Re: Hubey numbers

David Froehlich (
Sun, 22 Oct 1995 14:56:46 -0500

On 20 Oct 1995, H. M. Hubey wrote:

> >> 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.

Funny thing, ancestry does.

> And how much time chimps spend in trees probably
> shouldn't determine the degree of arboreality of chimps.

Why not?, shouldn't the degree to which an organism can utilize an
environment determine the numbers you want to throw at it? Certainly,
the exact same comment can be made about your contention that hippos are
100% aquatic.

> 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).

Do you know how evolution actually works? Wow, I should just get out of
the field entirely since Mr. Hubey has solved all the problems. Don't
throw verbiage around when you argue so strenuously against it.

> 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.

I hadn't realized that hippos were so adapted to aqautic lifestyles that
they cannot exist on land (my take on 100% aquatic). Thank you for
correcting my misinterpretation.

> >> sea otters 100
> >here we can agree mostly, sea otters almost never get onto land
> And probably also have adaptations to being aquatic.

But they are evolved from mustelid ancestors (definately not aquatic and
definately not bipedal (BTW sea otters are not bipedal either). Please
enlighten us how this effects AAS since I see now relationship (remember
we are talking about hominid evolution)

> >> 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.

But polar bears are the least bipedal of bears (primarily because their
somewhat fusiform bodies) yet they are the most aquatic. Given a
relationship between aquatic lifestyle and bipedality how can this be?

> >> 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.

I am just following your numbers up above. Lemmings, Muskrats etc spend
at least as much time in the water as hippos.

> >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.

Meerkats are one of the most desert adapted of the mongeese. In fact,
Meerkats can often extract enough moisture from their prey so they do not
need to drink. They are one of the least aquatic carnivore I can think

My god!! there is some other mechanism for achieving bipedality in
carnivores? Wow? Do you think this only occured once? Please, enquiring
minds want to know.

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

Why bother I don't see the usefulness. You are trying to replace a
multitude of evolutionary and behavioral adaptations with a single
number. Seems like a fools errand to me.

<<Yes I know I am being overlly sarcastic. I must be grumpy>>

David J. Froehlich Phone: 512-471-6088
Vertebrate Paleontology Laboratory Fax: 512-471-5973
J.J. Pickle Research Campus
The University of Texas, Austin, Texas 78712