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Richard Foy

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Feb 1, 1996, 3:00:00 AM2/1/96
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In article <207020...@desco.demon.co.uk>,
Elaine Morgan <Ela...@desco.demon.co.uk> wrote:
>
>Richard Foy.
> Of course you can pick and mix what you believe. Contrary to rumour,
>AAT/H/S is not supported by a monolithic card-carrying phalanx of what
>the opposition loves to call "folk". Your guess is as good as mine
>about what exactly happened, and where it started, and how long it
>lasted, and which bits of data are relevant or over-the-top. My own
>pick'n'mix selection only commands more attention (and more of the
>flak) by accident - because I happen to have a style that makes it
>publishable. Some other people's ideas, possibly more acute, cannot
>clear that hurdle.

My guess is not as good as yours in most areas. You obiviously have a
lot more information at your command than I do on most areas realted
to human evolution. My guesses are as good as yours only in areas
where my engineering training is applicable.

Your posts always impress me as being more devoted to an
understanding of the issues that do some of your critics, who seem to
be more concerned with personal attacks.

>
>Elaine. "Anything that is worth doing at all is worth doing badly"
> (G. K. Chesterton)


This is a very interesting quotation.

--
"It's not merely cruelty that makes men love war, it's excitement.
--Henry Ward Beecher
Copyright 1995 Richard Foy All rights reserved. See
URL http://www.he.tdl.com/~hfanoe/cpyrgt_terms.html for terms and condtions.

Elaine Morgan

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Feb 1, 1996, 3:00:00 AM2/1/96
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Richard Foy.
Of course you can pick and mix what you believe. Contrary to rumour,
AAT/H/S is not supported by a monolithic card-carrying phalanx of what
the opposition loves to call "folk". Your guess is as good as mine
about what exactly happened, and where it started, and how long it
lasted, and which bits of data are relevant or over-the-top. My own
pick'n'mix selection only commands more attention (and more of the
flak) by accident - because I happen to have a style that makes it
publishable. Some other people's ideas, possibly more acute, cannot
clear that hurdle.

pb.
"There are no Wrong Books". Delighted you agree. I never thought
there were until I was told I was reading them.
Am I speciocentric? Well I do resemble a chimp in thinking my own
species more interesting than any other - clearly a plesiomorphy. But
I think there is an attitude seeping into this area pretending "Aw
shucks guys, we aren't all that different from Brother Chimp" (except
he's not writing books about us). I don't think we're "better", or
supernatural and I think in some ways we're a disaster, but we're sure
as hell different - to a degree that calls for more explanation than
it's received to date. Something pretty significant must have happened
to us on the way to what we are.

Jdm.
"Morgan is either a rat fink or a moron" dept.
Yes, okay, I slipped up on the net. T misread the question as: what
gave you the idea that we might have had hypertonic sweat? However I
think the quote from Scars established that I do not have a general
policy of trying to mislead the populace on this matter. Chalk this
one up to "moron" rather than "rat-fink."

Will.
Yes, I believe the l.c.a. did have concealed ovulation, and better
olfaction than ours. The gorilla does develop sexual skin at the
appropriate point of her cycle, but to such a moderate degree that it's
hardly noticeable - even to another gorilla, I should have thought. I
don't think breasts and buttocks are a useful indication of whether
sombody's ovulating - do you?
Increased reliance on sight...yes, could have accompanied loss of
olfaction in theory. But I have no evidence that our sight is better
than a chimp's, or any reaon why our branch of the family would have
switched resources to the visual channel unless something had gone
wrong with the effectiveness of the olfactory one.

D. Froehlich.
You tell me not to kid myself that the aquatic interlude is anything
more than assumption. I don't, and I never have. I think you could
read right through Scars and not find a sentence that states or
implies: "We know this thing happened". (Jdm can get out his
microscope and prove me wrong.)

