Re: Repost on predation

J. Moore (
Sat, 25 Nov 95 16:24:00 -0500

> PC> The Red Sea is croc-free. Crocodiles need turgid water, which comes
> PC> from rivers, estuaries or swamps. The Red Sea has none of these.
> PC> I've posted this many times.
JM> Oddly enough, never with any refs

PC> You should not need to ask for refs for matters of common knowledge
PC> or elementary deduction. The Red Sea is a long (1,500 mile) deep
PC> rift valley in a high plateau. Its rivers/streams are short and
PC> steep - quite unsuitable for crocs. Where it impinges on the Nile
PC> delta it has high salinity so Nile crocs don't like it. It's been
PC> much the same since the opening of the rift about 30mya.

And yet they are there, and were there in far greater numbers in the
past, as was recently pointed out to you by Chris Brochu:
CB> Crocs are rare (though not entirely absent) from the Red Sea today, but
CB> they are ubiquitous in Plio-Pleistocene deposits in the region, including
CB> the Arabian peninsula. Their rarity in the Red Sea appears to be a
CB> recent phenomenon.
CB> chris

He also pointed out that crocs do not "need turgid water":
CB> I have personally seen crocodiles successfully hunt in clear water.
CB> They DO NOT need turgid water. Sorry.

Which brings us to the bit of my post you lopped off: "nor have you
offered any sort of support for there not being crocodiles there during
the period in question, as opposed to today. It's possible, but why
does your theory, unlike any others, rate this special priveleged
position of being able to make whatever claims you want without
any sort of support?"

Why is this, Paul? Why do your statements have to be accepted as
fact without any support or reference, even when they contradict
known facts? I'd like to know just why this is supposed to be so.

PC> If you
PC> really want a ref see: Atlas of Mesozoic and Cenozoic Coastlines by
PC> A.G. Smith, D.C. Smith, and B.M. Funnell (1994).

This is funny; very funny. You really need to think about
investing in a trip to the library someday. You have quite
obviously never seen this book, or you would be aware that it
doesn't contain any of the information you apparently think might
be there. It consists of maps in various projections of the
surface of the entire globe, and so does not offer the scale needed
to afford support for even the most trivial of your claims about
the area as potential crocodile habitat; in any event Chris has
pointed out that your ideas are not only uninformed but also
incorrect. If you wish to dispute our resident croc expert on
this matter, you will need to offer some sort of support other
than simply repeating unsupported assertions.

JM> > Why do we see no sign whatever of any adaptation to the massive
JM> > salt load we would have been dealing with in that environment?
PC> Massive salt loads result from the ingestion of large quanties of
PC> sea-water. The AAT does not propose that hominids picked up their
PC> shellfish with their teeth and swallowed them whole while under
PC> water. (Do you need a ref for this?)

As I have pointed out previously, massive salt loads in a marine
environment do not ordinarily "result from the ingestion of large
quanties of sea-water"; they result from eating marine plants and
animals, especially invertebrates such as shellfish. This is because
shellfish and marine plants have a salt content approximately the
same as seawater. So the question is apropos (and unanswered):
Why do we see no sign whatever of any adaptation to the massive
salt load we would have been dealing with in that environment?

PC> > Why do we instead see only those adaptations we might reasonably
PC> > expect from a terrestrial environment?
PC> For God's sake, Man, take a look at your own body! Look around the
PC> staffroom. Go down to a beach. Do you seriously suggest that the
PC> adaptions you see are those "we might reasonably expect from a
PC> terrestrial environment". Did the fat slobs you see around you
PC> evolve on the mosaic/savannah?

You are suggesting here that humans today are just the same as our
earliest hominid ancestor, which we know is certainly not the
case. You are suggesting here that no evolution of the hominid
line took place between the time we diverged from chimps and
gorillas and now. That is nonsense... and you continue:

PC> There can hardly be a more preposterous idea in the whole of
PC> science. For one thing, his/her fat layer is in all the wrong
PC> places for insulation against the night cold. For another, fat
PC> needs surplus food, it's heavy and it greatly impedes the healing
PC> of even minor scratches.

Fat does not "need surplus food", it *is* surplus food, laid down
when there is a surplus, used when there is not; this is very handy
in a creature which traveled long distances (compared to any other
primate) and lives in far more marginal environments than any other
primate. It's quantity and distribution is also demonstrably affected
by sexual selection. But perhaps you have some references to the
contrary? No? I didn't think so.

PC> Have you ever tried walking/
PC> running barefoot and naked through the woods? Poison ivy would be
PC> the least of your problems. An animal in that environment would
PC> have rapidly acquired a sensible coat of hair - even if it didn't
PC> have one at the start.

Since in fact anatomically modern humans ("us") did exactly this --
"running barefoot and naked through the woods" -- for tens of
thousands of years, and since earlier hominids did so for hundreds
of thousands and even millions of years before them, we know that
your objection is invalid. Actually, it's foolish, since even a
moment's reflection would be sufficient for even a child to
realise this.

PC> If only you could get your head out of the books and ask yourself
PC> what it is that you are really trying to explain, then *maybe* you
PC> might do some real science.
PC> Paul.

Judging from this post alone, you wouldn't recognise it if you saw
it... and you wouldn't see it, since you don't even look at the
books you use as references. You could retify that, you know, if
you want to keep from continuing to look foolish.

Jim Moore (

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