The Moist Ape

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Gerold Firl

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Nov 12, 1993, 5:55:03 PM11/12/93
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I was recently appraised of the fact that this "aquatic ape" hypothesis is
being discussed on sci.anthropology. I took a look, and, sure enough, it
is. I found it rather surprising; isn't it commonly accepted that the naked
skin, copious sweat glands, excellent vision and erect bipedal posture are
adaptations to high-temperature diurnal hunting and foraging? Now that I
think about it, I don't think I've ever read such an explanation, but it
seems pretty obvious. There isn't another animal on earth with a heat-
rejection system as efficient as ours; clearly, significant evolution has
occured for the sake of the ability to operate at temperatures which put
others animals down with heat exhaustion. The loss of body hair seems, to
me, to obviously be linked to this adaptation.
--
-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
Disclaimer claims dat de claims claimed in dis are de claims of meself,
me, and me alone, so sue us god. I won't tell Bill & Dave if you won't.
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=---- Gerold Firl @ ..hplabs!hp-sdd!geroldf

Gil Hardwick

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Nov 14, 1993, 12:41:10 AM11/14/93
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> I was recently appraised of the fact that this "aquatic ape" hypothesis is
> being discussed on sci.anthropology. I took a look, and, sure enough, it
> is. I found it rather surprising; isn't it commonly accepted that the naked
> skin, copious sweat glands, excellent vision and erect bipedal posture are
> adaptations to high-temperature diurnal hunting and foraging? Now that I
> think about it, I don't think I've ever read such an explanation, but it
> seems pretty obvious. There isn't another animal on earth with a heat-
> rejection system as efficient as ours; clearly, significant evolution has
> occured for the sake of the ability to operate at temperatures which put
> others animals down with heat exhaustion. The loss of body hair seems, to
> me, to obviously be linked to this adaptation.

Um, tried living in a desert for even a short while, Gerold? In this
part of the world where I am right now the unprepared *perish* very
quickly indeed. Within hours.

Even fully protected, one must be extremely careful not to get heat
sickness from being dehydrated and exposed to high temperatures, or
get rashes from the heat and humidity where clothing is in contact
with the skin. Or go TROPO in what we are presently experiencing as
the Silly Season, otherwise known as Suicide Month.

On the other hand, it takes but a cursory appraisal of the demographic
data readily available to any student to note that humans most densely
and I must add *happily* populate riverine and coastal systems.

They do. That's a fact.

Gil Hardwick, Independent Anthropologist Derby/West Kimberley W.A.
e-mail: g...@tillage.DIALix.oz.au phone: (+6191) 91 1260
* Permaculture Design - Community Development - Land Management *
* Social and Cultural Research - Remote Area Communications *

NICHOLLS PHILIP A

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Nov 14, 1993, 11:00:46 AM11/14/93
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> g...@tillage.DIALix.oz.au writes:

>Um, tried living in a desert for even a short while, Gerold? In this
>part of the world where I am right now the unprepared *perish* very
>quickly indeed. Within hours.

Ever been on an African savanna, Gil? I have. Guess what, there is
water there, which is fortunate because large carnivores usually
consume large quantities of the stuff. When you remove the standing
water from a savanna you get a desert.

However, no one has proposed that protohominids moved from forest to
desert and the paleoclimatological data suggests very strongly that
most savanna areas were even better watered during the plio/pleisto-
cene than they are today. Many fossil finds are associated with
bodies of water. Now ask yourself, based on your "same then as now"
thinking, were they LIVING in the water or exploiting it as a
resource, specifically drinking water?


>Even fully protected, one must be extremely careful not to get heat
>sickness from being dehydrated and exposed to high temperatures, or
>get rashes from the heat and humidity where clothing is in contact
>with the skin. Or go TROPO in what we are presently experiencing as
>the Silly Season, otherwise known as Suicide Month.

Fortunately the !kung-san are blissfully unaware of these requirements.
Perhaps that accounts for their low suicide rate.

>On the other hand, it takes but a cursory appraisal of the demographic
>data readily available to any student to note that humans most densely
>and I must add *happily* populate riverine and coastal systems.
>
>They do. That's a fact.

A bit more than a cursory appraisal reveals that humans tend to live
anyplace they can, sometimes without access to standing bodies of
water.


--
Philip Nicholls "To ask a question,
Department of Anthropology you must first know
SUNY Albany most of the answer."
pn8...@thor.albany.edu

Duncan Mckenzie

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Nov 14, 1993, 8:31:00 AM11/14/93
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Gerold Firl states that naked skin, copious sweat glands, excellent
vision and erect bipedal posture are an adaptation to high temperature
diurnal hunting and foraging.

Excellent vision (specifically, binocular colour vision) is a trait
found in all the primates. It's an adaptation to tree life, allowing a
tree-dwelling animal to judge distances (useful when jumping) and to
spot fruit (especially ripe fruit) from a distance. True, binocular
vision is also found in many predators, but in the case of humans the
adaptation seems to have originally occurred for different reasons.

As for naked skin and copious sweat glands, it may be that, having
acquired a naked skin, humans (or their ancestors) required copious
sweat glands for heat control. Does that mean that naked skin is an
adaptation to high temperature hunting? If so, then why are there no
other high-temperature hunting animals with naked skin?

As for the erect bipedal posture, this is in many ways a very poor
adaptation to a hunting lifestyle. Travelling on two legs is relatively
slow, and also has the attendant disadvantage that it makes the hunter
visible to its prey for a greater distance.

If you look at the "design" of a typical hunting animal (eg, lion,
cheetah, leopard), you'll find that they are relatively close to the
ground compared to the animals they hunt. Where antelopes and so on get
their speed from the length of their legs, the cats do so by flexing
their bodies as they run, creating, effectively, a longer stride (at the
expense of greater exertion).

The bipedal stance of humans, then, is a poor adaptation to a hunting
lifestyle -- except in as much as it leaves two hands free for holding
weapons.

Duncan McKenzie
Toronto, Ontario
duncan....@canrem.com

Pat Dooley

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Nov 15, 1993, 3:05:51 AM11/15/93
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In article <2c1487...@hpsdlmf7.sdd.hp.com> ger...@sdd.hp.com (Gerold Firl) writes:
>
>I was recently appraised of the fact that this "aquatic ape" hypothesis is
>being discussed on sci.anthropology. I took a look, and, sure enough, it
>is. I found it rather surprising; isn't it commonly accepted that the naked
>skin, copious sweat glands, excellent vision and erect bipedal posture are
>adaptations to high-temperature diurnal hunting and foraging? Now that I
>think about it, I don't think I've ever read such an explanation, but it
>seems pretty obvious. There isn't another animal on earth with a heat-
>rejection system as efficient as ours; clearly, significant evolution has
>occured for the sake of the ability to operate at temperatures which put
>others animals down with heat exhaustion. The loss of body hair seems, to
>me, to obviously be linked to this adaptation.

You are under a misapprehension if you believe human thermo-regulation
is better than that of any savannah animal. In hot arid conditions, a
human being loses 10 litres or more of water per day. (figures derived
from military experience with fit, clothed soldiers). That is, on a
body-weight basis, the worst performance on the savannah. When it comes
to replenishing that moisture, we find the human being has the lowest
drinking capacity. It simply can't replace 10 litres of water in one
visit to a water whole. The human sweating system dumps electrolytes, a
scarce resource on the savannah and humans have no sense to tell them
when they are low on salt. It gets worse. The copious sweating, as
any physicist will tell you, is stupid if the objective is evaporative
cooling. The moisture that drips away provides no cooling effect.
It gets worse. According to Sokolov, an expert on mammal skin, "It has
been found that moisture evaporates twice as fast from fur as from a
smooth surface, proving that fur does not prevent the evaporation of sweat".
It gets worse. Eccrine sweating is slow to start up and slow to stop.
The effect is that when thermal stress occurs too quickly, the human
cooling system does not work fast enough to stop fainting.
And, once sweating has got the temperature down, it carries on dripping.

Not a well engineered system, and one that nature has not seen fit to
repeat. In other words, if human thermo-regulation was the best, convergent
evolution tells us we'd be seeing naked, sweaty antelopes chased by
naked, sweaty predators.

-------------------------------------------
Pat Dooley speaking for himself

Gil Hardwick

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Nov 15, 1993, 9:50:06 AM11/15/93
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> > g...@tillage.DIALix.oz.au writes:
>
> >Um, tried living in a desert for even a short while, Gerold? In this
> >part of the world where I am right now the unprepared *perish* very
> >quickly indeed. Within hours.
>
> Ever been on an African savanna, Gil? I have. Guess what, there is
> water there, which is fortunate because large carnivores usually
> consume large quantities of the stuff. When you remove the standing
> water from a savanna you get a desert.

Yes, there is water here too, Philip. The query raised concerned a
suggested human tolerance to *high temperatures*, which idea collapsed
at the first presentation of the most basic facts.

> However, no one has proposed that protohominids moved from forest to
> desert and the paleoclimatological data suggests very strongly that
> most savanna areas were even better watered during the plio/pleisto-
> cene than they are today. Many fossil finds are associated with
> bodies of water. Now ask yourself, based on your "same then as now"
> thinking, were they LIVING in the water or exploiting it as a
> resource, specifically drinking water?

You have lost me completely here, mate. I am only ever talking about
real contemporary humans, not these "protohominids" you lot persist in
evoking from the barest bone fragments. There is no doubt whatsoever
that the rest of your theory building, especially that hypothesising
certain behaviours, has been imaged on the basis of fieldwork done by
socio-cultural anthropologists among real hunter-gatherers still alive
today, *marginalised* by the rest of humanity (you appear to maintain
in your theory building simply never existed), into desert regions.

You seem to have this odd idea implicit in all of your material that
Australian Aboriginal people, the !kung people, and perhaps any other
desert or savannah inhabiting group, represent some sort of earlier
version of modern humanity.

Sorry, NOT. Invading and colonising groups shove the others *OUT* onto
the harsher lands, and keep the good productive land undeniably along
river and coastal systems for themselves. Of course, out there in the
badlands only enough water is available to drink, but where the most
dominant and powerful groups live there is plenty for swimming, to
waste and pollute and whatever you want to do with it.

Lets cut the pretense, shall we, and recognise what real contributions
have been made to our knowledge of humankind, and are yet being made to
what end. At least try to get some passing facts straight, for once.

> >Even fully protected, one must be extremely careful not to get heat
> >sickness from being dehydrated and exposed to high temperatures, or
> >get rashes from the heat and humidity where clothing is in contact
> >with the skin. Or go TROPO in what we are presently experiencing as
> >the Silly Season, otherwise known as Suicide Month.
>
> Fortunately the !kung-san are blissfully unaware of these requirements.
> Perhaps that accounts for their low suicide rate.

Oh dear, you do insist on wading out into the quicksand, don't you? I
for my part have done no work among !kung peoples and am not in any
position to reply reliably to your preposterous goading. However, I do
work among a similarly adapted people here in Australia and I must
insist that the knowledge of which you claim !kung to be so blissfully
unaware is most profoundly integral here.

It is simply not viable to argue that the !kung adapted to such a
similar environment would not also have developed as comprehensive a
bush pharmacopoeia to treat the very ailments I had described.

