Re: Bipedalism and theorizing...WAS: Morgan and Creationists

Phillip Bigelow (
Mon, 16 Sep 1996 15:05:01 -0700

John Waters wrote:
> Paul Crowley <> wrote in article
> <>...
> JW: Thank god for the discerning amateur. (If it were not for
> the likes
> of Paul Crowley and John Hawks, where would we all be?)

I assume that this was sarcasm, but in case it wasn't:
Nothing would change. Crowley and Hawks don't write the research
Similarly, descerning amateurs don't further our knowledge of
black hole theory...they simply discuss it. Nothing wrong with
that, of course.
The odd thing about anthropology is that it is a sort of
"vanity science". Everyone thinks they have new insight into
our origins, amateurs and non-anthropologist scientists alike.
When it comes to human origins, everybody claims to be an
expert (or pretends to be an expert).

P.C. wrote:
> > Whenever you see the word "forced" in an evolutionary argument
> > hackles should rise.

I agree with Paul here (what are the odds of *that* happening??)

J.W. wrote:
> Only discerning amateurs can be unorthodox. ^^^^?

Orthodoxy follows rules, it is true. But being
unorthodox doesn't follow rules. Perhaps you should have
deleted the "Only" preface to your statement.

> In respect of your last paragraph Paul, you seem to be unaware
> that evolution is usually a very slow process.

This statement is a generality in search of evidence. The theory
of Punctuated Equilibria (of Gould and Etheridge) isn't, in a
geological sense, a "very slow process".
Perhaps anagenesis is a slow process, but speciation ala' Gould
and Etheridge is rapid (read "geologically-explosive").
In such a model, sympatric groups with different niches/lifestyles
CAN exist.

J.W. wrote:
>There was
> a change in their head to body ratio. The change in the head to
> body ratio was intitiated at the beginning of hominid
> development.

Australopithicenes didn't follow this scenario, John. Their brain
size was roughly the same as a chimpanzee, and their body mass was
also roughly similar to that of a chimpanzee.
And Australopithicenes were actually a ways along the hominid branch
by that time. If anything, at the earlier node of speciation,
the ratio of hominid brain size to body mass should have been
even closer to that of the chimp/gorilla ratio.
Only later (in Homo) did hominid brain size take a quantum leap.