Re: The straw man.

Paul Crowley (
Fri, 13 Oct 95 09:35:18 GMT

In article <45kp7f$> "Phil Nicholls" writes:

> behavior shift toward increased frequency of bipedalism.
> - when hands are need to carry food.
> - to obtain a better view of the surrounding area.
> - jumping across small brooks
> - treat displays.
> - when watching an unusual part of the surroundings
> - when locating another member of the group
> - greeting and courtship displays.

These have to have a *selective* advantage. Those hominoids that have
an anatomy which makes them better at these "activities" have to have
more descendents. The difference has to be significant. The selective
advantage has to operate over a large number of generations (100,000?).

The advantages obtained have to outweigh the disadvantages - not being
able to race up trees, nor escape cats in them, nor rest in them at
night, and not being able to carry infants unencumbered.

It don't wash. (Pun intended).


> [3] Biological Changes = simply put, morphological changes follow
> behavioral ones.
> Hence the role of the savannah is important to all of these scenerios
> because it provides a transition from an arboreal to a terrestrial one
> and because hominid fossils are found in association with
> savannah-woodland environments. ANY explanation of hominid
> evolution must involve the savannah because it is obviously important
> to our evolutionary history. This does not justify taking all of
> these explanations and calling them the "Standard Savannah Theory."
> Do do so is a classic strawman exercise which is why myself and others
> have called you on this.
> There are almost as many explanations for the evolution of various
> aspects of hominid morphology as there are paleoanthropologists -- a
> large but finite number. Yours is certainly no worse than some but
> that is not saying a lot. If you really want to impress people I
> suggest you spend less time complaining about ill treatment and more
> time proposing a way to test the AAH. If it is not testible I am
> afraid it doesn't even deserve the "H".
> Phil Nicholls
> "To ask a question you must first know most of the answer"
> -Robert Sheckley