Right at this very moment, unfortunately for you, I am in the field
mailing to the Internet from a laptop (via a modem and some rewiring of
the local telephone cable to accept it, and dialling into my mailserver
over 2,500 Kilometres away in Perth), on these very matters. If you
wish I can describe to you in detail not only the hundreds of plant
species used (do you want a copy of the list?), but also the daily
behaviours or real people conscientiously maintaining their health
and well-being here in this environment.

Would you like also for me to describe in as much detail child-
minding practices among the women? Songs and myths dating right back
to the Dreaming which warn and teach people about these very ailments
I describe? All strikingly recogniseable again in even a glance at
!kung society.

From whom do you think we white people learned to survive here, those
of us who *do* survive very well being so acutely aware of what does
in fact happen to the human body at high temperatures and humidity,
in contrast with those who have more recently travelled up here from
the comfort of southern cities and have not yet learned anything, who
become confused and frequently end up as another suicide statistic for
the region?

Not to mention the extraordinarily high suicide rates among Aboriginal
people far from their own country . . .

Be very careful now, pal. You have stepped well over the mark and your
reputation as a scientist is at stake. I do hope that later you will
not resort to claiming that we had just been picking on you because
you are gay, or some such nonsense your lawyer thinks will get you
your job back.

> A bit more than a cursory appraisal reveals that humans tend to live
> anyplace they can, sometimes without access to standing bodies of
> water.

Philip, in those circumstances they are nomadic, not sedentary. Even
here if we want to sit down for a while a bore has to be sunk into the
aquifer, else a soak dug out with shovels if it is not too far into the
Dry Season. But as you wish I can relate to you not only the seasonal
movements of these people but their cyclical movements as well, designed
to sustain them through even the most extreme drought years.

Again, significantly, *men* being the travellers while the women stay
back up there on the river swimming and fishing (the Fitzroy in this
case, but you are free to paddle your canoe up any of them as you do
your head-counting), and minding the old people and the children.

And you have not bothered once to address what I had actually said, in
referring to the distribution of human populations concentrated in
fact in riverine and coastal environments anywhere you chose to look.
If you don't want to go and see for yourself, please do refer to any
map.

[the rest of my response deleted, heeding advice . . . ]

Gil Hardwick

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Nov 15, 1993, 10:12:54 AM11/15/93
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In article <21...@rand.mel.cocam.oz.au> p...@cocamrd.mel.cocam.oz.au writes:

[much information on sweating deleted as read]

> Not a well engineered system, and one that nature has not seen fit to
> repeat. In other words, if human thermo-regulation was the best, convergent
> evolution tells us we'd be seeing naked, sweaty antelopes chased by
> naked, sweaty predators.

But you should also mention, Pat, how quickly humans can absorb water
back through their skin as well. In fact, human skin appears to me not
very well adapted to being out in dry air at all, but is excellent in
its ability to become very wet very quickly indeed.

No, we simply do not need to ingest much water orally, but a quick
shower or bath does wonders. Where I am drinking too much water is
one of the quickest ways to get sick, especially contributing to
diarrhoea and other digestive system upsets, and the advice to all
newcomers is to shower 3-4 times a day for best results.

Keep up the good work.

Gerold Firl

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Nov 15, 1993, 5:49:32 PM11/15/93
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In article <60.3645.37...@canrem.com> duncan....@canrem.com (Duncan Mckenzie) writes:

>Gerold Firl states that naked skin, copious sweat glands, excellent
>vision and erect bipedal posture are an adaptation to high temperature
>diurnal hunting and foraging.
>
>Excellent vision (specifically, binocular colour vision) is a trait
>found in all the primates.

True. This certainly predates the evolution of anything remotely manlike.
Any idea how well the other apes do at long distances? That is, are they
more near-sighted than humans? Most of the visual abilities useful in a
forest environment are fairly close-range; I wonder if that is reflected in
primate visual range.

>As for naked skin and copious sweat glands, it may be that, having
>acquired a naked skin, humans (or their ancestors) required copious
>sweat glands for heat control. Does that mean that naked skin is an
>adaptation to high temperature hunting? If so, then why are there no
>other high-temperature hunting animals with naked skin?

There's a first time for everything, and our species is notable for being
the first at evolving some very successful adaptations. And an adaptation
for high-temperature activity is not exclusively useful for hunting. Lions
and leopards are not active during mid-day, so foraging would be safer if
humans and protohumans could do it while everyone else is having their
siesta.

>As for the erect bipedal posture, this is in many ways a very poor
>adaptation to a hunting lifestyle. Travelling on two legs is relatively
>slow, and also has the attendant disadvantage that it makes the hunter
>visible to its prey for a greater distance.
>
>If you look at the "design" of a typical hunting animal (eg, lion,
>cheetah, leopard), you'll find that they are relatively close to the
>ground compared to the animals they hunt. Where antelopes and so on get
>their speed from the length of their legs, the cats do so by flexing
>their bodies as they run, creating, effectively, a longer stride (at the
>expense of greater exertion).
>
>The bipedal stance of humans, then, is a poor adaptation to a hunting
>lifestyle -- except in as much as it leaves two hands free for holding
>weapons.

The model I'm seeing for bipedal, high-temperature hunting and foraging
does not rely on concealment or high-speed for success. The hominids would
venture out when it got hot, probably after tanking-up as much as their
limited capacity would allow (with a suitable drinking ritual, no doubt);
even if a fully bipedal locomotion was not initially present, the ability
to gain a foot or two in height makes a *big* difference in how far you can
see in flat terrain. Once you spot your prey, you start after it; large
animals, with insulating layers over their skin, overheat very quickly. If
you can track them or keep them in sight it could be an easily exploitable
food source. I'm seeing the disadvantages of bipedalism as being outweighed
as long as superior heat-rejection makes the lack of speed and concealment
less significant.

Gerold Firl

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Nov 15, 1993, 6:15:18 PM11/15/93
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In article <21...@rand.mel.cocam.oz.au> p...@cocamrd.mel.cocam.oz.au (Pat Dooley) writes:
>In article <2c1487...@hpsdlmf7.sdd.hp.com> ger...@sdd.hp.com (Gerold Firl) writes:
>>
>>I was recently appraised of the fact that this "aquatic ape" hypothesis is
>>being discussed on sci.anthropology. I took a look, and, sure enough, it
>>is. I found it rather surprising; isn't it commonly accepted that the naked
>>skin, copious sweat glands, excellent vision and erect bipedal posture are
>>adaptations to high-temperature diurnal hunting and foraging?

>You are under a misapprehension if you believe human thermo-regulation
>is better than that of any savannah animal.

Hmm, yes, I shouldn't have called it the most efficient heat-rejection
system in the natural world; as you point out, it isn't all that efficient.
We lavishly dump massive amounts of water through our skin; not very
efficient, but *very* effective at dumping massive amounts of heat. Any
idea how far a wildebeest can run when it is 100 degrees out? I've never
seen any figures, but I wouldn't expect it to be very far. All mammals have
body temperatures in the high 90's, right? When ambient temperature is
near body temperature, and especially when it is *above* body temperature,
I would not expect any large mammal to be able to move very far, very fast
- except for humans. As slow as we are compared to the other savannah
dwellers under more temperate conditions, when it is hot we can run any
animal down.

>The copious sweating, as
>any physicist will tell you, is stupid if the objective is evaporative
>cooling. The moisture that drips away provides no cooling effect.

Yes, it's quite crude. Totally non-optimised.

>It gets worse. According to Sokolov, an expert on mammal skin, "It has
>been found that moisture evaporates twice as fast from fur as from a
>smooth surface, proving that fur does not prevent the evaporation of sweat".

I can believe that, but that is not particularly germane to the question of
heat rejection. The way that fur contributes to evaporation is precisely
wrong for heat rejection. The hair wicks sweat away from the skin, so when
the sweat evaporates very little heat is actually lost by the animal. In
order for the 540 cal/g (heat of vaporisation) to actually cool the animal,
the sweat must be in thermal contact with the skin. If the sweat is
evaporating from a hair, the heat is pulled mostly from the surrounding
air, rather than from the animal's body.

>It gets worse. Eccrine sweating is slow to start up and slow to stop.
>The effect is that when thermal stress occurs too quickly, the human
>cooling system does not work fast enough to stop fainting.
>And, once sweating has got the temperature down, it carries on dripping.
>
>Not a well engineered system, and one that nature has not seen fit to
>repeat. In other words, if human thermo-regulation was the best, convergent
>evolution tells us we'd be seeing naked, sweaty antelopes chased by
>naked, sweaty predators.

True, not particularly well-engineered, but about what I would expect from
the rather slip-shod quality-control department at gaia inc. Keep in mind
that the system was not developed for a very long time; the ability to run
down large game under the noonday sun was quickly overshadowed by mental
developments and the associated technology.

Regarding the issue of convergant evolution: do you know what time of day
is favored by the african wild dogs? Their hunting style seems somewhat
analogous, inasmuch as they simply run down their prey. Since they are
smaller than most of the antelopes, a panting mechanism may be more
effective for them than for their prey. If they did favor mid-day for
hunting, this would be a weak example of convergance.

Gerold Firl

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Nov 15, 1993, 6:27:04 PM11/15/93
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In article <753375...@tillage.DIALix.oz.au> g...@tillage.DIALix.oz.au writes:
>
> > >Um, tried living in a desert for even a short while, Gerold? In this
> > >part of the world where I am right now the unprepared *perish* very
> > >quickly indeed. Within hours.

I'm somewhat familiar with the difficulties of high-temperature existance,
but I've never lived in the desert. I'd be interested in hearing your
perspective.



>The query raised concerned a
>suggested human tolerance to *high temperatures*, which idea collapsed
>at the first presentation of the most basic facts.

I couldn't find your initial response, so I'm not sure what you mean by
that. If you are suggesting that the basic fact that people sweat alot when
it is hot implies that the idea of our naked skin as an adaptation for
high-temperature operation is faulty, I would have to disagree. Is that the
basic fact you had in mind? If so, I suggest you reconsider.

>Would you like also for me to describe in as much detail child-
>minding practices among the women? Songs and myths dating right back
>to the Dreaming which warn and teach people about these very ailments
>I describe? All strikingly recogniseable again in even a glance at
>!kung society.

Are you referring to heatstroke? Certainly humans are subject to
heatstroke; what I am suggesting is that we are *less* susceptable than
other species. We don't have to be heat-proof; just less vulnurable than
the animals we are chasing or fleeing from.

Pat Dooley

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Nov 15, 1993, 5:58:41 PM11/15/93
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In article <60.3645.37...@canrem.com> duncan....@canrem.com (Duncan Mckenzie) writes:

...[deletions]...

>The bipedal stance of humans, then, is a poor adaptation to a hunting
>lifestyle -- except in as much as it leaves two hands free for holding
>weapons.

The first bipedal ape known to science was Australopithecus afarensis.
It predates the evolution of a large brain and their is no evidence
that A.a used tools.
--------------------------------------------------------

Stan Koper

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Nov 16, 1993, 4:57:41 PM11/16/93
to

What is the name of that film of, I believe, Kalahiri bushmen chasing
down a giraffe? They spend several days pursuing this animal before
finally cornering and dispatching it. After that, they have to cut
it up and lug the steaks home. It's been such a long time since I've
seen it, but I think the narrator pointed out that although humans
aren't particularly speedy, don't detect scents particularly well,
don't have really great vision (although stereo color, where available,
certainly has its uses), don't hear exceptionally well, and don't have
great strength, we seem to get the job done.

