Re: Refs, please... was... Re: AAT Theory

Phil Nicholls (
Fri, 13 Oct 1995 19:15:07 GMT (Thomas Clarke) graced us with the following

>In article <45fbag$> (Phil Nicholls)

>> If the SST is a reference to the "savannah theory" Ms. Morgan likes to
>> mention in her books I am afraid I have some bad news for your. There
>> is not, nor has there ever been, a "savannah theory."

>No? What is your theory then of how arboreal apes became hominds?

Your logic here escapes me. The truth of my statement somehow depends
on my ability to produce a "theory" of my own? A better response on
your part would have been to find mention of a "savannah theory" in
physical anthropology textbooks, thus refuting my claim.

>> That hominids
>> occupied African savannahs is a fact, not a theory.

>True. Did they occupy the savannah before Lucy and the first family?
>Did Lucy and the first family occupy more than the aquatic fringes of
>the savannah?

Our knowledge of primate evolution in the Oligocene, especially that
of anthropoids, is derived almost entirely from a site in Eygpt
called El Fayum. The Fayum site was once a rive running through a
savannah-woodland environment and surround, as rivers often are, by a
gallary forest. All of the Fayum fossils represent animals that fell
int othe river and were buried in the sediments. Most are of young
animals suggesting their presense was due to a less than successful
attempts to leap from one tree to the next.

But according to the logic you seem to be suggesting, we must consider
the fact that they were all found in river sediments to be an
indication that they were aquatic.

'Fraid not. Lucy was found in lake deposits. Her remarkable
preservation was due to the fairly rapid burial in these deposits.
Lucy was, however, a TERRESTRIAL biped, retaining some arboreal

>> The imporrtant thing to remember is that the "savannah theory" is a
>> creation of Morgans.

>Here's your opportunity. Coin a term that those of us fond of the
>AAT can use to refer to the alternative of a
>> ... number of ideas as to how hominid
>> morphology may be a result of adaptation to savannahs.

>Tom Clarke

Sorry. You will have to construct your own straw men.

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