Re: Alex's gibbon-like CA

Phil Nicholls (
Sun, 12 Nov 1995 19:41:28 GMT

Paul Crowley <> graced us with the following

>In article <48024r$>
> "Phil Nicholls" writes:

>> Paul Crowley <> graced us with the following

>> >> I think you make way too much of your cute little "evolution forces" idea.
>> >It's basic to any serious thinking on evolution. The common failure
>> >to grasp it is at the root of most bad ideas - like all the standard
>> >ideas on the origin of bipedalism.
>> I keep running this phrase over and over in my mind and each time I am
>> stunned by the sheer chutzpah of this statement.

>You call *that* chutzpah!! God knows what you're going to call a
>little thing on which I've been working for a month or so and will
>be posting in about a week.

I think it is chutzpah to badmouth "standard ideas on the origin of
bipedalism" when you very obviously don't have any idea what they are.

>I don't really disagree with most of your posting, except that I feel
>that you are not focusing on the mechanism that mattered in hominid
>speciation: the behaviour and subsequent isolation of a very small

Gee, I thought we were talking about the origin of bipedalism, in
which case we are not talking about hominid speciation at all but
rather the hominid-pongid divergence which would have been pongid
speciation when it occurred.

In any case, I am indeed trying to focus on the origin of bipedalism.
In seeking the origin of bipedalism it is wise to look at modern
primates and try to understand when the resort to bipedalism. When do
monkeys and apes walk upright, under what circumstances? Alex
postulated that the protohomind was an arboreal specialist, possibly a
suspensory feeder similar to some respects to gibbons and spider
monkeys today. Such are not good quadrupeds when the are have to walk
on the ground. That, to me, seems to be the most probably
explanation or why hominids became bipedal rather than quadrupedal.
In other words, the direction of evolutionary change in hominids was
constrained by previous evolutionary history.

Later hominid evolution also necessarily involved numerous
>"choke points". There is no proper account of how these could have
>occurred. Environmental change would have had no bearing on such
>small groups. I'm sure that PA thought emphasises the climatic change
>largely because of a complete dearth of better ideas.


Phil Nicholls
"To ask a question you must first know most of the answer"
-Robert Sheckley