Re: tree-climbing hominids

H. M. Hubey (
9 Oct 1995 18:37:16 -0400

Paul Crowley <> writes:

>In article <459c9p$>
> "Alex Duncan" writes:

>> Chimpanzees are "partially quadrupedal". They have a compromise anatomy
>> that enables them to move reasonably well on the ground while still
>> retaining arboreal capabilities.

>The exchanges get longer and longer, and now we're getting bogged
>down in definitions. I'll probably reply in detail later, but as

This is not really a follow-up to what you posted but something
in general for everyone on this topic.

How about if we do something conceptually quite simple and yet
enough to provide a consistent model for discussion.

think up an n-dimensional space. Let's start with these dimensions

0) quadrupedal-bipedal
1) aquatic
2) arboreal
3) terrestrial

So in this space all of the animals we discuss will present
points. So if an animal is almost completely arboreal we can
give in a value of 9-10 along axis-4. If in addition it is
quite a quadriped when it does walk, we can give in a value
of something like 0-2 on axis-1. And so on.

At least we can place some of the apes/hominids/humans
and other animals in this space and know what we mean.
It'll take a lot less time and space to argue about
simple numbers than "partially terrestrial", "almost
quadripedal", "significant ...", "lots of blah...",
"almost....", "very much....".

How about it? My guess is that the vociferous opponents
of AAT and defenders of SST will not want to commit to
any numbers or even intervals at all. What harm can it do?

We might be able to draw some smooth curve through these
points and point in the direction of evolution.


Regards, Mark