Re: Lamarckist Contradiction

Nold Egenter (
Mon, 25 Nov 1996 06:34:58 +0100

Susan S. Chin wrote:
> Rabbi Bruce Cohen ( wrote:
> : Larmarckism (the belief that the genetic material of a species can be
> : altered by the external, non-radioactive, non-chemical influences of
> : its enviromment, such as climatic changes), is false.
> Lamarck was one of the first to propose a
> mechanism for evolution, unfortunately he was wrong.
> : So why are we getting discussion about climate changes producing
> : changes in the pedal architecture of primates?
> The explanation that climatic changes and resultant environmental,
> ecological changes require that organisms, and populations must adapt
> through time to the new, changing environments. Over time, certain
> adaptations are more advantageous in this new environment. Differential
> reproduction, survival rates. Natural selections occuring... In this
> context, bipedalism could have been one of those adaptations that proved
> advantageous over that of the other apes.

It is probably the anthropologists' fixation on 'man the toolmaker'
which has left this important transitional field rather weakly supported
by vague speculations (so called 'poo-poo' theory! Or Kortlandt's
bipedic position in defense behaviour). The Yerkes' important postulate
(1929) to consider 'constructivity' (nestbuilding behaviour) as a basic
reference point for a constructive evolution and alteration of the
natural environment has been greatly neglected and was superseded (and
covered up) by - popularly rewarding - social primatology. But,
nestbuilding is an existential factor in the life of Pongids. See:
'What's cool' in:

If it is realised, that this existential construction exists in two
typological versions (tree-nest and ground nest) we can understand that
the transition from arboreal space to terrestrial space meant an
important developmental impulse for constructivity: very different
materials were accessible (on the 'cultural' side a new argument for
tool-using leads us away from butching: nests were rooted materials! If
materials were transported they had to be cut! Early tools could
indicate intensified construction). In other words, we can start to
speak of a 'homo tectonicus' and we could easily understand how this
'adaption' implied bipedy and many other evolutionary results (hand
development, brain development etc,). That these materials were
perishable does not mean that we are speculating. On the contrary, we
discover that our cultural theories - e.g. archaeology and prehistory
are speculation! They are historistically fixed on durability. Now, if
we would find indicators that evolution was supported by non-durable
material culture ('fibroconstructive' objects; the hand as the first
tool), then, we would have to reconstruct cultural evolution
systematically - in the sense of the Yerkes and in the framework of a
modern 'anthropology of material culture'. And this is currently
undertaken in the new domain of 'architectural research', in particular,
'architectural anthropology'. You will find some 'stepping-stones' of
this new systematical approach in our homepage.