Re: First Family and AAT

H. M. Hubey (
27 Sep 1995 01:39:11 -0400

VINCENT@REG.TRIUMF.CA (pete) writes:

>Yipes. I think you need to do a little reading on general
>mammalian paleontology. Lets just say that the fossil record
>indicates your speculation here is, to be charitable, spectacularly

Anything is possible. All I see is bones and so far

1) we can't tell from bones if they're the same species (i.e. dogs)
2) we can't tell from bones if they're not the same species (monkeys)

everything else is a modified version of this to some degree. What
we have is some bones getting longer (why?) some getting shorter(why?)
and resulting in shapes that stretch like Dali's figures and all
I can see is that they are being put in categories based on
something like the closest matching algorithm.

There's an attempt to construct a path of evolution with some
states given. Given enough fossils and enough ingenuity it might
be possible to construct alternative paths.

And these alternative paths might be dependent on a phenomena
akin to the queueing problem of waiting for a bus. If the intervals
between arrivals of buses is random, and if someone pops up
at a bus stop at random, the expected amount of waiting time
is on the longish side because, the probability of the would
be passenger popping up at a long interval is greater. The
problem of punctuated equilibrium has a similar problem. The
periods in which nothing seems to be happening are longer than
the periods in which quick changes seem to take place so the
probability of finding fossils from these equilibrium times
is greater and those are probably the fossils being found all the
time. Meanwhile the fossils from the quick-change periods might
contain surprises and given enough fossils I'd bet other paths
can be constructed. After all, they're just bones. In fact, I don't
know why some of these new morphing techniques can't be put to
good use to measure "distances" between various fossil bones and
to try to measure how close some skeletons are to others.

>the joint you think of as the `knee' of one animal, is an ankle
>in another. The first joint below the hip in many animals is
>close to the body, sometimes within the flesh envelope.
>It bends the same way as a human knee.

You got me here. But the problem now becomes one of why some
bones were getting longer while others were getting shorter
and the effects on the animals while all this was happening.


Regards, Mark