Re: Speciation - how do you know?

Nicholas Rosen (
22 Oct 1996 01:20:26 GMT

Gerrit Hanenburg ( wrote:
: (Paul Crowley) wrote:

: >When some of the answers are in about some of the parasites,
: >I believe that we will have a very different picture of human/
: >hominid evolution.

: At the moment I don't see how present parasite-host relationships can
: tell you much about the ecological and social circumstances of
: hominids in the distant past.

I think a study of waterborne and other human parasites might tell us
a fair bit. I've read that Guinea worms parasitize only humans, and that
there's a species of fleas specifically evolved to live on humans. Are
there other examples? Could we find out when these parasites diverged
from there less-specialized relatives (mitochondrial DNA, maybe)? The
answers wouldn't be conclusive, but if it could be shown that a water-
borne human parasite speciated five million years ago, and one unlikely
to survive frequent bathing is more recent, the AAH would score a point.

Just a suggestion.


Nicholas Rosen

Standard disclaimers apply. I'm not speaking for Boston University. Look,
when our esteemed Chancellor has an opinion on something, he doesn't need
me to express it for him.