I think it was Marshall Sahlins who once said, "Apes can't tell the
difference between tap water and holy water."
--
Stan Koper
sko...@netcom.com
plus áa change, plus c'est la màme chose

Gerold Firl

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Nov 16, 1993, 6:45:24 PM11/16/93
to
In article <skoperCG...@netcom.com> sko...@netcom.com (Stan Koper) writes:

>What is the name of that film of, I believe, Kalahiri bushmen chasing
>down a giraffe? They spend several days pursuing this animal before
>finally cornering and dispatching it.

Right, I've seen that film, a long time ago ... I believe they put a
poisoned arrow into the giraffe first, didn't they? Not much of a poison,
obviously, but it probably served to slow the animal down, and might have
made it easier to track.

>After that, they have to cut
>it up and lug the steaks home.

Good point. Another advantage for bipedalism. The wild dogs, which engage
in long chases, regurgitate meat for the females and pups which stayed at
home. They are also the most egalitarian of all the social predators;
another parallel to human cultural development?

>It's been such a long time since I've
>seen it, but I think the narrator pointed out that although humans
>aren't particularly speedy, don't detect scents particularly well,
>don't have really great vision (although stereo color, where available,
>certainly has its uses), don't hear exceptionally well, and don't have
>great strength, we seem to get the job done.

Are there any animals, aside from the raptors, that have better vision than
we do? I don't know of any.

Gil Hardwick

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Nov 16, 1993, 9:31:34 AM11/16/93
to

> Hmm, yes, I shouldn't have called it the most efficient heat-rejection
> system in the natural world; as you point out, it isn't all that efficient.
> We lavishly dump massive amounts of water through our skin; not very
> efficient, but *very* effective at dumping massive amounts of heat.

But it simply is *NOT*, Gerold. What is needed for any cooling at all,
any dumping of any heat whatsoever, is a breeze causing evaporation of
that water we dump. That is on dry land, of course.

But swimming or bathing we *absorb* water through the skin, yet are
still cooled very greatly by the ambient water temperature.

> I would not expect any large mammal to be able to move very far, very fast
> - except for humans. As slow as we are compared to the other savannah
> dwellers under more temperate conditions, when it is hot we can run any
> animal down.

Aaahhhh! What utter nonsense! When it is so hot we are sluggish in the
extreme. No human hunter anywhere attempts to run down game, especially
out in the hot sun. The strategy is either to take game by stealth as
it lies torpid in the shade, or trap it as it goes to feed or drink in
the cool of the morning or evening.

Please do try it sometime. Try to feed your family, including your
ailing grandparents and your children, consistently and reliably day
after day using the technique you describe.

> I can believe that, but that is not particularly germane to the question of
> heat rejection. The way that fur contributes to evaporation is precisely
> wrong for heat rejection. The hair wicks sweat away from the skin, so when
> the sweat evaporates very little heat is actually lost by the animal. In
> order for the 540 cal/g (heat of vaporisation) to actually cool the animal,
> the sweat must be in thermal contact with the skin. If the sweat is
> evaporating from a hair, the heat is pulled mostly from the surrounding
> air, rather than from the animal's body.

But you ignore the critical role of circulating air in this process. I
must add too that cool moist air, if anything, is of benefit while hot
dry air can dehydrate the body so quickly that one will perish within
hours.

Again, go and try it. See how long you last.

> True, not particularly well-engineered, but about what I would expect from
> the rather slip-shod quality-control department at gaia inc. Keep in mind
> that the system was not developed for a very long time; the ability to run
> down large game under the noonday sun was quickly overshadowed by mental
> developments and the associated technology.

Not well engineered for what environment. It works fine in water.

> Regarding the issue of convergant evolution: do you know what time of day
> is favored by the african wild dogs? Their hunting style seems somewhat
> analogous, inasmuch as they simply run down their prey. Since they are
> smaller than most of the antelopes, a panting mechanism may be more
> effective for them than for their prey. If they did favor mid-day for
> hunting, this would be a weak example of convergance.

Analogous to whom, or what? Human hunting techniques in no way compare
with canine pack hunting.

Gil Hardwick

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Nov 16, 1993, 9:42:08 AM11/16/93
to

> > > >Um, tried living in a desert for even a short while, Gerold? In this
> > > >part of the world where I am right now the unprepared *perish* very
> > > >quickly indeed. Within hours.
>
> I'm somewhat familiar with the difficulties of high-temperature existance,
> but I've never lived in the desert. I'd be interested in hearing your
> perspective.

I gave it to you.

> I couldn't find your initial response, so I'm not sure what you mean by
> that. If you are suggesting that the basic fact that people sweat alot when
> it is hot implies that the idea of our naked skin as an adaptation for
> high-temperature operation is faulty, I would have to disagree. Is that the
> basic fact you had in mind? If so, I suggest you reconsider.

Sweat a lot for how long? The fact is that humans simply cannot afford
to lose so much body fluid as they do suffering high temperatures for
any period of any significance whatsoever without replenishing it. As I
had posted further, that fluid replenishment is much better taken back
in through the skin by bathing than by oral ingestion, despite what the
Coca Cola ads might want you to believe.

> Are you referring to heatstroke? Certainly humans are subject to
> heatstroke; what I am suggesting is that we are *less* susceptable than
> other species. We don't have to be heat-proof; just less vulnurable than
> the animals we are chasing or fleeing from.

I am referring to a whole spectrum of ailments which come on very
quickly indeed at an extremely high risk of mortality if adequate
intervention does not take place quickly.

And which other species? Please do give some examples, along with any
documented or otherwise experienced hunting techniques used by humans
to take them. On a consistent and regular basis sufficient to keep
one's whole family fed.

Gerold Firl

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Nov 17, 1993, 3:38:51 PM11/17/93
to
In article <753460...@tillage.DIALix.oz.au> g...@tillage.DIALix.oz.au writes:
>
>In article <2c92i6...@hpsdlmf7.sdd.hp.com> ger...@sdd.hp.com writes:
>
> > Hmm, yes, I shouldn't have called it the most efficient heat-rejection
> > system in the natural world; as you point out, it isn't all that efficient.
> > We lavishly dump massive amounts of water through our skin; not very
> > efficient, but *very* effective at dumping massive amounts of heat.
>
>But it simply is *NOT*, Gerold. What is needed for any cooling at all,
>any dumping of any heat whatsoever, is a breeze causing evaporation of
>that water we dump.

Well ... not exactly. I'm reluctant to go into an in-depth review of the
fundementals of the physics of evaporative heat transfer, though if you
really want to know, I could probably be persuaded. It is an interesting
topic, but for someone who is unaccustomed to thinking about the
thermodynamics of mass-transfer systems there is a lot of background to
cover. Here are just a couple of the salient points, which should be enough
to demonstrate the underlying structure of the human cooling system:

1. The heat of vaporisation for water is 540 calories/gram.
2. Virtually the entire surface of the human body is supplied with sweat
glands.
3. Virtually the entire surface of the human body is exposed to the air;
that is, it is largely hairless.

The surface of the human body acts as a heat-exchanger. All the sweat which
evaporates from our skin cools the body. Fur would _decrease_ the
efficiency of heat transfer, even if it _increased_ the efficiency of
evaporation, because the fluid must be in contact with the skin, when it
evaporates, to take advantage of the very high heat of vaporisation listed
above. The adaptations (2) and (3) are very unusual; clearly some selection
pressure produced them; the hypothesis that they conferred the ability to
maintain activity under conditions which were too hot for other animals
seems pretty obvious to me. If you have realistic objections I'd love to
hear them, but merely saying than humans get sunstroke when it is too hot
is not enough. Of course we get sunstroke. And of course we need to drink
a lot too. The advantage lies in the fact that other animals get sunstroke
before we do, because they can not reject heat as well as we can.

>But swimming or bathing we *absorb* water through the skin, yet are
>still cooled very greatly by the ambient water temperature.

Make no mistake; immersion will cool a person off even faster than
evaporation. And we do absorb a little bit of water through the skin, as
can be seen by the wrinkles which develop on the hands and feet. But Gil,
if you are ever dehydrated, trust me on this now, drink water. Don't try to
absorb it through your skin. That works for frogs and salamanders, but not
for people. The amount of water we can deliver to the circulatory and lymph
system through absorbtion is trivial compared to what we get through the GI
tract.

> > I would not expect any large mammal to be able to move very far, very fast
> > - except for humans. As slow as we are compared to the other savannah
> > dwellers under more temperate conditions, when it is hot we can run any
> > animal down.

>Aaahhhh! What utter nonsense! When it is so hot we are sluggish in the
>extreme.

Eloquently put, but you misunderstand the situation. Heat definately slows
us down - it slows all animals down, because of the narrow temperature
limits imposed by metabolism - but it slows us down _less_ than it slows
down other animals. Why? Because they can not reject heat as effectively as
we can. This is a simple concept, and easily testable.

>No human hunter anywhere attempts to run down game, especially
>out in the hot sun. The strategy is either to take game by stealth as
>it lies torpid in the shade, or trap it as it goes to feed or drink in
>the cool of the morning or evening.

Quite true. But the rules of the game for human hunters are quite different
than for australopithicine hunters and foragers. Australopithicus was small
and weak, and I suspect that the development of "The Sweaty Ape" preceeded
the development of technology. We have much better ways of hunting, now,
than running down game or gathering in the midday sun. But a 40-50 pound
primate in the middle of the savanna, without the heavy armament of a
baboon troupe, did not. They would have to rely on their superior cooling
system, and intelligence, to survive.

> > The way that fur contributes to evaporation is precisely
> > wrong for heat rejection. The hair wicks sweat away from the skin, so when
> > the sweat evaporates very little heat is actually lost by the animal.

>But you ignore the critical role of circulating air in this process. I


>must add too that cool moist air, if anything, is of benefit while hot
>dry air can dehydrate the body so quickly that one will perish within
>hours.

Circulating air? One of the reasons that fur is so disadvantageous to heat
rejection, and such a good insulator in general, is that fur does not allow
air to circulate against the skin. So, no, I do not ignore the critical
role of circulating air; it is central to obvious fact that the human skin
is the most effective heat transfer organ in the natural world.

The problem with cool moist air is that it helps other animals too. It
helps them more than it does us. Since they rely on convective cooling
rather than evaporative cooling, our advantage is maximised by hot, dry
conditions. Savanna summers, anyone?

Thomas Clarke

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Nov 17, 1993, 4:52:49 PM11/17/93
to
In article <2ce24r...@hpsdlmf7.sdd.hp.com> ger...@sdd.hp.com (Gerold Firl)
writes:
> ...Here are just a couple of the salient points, which should be enough

> to demonstrate the underlying structure of the human cooling system:

> 1. The heat of vaporisation for water is 540 calories/gram.
> 2. Virtually the entire surface of the human body is supplied with sweat
> glands.
> 3. Virtually the entire surface of the human body is exposed to the air;
> that is, it is largely hairless.

Thanks for the very excellent discussion of the cooling properties of
the human sweating system. You are very persuasive. Your discussion
makes me feel more charitable toward the savannah theorists.

