Re: An alternative to ST and AAT

Phillip Bigelow (
Wed, 27 Nov 1996 18:06:18 -0800

John Waters wrote:

> JW: I tend to feel a general answer is often a load of
> mush. It is the details which are interesting. Would you
> care to outline the basic questions you think we should be
> anwering here?

My favorites are outlined below.
Note that I broke the questions into two groups; mainly because, in
order to answer the second group of questions, one must first answer
(or at least get an approximate answer to) the first group of

1) Collection of raw data (on-going)
How many different species of each hominid can we find?
How different from each other are these distinct species?
Is there a temporal trend in each character-trait change?
What is the polarity of this change?

2) Analysis of the raw data (on-going, and much to be done)
What is the phylogeny of the whole group of fossil primates,
based on skeletal structures?
What are the basic biomechanics of the locomotion of
each fossil taxa? Are they different between species?
Is there a temporal trend in biomechanical changes,
or does the data appear to indicate random change?
How many clades of hominids were there?
What was the type of diet of each species (derived from
careful analysis of tooth structure, enamel wear, and
isotopic analysis).
Was there a temporal trend to diet-change, or was the
trend more one of random drift?
Did the genus Homo expand so rapidly out of Africa as it appears to?
Did modern H. sapiens originate in Africa?
How far back in time does artwork go?
How far back in time does animal domestication go?
What was the last non-hominid ancestor that gave rise to hominids?
What did this animal look like?
What was the ecology, morphology, and biomechanics of movement
of this last non-hominid ancestor?

Also note one other thing in my list: not a *single* question regarding
how "special" our hominid lineage is. That is because, philosophically,
I don't believe that our lineage is that "special" in the first place.