Re: Speciation - how do you know?

Phillip Bigelow (
Sun, 20 Oct 1996 18:53:35 -0700

Gerrit Hanenburg wrote:
> (Paul Crowley) wrote:
>>The loss of large
> >canines occured quickly in early hominids. Presumably they did
> >not need them, so they lost them fast; so they must have been
> >costly.

> Non sequitur.
> There is another possibilty. The canine may have acquired a new
> function in hominids. Functionally it became an incisor. As such its
> function may have been improved upon by bringing it in line with the
> other incisors (i.e. closing the diastema) and reducing the hight of
> the crown to the level of the occlusal plane.

Exactly. The human canine has become labio-lingually compressed, in
such a fashion as to become convergent in fuction with the incisors.
Which, with a little contemplation, suggests that hominid
dentition was converging on increased slicing in the front, and
grinding in the back.
All in all, it suggests an extremely varied diet, and
definately a more complicated dietal system than other higher