Re: Speciation - how do you know?

Phillip Bigelow (
Sun, 20 Oct 1996 18:36:36 -0700

Paul Crowley wrote:
> In article <>
> "Stephen Barnard" writes:
> > Wait a minute. Since when are shellfish an abrasive diet? I generally
> > shell my oysters, clams, mussels, etc. before I eat them. So do, for
> > example, sea otters. Do you think early hominids just munched them up
> > whole?

> If you had to detach them from rocks, using nothing but your
> own hands and crude stones, and then break them open (again
> with crude stones) and eat them raw, you'd be bound to find a
> certain number of very hard shell splinters in your mouth.

Any wild primate (lemurs on up) can learn to wash their food if an
exposed water supply is available. Just like raccoons (and raccoons
have a proportionally smaller brain than do most primates!). The
"semi-wild" primates of Japan (and other parts of S.E. Asia)
habitually throw dirty rice into the surf to clean and sort
the rice. (And these primates aren't even as smart as great apes!).
The flesh of shellfish is slippery and consolidated enough to be
easily cleaned of shell fragments after the shell was smashed with
a stone.
I seriously doubt that any (repeat, ANY) shell material would
remain on the meat after the meat is dunked once in the water.
The road of speculation you are following regarding your idea of
"abrasive clams as a model for tooth enamel evolution" is moving
this discussion nowhere.