I wonder how the subcutaneous fat fits into the picture? I guess
the answer would be insulation.

Funny, but one is tempted to invoke convergent evolution to draw
an analogy with aquatic mammals. The sweaty ape walking around the
savannah is encased in a film of moisture and is thus "aquatic"
despite the dryness of the environment!

Of course the sweating phenomena could be the pre-adapted aquatic
apes way of coping with the dry savannah. Ironically, it proved
advantageous.

--
Thomas Clarke
Institute for Simulation and Training, University of Central FL
3280 Progress Drive, Orlando, FL 32826-0544
(407)658-5030, FAX: (407)658-5059, cla...@acme.ist.ucf.edu

Gerold Firl

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Nov 17, 1993, 8:01:44 PM11/17/93
to
In article <2ce6fh$k...@osceola.cs.ucf.edu> cla...@acme.ist.ucf.edu (Thomas Clarke) writes:

>I wonder how the subcutaneous fat fits into the picture? I guess
>the answer would be insulation.

The loss of fur would cause some definate problems for these hominids;
insulation seems like a necessity. I wonder if other primates huddle
together for warmth when it is cold; is this a common behavior? I can
imagine that these virtually naked animals would have to share body heat at
night; maybe there is a link there with the loss of estrus and the human
preoccupation with sex. Sweaty, sexy apes - heh.

NICHOLLS PHILIP A

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Nov 17, 1993, 7:53:38 PM11/17/93
to
Modern apes diverged from modern humans in the Pliocene, sometime
between 9 to 7 million years ago. This point is agreed to by all
sides of the AAH debate. The AAH proposes to explain some of the
differences between modern apes and modern humans as the result of
aquatic convergences that proved to be pre-adaptations to a later
savanna stage in hominid evolution.

I am going to be focusing on four of the traits for now, the five
most often cited. These are bipedalism, reduced body hair, lots of
eccrine glands, and continuious subcutaneous fat layers. Once we have
discussed these we can perhaps move on to other AAH traits.

It must be kept in mind that all modern apes have been undergoing
separate evolution from hominids and it is important to establish
that modern apes are not the common ancestor of hominids and pongids
(from this point, refered to as the CA). On most of these we can
resonable conclude that modern apes are closer to the CA than modern
humans.

OW Monkey Modern Ape Human
bipedal No No Yes

sweat glands 6/1 6/7 1/100

sc fat not contin not contin continuous

body hair hairy hairy not hairy


If we now attempt to reconstruct the common ancestor, we can agree
that it was not habitually bipedal, probably had fewer eccrine glands
than modern apes but certainly no more than seen in modern apes, did
not have a continuous layer of subcutaneous fat and was rather hairy.

Now let's look at the earliest hominids, Australopithecus afarensis
and ask the same questions

CA A. afarensis H. sapiens


bipedal no Yes Yes

sweat glands less than 7/6 ? 1/100

sc fat not cont ? cont

body hair hairy ? not hairy


Now for the AAH to work, A afarensis would have to be human in all of
the AAH traits listed, since the AA phase is suppose to have occurred
before our first record of hominids but after the pongid hominid split.

How reasonable is this assumption?

If we look at other features of Lucy's skeletal anatomy we find that
she is a mosaic of ape-like and hominid-like features. The brain is
like similar to that of a chimpanzee, both in terms of size, surface
convolutions and blood supply.

The arms are longer than the legs, though this is more a reflection
of short legs than especially long arms.

The toes are longer and curved. Ditto on the phalanges (fingers).

The teeth show larger anterior (front) teeth than posterior (back
teeth). The canines are much smaller than apes, but noticible larger
than later hominids. There is also a space in the tooth row, called
a diastema..

They show facial and alveolar prognathism, which simply means that they have
a rather good-sized snout.

In other words, for every skeletal trait we see a mosaic and some
distinctly ape-like features. For every feature accesible by the
fossil record, including bipedalism, Lucy is transitional between
modern human morphology and generalized ape morphology. Is it
therefore reasonable to conclude that early hominid would be totally
modern in their physiology? Isn't it odd that the AAH's strength
lies in aspects of human biology that cannot be accessed through the
fossil record?

Since the only feature we can access is bipedalism, let's take a
closer look at it. I'll try to do that in my next post.

A
A
A
A
A
A

Thomas Clarke

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Nov 18, 1993, 8:30:36 AM11/18/93
to
In article <1993Nov18.0...@sarah.albany.edu> pn8...@thor.albany.edu
(NICHOLLS PHILIP A) writes:

> CA A. afarensis H. sapiens


> bipedal no Yes Yes

> sweat glands less than 7/6 ? 1/100

> sc fat not cont ? cont

> body hair hairy ? not hairy


> Now for the AAH to work, A afarensis would have to be human in all of
> the AAH traits listed, since the AA phase is suppose to have occurred
> before our first record of hominids but after the pongid hominid split.

> How reasonable is this assumption?

This is a nice table. A good point to start a discussion of the
AAH versus other models for hominid origin.

My entries for A. afarensis would be:
(Note that these differ from the "standard" Morgan AAH)

bipedal Yes

sc fat cont

sweat glands more than 7/6 less than 1/100

body hair hairy

Notes: There is observational evidence for full bipedalism in A.afarensis.

The other unique characteristic of current hominids
suggest an appeal to Occam's razor that origin under common
selection pressures would offer the simplest explanation.
Actually all you can argue is fat, sweat glands and hair are between
CA and hominid levels. But then one would have thought about bipedalism
the same way before Lucy; that a fossile of A.afarensis age would
locomote somewhere between bidepal and knuckle walking/brachiation.

There is also the question of genetic mechanisms underlying the
hominid characteristics. It could be that any of the hominid features
is governed by a small number of genes so that it is an all or nothing,
binary, change from CA, or it could be governed by a suite of genes
so that the change could take on any value in a contiuum.

Now, I think I have to discuss specific hypotheses. A direct
forest to savannah model has nothing to say about any of these features.
I cite as evidence the prevailing belief before Lucy that fossils of
A. afarensis age would not be fully bipedal.
Under this model, it is concievable that modern humans would be
hairy, low-fat, non-sweating, knuckle walkers. Nothing about the
ape body precludes modern human society and behaviors. An aside:
I have seen a couple of armless people manuevering around and they
do quite well at carrying things, although I don't think they would
have some trouble making the puches they use. The brain is the thing.

As you nicely summarize "The AAH proposes to explain some of the

differences between modern apes and modern humans as the result of
aquatic convergences that proved to be pre-adaptations to a later

savanna stage in hominid evolution." The chief thing it claims to account
for is strict bipedalism, providing an arguably favorable environment
for its development. Addition support of the presence of a
shoreline/aquatic/insular episode in hominid development is the
presence of feature in modern hominids that are usually only found
in aquatic mammals.

Discussions on the net have convinced me that
hair may be irrelevant to the AAH, having been lost later do to
genetic drift or other random factor.

SC fat makes no sense in the tropics on an animal with hair. It
has high energy cost to grow, the animal does not hibernate, etc.
If the animal spends a lot of time in the water, fat provides
buoyancy and insulation so that fatty animals might be able to
produce more offspring and increase in frequency.

Human-type sweating seems to have some value, once
social, high-intensity hunting behavior has appeared. Being
able to capture torpid animals in the noon-day sun without
succombing to heat exhaustion could lead to more offspring etc.
(This may have some bearing on hair as Gerold Firl has suggested).
There is a large numerical factor in sweat gland numbers between
CA and modern hominid, however, so I would guess an intermediate
value for A.afarensis. This value would be a preadaptation for
hunting behaviors arising from the need to reject salt in a marine
diet. Those animsls having high numbers of ecrine glands would be
able to better eliminate salt from shell-fish eaten, would not get
sick and would have more offspring ...

To me the fat layer is the most telling argument. Why
would a hairy tropical animal, not in an aquatic setting be under
selection pressures to develop a contiuous subcutaneous fat layer?

Gil Hardwick

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Nov 18, 1993, 6:33:47 AM11/18/93
to

> >What is the name of that film of, I believe, Kalahiri bushmen chasing
> >down a giraffe? They spend several days pursuing this animal before
> >finally cornering and dispatching it.
>
> Right, I've seen that film, a long time ago ... I believe they put a
> poisoned arrow into the giraffe first, didn't they? Not much of a poison,
> obviously, but it probably served to slow the animal down, and might have
> made it easier to track.

I apologise that I have forgotten the name of the film-maker for the
moment, but the film itself has long been subject to criticism as a
patchwork of footage giving a false image of hunting techniques.

If you care to examine the footage, you can see for yourself that
quite different clips have been sequenced to represent the one series
of events, which never in fact took place.

If you care to try running down a giraffe in those circumstances you
might also begin to understand what techniques will in fact win you
the game.

Gerold Firl

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Nov 18, 1993, 3:52:19 PM11/18/93
to
In article <2cftds$4...@osceola.cs.ucf.edu> cla...@acme.ist.ucf.edu (Thomas Clarke) writes:
>In article <1993Nov18.0...@sarah.albany.edu> pn8...@thor.albany.edu
>(NICHOLLS PHILIP A) writes:
>
>> CA A. afarensis H. sapiens
>
>
>> bipedal no Yes Yes
>
>> sweat glands less than 7/6 ? 1/100
>
>> sc fat not cont ? cont
>
>> body hair hairy ? not hairy

>My entries for A. afarensis would be:
>(Note that these differ from the "standard" Morgan AAH)
>
>bipedal Yes
>
>sc fat cont
>
>sweat glands more than 7/6 less than 1/100
>
>body hair hairy

And the predictions of the sweaty ape hypothesis for the evolutionary
divergance which split the hominid line from the ape CA would be:

bipedal yes

sc fat continuous

sweat glands lots (1)

body hair smooth

(1) I apologise for my ignorance, but what is the meaning of the two
parameters describing sweat glands?

I am suggesting that the adaptation which led to sc fat, bipedalism, and
ultimately H. Sap. was the advance in thermo-regulation; that the
development of the human cooling system was the initial, primary step which
made all the others possible.

>SC fat makes no sense in the tropics on an animal with hair.

But it is very useful for apes who've lost their coat.

>Human-type sweating seems to have some value, once
>social, high-intensity hunting behavior has appeared.

Actually, we need not posit the hunting behavior as a prerequisite for the
advantages of a high-powered cooling system. The ability to remain active
after other animals have shut-down due to overheating would be useful for a
variety of ecological roles, not just big-game hunting.

>This value would be a preadaptation for
>hunting behaviors arising from the need to reject salt in a marine
>diet. Those animsls having high numbers of ecrine glands would be

>able to better eliminate salt from shell-fish eaten...

That is a possibility. The conspicuous lack of evidence certainly makes for
fertile speculation. %^)

>To me the fat layer is the most telling argument. Why
>would a hairy tropical animal, not in an aquatic setting be under
>selection pressures to develop a contiuous subcutaneous fat layer?

No problem. First optimise the cooling system, then take care of little
problems like avoiding hypothermia at night. There were a few ice ages and
hot interglacials in the pliocene, which provides a nice forcing function
for the curious set of adaptations which produced these argumentative
humans. If the hominid split took place during a hot interglacial, with an
adaptation for high-temperature activity, then the necessity for the sc fat
layer may have been minimal until such a time as it was too late put the
coat back on.

