Re: Speciation - how do you know?

Phillip Bigelow (
Thu, 17 Oct 1996 19:58:39 -0700

Paul Crowley wrote:
> In article <> "Phillip Bigelow" writes:
> > Crowley answered:
> > > Do male gorillas have all that musculature just to gather leaves?

> > Oh Paul...Paul...
> > Why do you have this fixation on male anthropoids in your answer?

> Yet
> we have very little idea as to why male gorillas are so muscular.

> So how are we going to come to sound conclusions about an animal
> that is long extinct about whose detailed anatomy, food, lifestyle,
> niche, etc., we know next to nothing?

Exactly. You are now making my point for me.

> The concensus is that Neanderthals were stocky (like Inuit or Saami)
> because an adaptation to the climate. No one knows why they were
> generally so muscular.

That is NO concensus. It is, however, one hypothesis.

> Whatever it was, it was NOT chasing after swift-footed prey. *That*
> is the only "mindless speculation" around here.

However, a stocky build doesn't necessarily *preclude* a hunting-related
hypothesis, either. Particularly in a large-brained species like
H.s. neanderthalis

>Shame that it's
> also part of the received thinking to which you are so mindlessly
> attached.

I have never claimed, nor do I necessarily believe, that the more
"stocky" build of neanderthals was due to an adaptation to hunting
Frankly, I have no idea why this group of hominids was more
I was simply pointing out to you that, to impose one single
cause on an effect (e.g. "stockiness" in neanderthals) vastly
oversimplifies the problem, and will probably lead to inherently-
flawed conclusions.
(Your reasoning is analogous to making the claim that Blue Whales are
so big because, well, they eat a lot of plankton for a living).
By the way Paul, why *are* Blue Whales so much larger than Right Whales?