Okay, you all tell me I can't use "paramorphies". Passed apparently
nem.con. :-( My objection to "convergent" is that it sounds as if
the two creatures were on a path that would lead them to resemble one
another more and more. (like the dolphins becoming shaped like a fish
in so many particulars.) But my clutch of arctic animals aren't on
that kind of trajectory. The hare isn't going to get more and more like
a fox. It is just that single shared feature that they have all
evolved, and there ought to be a word for this.
Look - it doesn't matter whether they moved to the cold or the cold
moved to them; it doesn't matter whether the cold was due to latitude
or altitude. What we can apparently deduce is that one thing happened
to all of them i.e. they got to end up living in the snow.
Thank you for recommending Gould's Ontogeny and Phylogeny. It is one
of the most well-thumbed and margin-scribbled volumes in my library,
and I do not believe that ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny in any
simplistic way. But the fetus is human. Data from the prenatal period
are not meaningless. When you are collecting characteristics to build a
cladogram, it is a bit age-ist to confine yourself to the features of
the adult stage of the human phenotype.

You say the examination of what I called paramorphies should be
carried out with immense caution and circumspection. Well yes, I agree.
The job should be done much more professionally than I have been doing
it. The snag is that as far as I am aware nobody else is doing it at
all. It is just possible that if I go on making a mess of it, somebody
might be irritated into providing me with at least one single example
of how it should be done. By doing it, in respect of at least one such
phenomenon.

William Baird

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Feb 3, 1996, 3:00:00 AM2/3/96
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>Will.
>Yes, I believe the l.c.a. did have concealed ovulation, and better
>olfaction than ours.

Possible. Hard to tell with certainty, but possible. Alex? Jim?

>The gorilla does develop sexual skin at the
>appropriate point of her cycle, but to such a moderate degree that it's
>hardly noticeable - even to another gorilla, I should have thought. I
>don't think breasts and buttocks are a useful indication of whether
>sombody's ovulating - do you?

In all honesty, I don't know. :) I can speculate that was what I was
doing. It "seems" faily reasonable to assume (correct me if I am wrong)
that the gorilla and chimp are using the queues to attraction attention
to their sexual readiness or willingness this in turn would excite the
male. With the abscense of the olfaction, or the reduced role, more a
visual cue would be needed (get thru the thick skulled males' collect
head :)) and the thus the 'planform' of a woman would/could be selected
for.

Just as easily, I suppose, that the 'planform' for males could be
selected for by by displays by the males to other males and the females
having 'final' say.

(Just suggestions...not necessarily to be taken as fact...)

>Increased reliance on sight...yes, could have accompanied loss of
>olfaction in theory. But I have no evidence that our sight is better
>than a chimp's, or any reaon why our branch of the family would have
>switched resources to the visual channel unless something had gone
>wrong with the effectiveness of the olfactory one.

There was already a trend, from what I have read, in primates to emphasis
sight over the other senses (development of binocular vision, etc, etc).
The reliance on, etc, of sight could just be an increased trend is all.
Our sight got better & better; eventually, our sense of smell, worse, and
worse.

As for testing our sight vs. a chimp. It's an experiment that could be
done. To either shoot down what I was suggesting or not.

Another quetion, that could perhaps be answered, perhaps checked out,
would be how 'complex' is our section of the brain that deals with
olfaction vs a chimp's or whatever. If it were sufficiently complex
enough, perhaps that could help 'make up for' the reduced absolute size
of olfaction section. Again, speculation, but something that could be
looked into (complexity int his case could be a comparison of teh number
of links between neurons, density of neurons, etc)

> "Anything that is worth doing at all is worth doing badly"
> (G. K. Chesterton)

"Anything that is worth doing is worth doing for money...repeatedly."
-Larry Niven

Will

>Elaine.