Ah, the joys of speculation.

NICHOLLS PHILIP A

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Nov 18, 1993, 4:39:50 PM11/18/93
to

The numbers in the sweat glands catagory refer to apocrine/eccrine gland
counts.

I can't help but wonder if developmentally sweat glands/fat/and hair are
not all tied together and that a change in one leads to changes in the
other. Of course, this doesn't help explain hairless marine mammals
because they don't have sweat glands.

On another topic, when need to be a bit more precise with the meaning
of aquatic and semi-aquatic. Is an animal aquatic because it goes in
the water from time to time? If so, then humans today might be
considered aquatic. It seems to be that we should restrict the term
to animals that show specific indisputable adaptations to living in
water. Thus an otter is aquatic, a hippo is semi-aquatic (distribution
of eyes and nostrils on the head.)

Cameron Laird

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Nov 19, 1993, 8:07:08 AM11/19/93
to
In article <1993Nov18.2...@sarah.albany.edu> pn8...@thor.albany.edu (NICHOLLS PHILIP A) writes:
>
>The numbers in the sweat glands catagory refer to apocrine/eccrine gland
>counts.
>
>I can't help but wonder if developmentally sweat glands/fat/and hair are
>not all tied together and that a change in one leads to changes in the
>other. Of course, this doesn't help explain hairless marine mammals
.
.
.
Bingo. I don't know the facts in this case, but
developmental constraints and pathways aren't
getting quite as much attention in this discus-
sion as they deserve, although I know others have
tried to invoke them on occasion.

One nice aspect of developmental hypotheses:
they admit experimental evidence.
--

Cameron Laird
cla...@Neosoft.com (claird%Neoso...@uunet.uu.net) +1 713 267 7966
cla...@litwin.com (claird%litwi...@uunet.uu.net) +1 713 996 8546

Gil Hardwick

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Nov 19, 1993, 8:16:09 AM11/19/93
to

In article <2ce24r...@hpsdlmf7.sdd.hp.com> ger...@sdd.hp.com writes:

[engineering data deleted as read]

> seems pretty obvious to me. If you have realistic objections I'd love to
> hear them, but merely saying than humans get sunstroke when it is too hot
> is not enough. Of course we get sunstroke. And of course we need to drink
> a lot too. The advantage lies in the fact that other animals get sunstroke
> before we do, because they can not reject heat as well as we can.

Well, yes, I am obviously in error not having anticipated a report
from an engineer here in Anthropology. Your argument concerned the
high temperature performance of humans beings as a hunting advantage
leading to a selection of that advantage in evolutionary terms the way
I read it. Please do correct me if I am wrong.

The point I am trying to make is not whether humans would survive in
terms of a hunting advantage, but whether humans would survive at all
in the circumstances you describe. Regardless of your engineering, the
fact remains that no humans on record are able to cope with a high
temperature environment except in the most marginal circumstances, and
even then precariously.

The point needs to be made again that human population distribution is
around temperate coastal and riverine environments, not high temperature
desert or savannah environments. Your blanket definition of human must
be normative for it to be valid, else you are only talking about rare
exceptions in human adaptation.

> Make no mistake; immersion will cool a person off even faster than
> evaporation. And we do absorb a little bit of water through the skin, as
> can be seen by the wrinkles which develop on the hands and feet. But Gil,
> if you are ever dehydrated, trust me on this now, drink water. Don't try to
> absorb it through your skin. That works for frogs and salamanders, but not
> for people. The amount of water we can deliver to the circulatory and lymph
> system through absorbtion is trivial compared to what we get through the GI
> tract.

Well, yeah, sure. I have lived all my live in this type of environment
and I am telling you that ingesting too much water orally under heat
stress causes severe digestive and other problems. I won't argue with
you about the engineering of it, or about salamanders and frogs, but
it is a fact that the first treatment is either a bath or to cover
the patient with wet towels; to put them in a cool wet environment.

That says to me that restoring the person's body to that range in which
it finds its health and well-being restored, is to find the epistatic
equilibrium to which that body is best adapted. Which tells me that
humans are not well adapted to hot dry environments.

> Eloquently put, but you misunderstand the situation. Heat definately slows
> us down - it slows all animals down, because of the narrow temperature
> limits imposed by metabolism - but it slows us down _less_ than it slows
> down other animals. Why? Because they can not reject heat as effectively as
> we can. This is a simple concept, and easily testable.

Gerold, you simply misapprehend that hunting is not a matter of any
comparative physical engineering. First, the animals seek shade in
the heat of the day. Second, it is far more comfortable for humans to
be out hunting in the cool of the day, with the added advantage of the
animals being out then too.

Even considering your African savannah containing vast herds of game
animals who may well be loping along in the heat, you have yet to take
into account humans wanting to hunt when it is cooler. There is no
advantage whatsoever in taking risks by facing the extremes.

> Quite true. But the rules of the game for human hunters are quite different
> than for australopithicine hunters and foragers. Australopithicus was small
> and weak, and I suspect that the development of "The Sweaty Ape" preceeded
> the development of technology. We have much better ways of hunting, now,
> than running down game or gathering in the midday sun. But a 40-50 pound
> primate in the middle of the savanna, without the heavy armament of a
> baboon troupe, did not. They would have to rely on their superior cooling
> system, and intelligence, to survive.

Sure, of course! The matter concerns how those australopithithicines
finally evolved into humans, if they did. If as you suggest the rules
of the game were so different, it seems to me reasonable to expect
that they probably ended up in some blind alley, and we ought to look
elsewhere for a human forebear.

> The problem with cool moist air is that it helps other animals too. It
> helps them more than it does us. Since they rely on convective cooling
> rather than evaporative cooling, our advantage is maximised by hot, dry
> conditions. Savanna summers, anyone?

Perhaps then we exploited their advantage in order to ensure more game
for our hunters, because we tend to congregate in cool moist climes.

You still have to demonstrate to me that humans as a species prefer
hot dry conditions. They simply do not, Gerold. Please don't keep on
arguing with me on that point; go and have a look at any atlas.

To anyone proposing these "savannah theories" based solely on the fact
that a few bone fragmants have been found in Africa, I must question
whether you are talking about the ancestors of modern homo sapiens
sapiens who demonstrably prefer other environments. *IF* the African
specimens are in fact our predecessors and not merely examples of a
pre- or proto-hominid, where and when did the transition to the quite
different form take place?

The quantifier is, of course, that I regard hot as over about 40C, or
well over 100F. Maybe lots of you people living in the far frozen
north of the planet think hot is around 25-30C, which is temperate.

Gil Hardwick

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Nov 19, 1993, 8:41:45 AM11/19/93
to

> The loss of fur would cause some definate problems for these hominids;
> insulation seems like a necessity. I wonder if other primates huddle
> together for warmth when it is cold; is this a common behavior? I can
> imagine that these virtually naked animals would have to share body heat at
> night; maybe there is a link there with the loss of estrus and the human
> preoccupation with sex. Sweaty, sexy apes - heh.

Well, one fascinating example of such behaviour is the African blind mole
rat. But they live underground, with all the males bonking with but the
one "queen" rather like bees in a hive.

Maybe we could as well think more about the "living in caves" phase in
addition to the standard savannah and aquatic ape hypotheses.

What would that be, a Standard Caves Hypothesis? That would make a
great deal of sense, especially in riverine environments.

Gil Hardwick

unread,
Nov 19, 1993, 8:52:03 AM11/19/93
to

> Now for the AAH to work, A afarensis would have to be human in all of
> the AAH traits listed, since the AA phase is suppose to have occurred
> before our first record of hominids but after the pongid hominid split.
>
> How reasonable is this assumption?

It is unreasonable, simply on your assumption that A. afarensis is the
only candidate. Far more evidence must become available before such an
assumption can be made for the purposes of the comparison you wish to
make.

> In other words, for every skeletal trait we see a mosaic and some
> distinctly ape-like features. For every feature accesible by the
> fossil record, including bipedalism, Lucy is transitional between
> modern human morphology and generalized ape morphology. Is it
> therefore reasonable to conclude that early hominid would be totally
> modern in their physiology? Isn't it odd that the AAH's strength
> lies in aspects of human biology that cannot be accessed through the
> fossil record?

No, it is not odd simply because it attempts to look further than what
is currently available in the fossil record. That is, the fact that
not enough fossil or other evidence has been found is insufficient to
refute the hypothesis. the argument is only that more research might
be done.

If you perceive this to be bullying, Philip, please think again with I
suggest a measure of open mindedness about other people you have not
yet met or had anything else to do with.

Thomas Clarke

unread,
Nov 19, 1993, 11:16:07 AM11/19/93
to
In article <2cgna3...@hpsdlmf7.sdd.hp.com> ger...@sdd.hp.com (Gerold Firl)
writes:

> In article <2cftds$4...@osceola.cs.ucf.edu> cla...@acme.ist.ucf.edu (Thomas
Clarke) writes:
> >In article <1993Nov18.0...@sarah.albany.edu> pn8...@thor.albany.edu
> >(NICHOLLS PHILIP A) writes:

> >> CA A. afarensis H. sapiens

> >> bipedal no Yes Yes

> >> sweat glands less than 7/6 ? 1/100

> >> sc fat not cont ? cont

> >> body hair hairy ? not hairy

> >My entries for A. afarensis would be:
> >(Note that these differ from the "standard" Morgan AAH)

> >bipedal Yes

> >sc fat cont

> >sweat glands more than 7/6 less than 1/100

> >body hair hairy

> And the predictions of the sweaty ape hypothesis for the evolutionary
> divergance which split the hominid line from the ape CA would be:

> bipedal yes

> sc fat continuous

> sweat glands lots (1)

> body hair smooth

Interesting. So the only differnce between an A.a molded in a
semi-aquatic environment and an A.a forged through selection for
high heat rejection is hair? Note, I think the AAH is
indifferent to hair so there may be no difference!

Next challenge to Sweaty theory: account for dive reflex and
muscular nostrils. Descended larynx and breath control could be
accounted for as adaptations for speech, but the time is rather
short for evolving these changes.

Alternate approach for additional debating points: identify secondary
adaptations to heat (other than sc/glands/hair) that would be expected.
E.G., maybe mouth breathing during high intensity effort would
favor the descended larynx.

Also, implicit in my earlier reply was that I perceive the viable mode
of operation of a high-heat homninid to be fast high-energetic hunts
in the heat of the day when other animals are torpid. I don't
think long run-downs would be practical. The A.a's would have
to stop for water before too long, even marathoners have watering
stations, and this would disrupt the hunt. The earlier cited
film of a giraffe rundown apparently depended on poisoning the
animal with an arrow, it was not a pure athletic contest.

Gerold Firl

unread,
Nov 19, 1993, 6:08:44 PM11/19/93
to
In article <1993Nov18.2...@sarah.albany.edu> pn8...@thor.albany.edu (NICHOLLS PHILIP A) writes:
>
>The numbers in the sweat glands catagory refer to apocrine/eccrine gland
>counts.

