Re: First Family and AAT

Thomas Clarke (
18 Oct 1995 18:08:58 GMT

In article <45kp7i$> (Phil Nicholls)
> (Thomas Clarke) graced us with the following
> words:

>Confused attribution due to Duncan and the gracile T. Clarke>

> >> >> 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.

Is it a standoff then? I won't use the "why aren't chimps and gorillas
bipdedal?" argument if you don't use the "why aren't walruses bipedal?"

> > 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.

So humans aren't bipedal? You can't assume the argument as
a premise to prove the argument.


> 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).

Well that's a horse of a different color. Of course that is
the correct answer to the question of why chimps and gorillas
aren't bipedal. It was a small niche and only one species could
occupy it. Not some silly analogy to why apes weren't bipedal.

Now we can argue about how hominoids aquired the traits necessary
to occupy that niche.

Tom Clarke