Will Baird email: wba...@nmsu.edu http://essex.nmsu.edu/~scomputi/
Phantoms! Whenever I think I fully understand mankind's purpose on earth...
suddenly I see phantoms dancing in the shadows...[saying] pointly as words,
"What you know is nothing little man; what you have to learn, immense." - CD

chris brochu

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Feb 5, 1996, 3:00:00 AM2/5/96
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In article <207020...@desco.demon.co.uk> Elaine Morgan,

Ela...@desco.demon.co.uk writes:
>"There are no Wrong Books". Delighted you agree. I never thought
>there were until I was told I was reading them.

Not sure I would say you were reading the "wrong books" as much as trying
to derive inappropriate information from them. For example, Carroll's
Vertebrate Paleo text is a good compendium of extinct vertebrates, but
his systematics at the time were not rigorous. His book was thus right
for some things but not for others.


>Okay, you all tell me I can't use "paramorphies". Passed apparently
>nem.con. :-( My objection to "convergent" is that it sounds as if
>the two creatures were on a path that would lead them to resemble one
>another more and more. (like the dolphins becoming shaped like a fish
>in so many particulars.)

Words like "convergent," "parallel," and "homoplastic" refer to
characters, not to animals or plants. Primates and nonavian dinosaurs
have an opposable thumb - a convergence. No matter what the organisms
look like, it's the opposable thumb that is convergent.

Furthermore, our primary objection to the word "Paramorphy" is that
"peramorphy" - spelled slightly differently - is already an established
word in systematics and morphology. Your desire to describe a different
phenomenon is commendable, but your chosen word would be confusing.


>You say the examination of what I called paramorphies should be
>carried out with immense caution and circumspection. Well yes, I agree.
>The job should be done much more professionally than I have been doing
>it. The snag is that as far as I am aware nobody else is doing it at
>all. It is just possible that if I go on making a mess of it, somebody
>might be irritated into providing me with at least one single example
>of how it should be done. By doing it, in respect of at least one such
>phenomenon.


The statistical methods I mentioned - and I still don't have them in
front of me, sorry - are not widely cited by mammalogists. You might
scan the past few years' worth of Evolution or Systematic Biology (or its
earlier incarnation, Systematic Zoology) for papers by Garland and
Harvey, in various combinations and with various other authors. The book
by Harvey and Pagel is also an important reference, but damn if I can't
find mine.

The upshot of these papers is that comparative studies cannot be done in
a phylogenetic vacuum. Enough is now known of primate systematics to
make the comparisons you want to make, and the methods are out there.

chris

akl...@slip.net

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Feb 5, 1996, 3:00:00 AM2/5/96
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On Thu, 01 Feb 1996 15:38:02 GMT, Elaine Morgan
<Ela...@desco.demon.co.uk> wrote:

>Will.


>Increased reliance on sight...yes, could have accompanied loss of
>olfaction in theory. But I have no evidence that our sight is better
>than a chimp's, or any reaon why our branch of the family would have
>switched resources to the visual channel unless something had gone
>wrong with the effectiveness of the olfactory one.

Something only I, from among ~6 million humans, have ever noticed,
Elaine?

I have been married for 28 years. My wife ovulated for most of that
time. I've always been able to tell when she was ovulating BY
OLFACTION. I could smell a diffference in her.

Am I a throwback? (I DO have semi-prehensile toes.)

--
Al


Elaine Morgan

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Feb 8, 1996, 3:00:00 AM2/8/96
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In article: <4f5ufk$6...@slip.net> akl...@slip.net () writes:
>
> On
> I have been married for 28 years. My wife ovulated for most of that
> time. I've always been able to tell when she was ovulating BY
> OLFACTION. I could smell a diffference in her.
>
> Am I a throwback? (I DO have semi-prehensile toes.)
>
I would say you were in a minority. There must be many Catholics who would
envy you. My only clever biological trick is that I used to be able to raise
goose-pimples at will.
>
--
Elaine


Elaine Morgan

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Feb 8, 1996, 3:00:00 AM2/8/96
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In article: <4f3n09$5...@geraldo.cc.utexas.edu> chris brochu
<ga...@mail.utexas.edu> writes:
>
>
> Words like "convergent," "parallel," and "homoplastic" refer to
> characters, not to animals or plants. Primates and nonavian dinosaurs
> have an opposable thumb - a convergence. No matter what the organisms
> look like, it's the opposable thumb that is convergent.
>
>Right. Got it.

