Re: tree-climbing hominid

J. Moore (
Wed, 11 Oct 95 23:18:00 -0500

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

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

Pa> The exchanges get longer and longer, and now we're getting bogged down
Pa> in definitions. I'll probably reply in detail later, but as I see it
Pa> the real difference between us is that you are proposing a "partially
Pa> bipedal" hominid which "retained significant tree-climbing abilities".
Pa> I can't accept this for numerous reasons:

Pa> a) You have not given the beginnings of an account as to how this
Pa> creature operated (nor AFAIK has anyone else). It's a hypothesis
Pa> which runs on a "wing and a prayer" and does not go beyond the
Pa> formulation of the words.

Try reading some paleoanthropology books and articles. Go to the
library: there's years and years worth of material on the subject.
Dozens of books and hundreds, probably thousands, of articles.
Don't expect someone to summarize decades of research just so you
can ignore it as you have what's been posted here already.

Pa> b) The problems it would have faced can be stated clearly; they've
Pa> been solved by all successful forms of life. You have hardly begun to
Pa> deal with them. They include: (i) night predation (ii) infant care -
Pa> both day and night (iii) food provision.

Again, read. And we've covered the predation issue here, not to
mention infant care.

Pa> c) You have to set out the ecological niche that this creature
Pa> occupied for a few million years, bearing in mind that chimps and
Pa> other species were in there first. This new species either elbowed
Pa> them aside (virtually impossible) or it found a new way of life. What
Pa> was it?

"In terms of *ecological access* to the savannah, the niche for a
day-living omnivore was available in the late Miocene or early
Pliocene. There is no evidence to suggest that any large
omnivores exploited these areas prior to the beginning of the
hominid line 4 or 5 million years ago. *Homo sapiens sapiens* is
the only large omnivore that does so today...It was the diurnal
omnivorous niche that was available to a population trasitional
between ancestral apes and early hominids. They found the key to
exploit it successfully." (Tanner 1981:139, *On Becoming Human*,
Cambridge University Press).

Pa> d) You have to set out *why* speciation happened at all in the first
Pa> place. Why such an utterly peculiar creature (e.g. you and me)
Pa> emerged. If you're going to propose geographical separation, its got
Pa> to be drastic. The CA was fairly mobile.

It takes little more separation than than which keeps pre-cultural
traits separate among chimps for 150 years. A population takes a
different path, and it turns out to be extremely useful in ways
not immediately evident. That's evolution.

Pa> e) You know exactly how it finished up (h.s.) and you know roughly
Pa> how it started (something like a chimp, or a gibbon, or something in
Pa> between) and you have pretty good fossils from 3.5 mya. You have
Pa> desperately little time into which you must put the development of a
Pa> new and radically different species.

HoHoHo. This is the same problem for the AAT, yet you feel it's
somehow not. BTW, Morgan has shortened the time yet again for the
AAT. Hardy started out at "some twenty million years or more",
Morgan has been somewhat coy about offering an estimate, generally
simply saying that it took place during "the five million year
[fossil] gap", but in her latest book has said the aquatic period
was for "up to a million years".

During this time period she says it all happened. You say that
three-and-a-half times that long isn't enough. So you're saying
the essential premise of the AAT is impossible.

Pa> f) You must clearly account for the reasons why the species adopted
Pa> such a new and radically new form of locomotion.

Since all primates include bipedalism in their locomotor
repertoire, it was hardly "new and radically new".

Pa> g) The above are the fundamental questions (ok, there's some over-
Pa> lapping) but there are also subsidiary ones on which so much bandwith
Pa> is wasted:- nakedness, sub-cutaneous fat, sweating, etc. Your answer
Pa> should additionally account for all these.
Pa> [ You have three hours to complete the paper. :) ]

Guess I'm gonna have to repost the frequently ignored, never-answered
"AAT Questions" again.

Pa> Forget the peripheral stuff for the moment. Can you provide an answer
Pa> that goes to the core?
Pa> Paul.

I very much doubt if any answer would satisfy someone who believes
that chimpanzees don't exist... (cf. your contention that without
fire, creatures similar to chimpanzees [hominids] couldn't exist.)

Jim Moore (

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