing analogies about early hominid

And now, just in case Mr. Hubey tries to back out of his original

>From J Moore:

>Another is that, for the transitional population, we can surmise, from
>fossil and molecular evidence of relatedness, an animal that is similar
>in mental and physical abilities to chimpanzees, and so can use that
>species' proven ability to survive in open savannah woodland as a model
>for how our ancestors could've done the same.

Hubey's response:

>proven? I thought chimps were forest animals and that their main
>enemy were leopards not lions, hynenas etc.

Hubey has made even more authoritative statements than this that chimps
don't go into open country. Unfortunately, I can't find them, as they
haven't shown up in the archive yet.

So, to summarize...

1) Hubey doesn't know much about the subject matter at hand.

2) More importantly (this goes to the point of why we're having this
discussion), this deals w/ the problem of early hominids in open country.
Hubey and others have suggested that early hominids couldn't have
managed life in open country, because they wouldn't have been able to
deal with the predators there. Chimps were pointed out as a possible
model for early hominid survival in open country. Early
australopithecine species don't differ much in many ways from chimps. In
other words, if chimps CAN survive in relatively open country, this
strongly suggests that australopithecines could have done the same. They
probably even had some advantages over chimps, given their habitually
bipedal mode of progression.

Alex Duncan
Dept. of Anthropology
University of Texas at Austin
Austin, TX 78712-1086