I tried looking that up last night in an introductory physiology text
(Guyton) but it didn't distinguish between them. It did have a few
interesting facts however; it stated that a non-acclimated person can sweat
1.5 liters per hour, while a person who was acclimated to high-temperature
activity can sweat 4 liters/hour. It also stated that people who grow up in
the tropics have more functioning sweat glands than people who grow up in
cooler climates; if the sweat system is not fully utilised in childhood,
some of the sweat glands become disfunctional. Also, with heavy usage the
sweat system becomes more efficient at re-claiming salts from the sweat.
A hormone called aldosterone is produced which allows the dissolved salts
to be re-absorbed before the sweat reaches the surface of the skin; the
loss of salts due to sweating can be cut by over 90% when aldosterone
levels have been elevated.

Here'a another interesting idea. Gray's Anatomy stated that the highest
concentration of sweat glands is found on the palms of the hand, with over
2800 per square inch. From a heat-transfer point of view, this would be
seen as taking advantage of the higher air velocity over the palms of the
hand during walking or running, which increases evaporation, and hence heat
loss. It occurred to me that this could explain the whorls of the fingers
and palm: the grooved surface helps to wick moisture away from the apature
of the duct, spreading the fluid over a larger surface area, giving higher
evaporation rates.

Gerold Firl

unread,
Nov 19, 1993, 7:16:43 PM11/19/93
to
In article <753714...@tillage.DIALix.oz.au> g...@tillage.DIALix.oz.au writes:
>
>In article <2ce24r...@hpsdlmf7.sdd.hp.com> ger...@sdd.hp.com writes:
>
> > Of course we get sunstroke. And of course we need to drink
> > a lot too. The advantage lies in the fact that other animals get sunstroke
> > before we do, because they can not reject heat as well as we can.

>Your argument concerned the


>high temperature performance of humans beings as a hunting advantage
>leading to a selection of that advantage in evolutionary terms the way
>I read it. Please do correct me if I am wrong.

Essentially correct, though I was careful to include foraging along with
hunting. I would expect that the ability to be active at high temperatures
would initially be advantagous as much for protection from predators as for
gathering food; it would take a while for the enormous potential resource
in the form of over-heated meat on the hoof to transform a puny little ape
into a big-game hunter.

>The point I am trying to make is not whether humans would survive in
>terms of a hunting advantage, but whether humans would survive at all
>in the circumstances you describe. Regardless of your engineering, the
>fact remains that no humans on record are able to cope with a high
>temperature environment except in the most marginal circumstances, and
>even then precariously.
>
>The point needs to be made again that human population distribution is
>around temperate coastal and riverine environments, not high temperature
>desert or savannah environments.

Human beings are in a position to take the best environments for
themselves, of course; this wasn't always the case. Plus, we are just
starting an interglacial; temperatures cycle up and down, and we are
currently between extremes. Sometimes it is hotter, sometimes colder, and
in the last few million years we have gone through at least a few periods
of glaciation. (anyone know how many cycles have occurred during human
evolution?) During a cold phase, the elephants all grow hair; maybe when it
is a couple of degrees hotter than it is now they become semi-aquatic. But
clearly the human sweating system is very highly developed, and it is
clearly designed to keep us cool. Perhaps it is a rudimentary remnant of
the sweating systems possessed by human ancestors during hotter episodes in
earth climate, or during times when hunting technology was less effective,
but it is unquestionably the most high-powered cooling system of any animal
currently on earth. There must be a reason for that.

>Even considering your African savannah containing vast herds of game
>animals who may well be loping along in the heat, you have yet to take
>into account humans wanting to hunt when it is cooler. There is no
>advantage whatsoever in taking risks by facing the extremes.
>
> > Quite true. But the rules of the game for human hunters are quite different
> > than for australopithicine hunters and foragers. Australopithicus was small
> > and weak, and I suspect that the development of "The Sweaty Ape" preceeded
> > the development of technology. We have much better ways of hunting, now,
> > than running down game or gathering in the midday sun. But a 40-50 pound
> > primate in the middle of the savanna, without the heavy armament of a
> > baboon troupe, did not. They would have to rely on their superior cooling
> > system, and intelligence, to survive.
>
>Sure, of course! The matter concerns how those australopithithicines
>finally evolved into humans, if they did. If as you suggest the rules
>of the game were so different, it seems to me reasonable to expect
>that they probably ended up in some blind alley, and we ought to look
>elsewhere for a human forebear.

I don't see why. A small, pre-technological, pre-human primate which had,
as it's primary adaptive advantage, the ability to be active at high
temperatures, might have been willing to put up with the heat. If they
could shelter in wooded valleys at night and in the cool parts of the day,
and then venture out to pick up easy meat when it got hot, they might have
been willing to accept some short-term discomfort in return for high-
quality protein.

>You still have to demonstrate to me that humans as a species prefer
>hot dry conditions. They simply do not, Gerold. Please don't keep on
>arguing with me on that point; go and have a look at any atlas.

The first animal which qualifies for what I call the "sweaty ape" was not
human at all. The environmental constraints on where this animal could
survive were very different from those operating on humans. If an animal
can get a meal in the cool of the evening, or just in time for breakfast,
then it will prefer to be active at those times, rather than in the
debilitating heat of midday. But if an animal has the choice of getting a
meal at midday, or being someone else's breakfast, then they will be active
at midday. And if they suddenly have access to a large untapped resource,
such as the savanna herds, then they will experience an adaptive radiation
and rapid evolution. Kind of like what happened to humans.

>The quantifier is, of course, that I regard hot as over about 40C, or
>well over 100F. Maybe lots of you people living in the far frozen
>north of the planet think hot is around 25-30C, which is temperate.

No, I'm from southern california, and quite accustomed to the problems of
high-temperature activity. And let me remind you, that the earth has been
hotter than this before. History has all taken place during the current
temperate interglacial, but humanity has evolved through the oscillations
of the ice age. It's been hotter, it's been colder, and undoubtedly each
such episode has left it's mark on the human genotype.

Stan Koper

unread,
Nov 20, 1993, 1:32:47 AM11/20/93
to

Question:

What is the role of fat in energy storage? I am thinking of
people who are steatopygic (sp?); that is, who accumulate fat in the
buttocks. How does this impact or conflict or support the use of
fat as an insulator? Assuming, of course, that our hominid ancestors
even experienced variable fat distribution.
--
Stan Koper
sko...@netcom.com

Bobby Martin

unread,
Nov 22, 1993, 1:53:56 PM11/22/93
to
cla...@acme.ist.ucf.edu (Thomas Clarke) writes:
>Next challenge to Sweaty theory: account for dive reflex and
>muscular nostrils. Descended larynx and breath control could be
>accounted for as adaptations for speech, but the time is rather
>short for evolving these changes.

As posted on this net (or maybe it was Talk.origins), the "dive
reflex" may have been found in a wide variety of mammals as a stress
response, and perhaps even ALL vertebrates. Further, this trait is under
much contention because (as far as I know) it has not been tested for at
all in the other primates, especially apes. The descended larynx IS for
speach control, and is VERY late... substantial skeletal evidence
indicates that H neandertalensis' was very much higher than ours, and
H. erectus higher still. As far as "that's too soon for something to
have evolved", don't sell evolution that short. I can think of half a
dozen minor changes in humanity that have occurred in just the past
15,000 years or so (mostly in the teeth but also elsewhere).

See ya!
Scott J.

Bobby Martin

unread,
Nov 22, 1993, 2:05:18 PM11/22/93
to
cla...@acme.ist.ucf.edu (Thomas Clarke) writes:
>To me the fat layer is the most telling argument. Why
>would a hairy tropical animal, not in an aquatic setting be under
>selection pressures to develop a contiuous subcutaneous fat layer?

But there is no reason to think that it HAD to occur 7-4 mya. We
had strong evolutionary pressures during the Pleistocene to form a
protection vs. the cold. H. erectus is found all over the place, but
only in a tropical band. However, H. neandertalensis is found all over
the place, including the very cold climes. SC fat could easily be
postulated as having evolved at THIS time, rather than any other. The
pressures are there, and certainly homo was evolving all sorts of things
very quickly at this time. Too close to modern day you say? Humanity has
a whole host of adaptations that have occurred in just the past 15,000
years. Amerinds have shovel-shaped incisors, and no one else does.
Europeans have a "caribelli's [sp?] cusp" on their molars, and no one
else does. Australian aboriginies have a unique response to very cold
climates (their skin capilaries close up, if I remember correctly,
rather than the vasculate/constrict cycle that everybody else has), and
no one else has. Race origin is a matter of considerable debate, but no
one denies that light skin is an adaptation to less sunlight (i.e.
northern cold climates) and dark skin is for the opposite. It is a fact
that homo did not move into these cold climates until H. erectus, so
probably race differentiation occurred then. Evolution can move very
quickly indeed.

See ya!
Scott J.

Bobby Martin

unread,
Nov 22, 1993, 2:27:53 PM11/22/93
to
g...@tillage.DIALix.oz.au (Gil Hardwick) writes:
>The point needs to be made again that human population distribution is
>around temperate coastal and riverine environments, not high temperature
>desert or savannah environments. Your blanket definition of human must
>be normative for it to be valid, else you are only talking about rare
>exceptions in human adaptation.

SHAM! This is not a valid statistic. Humanity as a whole is now
primarily agrarian/horticultural, an cultural factor evolved only in the
past 10,000 years or so, and it is THAT which determines our
distribution in modern times, not some sort of other physical
preference. It is an established fact that humanity was composed mainly
of hunter/gatherer groups during 90% of our history, to the point where
our bodies are adapted to this lifestyle, and using modern distribution
is misleading. What we should instead look for is patterns of settlement
in hunter gatherer groups. However, this is also somewhat misleading,
because 1, there are no "pure" h/g groups anymore, they've all been
influenced to some degree by western culture, and 2, it has been
hypothesised that the surviving groups are marginalized and perhaps are
not representative of ancient h/g groups. However, it can be proven that
ancient h/g groups mainly followed the megafauna, wherever they went.
There was/is much fauna in the savannah environment, and H. sapiens at
least had the equipment to take them on (and so did H. neandertal and
H. erectus, for that matter) and were in place at the right time. How
our Australopithecene ancestors handled food procurement is still being
debated, but so far as I have seen there is very little evidence for a
preference for shellfish nor do we find them anywhere else BUT the
savannah.


>Gerold, you simply misapprehend that hunting is not a matter of any
>comparative physical engineering. First, the animals seek shade in
>the heat of the day. Second, it is far more comfortable for humans to
>be out hunting in the cool of the day, with the added advantage of the
>animals being out then too.

Comfort is relative, and a full stomach is always more
comfortable than a cool shade tree. If scavangers or big predators went
away during the heat, then any trait that allowed another animal to
operate during that time would be advantageous, and they absolutely
would do so. The herds go nowhere, and it is the herds that would be
preyed apon, not the predators hiding out in the shade.

>of the game were so different, it seems to me reasonable to expect
>that they probably ended up in some blind alley, and we ought to look
>elsewhere for a human forebear.

We do, and have, and yet have found no other place with hominid
remains as early as those we find in Africa.

>You still have to demonstrate to me that humans as a species prefer
>hot dry conditions. They simply do not, Gerold. Please don't keep on
>arguing with me on that point; go and have a look at any atlas.

