Re: An alternative to ST and AAT

Rohinton Collins (
9 Nov 1996 21:35:02 GMT

Thomas Clarke <> wrote in article
> Hominids are unique.

In what way? Every species is unique. The elephant has a trunk which is
'unique' amongst extant species. You'll be saying next that hominids are

> The fact that we are conversing in this
> way on this medium proves it.

Sorry, I don't follow this at all. You are conversing, or arguing, because
you have a difference of opinion. This has nothing to do with your supposed
'uniqueness' of hominids.

> If the circumstances leading to the unique species of which I am
> a member were not unique, then why did it not happen before?

Again, what are you trying to say? The evolution of every species that has
ever lived is unique by definition.

> I suppose it could be just dumb luck that primates became
> bipedal/intelligent first (or should I write it the other way?)

What? It is well known that bipedalism preceded encephalisation in
hominids. A. afarensis was a dedicated biped whose brain was little (if at
all) larger than that of a modern chimp (forgetting, for the moment, any
possible encephalisation in the chimp line since the LCA) with respect to
body size.

> and since human history seems to show that the existence of
> one intelligent species precludes the existence of others, primates are

This is rubbish. The Miocene saw a proliferation of ape species. There are
185 modern primate species. What do you define as intelligent? The fossil
record shows hominid phylogeny to have been respectably 'bushy' with
several hominid species co-existing at any one time (well, at least from ~3
mya to ~30 kya). The only hominid species, apart from the hominid
immediately following the LCA, to have existed in solitude is H. sapiens.
And even he has lived alongside other hominid species for most of his
existence (500-200 kya to 30 kya).

> But .... this is a science group and just saying "dumb luck"
> is not very satisfactory. One would like to know why and how.

At least something you say makes sense.

> What made primates the lucky ones and not some bird or reptile?
> Why not bears?

> Tom Clarke

Lucky ones? Are you sure you're not a creationist? ;-) You certainly do not
fully understand the process of evolution. 'Luck' (in the sense you mean)
does not enter the equation. Encephalisation in hominids, and to a lesser
extent apes and primates, was brought about by the process of evolution,
and was due to several factors, including