Re: An alternative to ST and AAT

pete (VINCENT@reg.Triumf.CA)
17 Oct 1996 20:11:03 GMT

JTHURB ( sez:

`I think your ideas have some merit. I have always had the suspicion that
`H. erectus was primarily a coastal dweller because of both the pattern and
`relative swiftness of his rapid migrations "out of Africa." The beach
`offers few obstructions to travel, especially during the dry times when
`the rivers are reduced to streams.

`Paul Crowley had a theory similar to yours which, as I recall, he named
`the "Red Sea Theory." You might want to compare notes.

Let me toss out another idea, which might suggest a mechanism for
transition to exploitation of aquatic habitats:

Rivers in africa are not the barren ecologies (by comparison with seafloors)
that they are in temperate climes. River bottoms have a rich bounty
of fresh water clams and oysters, and the waters team with fish.
Seasonal droughts expose this prey, and baboons have learned to
exploit it. They can chew through the shells of the clams, though
they do not seem to have a strategy for accessing oysters. When the
waters return, they make no attempt to penetrate them to reach the
clams. Of course, when the waters return, the crocs come with them.

Early hominids would also have discovered this food source as they
ranged about during the period of climatic change as the forests
diminshed. At some point we could speculate that they discovered that
the shells of oysters could be smashed with rocks. They may also have
achieved the insight that the food was still there after it was covered
with water. Having acquired the skill of extracting food from river
bottoms, they could then migrate along the seashore exploiting the same

I can almost state with certainty that these events have happened,
the questions are did they happen with early hominids, or later,
perhaps as late as H. erectus, and did they happen in such a
way that they established a significant strategy in the foraging
regimen, or were they sporadic sequences that had no lasting

========================================================================== <== faster % Pete Vincent (freenet) % Disclaimer: all I know I
% learned from reading Usenet.