Re: First Family and AAT

Phil Nicholls (
Fri, 13 Oct 1995 19:15:02 GMT (Thomas Clarke) graced us with the following

>In article <45f60m$> Alex Duncan
><> writes:
>> In article <45cl7o$> Tom Clarke,
>> writes:
>> >> if
>> >>becoming a biped is such a wonderful adaptation to an aquatic existence,
>> >>why aren't polar bears, walruses, alligators, mososaurs and otters all
>> >>bipedal?

>> >I will try a rhetorical device to show the vacuousness of this argument.

>> >In other words why aren't chimpanzees and gorillas bipedal?
>> Well, it seems you got the point of my argument. AATer's are always
>> asking "if bipedalism is so wonderful, how come chimps aren't bipedal?"
>> This certainly reveals some lack of knowledge about the way evolution
>> works. But it is also just plain bad argument, as I was trying to point
>> out by turning it around.

>Now I am really confused. Wait I think I get it.
>You want to say that a consequence of my position is that starting with
>ANY genetic stock, similar conditions will result in similar adaptations.
>E.G. dolphin-like apes as a result of adaptation to water.

By asking "why aren't chimpanzees and gorillas bipedal" that is
exactly what you seem to be saying.

>This is silly.

I agree.

> Different stock results in different adaptions, although
>there are broad similarities, A seal is not a dolphin is not a dugong,
>although there are broad similarities. The evolution of each began with
>a different quadruped. The result of an arboreal ape adapting to water
>would be still different. Of course the adaptation was cut short anyway,
>it is now at least 4MY past the putative aquatic episode.

The "adaptation" never occurred in the first place.

>I then turned it around to make the easier to support argument that
>starting with the SAME genetic stock (arboreal apes), you should arrive at
>similar adaptations given the same environment. Hence if the African
>land environment gave rise to bipedal hominids, why not bipedal chimps.
>Why chimps as a seperate species at all?

>By the way how does eveolution work in your view?
>My view is that change occurs in the direction of increasing fitness.
>If there is not difference in fitness with respect to some trait, then
>it can vary or drift randomly. Are you saying that bipedalism has
>no fitness value?

Your view of evolution is overly simplistic. You do not clearly
understand the difference between habitat and niche (ever hear of
something called the competative exclusion principle).

>Tom Clarke

Phil Nicholls
"To ask a question you must first know most of the answer"
-Robert Sheckley