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

Thomas Clarke (
17 Oct 1995 12:13:51 GMT

In article <45kp7m$> writes:
> (Thomas Clarke) graced us with the following
> words:

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

> >> 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.

No. You may be right, I may be right. I am more interested in
theories than in the search for bones, primarily because I will never
be able to go out myself and look for the bones; arm chair theorizing
is the only way I can really participate in PA (that and looking at the
nice picturs in National Geographic).

If the savannah theory is a straw man as you say, I was just wondering
what your theory is. Surely you will not just be content with a series
of bones stretching over the period from the Miocene to the Holocene
that appear to transition from ape to human? Surely you will speculate
about what sort of lifestyle these animals had?

After all even Leakey was guided by a theory. The theory that crucial
development happened in Africa. He didn't look in Indonesia.

> >> 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
> into the 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.

I was speaking of the time between the end of the miocene and the first
Are the bones undamaged? Could this be a result of the infamous
crocodile predation?

> 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.

No that is not my logic. You say Lucy was a dry land creature.
I suggest she was possibly a littoral creature and I suggest that
her bones being found in shore deposits is _consistent_ with this.
I do not say it proves, it, just that it is not disproved. Final
decision awaits more evidence. Same with the Egyptian fossils,
case is not proved either way.

Well then perhaps the fossil record will never be able to distinguish
between a prinarily water margin life style and other life styles.

Maybe Planck's dictum will lead to a later generation who is
used to the idea that water played a major role in hominid
evolution. (Were you the one who querried the Planck quotation?
I looked it up in Bartlett's Quotations, it is from his 1936
book _The Philosophy of Physics_, Bartlett's gave no page numbers)

> '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
> characteristics.

Strictyly speaking, wading animals are TERRESTRIAL.

> >> 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.

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

What you decline the challenge?
Don't you ever theorize?

Tom Clarke