Re: Bipedalism facts to deal with

Phil Nicholls (
Mon, 20 Nov 1995 14:10:33 GMT

Paul Crowley <> raged:

>In article <>
> "J. Moore" writes:

>> The list Paul posted was of situations in which primates today have
>> been observed to indulge in bipedal locomotion. This was quite
>> clear from the preceding sentence, which Paul did not copy.
>> Removing context from quotes seems to be a popular AAT move.

>It's more that making false accusations seems to be de rigeur for
>PA'ists. Here are all the relevant bits of Jim's original posting
>in He's answering a mundane query from GF.

I have already reposed the entire message that Jim was quoting from.
The reason you are having so much trouble with this is that you have
never bothered to investigate what physical anthropologists have to
say on the origin of bipedalism.

The message in question was not such a summary. It was instead an
explanation of why the savannah figured some prominently in
anthropological interpretations of the hominid fossil record.

>GF> There must have been some more immediate reason for adopting
>GF> an upright stance. (Mustn't there?).

>JM> No and yes. The emphasis is on the "no" because you may be
>JM> falling into a common trap, of assuming that something must force
>JM> or compel such an action. On the contrary, becoming more
>JM> predominately bipedal could have simply been done by one or more
>JM> populations of the common ancestor between African apes and
>JM> hominids. Bipedalism is part of virtually all primates' locomotor
>JM> repertoire, for a variety of reasons, and turns out to be
>JM> particularly useful in more open country. At the bottom I've
>JM> posted part of a post from Phil Nichols on this subject that sums
>JM> it up pretty well.

>And here's *ALL* of the his quote from Phil Nichols:

>Bipedalism summary from Phil Nicholls ( post:
>Pn> [1] Preadaptation = most primates can walk bipedally. Apes are the
>Pn> most bipedal of all primates with chimpanzees reported to engage in
>Pn> bipedalism something like 10-11% of the time they are on the ground.
>Pn> This means that the common ancestor was at least as proficient at
>Pn> bipedalism as living apes and may have been more so as they had not
>Pn> yet become knuckle-walkers.
>Pn> [2]Behavioral Shift more than likely early hominids undertook a
>Pn> behavior shift toward increased frequency of bipedalism. Very likely
>Pn> it occurred under conditions that are likely to result in bipedalism
>Pn> in living apes today.
>Pn> - when hands are need to carry food.
>Pn> - to obtain a better view of the surrounding area.
>Pn> - jumping across small brooks
>Pn> - treat displays.
>Pn> - when watching an unusual part of the surroundings
>Pn> - when locating another member of the group
>Pn> - greeting and courtship displays.
>Pn> [3] Biological Changes = simply put, morphological changes follow
>Pn> behavioral ones.

>My quotation was NOT taken out of context. Phil was stating that apes
>would become more bipedal if they did more "jumping across small brooks"
>and the like. *This* was a good explanation for bipedalism.

No. Phil was stating that jumping across small brooks was one of
several instances in which apes, particularly chimpanzees, have been
observed to engage in bipedal locomotion.

>Why are PA'ists so unhappy with their own theories?

We are not unhappy with our own "theories". We, or at least I, am
unhappy with people who don't do their homework. If you want to play
the game, learn the rules. In this case, spend some time becoming
familar with what physical anthropologists have to say about the
origin of bipedalism. Hear, once again, is a list of readings that
will help:

Hewes, G.W. (1961) Food transport and the origin of hominid
bipedalism. American Anthropologists 63: 687-710.

Hewes, G.W. (1984) Hominid bipedalism: independent evidenc for the
food-carrying theory. Science 146:416-418.

Lovejoy, C.O. (1981) The origin of man. Science 211:341-350.

McHenry, H. (1982) The pattern of human evolution: studies on
bipedalism, mastication and encephalization. Annual Review of
Anthropology 11: 151-173.

Napier, J. (1963) The locomotor functions of hominids IN
Classifcation and Human Evolution, S. Washburn, ED.

Napier, J. (1964) The evolution of bipedal walking in hominids.
Archives de Biologie 75: 673-708

Shipman, P. (1984) Scavenger hunt Natural History 93:20-27

Sinclair, A.R.E, M.D. Leakey and M. Norton-Griffths (1986) Migration
and hominid bipedalism. Nature 307-308.

Rodman, P.S. and H.M. McHenry (1980) Energetics and the origin of
hominid bipedalism. American Joural of Physical Anthropology

Washburn, S.L. (1960) Tools and human evolution Scientific American
203(9): 63-75.

Wheeler, P. (1984) The evolution of bipedality and the loss of
functional body hair in hominids. J. Human Evolution 12:91-98.

Zihlman, A. and L. Brunker (1978) Hominid bipedalism: Then and Now.
Yearbook of Physical Anthropology 22:132-162

When are you going to do your homework, Paul?

>> JM> shift toward increased frequency of bipedalism. Very likely it
>> JM> occurred under conditions that are likely to result in bipedalism
>> JM> in living apes today". Then he offered a list of situations when
>> JM> apes today have many times been observed using bipedalism in the
>> JM> wild:

>Phil Nichols said nothing (that Jim quoted) about " . . observed
>using bipedalism in the wild".

No, but in the original message I did cite Goodale. That should have
been a big clue.

>> JM> Yet Paul feels that the actual field observations of 45 years of
>> JM> primates are " wildly unrealistic", and offers only a typo flame
>> JM> as his contribution. Well, you're right Paul, Phil typoed and I
>> JM> didn't catch it, therefore the past 45 years of primate field
>> JM> observations never really happened. Mass hallucination, I guess.

>It's the increased frequency of "jumping across small brooks" as an
>*explanation* for bipedalism that is wildly unrealistic.

Yes, but no one has proposed this as an explanation for hominid

>That's why
>I did not notice the typo of "treat displays". And I did not bring it
>up for discussion - Alex Duncan accused me of ignorance in typing it.

>I am perfectly happy with the observations that chimps use bipedalism
>for about 10% of the time. I am *not* happy that hominids could have
>developed bipedalism while living in the same environment as chimps
>without a very special explanation.

Hominids did not develop bipedalism while living in the same
environment as chimpanzees.

>None is forthcoming from the PA community.

Please stop confusing your ignorance of anthropology with what the
anthropological community has to say.

Do your homework.

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