Re: tree-climbing hominid

Paul Crowley (
Tue, 10 Oct 95 18:08:47 GMT

In article <> "J. Moore" writes:

> Paul seems to have a fixation on the idea of quadrupedal parents
> with infants who have fully modern human feet and a fully modern
> human altricial infancy. Such an idea is so ridiculous that I

Such an idea is ridiculous and is entirely in your own mind. I have
no such fixation.

You're now going to get a quote of mine, say that this indicates
X, and X means Y, and Y leads to Z, and Z shows such an idea.
You've done similar before. But it's in your head alone.

> Then of course there's his recent, equally ridiculous, contention
> that bipedalism should be defined not by what an animal does, but
> whether an infant can grasp with its feet. From Paul Crowley's
> post of 1 Oct 95:
> PC> A definition of bipedalism should not look at the foot, leg or pelvis of
> PC> the adult; it should focus on the deterioration in the grasping ability
> PC> of the infant hominid foot. Either an infant can, with four limbs,
> PC> support its own weight or it cannot. Only when >50% of infant hominids
> PC> can no longer do this, should the species be regarded as bipedal.
> Really bizarre thought processes there...

My proposed definition was partly in response to much talk in this
group about the issue. Defining "bipedalism" when looking at adult
chimps, adult gibbons and adult imagined hominids was creating a lot
of confusion. My proposed definition is clear and unambiguous.

Again the bizarre-ness is in your head. As you are well aware, the
profession is frequently criticised for its masculine orientation and
its unthinking adoption of a sexist viewpoint. It focuses on adult
males, their hunting capability and the like: "The women and children
can be ignored - them's womens' matters - they can look after them-
selves and the kids, and us men can leave them to it - what they do
is of no interest to real men - we're into much more important things."

The criticisms are invariably acknowledged - and then forgotten. But
you are now actually justifying this. Try and *think* a bit more
about bipedalism. Read what I said carefully again. Find a paleo-
anthropologist who's a feminist, if such a person exists. If you
can't, try any intelligent woman and discuss it with her.

I'm sorry to have to be so blunt, but you have really fallen flat
on your face this time. OK, you're dead in line with the rest of
your profession. That does not make it right.

I know you're not going to accept this. You think of yourselves as
serious and professional scientists who would never make such a crude
error. But just think of the subject as it was a few decades ago.
Pick any time. Possibly even Piltdown. What do you think of the
guys then? Well in a few decades (or years) time, your successors
going to be thinking much the same about you. And they'll be right.
You are just a bunch of dim-witted stick-in-the-muds.

No offense intended - I'm just trying to get a bit of historical
objectivity into your minds. Plus ca change.