Again, this is invalid because we no longer live as our
ancestors do. We live where the food is (mostly), and agricultural foods
are easiest grown in riverine/coastal areas.
As to this whole "marginalized" concept invalidating the study
of existing h/g groups, I must disagree. In physical evolution we find
all sorts of examples of earlier, more primitive types of animal
existing happily in spite of their more "advanced" brethren having moved
to further and better areas. Sea urchins come to mind. I postulate that
the remaining H/G groups were not marginalized by anyone but rather
simply had no reason to change their lifestyle and so maintained it.
Further, as has been stated elsewhere the next step "up" from H/G is
horticulture/agriculture, and there is extensive evidence that this
transition was neither easy nor particularly pleasant, and so in the
beginning there may have been no pressure for other groups to have
changed. That agriculture did eventually become more effiecient and
allowed the subjegation of h/g groups is irrelevant, because by then our
"survivors" had already moved to areas of isolation and so were not
effected. An example from biology could be the existence of australian
marsupials, who were isolated from the rest of the world (and placental
mammals) before competition developed, and so they went on their merry
evolutionary way. I will agree that biological/cultural comparisons
should not be taken to far, but this is only a rough comparison,
certainly no more exacting than the convergence arguments for the AAH.


>specimens are in fact our predecessors and not merely examples of a
>pre- or proto-hominid, where and when did the transition to the quite
>different form take place?

I do not understand your question. Are you asking about
bipedalism, or some other trait?

See ya!
Scott J.

Gil Hardwick

unread,
Nov 23, 1993, 2:20:14 AM11/23/93
to

> Essentially correct, though I was careful to include foraging along with
> hunting. I would expect that the ability to be active at high temperatures
> would initially be advantagous as much for protection from predators as for
> gathering food; it would take a while for the enormous potential resource
> in the form of over-heated meat on the hoof to transform a puny little ape
> into a big-game hunter.

The best protection from predators for any species is to sit quietly
in the shade, along with the ability to campouflage oneself, to slink
quietly away as a predator came near, or to bolt like lightning. And
that is what things do in fact.

I have no idea what you mean to say by "transform a puny little ape
into a big game hunter". I suggest that if you are talking about human
being their most salient feature is their enormous intelligence, not
their size or physical strength. In all my life experience the most
successful hunters (and foragers) are rather characterised by their
clear thinking and sharp wits, combined with a diligence in regularly
and routinely getting on with the job of feeding their families.

You must keep it in mind that we are largely helpless for much of our
lives and cannot simply get up and run minutes away from birth, or on
the other hand just expire suddenly from a fit and healthy state. We
mature slowly, and age slowly, and in any group you will find the most
fit and healthy caring for all the others.

Even on the African savannah.

> Human beings are in a position to take the best environments for
> themselves, of course; this wasn't always the case. Plus, we are just
> starting an interglacial; temperatures cycle up and down, and we are
> currently between extremes. Sometimes it is hotter, sometimes colder, and
> in the last few million years we have gone through at least a few periods
> of glaciation. (anyone know how many cycles have occurred during human
> evolution?) During a cold phase, the elephants all grow hair; maybe when it
> is a couple of degrees hotter than it is now they become semi-aquatic. But
> clearly the human sweating system is very highly developed, and it is
> clearly designed to keep us cool. Perhaps it is a rudimentary remnant of
> the sweating systems possessed by human ancestors during hotter episodes in
> earth climate, or during times when hunting technology was less effective,
> but it is unquestionably the most high-powered cooling system of any animal
> currently on earth. There must be a reason for that.

Well, taking the "best environment for themselves" when it includes
other species is always counterproductive and cannot be sustained. The
cannot possibly be any advantage in creating a desert. My argument
remains only with respect to some humans taking the best for themselves
from other humans; *any* humans prefering that environment to another.

It is only relatively recently through sheer pressure of population
that we find so many humans colonising such diverse environments, but
they are more or less successfully in that not through biological
adaptation but through their intelligence and the development of
culture.

Let me suggest here perhaps that FIRST came intelligence, with the rest
of these adaptive "traits" following along as the brain demanded of them
in supporting its wholly eclectic range of choices.

> I don't see why. A small, pre-technological, pre-human primate which had,
> as it's primary adaptive advantage, the ability to be active at high
> temperatures, might have been willing to put up with the heat. If they
> could shelter in wooded valleys at night and in the cool parts of the day,
> and then venture out to pick up easy meat when it got hot, they might have
> been willing to accept some short-term discomfort in return for high-
> quality protein.

Well, that is all highly speculative. None of what you say here has
any link with humans at all. One might say the same of any of a host
of small primates alive then or now, without adding anything to the
debate. Adding the "pre-" prefix in place of a "non-" prefix means
nothing whatsoever beyond your shifting your example from a spatial
context into a past context. If on the other hand you have something
to show me, or at least indicate to me where I can freely make these
observations for myself, I would be very pleased go and do the field
work as soon as I have finished this job I am on now and written it up.

> The first animal which qualifies for what I call the "sweaty ape" was not
> human at all. The environmental constraints on where this animal could
> survive were very different from those operating on humans. If an animal
> can get a meal in the cool of the evening, or just in time for breakfast,
> then it will prefer to be active at those times, rather than in the
> debilitating heat of midday. But if an animal has the choice of getting a
> meal at midday, or being someone else's breakfast, then they will be active
> at midday. And if they suddenly have access to a large untapped resource,
> such as the savanna herds, then they will experience an adaptive radiation
> and rapid evolution. Kind of like what happened to humans.

Sorry, just far to many "ifs" in all this for me to consider it much
more than an imaginary scenario. Please give us some facts we can
check for ourselves and do something with scientifically.

> No, I'm from southern california, and quite accustomed to the problems of
> high-temperature activity. And let me remind you, that the earth has been
> hotter than this before. History has all taken place during the current
> temperate interglacial, but humanity has evolved through the oscillations
> of the ice age. It's been hotter, it's been colder, and undoubtedly each
> such episode has left it's mark on the human genotype.

OK, now we have it clear what you mean by hot. But let me remind you
too that what you say here still does not offer us any evidence in
support of your thesis. I can offer the alternative argument that
the human population itself waxed and waned with these oscillations,
the survivors taking their refuge in riverine and coastal aquatic
environments until the long drought ended. As they still do in parts
of Australia in similar circumstances.

You have offered nothing to show that humans themselves lived through
these hottest periods *out there in the heat*, as it is as unreasonable
to assert that they lived through the coldest periods *out in the cold*.

Provided you are in fact making these assertions, of course, I suggest
that your thesis is beginning to defy common sense.

Gil Hardwick

unread,
Nov 23, 1993, 8:21:15 AM11/23/93
to

In article <2cr3rp$k...@uafhp.uark.edu> bdma...@uafhp.uark.edu writes:

>
> g...@tillage.DIALix.oz.au (Gil Hardwick) writes:
> >The point needs to be made again that human population distribution is
> >around temperate coastal and riverine environments, not high temperature
> >desert or savannah environments. Your blanket definition of human must
> >be normative for it to be valid, else you are only talking about rare
> >exceptions in human adaptation.
>
> SHAM! This is not a valid statistic. Humanity as a whole is now
> primarily agrarian/horticultural, an cultural factor evolved only in the
> past 10,000 years or so, and it is THAT which determines our
> distribution in modern times, not some sort of other physical
> preference.

You confuse me now, since you mailed this too me and I replied to you
on that basis. My only choice is to paste and post our exchange.

------------------------------cut here--------------------------------

Date: Tue, 23 Nov 1993 11:17:23 WST
From: "Gil Hardwick" <g...@tillage.DIALix.oz.au>
Organization: Pindan Permaculture Resources
To: "Bobby Martin" <bdma...@uafhp.uark.edu>
Subject: Re: The Moist Ape

On Mon, 22 Nov 93 13:27:46 -0600, "Bobby Martin" <bdma...@uafhp.uark.edu> wrote:
>
> SHAM! This is not a valid statistic. Humanity as a whole is now
> primarily agrarian/horticultural, an cultural factor evolved only in the
> past 10,000 years or so, and it is THAT which determines our
> distribution in modern times, not some sort of other physical
> preference.

That's no sham in the context, merely insufficient.

> It is an established fact that humanity was composed mainly
> of hunter/gatherer groups during 90% of our history, to the point where
> our bodies are adapted to this lifestyle, and using modern distribution
> is misleading. What we should instead look for is patterns of settlement
> in hunter gatherer groups. However, this is also somewhat misleading,
> because 1, there are no "pure" h/g groups anymore, they've all been
> influenced to some degree by western culture, and 2, it has been
> hypothesised that the surviving groups are marginalized and perhaps are
> not representative of ancient h/g groups. However, it can be proven that
> ancient h/g groups mainly followed the megafauna, wherever they went.
> There was/is much fauna in the savannah environment, and H. sapiens at
> least had the equipment to take them on (and so did H. neandertal and
> H. erectus, for that matter) and were in place at the right time. How
> our Australopithecene ancestors handled food procurement is still being
> debated, but so far as I have seen there is very little evidence for a
> preference for shellfish nor do we find them anywhere else BUT the
> savannah.

Why don't you simply post all this to the wider audience it deserves?

I would find it very welcome indeed, since it raises many other issues
I would like very much indeed to see discussed. Go for it!

> Comfort is relative, and a full stomach is always more
> comfortable than a cool shade tree. If scavangers or big predators went
> away during the heat, then any trait that allowed another animal to
> operate during that time would be advantageous, and they absolutely
> would do so. The herds go nowhere, and it is the herds that would be
> preyed apon, not the predators hiding out in the shade.

Please, I don't want to get into a relativist argument based on no
more than the loose usage of my words. What I was talking about in the
context was the fact that we conscientiously seek to minimise the risk
to ourselves by doing our hunting during those times of the day when
the conditions are not so extreme.

Of course were the opportunity to arise that a meal might be had at
noon, it would be taken. I am only commenting on the risk factor.

> We do, and have, and yet have found no other place with hominid
> remains as early as those we find in Africa.

This position has been covered ad nauseam, and it still has to been
answered that Africa is only the place where those remains happen to
have survived for so long. It does not constitute evidence that your
hominids never lived elsewhere, only that as far as we know their
remains did not survive elsewhere. There is no way of settling this,
and i do suggest it might simply be left open . . .

> Again, this is invalid because we no longer live as our
> ancestors do. We live where the food is (mostly), and agricultural foods
> are easiest grown in riverine/coastal areas.

I am not certain what you mean by "we" here.

> As to this whole "marginalized" concept invalidating the study
> of existing h/g groups, I must disagree. In physical evolution we find
> all sorts of examples of earlier, more primitive types of animal
> existing happily in spite of their more "advanced" brethren having moved
> to further and better areas.

What? Nowhere and at no time have I taken the position that the study
of existing h/g groups is invalid. My argument only concerns the
matter of projecting their image back onto a linear time frame which
is itself a construct of another culture, and the persistency of the
implication as a result that they represent some *earlier* form of
human development. There is simply no substance to such a position,
especially in light of the fact that many people here in Australia are
right no projecting the same h/g culture *forward* along that same
linear time frame as the civilisation which constructed it wanes in
its turn.

As civilisations are wont.

Sea urchins come to mind. I postulate that
> the remaining H/G groups were not marginalized by anyone but rather
> simply had no reason to change their lifestyle and so maintained it.

