Re: Hubey numbers

H. M. Hubey (
20 Oct 1995 22:39:01 -0400

David Froehlich <> writes:

>On 20 Oct 1995, H. M. Hubey wrote:
>I will play your silly game.

Great. That's what I like, the Delphi method of conflict resolution :-).

>If we are going to argue verbiage then what does affinity mean????

We can't do without words. I picked the word to avoid the already
emotionally loaded word "aquatic".

And finally, the scale (if agreed upon) will define it. That's
the trick. That's called operationalizing the idea.

>> elephants 80-90
>?Elephants live in savannahs, deserts (the Namib), forests, rain forests
>how can ypou place a single number on all of these behaviors? Elephants
>spend 80-90 % of their time in water?

WE can get back to this. See below.

How much time one spends in the air doesn't determine if one is
a bird. And how much time chimps spend in trees probably
shouldn't determine the degree of arboreality of chimps. That's
not the only way to measure things. Besides, almost everything
having to do with adaptation of transducers to physical measurements
seems to obey power laws and thus should tell us to use something
like a decibel scale (i.e. logarithmic).

Of course, the fact that elephants spend so much time in deserts,
forests etc may be due to the fact that what they eat is far away
from water sources. That must be taken into account.

>> hippos 100
>Hippos forage on land, pretty much all night. 100???

Physical adaptation to water ranks high on the scale. YOu
can argue the point but you must offer a reason.

>> lions 40-50
>> humans ???
>> gorillas 40-50
>> pigs 80-90
>> sea otters 100
>here we can agree mostly, sea otters almost never get onto land

And probably also have adaptations to being aquatic.

>> polar bears 80-90
>They spend a considerable time on land (and also they are the most
>quadrupedal of the bears interestingly enough)

They also have adaptations for water and interestingly enough
bears would rank more bipedal than cats or dogs.

>> dogs 60??
>> penguins 80-90
>> sheep 40-50
>> camels 10-20
>> X_mouse 0-5

>What about lemmings? 100???

Give us a reason for 100 and give us your rankings of the above
along with reasons for the change in rankings.

>What about other carnivores that aren't bipedal (e.g. mongeese (remember
>meerkats?), pinipeds, otters)

OK. Meerkets would probably rank more bipedal than say cats. But
I don't know anything about their water behavior. Their bipedal
behavior is probably due to stretching to see far away while
standing guard at their burrows.

And you are welcome to add more animals and rank them.

Anyone can join. Eventually we can have some scale on which
many (maybe even most) agree.


Regards, Mark