Re: AAT Theory

Alex Duncan (
2 Oct 1995 12:06:31 GMT

In article <> Paul Crowley, writes:

>> >"Explanation" is the key word, Chris, and I'm still waiting to see even
>> >the beginnings of an attempt at a non-AAT one. Parsimony only matters
>> >between two or more explanations. So far there's only one.
>> If you are unaware of other explanations, then my working assumption must
>> be that you've never actually read anything in the paleoanthropological
>> literature. You should strap a sign to your back that says "ignorant."
>My posting is partly a reply to Chris's earlier one in this thread when
>he said there were two hypotheses: (a) the AAT and (b) the non-AAT.
>(I paraphrase, of course, but (a) and (b) covered all instances.)
>He maintained that (b) was more parsimonious, stating:
>Ch> . . . Some of these arboreal primates began to walk bipedally on
>Ch> land, perhaps to move efficiently from one forest to another. Tree
>Ch> to land directly.
>I don't regard this " . perhaps . . " as being an explanation. I am,
>of course, aware of the other vague mutterings (e.g. how standing tall in
>the midday sun helps to keep you cool) that occasionally pass as non-AAT
>explanations. I'd just like to get Chris, and maybe yourself, to drop
>his "perhaps's" and nail his colors to the mast and provide a real theory
>or a genuine hypothesis.
>> Once again, I'm nearly struck dumb by the depth of your ignorance.
>> Please, please read some of the paleoanthropological literature before
>> you post this kind of garbage. It actually hurts me to read it.
>Ignorance about what _exactly_? Tell me where I said something
>factually (as against theoretically/politically) incorrect.
>If you can't do this, I think an apology for the vulgar abuse is due.

Sorry you can't take the heat. Is that what you want?

Have you read Darwin, Dart, Jolly, Tuttle, McHenry, Zihlman, Hunt,
Wheeler, etc. etc.? Unlike most of what Morgan has published, most of
this material is based upon a solid knowledge of comparative primate
anatomy and behavior, and provides simple and straight-forward adaptive
advantages for the acquisition of bipedalism. For you to qualify this
material (which you obviously haven't read) as "vague mutterings" is
ridiculous and ignorant.

In addition, your characterization of early hominid anatomy is also
ridiculous, and again indicates that you are not familiar with any of the
primary literature on the subject.

Ms. Morgan's ideas have been frequently compared to creationism. This is
probably somewhat unfair to Ms. Morgan. However, there is at least one
aspect in which the pro-AAT argument is very similar to creationism:
except for the professionals, most creationists are ignorant nuts who
accept creationist arguments because they don't know anything about
geology, paleontology or biology. In a similar way, it appears that most
of Ms. Morgan's supporters in this newsgroup may have read one or two of
her works, and have not read anything by mainstream anthropologists (and,
in fact, seem to know next to nothing about basic mammalian anatomy and

Alex Duncan
Dept. of Anthropology
University of Texas at Austin
Austin, TX 78712-1086