Re: naked bipeds

David Froehlich (
Sat, 21 Oct 1995 18:47:31 -0500

On Sat, 21 Oct 1995, Paul Crowley wrote:

> When you see a species with two striking and unique adaptions,
> either one of which is enough to mark it off from all its
> relatives and which (a) have no obvious link, and (b) developed
> in a short time period, then it is parsimonious seek an
> explanation which covers both.

Only two features that hominids share that others don't have? What about
big brains, language, tool use, modification of our environment, etc.?
Actually what you have is two characters thatt do not appear at the same
place on the cladogram (at least you cannot prove it one way or the
other), bipedality first shows up in the australopiths and hairlessness
is a Homo sapiens character (where we have the first evidence of it). It
is you who are making unwaranted assumptions about character
distributions. It is only parsimonious to look for functional
relationships between characters when you can demonstrate they are at the
same node (we cannot with these two characters). It is then parsimonious
to view them as uncorrelated until we can demonstrate a correlation.

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