Re: Repost on predation

Paul Crowley (
Mon, 27 Nov 95 20:46:03 GMT

In article <> "J. Moore" writes:

> > 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.

> 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.

A glance at any atlas will show you that the nearest possible breeding
grounds to the Red Sea for the seawater crocodile is the delta of the
Indus river. It does not breed there now, but probably did once.
For a crocodile to get into the Red Sea it has to *drift* two thousand
miles across the Arabian Sea and up the Arabian Gulf. If it survives
that long, it will not find a mate, nor find any possible suitable
breeding ground on the shores of the Red Sea. The geography of the
area has not changed significantly in the last 5Myr. No large rivers
flowing into the Arabian or Red Seas have disappeared.

Why do I have to spell out such well-known and mundane detail?

> 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>
> 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.

This is quite absurd. There are numerous populations of h.s.s. that
live largely on shellfish.

> PC> > Why do we instead see only those adaptations we might reasonably
> PC> > expect from a terrestrial environment?
> PC>
> 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.

I am *not* suggesting this. Merely that our own bodies might be a good
place to start; or a relevant consideration. It is you (and all
traditional PA) that assumes that us fat slobs evolved "on the savannah".

> 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",

This is manifestly false - denied before the end of your sentence.

> [Fat] *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.

Your justification of fat depends on a form of life where (a) there was
a peculiar superabundance of food at regular intervals (b) the hominids
regularly needed to make long journeys to find other sources (c) they
needed no other insulation against the cold - the fat is deposited in
all the wrong places (d) this form of life was so special that no other
animal has adopted this feature (e) that females had a greater (but
significantly different) need for this mechanism.

Now if you had a theory (or even the beginnings of a theory) that
suggested a possible explanation of this special form of life (and we're
only talking about one physical attribute) - why, then I might concede
that you would be doing real science - instead of just pretending.

> 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.

I am well aware that children (and paleoanthropologists) are brought
up to believe in "Cave Men". I am suggesting that it is time that
this belief was dropped. It conflicts with the best of observable
data - that of our bodies. You do not "know" that for "tens of
thousands of years or . . . millions of years . . "; you ASSUME.
I acknowledge that nearly all interpretations of fossil data back
up this assumption. Those interpretations lead nowhere. This
should be no surprise; they ignore manifest evidence.