Re: fossil foot bones

James C. Ohman, Ph.D. (
12 Oct 1995 17:43:24 GMT

Alex Duncan <> wrote:
>In article <> Paul Crowley,
> writes:
>>Since fossil foot bones >3.5 mya are extremely rare, and of most
>>uncertain interpretation, this is pious hope. It's not science.
>ALL of the fossil foot bones from 3.5 Myr are consistent w/ the view that
>early hominids retained pedal grasping abilities. What is unscientific
>about assuming hominids w/ grasping feet used those feet for grasping?

Patently false. Please refer to Latimer and Lovejoy (1990, AJPA
82:125-134). This work has never been refuted. And your unpublished
work that you mentioned in an earlier post does not count since it has
never been peer-reviewed. Therefore Australopithecus afarensis must be
viewed as NOT possessing a grasping foot.

Clarke and Tobias (1995, Science 269:529-541) claim "grasping" ability
for the hallux in Stw 573. The did NOT, however, directly compare these
specimens to either the work of Latimer and Lovejoy, nor even the
specimens from Hadar. The have also not yet made Stw 573, nor even casts
of Stw 573, available for comparison. Therefore, the jury remains out on
Stw 573. However, the the small amount of divergence pictured in Clarke
and Tobias' figure is clearly NOT ape-like, and they conveniently did NOT
illustrate an ape in this figure.

James C. Ohman, Ph.D.
The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine