The Mighty Austrolopithecine

Wed, 5 Apr 1995 04:19:50 GMT

The Mighty Austrolopithecine

by the BARD

It was an impossibly long time ago; so distant their very
bones are now dust. Yet there was a time when packs of
them combed the African savannah in much the way the
neolithic bushman did. They were at their zenith then, the
most intelligent species on earth; much more so than their
ape and monkey cousins who still cower in the jungle.

And their most startling quality was that they were
neither ape nor man, but instead, the strange doomed
creature that was to link the two. And this, as we shall
see, is the very reason they are no more; for it is their
very success that vouchsafed their anniliation; their very
mastery of their environment that delivered into the world
the creature programmed to kill them.

Before the mighty Pith no species flourished as
spectacularly. None ate better, defended itself as well,
or propagated with such astounding results. While the
monkey and great ape stagnated; the Pith improved with
each generation; slowly, imperceptibly, unrelentingly.
That they were creatures of tremendous fecundity cannot be
denied. Never before had a species taken socialization to
such great heights. The newborn Pith, for example, was
nourished and protected by the entire pride, and, although
its habitat abounded with predators, only rarely became a
predator's meal.

Superior intelligence, some verbal ability, and a
revolutionary physicality were its natural gifts. And
other gifts... the ability to see great distances while
standing; to walk all day and climb the highest trees at
night; and, most tellingly, the ability to hold stuff --
rocks, sticks, excess food -- in its human-like hands.
Never was a creature so dynamic, so well-equipped to
survive. Predators were baffled by it. Lioness' who'd not
hesitate charging Cape Bulls, eyed it with trepidation.
Sure, their flesh was like monkey flesh sweet and tender,
but there were other things -- baffling things-- that
made it infinitely more difficult to kill. Piths were
different... They were dangerous...The could kill too.


copyr' gwl 4/95