Alex Duncan (aduncan@mail.utexas.edu)
4 Oct 1995 00:17:24 GMT

In article <812679616snz@crowleyp.demon.co.uk> Paul Crowley,
Paul@crowleyp.demon.co.uk writes:

>You will often see primate adult females, such as chimps, running,
>climbing, brachiating, etc. and then notice that they have a small
>baby attached. Those babies need four clinging limbs to hold on.
>This capacity has enormous survival value for the infant (and also
>for the mother) in all ordinary activities such as foraging and
>escaping predators, and even at night while sleeping.
>The clinging reaction in newborn human babies is well-known, and is
>unquestionably a evolutionary remnant. AFAIR it fades in a week or
>so. I don't think anyone would suggest that bipedal hominid infants
>could cling on in the same way, or that an arms-only clinging
>capability would have any real survival value.

The clinging abilities of human infants aren't really relevant. The
clinging capacity of the earliest hominid infants is. Two points are
important here, neither one of which Mr. Crowley is aware of because of
his limited knowledge of the subject:

1) The earliest hominids were almost certainly born in a more precocial
state than modern human infants.

2) The earliest hominids had grasping feet.

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