Re: AAT Theory

David L Burkhead (
3 Oct 1995 00:44:34 GMT

In article <> Troy Kelley <> writes:
>Well.. that is if they actually "encounter" it.. or in other words
>see it before it sees them. The leopard as everyone knows, is a very
>stealthy predator and uses the element of surprise before it attacks
>some prey. Once it is discovered, its chances of making a successful
>kill diminish greatly, no matter what the animal is.

Actually, it's "stealthiness" is largely in the context of
sneaking up on animals that are color-blind (most jungle mammals).
Chimpanzees, however, have color vision (as do humans--I don't know
about other primates). That spotted yellow coat stands out pretty
well if you are alert and _watching_ for possible trouble.

>I actually think that one reason for the decline of the chimpanzee,
>besidesthe obvious problems which man has created (which pertain to every
>animal) isbecause they are such vulnerable animals. If they were better
>able to defend
>themselves then they would be able to move into different, and perhaps
>morehostile environment, one which includes lions. Instead, they have to
>livein an environment that is relatively safe, where their only major
>threat being the
>leapord. And actually, the leapord likes to hunt in a semi-wooded
>environmentwhere it can actually run down its prey. In other words, it is
>not going to chase a chimp through the tree tops for a meal.

That turns out not to be the case. As others have posted here
(who know the field far better than I), Chimpanzees do not suffer
heavily from predation. As for the environ they are living in being
"relatively safe" it is only relatively safe in the context that they
are able to deal effectively with the dangers there. There is no such
thing as a "safe" environment in the natural world. If animals start
living in an environ where there are no predators, they will soon be
followed by predators.

And "semi-wooded environments" is _excatly_ where I've seen
chimps dealing with leopards. And no chase through the tree tops was
involved. The leopard didn't chase the chimps through the tree tops
because it didn't have _opportunity_ to do so (whether it would have
done so given opportunity is moot since opportunity never arose). The
chimps faced it on the ground and beat it off with sticks and rocks.

>I think early man was extremely vulneralble as well. Early hominids had
>tolook for any advantage which would offer some degree of protection.
>Thisis were I think AAT really has some advantages. I know Jim, you are
>goingto chime in here about crocodiles, and perhaps you have a point. I
>what you are tryint to say is that AAT must have happened in a place
>where there were no crocs, which would be either a) seashore or b)
>mountain lakes or c) both. I think we have established that crocs aren't
>going to climb up a mountain sideto a lake, and they are not designed to
>withstand the pounding of wave action from surf.

Seashore is not a place with no crocs. The only time you'll fail
to find crocs there (in Africa anyway) is if there are few/no
potential prey animals there. Crocs are _at least_ as able to deal
with wave action from surf as are hominids. Since crocs _are_ found
on seashores (as has been established here by others--with
references), the claim that they aren't found there is false on the
face of it.

As for "mountain lake" that's also a dubious notion. It's been
_asserted_, but that's not the same thing as "established."

>The seashore and vulnerability issues almost lead me to the notions
>shared bysome AATers that perhaps some of hominid evolution occured on an
>African costal island. This isolation could have provided the protection
>we needed while we
>made the difficult physical changes to bipedialism.
>Sorry I don't have any references here, but I do remember these ideas
>were discussed in the great book "Aquatic Ape: Fact or Fiction".

Might as well say perhaps some of hominid evolution occured in
the gene labs of 47 Ophiuchi III. It fits the data as well as AAh and
makes about the same number of testable predictions (i.e. none to
speak of).

David L. Burkhead

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