Re: Speciation - How do you know?

Phillip Bigelow (
Tue, 01 Oct 1996 20:22:55 -0700

Paul Crowley wrote:

> "David Sierra" writes:

> > Some of us feel strongly H.n. were capable (not necessaraly _did_ on a
> > regular basis, but certainly had the capacity if needed) of such feats.

Crowley responded:
> No, no. Either they did it all the time, or they hardly did it
> at all. Either they had some kind of strategy, like that outlined
> by Nick Maclaren, which they developed over generations and used
> for making a living or they did something else totally different.
> Either they were regular hunters, or they were next to useless
> at it.

Sort of like black bears. They are good at scavenging,
good at foraging for insects, good at hunting rodents,
good at foraging for berries, good at foraging for
tubers and other flora, and they are even adequate at conducting
oportunistic kills of larger prey when necessary. much for the idea of evolutionary adaptation of animals toward,
as Crowley puts it:
"either they were regular hunters, or they were next to useless at it".

And what about the possibility of cultural plasticity?
Sort of like H.s.s., who has the capacity (and the option) of
subsisting on nearly all meat (ala the Eskimo), or to subsist
on nearly all vegatable matter, or even a mixture of the two foodstuffs.

In the case of H.n., Crowley is ignoring the very likely possibility of
culinary cultural differences within Neanderthals...which pretty much
truck-sized holes in his over generalized speculation-fest.

The best way to investigate such ideas is to look at the hard evidence;
particularly tooth structure and tooth wear, and to deduce a foraging
lifestyle, farming lifestle, or a scavenging/hunting/husbandry
lifestyle. Or a mixture of the above.
I'll leave Crowleyy to read the relevant authors that have already
studied this. The journal articles are out there.

> And it is highly relevant. More is known about H.n. than any
> other hominid.

Except for H.s.s.

>My own
> feeling is that the "hunting hypothesis" for all hominids should
> have been laid to rest a long, long time ago.

As far as I am aware, no such blanket hypothesis exists for, as you
stated it, "all hominids". Care to provide us with a reference of
any journal article that lays out this hypothesis?