Re: Neoteny was Re: god makes hubey

Phillip Bigelow (
22 Nov 1995 14:44:46 -0800

> (Bill Burnett) writes:

>>Explain how neoteny indicates a pre-set goal, please. (H. M. Hubey) extrapolated:

>It's odd that they don't look like more primitive ancestors
>and instead like their more developed (virtual) descendants.
>Human babies look like what we'd normally extrapolate as
>our future descendants.

As there are no descendants (yet) for any extant organism, neoteny can't
be used with any level of confidence in the way you describe.
A human fetus expresses webbed manus and pes, which points to our
amphibious past (probably sometime in the Devonian).
Yet, you make the claim that a human fetus
resembles it's evolutionary future state. Are you claiming that our distant
future descendents will be fish? And, while we're on the subject of
credibility, where is your authoritative reference for your claim?
Ontogeny is another strong indicator or ancestor-descendent relationships.
Ontogeny is strongly correlative with neoteny in showing
temporally-retrograde evolutionary relationships. Example: The hoatzin bird
(aka the "stink bird") from south America retains three (semi)functional
digits on it's manus while it is a chick. As the bird matures, the digits
fuse into the characteristic avian state. The manus on hoatzin chicks is
spookily similar to it's hypothesized ancestor, the maniraptoran theropod
Mark, if you need help learning this biology/paleontology stuff, I will be
glad to provide you a list of references to get you caught up.