Re: AAT Theory

Phil Hunt (
Mon, 09 Oct 95 22:08:36 GMT

In article <> "H. M. Hubey" writes:
> Phil Hunt <> writes:
> >As to why the fur was lost, I can think of 2 possibilities offhand:
> >to keep cool while running during the day, or sex selection.
> Well, the sex selection seems to be a standard dumping ground like
> money to explain things for which we can't find any other explanation.

The fact that sex selection is a convenient explanation for a
characteristic, doesn't mean it is the wrong explanation.

If there are no other explanations than sex selection, that is likely
to be the truth. Why else would peacocks have fancy tails?

> I don't see any way to prove or disprove sex selection changes for
> anything in general.

You could go by the sexual preferences of humans. OK, that isn't very
useful in trying to work out what was going on 3M years ago, but IMO
it is of value in trying to understand hominid behaviour 500k years
ago. Humans are largely hairless, and many of the places where they
have hair have a sexual significance. The fact that men have more facial
hair than women cannot IMO be explained by anything other than sex
selection. It seems to me reasonable that other aspects of human hair
(and lack of it) might also be explained by sex selection.

> As for the keeping cool, it would mean that they had to somehow
> become more active than the apes from which they split.

Not necessarily. Erectus, being bigger, had a lower S/V ratio than

> And if
> the climate got dry and cool, then why would they need to change
> their conductance when it was sufficient for the hot and moist
> forest.

Forests have more shade than savannas, so a move out of forests
would require more ability to keep cool. However that is irrelevant
since I think that hominids started losing their hair a long time
after they left the forest.

> To get this kind of activity during the day, it seems
> they'd have to do a lot of running or something and they weren't
> exactly suited for it when they got started. We're not particularly
> fast now. Why would they need so much of this? To escape predators?

No. Predators wouldn't be much of a problem to a group of hominids with
weapons. Humans are slower than lions anyway, so running away wouldn't

Although humans can't run fast, they can travel long distances and can
follow prey until the prey is exhausted.

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