Re: An alternative to ST and AAT

John Waters (
15 Nov 1996 02:24:58 GMT

> > Rohinton Collins <> wrote
> > article <01bbcdb9$208a50c0$424698c2@dan-pc>...
> > > John Waters <> wrote in article
> > > <01bbcd2f$8f445e00$3a2270c2@default>...
> [snip]
> > This morphology enables bipedalism, but is
> > not as efficient for long distance walking. In this
> > the australopithicene bipedalism was less efficient
> > modern Hss.
> This is a point of contention; opinion is by no means

JW: As a learned gentleman, can you supply Susan Chin with
the contentious references? (See my last paragraph).

> Which means that a shift to humanlike postnatal brain
growth patterns would
> have had to have occurred already in H. habilis,
presumably with the
> concomitant impact on social organisation. The
australopithecines, having
> an adult brain size of 400cc would have comfortably fit
into the ape
> pattern of neonatal/postnatal brain growth and would have
therefore also
> had precocious young.

JW: Sorry, my understanding of hominid species nomenclature
was that hominds prior to H. habilis were
Australopithicenes. Am I out of date of this point?

> > Of course, the primary reason for infantile overheating
> > have been disease. A viral infection could lead to a
> > But whereas a chimpanzee baby would survive because it
> > could dissipate this extra heat, an early
> > baby carried in its mother's arms could not. Infantile
> > diseases of this kind are quite common.
> This is where your theory falls down in a major way John.
On my above
> logic, an australopithecine baby would have been as
precocious as a chimp
> baby, and therefore would not be carried any more in its
mother's arms than
> the chimp would be.

JW: This is very interesting Roh. But the problem lies in
the transportation of the infant by a specialist bipedal
species. Since as far as we know, the australopithicenes
did not have pouches, how was the infant carried by its
mother? Are you suggesting that the mother adopted a
quadrupedal form of locomotion when carrying the infants?
If not, how could the infants avoid close proximity to the
female body?

I think I am correct in saying that bipedalism would
require a good degree of balance, and the avoidance of
eccentric motion. In this regard, the carriage of the
infants would need to be as close to the female centre of
gravity as possible, and as low as possible. This would
favour carriage on the hips, as far as older infants were
concerned. Young ape babies may have more precocious
potential, but they don't move very much when carried. Why
should a newborn australopithicene baby be any more
agitated than a newborn ape baby?

To disprove my hypothesis totally you have to be able to
show that there would have been virtually no direct skin
contact between the hominid mother and her baby; (i.e. no
more than that of a Chimpanzee.) I expect you are aware
that someone recently proved (or purported to prove) that
*Lucy* could not have walked quadrupedally.

> But aside from this your theory is illogical with no
precedence. After all,
> how many other animals do you know off that have lost
their fur due to
> being carried by their mother? The kangaroo, according to
your theory,
> should be hairless.

JW: Oh Roh. I would have expected more from a Bsc. Do
Kangaroos carry their babies in their arms? Can there never
be a first time for anything? Is there precedent for every
new class of animals?

You were doing all right until that last paragraph. As a
punishment, you can definately save me the trouble of
finding those references for Susan.

>And conversely, how many other animals wear clothes?

JW: Well.. the hermit crab? Sorry about the precedent.