Furthermore, our primary objection to the word "Paramorphy" is that
> "peramorphy" - spelled slightly differently - is already an established
> word in systematics and morphology. Your desire to describe a different
> phenomenon is commendable, but your chosen word would be confusing.
>

I've taken that on board. I can use "convergent" in view of what you say, or I
can give up trying to sound scientific in this connection and use a periphrasis.



> The statistical methods I mentioned - and I still don't have them in
> front of me, sorry - are not widely cited by mammalogists. You might
> scan the past few years' worth of Evolution or Systematic Biology (or its
> earlier incarnation, Systematic Zoology) for papers by Garland and
> Harvey, in various combinations and with various other authors. The book
> by Harvey and Pagel is also an important reference, but damn if I can't
> find mine.
>

Thank you for these pointers. I'll try to track them down.



> The upshot of these papers is that comparative studies cannot be done in
> a phylogenetic vacuum. Enough is now known of primate systematics to
> make the comparisons you want to make, and the methods are out there.
>

I'm not too clear what this means. If a character is not found in any other
primate except Homo, there can't be much (any?) doubt that is is an autapomorphy,
in spades. If the aim is to make a comparison with a similar character in a
totally different phylum, I don't understand why its taxonomic relations with
other primates are relevant here at all. If a lack of detail about those
taxonomic relations (within the primates) is what you mean by a phylogenetic
vacuum, I can't see why it should hinder this particular kind of comparison at
all.

--
Elaine


chris brochu

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Feb 12, 1996, 3:00:00 AM2/12/96
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In article <20568...@desco.demon.co.uk> Elaine Morgan,

Ela...@desco.demon.co.uk writes:
>> The upshot of these papers is that comparative studies cannot be done in
>> a phylogenetic vacuum. Enough is now known of primate systematics to
>> make the comparisons you want to make, and the methods are out there.
>>
>I'm not too clear what this means. If a character is not found in any other
>primate except Homo, there can't be much (any?) doubt that is is an autapomorphy,
>in spades.

We should rephrase what you said to, "if a character is not KNOWN in any
other KNOWN primate except Homo." What we see as autapomorphies today
might become tomorrow's synapomorphies with a fortunate fossil. By
"autapomorphy," we mean, "only present in this terminal taxon, and
therefore of no use in uniting taxa under consideration."

Furthermore, "autapomorphy" is as relative as any other systematic term.
If I were doing a cladistic project with Metazoa, Vertebrata might be one
of my terminal taxa. Having vertebrae would be an autapomorphy for
Vertebrata in that analysis. Including a trout and a cow in the same
analysis would render vertebrae synapomorphous for the same taxon.


In any event, the point I was trying to make was a broader one. We
cannot make comparisons in a phylogenetic vacuum! If all members of a
clade share a character, we cannot consider each taxon's state as
independent if all are being studied concurrently.

If the aim is to make a comparison with a similar character in a
>totally different phylum, I don't understand why its taxonomic relations with
>other primates are relevant here at all.

It's phylogenetic relations are all-important, Elaine. If, for example,
we found that the last common ancestor of humans and pinnipeds had the
"descended larynx" (and I've been enjoying Bigelow's posts on this
subject!), we could not consider them convergent adaptations for
anything, since they are no longer convergent at all. This is why
consideration of systematics is so important.

Read Harvey and Pagel's book for more discussion on this topic.

If a lack of detail about those
>taxonomic relations (within the primates) is what you mean by a phylogenetic
>vacuum, I can't see why it should hinder this particular kind of comparison at
>all.

Because the characters in consideration might actually be plesiomorphic,
and without a tree, you'd never know.

chris

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