Re: An alternative to ST and AAT

Paul Crowley (
Thu, 24 Oct 96 00:04:11 GMT

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. ^^^^^^^^^^^^^
> 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.

But how can an inference not be a theory? I'm quite sure that
your meaning was that it was a *fact*. In other words, that it
was not questionable. There would be nothing remarkable in such
a statement. It happens all the time in science. Beliefs become

> What is no longer true is that you, Paul Crowley, don't accept this
> "dogma," . . .

I not going to object to being credited with being the first to
claim that, prior to H.s.s., hominids were *never* resident on
any savanna. To me it is a blindingly obvious statement. But,
surely there have been others who have said the same?

> >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.

There must come a point where everyone can see that no progress is
being made; that the answers are weak to the point of uselessness.
It must then be realised that the fault lies in the questions --
they make no sense.

> The fact is that hominid bipedalism is an adaptation for
> terrestrial existence,

This is not a fact; it is pure supposition -- and a bad one.

> and most importantly, most hominid sites are associated with
> savanna-like environments.

They are not. They are associated with lakes -- lakes which
existed in an extraordinarily wide variety of environments.

> 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.

But hominids are hopelessly ill-qualified to forge an existence
from any of these, or from any possible combination. In each case
there are animals far better adapted.

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

No, they are where they should be. True, they are a few miles
from their normal habitat, but no one has ever said they weren't
mobile. It's not the least surprising that traditional PA got
confused. The location of the normal habitat had become concealed
or eliminated and that possibility was not allowed for.