Re: Savannas

Whittet (
1 Oct 1995 15:25:25 GMT

In article <>, says...
>Br> >But of course you've read Alex's post, and now understand why the
>Br> >"savannah theory" is not what you claim it to be. Not to mention
>Br> >your insistence that "savannah" equals "arid" or "near-desert".
>Br> Yes, Jim, there ain't much water on the savannah. This means that a
>Br> savannah is "arid." Look it up.
>Br> Bryce Harrington
>Well, if you'd have looked it up, you would have seen that savannah
>refers to areas with open grassland and generally a pronounced dry
>and wet season. There are also different sorts of savannah.
>There are savannahs which are quite arid during the dry season,
>with only seasonal streams and lakes. Some also consist only of
>plains with few scattered trees. Others are liberally supplied
>with rivers and streams, trees and brush. Acacia savannahs, for
>example, may be "typified by relatively closed vegetation and
>little in the way of open plains" (Richard Potts, *Early Hominid
>Activities at Olduvai*, 1988:170).

I have been in the middle of the Rub al Khali, which is about as
arid as you can get, and seen a single rainy winter result in enough
grass to turn the sand into grassland adequate to graze herds of
camels and goats.

There were trees along the bottoms of what had once been river beds,
and there were even places that were downright swampy.

The evidence of human occupation includes permanent stone structures
suggesting a settled, non nomadic lifestyle based on agriculture and
domesticated animals.


>Other relevant points about savannahs and early human evolution
>have also now been recently mentioned by others here; that early
>hominids were using a variety of savannah environments and the
>areas around them. This can be summed up by saying: "These areas
>are a mosaic landscape that includes open grasslands, scattered
>tree clumps, riverine forests, gallery forests, and marshy areas.
>Vegetation ranges from open grasslands interpersed with groups of
>trees to relatively dense forest. High trees with grassy floors
>may be found adjacent to or surrounded by open grasslands." (Nancy
>Tanner, *On Becoming Human* 1981:134-135).
>"Arid near-desert" is not an accurate general description of
>savannahs. Images of a Kalahari desert or even many over-grazed,
>drought-condition dry savannahs of recent years are not an
>accurate image of early hominid habitat.
>Jim Moore (
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