Webbed Foot in South Africa?

Tom Clarke (clarke@longwood.cs.ucf.edu)
19 Sep 1995 08:25:20 -0400

In the Oct 95 Sci American there is an article about
a find by Ronald Clarke and Philip Tobias of a 3.5 MY old
fossil in South Africa which was apparently bipedal and also
had a splayed/diverged big toe. [The original report
is in Science, but I missed that]

There is apparently some controversy about the meaning
a bipedal foot with a diverged big toe. Most incline
toward some interpretation involving arboreal bipedalism,
or else toward saying that the diverged big toe is a mistake.

I know this suggestion will be anathema to many, but
could the diverged big toe be some remnant of a webbed
foot adapted to a littoral environment as in the aquatic
ape theory?

Tom Clarke

People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment
and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against
the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices - Adam Smith, WofN