Re: Hominid Altitudinal-Latitudinal Adaptations (gettin long)

John Waters (
30 Oct 1996 04:36:08 GMT

Dan Barnes <> wrote in article

> I'm not sure what this altitudinal latitude route is or
from where to where -
> could you expand on this (either John or Anton). On the
basis of the regional
> adaptation then yes I think they evolved in a northern
area (probably Europe and
> expanded to other areas (Central Asia, Levant) where they
could compete
> successfully with other hominids or predators.

JW: The altitudinal-latitudinal model is based upon The
Synthetic Theory of Evolution. If individuals of any
species are forced to move into a new habitat, they will
tend to move in the direction which requires the fewest

About ten years ago I had a conversation with Chris
Stringer who confirmed that there was a correlation between
hominid fossils in respect of their altitudinal and
latitudinal climatic locations. The altitudinal fossils
were almost invariably older than the contemporary
latitudinal ones. In this context, the
altitudinal-latitudinal model helps to explain the *Out of
Africa* scenario for hominids. Has any evidence emerged in
the last ten years which contradicts this?

If H. neanderthal was a cold temperate altitudinal
adaptation, the species would have evolved in Africa and
migrated northwards. (The cold temperate latitudes all seem
to be north of the equator in Africa.)

If H.s.s. was also a cold temperate adaptation originating
in an equatorial altitudinal habitat, this implies that the
species was a behavioural adaptation. The terminology here
is ecological. According to theory, you cannot have two
species occupying the same ecological niche. They can
occupy the same habitat, but their behaviour must be
complementary rather than competitive.

> >JW: Does this mean that was a temperate adaptation,
> >behavioural or otherwise?
> Yes. I belive it is the reason he migrated east first
(after leaving Africa) and only
> later towards the onset of the UP did he begin to migrate
north. First NE to
> northern Asia and only later NW to Europe. This may have
been due to
> extending communication networks allowing greater
competition with a hominid
> extremely successfully adapted to his environment.

JW: By the term _extending communication networks_, do you
mean cultural interaction between different tribes of
H.s.s.? Is there any evidence for this, prior to the
extinction of H. neanderthal?