crowley knows fat

Alex Duncan (
28 Nov 1995 02:39:22 GMT

In article <> Paul Crowley, writes:

>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.

Some observations about fat:

1) Humans in the modern industrialized world seem to have a lot of it.
Why? Because we have a lame excuse for a diet, and don't exercise much.
Is this different than what we see in other primates? No. Captive
primates tend to put on a lot of weight.

2) Human fat distribution is not ideal for protection from the cold.
Well, of course not. Since we adapt to arctic environments culturally,
and don't spend our lives in the water, we don't find that our fat is
distributed in a manner that is terribly useful for protection from the
elements. The fact that our fat is not distributed in such a way to
provide effective protection from the cold is a potent argument against
the AAH. Human fat IS distributed in a manner (abdomen & proximal limb
segments) that is biomechanically adaptive for movement in a terrestrial
environment (if it were distributed over distal limb segments, then
significantly more muscular effort would be required for movements
associated w/ locomotion).

3) Human males and females have different patterns of fat distribution.
If you find that sexual selection is an inadequate explanation of this
fact, then I frankly throw my hands up... What are two areas of the body
where male and female fat distribution differ dramatically? -- buttocks
and breasts. What are two areas of the body that are of intense interest
to males looking for mating opportunities? -- buttocks and breasts. Gee,
could it be... Nooooo (sarcasm alert).

And finally, a question:

>>(d) this form of life was so special that no other
>>animal has adopted this feature

What does this mean? Could you clarify this statement?

Alex Duncan
Dept. of Anthropology
University of Texas at Austin
Austin, TX 78712-1086