Re: An alternative to ST and AAT

Phillip Bigelow (
Wed, 06 Nov 1996 19:39:01 -0800

Thomas Clarke wrote:
> In article <> Phillip Bigelow <> writes:

> >Your point is essentially moot. Your point is also extremely
> >specio-centric in it's logic, but I'll save *that* criticism for
> >another day.

> That is true. But then anthropology is an extremely specio-centric
> science.

<rant and rave mode ON>
As opposed to my main interest (paleontology), I would say that
much of the paleoANTHROPOLOGY discussions not only
are specio-centric, but are also based on our innate desire to set
ourselves apart as having "special" origins. Or, as many
AAT advocates often say, our uniqueness:

"it cries out for an explaination".

Many questions that the anthro-vane claim "cries out for an
explaination" can be answered by analyzing the evolutionary
history of other animal lineages, while at the same
time, noting the inherent "uniqueness" of ALL species.
After all, Tom, all defined species must, BY DEFINITION,
be "unique". The so-called "uniqueness" of humans actually
pales in comparison to the wonderfully special complexities
of many other animals,...that is, it would, IF paleoanthropologists
would stop looking at the problem from a "see how different
we are" point of view, and instead start looking at plesiomorphies.
Shared plesiomorphies can be very insightful (even though apomorphies
get most of the fanfare, which is well deserved).
But somehow, I feel as though I am talking to a wall as I
write this. Oh well... Perhaps there actually ARE more
eclectic naturalists reading this than I assume there are.
I have always contended (and I will repeat here) that
paleoanthropology is actually vertebrate paleontology.
How (and why) paleoanthropology came to be a discipline nested
within anthropology is beyond my (admittedly sacastic)
comprehension. Very few people would disagree with my contention
that anthropology is a "vanity science". But, in my
opinion, nothing can do a better job of deflating our
inflated anthro-ego better than taking a lot of courses
in paleontology. <rant and rave mode OFF>