Re: Bipedalism and theorizing... was Re: Morgan and creationists

Paul Crowley (
Fri, 27 Sep 96 08:48:39 GMT

In article <> "Gerrit Hanenburg" writes:

> I do not disagree with the "common" view,I simply propose an early
> intermediate stage during which a habitually bipedal hominid still
> carries the infant in ventral position,possibly pressing it close with
> one hand while proceeding on the ground.

Such an animal still has very great disadvantages compared to its
fully quadrupedal cousins -- especially in a woodland habitat.
It's very hard to see why it should choose to go about in such
a awkward manner.

> A stage in which the infant
> has not yet lost the ability to cling onsupported for brief
> periods,allowing the mother to ascend to above ground levels to feed
> or in case of emergency.

Surely all the selective pressures are towards regaining a fully
normal primate ability to cling properly? The ones that can't,
are likely to fall off and die. And their mothers have much more
difficulty feeding, or fleeing.

> (Paul Crowley) wrote:
> >>Chimp, gorilla, orang and gibbon infants do *not* hold onto hair.
> >>It would not be strong or plentiful enough and they're much too heavy.
> >>They hold onto their mothers' *bodies* using their long arms and legs.
> >>You can see this in any zoo.
> <snips>
> It was a serious disagreement about an important factual detail within
> a wider context.You were wrong about it and these references clearly
> point that out.

I most certainly do not accept that I was wrong. Chimps and other
primates have hairy bodies. When the infant grasps the mother's
body, it necessarily grasps a hairy bit. But it does not grasp the
mother's hair in the same way as a human infant grasps human hair.
If it did, the hair would be pulled out and the mother would have
bare patches. Primate mothers do not have bare patches where the
hands and feet of their infants grasp. Older chimps often have
thining hair. On page 25 of "Through a Window" Goodall describes
Flo: ". . Sticking her few remaining moth-eaten hairs on end. . "
Even so they don't have such bare patches. When you go to a zoo
(or look at a photograph in book) often the first indication you'll
get that a primate mother has an infant is the sight of its hands
and feet on the mother's *sides*. It's as though she had four
small patches stiched on. They, with the infant's legs and arms,
act as clamps on her body. Primate infants have remarkably long,
muscular arms from the day they are born, just for this purpose.

All this is obvious to anyone who looks. That's why there is
little point in debating it.