Re: An alternative to ST and AAT

Phil Nicholls (
Tue, 22 Oct 1996 22:43:41 GMT (Paul Crowley) wrote:

>In article <>
> "Phil Nicholls" writes:
>> Sorry, but the archaeological and paleontological data strongly
>> supports the inference tha (a) early hominind accestors were initally
>> arboreal and (2) hominids moved out onto the savanna. This is not a
>> theory.

>So an inference is not a theory. I get it. It's a dogma.
>It's unquestionable.

One of the reasons Paul has so much trouble is his armchair familarity
with scientific methodology. The response above illustrates this

An inference is a conclusion based on an examination of evidence. A
"strong inference" is not dogma, it is a strong inference. That
means it is strongly supported by the existing data.

>Of course, it's as wrong as most unquestionable "scientific"
>dogmas have been, such as: "The earth does not move" or "All
>species were created by God". Like those, it takes no more
>that a couple of minutes serious thought to dispel it --
>provided, of course, that you're open to thought.

What it would take to dispel it would be evidence, not supposition
which is all you have provided in your posts.

>> Those who advocate the AA"T" advocate only an additional stop
>> along the way . .
>This is not true. While Alistair Hardy and some other supporters
>of the AAT fell into the trap of accepting the "dogma" as having
>some validity, this is no longer true.

I got this directly from Elaine Morgan's _Scars of Evolution_. What
is no longer true is that you, Paul Crowley, don't accept this
"dogma," dogma being any conclusion you, Paul Crowley, disagree with.
Well, I can live with that.

>Until H.s.s. and the likes of the Masai, no hominids could have
>survived on the savanna. What were they supposed to have lived
>on? How could they have held off nocturnal predators? Where
>did they sleep at night? How could they have endured the heat
>of the midday Sun? Where did they get their water? How did
>they survive the frequent bitterly cold night temperatures?

All of those are very interesting questions and various people have
proposed possible answers. The fact is that hominid bipedalism is an
adaptation for terrestrial existence, hominids emerged at the same
time as the African savanna and most importantly, most hominid sites
are associated with savanna-like environments.

Now you keep insisting that they could not possibly have done that and
in doing so you join a long line of people who have insisted certain
things were not possible for a variety of reasons. What we have is a
fossil history of terrestrial bipeds associated with savanna
environments in Africa.

What were they suppose to have lived on?

Possiblities: grass seeds, roots, fruits, scavanged predator kills
(especially bone marrow). A savanna is NOT a desert and it supports
a rich diversity of life.

Where did they sleep at night? Either in trees or on the ground,
where most animals sleep at night.

How did they endure heat? Most likely by avoiding it, the way most
animals do today (see Pete Wheeler's research).

How did they avoid predators? Early hominids were sexually dimorphic.
They may have dealt with them as baboons do today, they may have
climbed trees. Evidence from South African indicates that they were
not always successful.

Of course, all of this is supposition on my part. There is evidence
that hominids scavanged kills of other predators and there is evidence
that felid predators did kill hominids from time to time.

We may never know how they survived but the issue you have to deal
with is that THERE THEY ARE, right where they should not be,
according to you.

Phil Nicholls
"To ask a question, you must first know
most of the answer." Robert Sheckley