Re: An alternative to ST and AAT

Rohinton Collins (
17 Nov 1996 20:17:50 GMT

John Waters <> wrote in article
> > > Rohinton Collins <> wrote
> in
> > > article <01bbcdb9$208a50c0$424698c2@dan-pc>...
> > > > John Waters <> wrote in article
> > > > <01bbcd2f$8f445e00$3a2270c2@default>...
> >
> > 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 Am I out of date of this point?

No. Sorry, I don't understand. I was merely pointing out that any hominids
prior to H. habilis, i.e. the australopithecines, would have had
precocious, as opposed to altricial, young.

> > 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?

To begin with, you make it sound as if the in fact was carried by the
mother most of the time. I think that if you study chimp infants (the
comparison may be made if we assume an equivalent level of precociousness)
you will find that they spend very little time being carried by their
mothers. Even if the australopithecines were more nomadic, they would have
stayed in the same area for weeks or even months, precluding any special
requirement for infants to be carried at these times. And so what if they
were carried, or if they hung on to their mother's neck (or both)? What is
wrong with proximity to the mothers body? This time please just show a
clear flow of logic.

> I think I am correct in saying that bipedalism would
> require a good degree of balance, and the avoidance of
> eccentric motion.

To be most efficient, yes.

> 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.

In an ideal world. Without compromise due to adaptation to other functions.

> This would
> favour carriage on the hips, as far as older infants were
> concerned.

Rubbish. Have YOU ever tried walking with a baby on your hip? It is much
easier to carry them in your arms or on your back - closer to the midline.

> 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.

You flatter yourself, it is no hypothesis. This skin contact stuff is pure

> > 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.

Meaningless, look at Milford Wolpoff.

> Do
> Kangaroos carry their babies in their arms?

No. So what?? You said skin contact, not necessarily arm skin contact.

> Can there never
> be a first time for anything?

When you are making assumptions, it is far safer to make them based on what
we already know as fact (or at least let yourself be guided by the facts),
basing an argument on an idea you have dreamed up, which has no bearing on
the real world, is more than misleading, its downright foolhardy. And then
to compound this assumption with further assumptions is very unscientific.

> Is there precedent for every
> new class of animals?

I don't understand. What I will say is that we can only guess at what we
may never know by taking into account what we do know. If you adhere by
this, you won't go far wrong.

>And conversely, how many other animals wear clothes?

I was trying to point out how fallacious your argument is. You base
assumption upon assumption. That is no way to build hypotheses. No other
animal has such an relatively over-developed brain which enables such
activities as clothes making, and the cognitive power for understanding the
benefits of clothes-wearing.

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

Hardly clothes John. Think about it.

Regards (whatever impression my responses may have given)