Re: The UCL meeting, and PV Tobias" apology" to Morgan...

Alex Duncan (
28 Nov 1995 15:06:59 GMT

In article <> J. Moore, writes:

>Uc> of Australopithecus afarensis. His new findings consist of four
>Uc> associated foot bones, thought to be A.afarensis, which Tobias argues
>Uc> show that although afarensis walked upright on two legs, they were not
>Uc> habitual bipeds <snip>
>Shouldn't he be looking at a pelvis (or possibly knees?) to make
>such a determination? Foot bones alone would seem a poor marker
>compared to a pelvis in making this claim.

I suspect the issue has become semantically confused. "Habitual biped"
could mean one of two things: 1) essentially incapable of any other form
of locomotion, or 2) restricted to bipedalism when on the ground, but
also capable of movement in the trees. If Tobias really said what is
claimed, he was probably using the term in the first sense, i.e.,
australopiths were bipedal on the ground, but the fact that they were
also capable of arboreal movements means (according to def. 1) that we
can't use the term "habitual biped".

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