Well, I am sorry but this argument is plainly ahistorical. The record
of invasion and genocide in taking good lands, marginalising those so
dispossessed onto poorer lands is so complete and abundant I doubt
that any scholar wishing to mainatin any sort of credibility at all
wouyld think of refuting it. You are simply wrong in fact.

> Further, as has been stated elsewhere the next step "up" from H/G is
> horticulture/agriculture, and there is extensive evidence that this
> transition was neither easy nor particularly pleasant, and so in the
> beginning there may have been no pressure for other groups to have
> changed. That agriculture did eventually become more effiecient and
> allowed the subjegation of h/g groups is irrelevant, because by then our
> "survivors" had already moved to areas of isolation and so were not
> effected. An example from biology could be the existence of australian
> marsupials, who were isolated from the rest of the world (and placental
> mammals) before competition developed, and so they went on their merry
> evolutionary way. I will agree that biological/cultural comparisons
> should not be taken to far, but this is only a rough comparison,
> certainly no more exacting than the convergence arguments for the AAH.

There is no more step "up" from h/g than there is step "down" from
agriculture. People on the land everywhere mix the foundation of their
economic life, except those only very recently taking up land in order
to pursue capitalist monoculture. But most of those on a world scale
have failed, simply because the land is only sufficiently fertile in a
few places to sustain it over the long term.

There is a very significant trend toward returning to the far more
sustainable albiet lower profile subsistence level of production here
in Australia right now, including the taking up again of h/g options.

This process is at the very foundation of my work as an anthropologist
in fact. I am here right now completely my researches on bush tucker
species for the West Kimberley, being taught in particular by the
Aboriginal elders for no other purpose than to return with the
knowledge to white communities in the Southwest.

Please do keep it in mind that this identical process is current for
the whole of the "Third World", and even in the US there is a rapidly
expanding movement toward reviving traditional skills. I understand
that in New York alone there are over 1,500 gardens established in
response to the breakdown of the capitalist economy there.

Don't pay any attention to me. Go and have a look for yourself.

> I do not understand your question. Are you asking about
> bipedalism, or some other trait?

What trait? I am asking for a whole complete specimen finally settling
the matter once and for all. Lacking that, none of the argument is any
more than speculative.

Since I have posted my opinion that none will ever be found, it is
plain to anyone reading it that the entire matter of human origins be
assigned to the realm of mythology where it belongs. Where other and
far more highly sophisticated cultures already having come and gone
had assigned it.

--

Gil Hardwick, Independent Anthropologist Derby/West Kimberley W.A.
e-mail: g...@tillage.DIALix.oz.au phone: (+6191) 91 1260
* Permaculture Design - Community Development - Land Management *
* Social and Cultural Research - Remote Area Communications *

------------------------------cut here--------------------------------

Bobby Martin

unread,
Nov 23, 1993, 2:21:11 PM11/23/93
to

> That's no sham in the context, merely insufficient.

And yet you quoted the statistic knowing it was
misrepresentative?

> context was the fact that we conscientiously seek to minimise the risk
> to ourselves by doing our hunting during those times of the day when
> the conditions are not so extreme.

Of course, these were not humans, but erect-walking apes. We
cannot know exactly what their level of conciousness was, but taking a
cue from chimpanzee behaivior, who take no shelter from rains and look
miserable in a downpour, it can be argued that comfort was completely
secondary to survival. Further, there is no indication that they did or
could make the connection between heat and heat stroke. Hominids ran
after prey, some fell down (and some died). Those who could cool
themselves best got the meat and passed their traits on, while those who
didn't died. A hypothesis for sure, but (IMO) it fits what we know about
evolution and other primate behaivior.

> have survived for so long. It does not constitute evidence that your
> hominids never lived elsewhere, only that as far as we know their
> remains did not survive elsewhere. There is no way of settling this,
> and i do suggest it might simply be left open . . .

This is poor speculation at best. We have many other areas in
widely dispersed geographic areas in which the pleiocene strata are
exposed. In many cases (especially ancient pigs, which seem to have been
everywhere) we find a large commonality of fossiles despite the
geographic dispersion. Yet in all those deposits, even in deposits whose
environement would have been very similar to arboreal pleiocene africa,
we find not one trace of hominid. And while post-cranial material may be
very rare, dental material most definitely is not, and is quite durable.
Were there hominids anywhere else OTHER than the rift-valley area, we
would almost certainly have found them. However, I doubt if this
argument will satisfy you one bit, so we will leave it open.

> > Again, this is invalid because we no longer live as our
> > ancestors do. We live where the food is (mostly), and agricultural foods
> > are easiest grown in riverine/coastal areas.
>
> I am not certain what you mean by "we" here.

We as in H. sapiens, as opposed to our homo and australo
ancestors.

> human development. There is simply no substance to such a position,
> especially in light of the fact that many people here in Australia are

So in spite of the fact that archeology reveals a startling
similarity of ancient h/g groups to modern (or rather pre WWII) groups,
and that these similarities reach back as far as there is evidence, it
is still invalid to draw any comparisons between modern and extinct h/g
groups? While I will admit that it can be carried too far, and it
actually has been carried too far before, to say that all such
comparisons are invalid is indefenseable.

> Well, I am sorry but this argument is plainly ahistorical. The record
> of invasion and genocide in taking good lands, marginalising those so
> dispossessed onto poorer lands is so complete and abundant I doubt
> that any scholar wishing to mainatin any sort of credibility at all
> wouyld think of refuting it. You are simply wrong in fact.

Again you take your examples from agricultural societies, not
true h/g organizations. Your work with aborigines should (if I remember
their culture correctly) have revealed their disdain for owning the
land. This is a cross-cultural phenomenon with ALL h/g groups, because
"owning" the land they subsist on is not only impractical to their
methods (they range over very large areas and it would be impossible to
patroll), it is also counter-productive as their food either exhausts
(gathered materials) or moves on (fauna). It is only with the advent of
agriculture, when the land itself became valuable as a quantity to
better grow food, and the need for larger and larger estates to support
ever growing families (which are themselves driven by agricultural
pressures), that such terms "invasion" and "genocide" even took on any
true meaning. It is an established fact that little if any warfare
occurs between h/g groups, who are too small anyway to wage more than
skirmishes, and that there is no evidence at all in the archeological
record anywhere for such dispossession on a large or organized scale
until the advent of agriculture. I am true in fact, and you are
misunderstanding your data.

> There is no more step "up" from h/g than there is step "down" from

I knew that, which was why I was putting the terms in quotes.
Regardless, the cross-cultural pattern is h/g-horticulture-agriculture,
in that chronological order. This has been born out time and again in
the archeological record.

> agriculture. People on the land everywhere mix the foundation of their
> economic life, except those only very recently taking up land in order

Yet again you project your own observations back into the past
incorrectly. The archeological record bears out the fact that, until
about 15,000 ybp, NOBODY engaged in ANY sort of organized cultivation.
They all behaved in a very similar (albiet not identical) fashion to
what we find in the !kung and aboriginal culture. There was no mixing.


> to pursue capitalist monoculture. But most of those on a world scale
> have failed, simply because the land is only sufficiently fertile in a
> few places to sustain it over the long term.

>i

This is also something of misrepresentation. Our problem is not
production. In the USA alone the land produces several times more grain
than the population can consume (and all the other staple crops have the
same "problem" of over-production). The problem is economical
transportation and political stability nessesary to get the food from
those who produce it to those who need it. But this is another story...


> There is a very significant trend toward returning to the far more
> sustainable albiet lower profile subsistence level of production here
> in Australia right now, including the taking up again of h/g options.

Do you have any studies to cite to account for this behaivior,
or are you quoting your own anecdotal evidence?

> Please do keep it in mind that this identical process is current for
> the whole of the "Third World", and even in the US there is a rapidly
> expanding movement toward reviving traditional skills. I understand

Again, you seem to be using your own anecdotal observations
rather than objective and comprehensive data collection. Like a disease
western culture is spreading throughout the world, undermining and
either destroying or co-opting the native systems. The reasons for this
are many and complex, but as far as my observations go I see that in
spite of the reactionary rhetoric and actions of such countries as Iran
and China, or the best efforts of native cultures such as the Hopi or
the aborigines, western culture ALWAYS makes inroads.

> Since I have posted my opinion that none will ever be found, it is
> plain to anyone reading it that the entire matter of human origins be
> assigned to the realm of mythology where it belongs. Where other and
> far more highly sophisticated cultures already having come and gone
> had assigned it.

OH REALLY? So the entirety of the effort of the past 150 years
is completely invalid, because while we may have found extensive
fragmentary evidence that "complete" specimen eludes us? Should we all
still believe that we were molded from wet clay, or created from the
dreams of a god, or were once mice or birds or some other creature? This
IN SPITE OF EVIDENCE, STRONG EVIDENCE, THAT THESE BELIEFS ARE WRONG? I
find the "since science is always changing its mind because it never
finds all the evidence, it is invalid as a whole" attitude absolutely
incredible coming from a trained scientist of your obvious education.

See ya!
Scott J.

Bobby Martin

unread,
Nov 23, 1993, 2:56:43 PM11/23/93
to
g...@tillage.DIALix.oz.au (Gil Hardwick) writes:
>The best protection from predators for any species is to sit quietly
>in the shade, along with the ability to campouflage oneself, to slink
>quietly away as a predator came near, or to bolt like lightning. And
>that is what things do in fact.

You forgot "go somewhere the predators can't get to", like...
dare we say ...climb trees? This is what primates do.

>You must keep it in mind that we are largely helpless for much of our
>lives and cannot simply get up and run minutes away from birth, or on
>the other hand just expire suddenly from a fit and healthy state. We

But we are not unique in this respect. On the contrary, our
infants' physical state at birth exactly mimicks nearly ALL mamalian
predators... small, weak, physically helpless and needing intense care.
We add to that our ape baggage of a long sub-adult phase and a big,
complex social structure.

>Well, taking the "best environment for themselves" when it includes
>other species is always counterproductive and cannot be sustained. The

I do not understand what you are trying to say here.

>cannot possibly be any advantage in creating a desert. My argument
>remains only with respect to some humans taking the best for themselves
>from other humans; *any* humans prefering that environment to another.

Are you implying that our ancestors conciously created the
sahara?

>It is only relatively recently through sheer pressure of population
>that we find so many humans colonising such diverse environments, but

This is simply not true. Homo experienced an explosive period of
growth during H erectus, c. 1.5 mya. They spread all over the old world,
albiet remaining in sub-tropical areas. Humanity spread further, into
the real environmental extremes, during H Neandertal's time, c. 500,000
ypb. They were spread out so much that it is a really hot topic among
physical anthropologists as to what occurred when H. sapiens met up with
H neandertal. But Neandertals were EVERYWHERE first, and H erectus
nearly so. People go (or rather used to go) where the (mega)fauna go,
and if that's to the edge of the ice, we are found there too.

>Let me suggest here perhaps that FIRST came intelligence, with the rest
>of these adaptive "traits" following along as the brain demanded of them
>in supporting its wholly eclectic range of choices.

This has, as far as can BE proven, been proven wrong. All
physical traits point to bipedalism with small brains leading to
bipedalsim with big brains. The technological suites, from the pebble
tools of H habilis (or perhaps A africanus), to the Mousterian of the
Neandertals righ up to the neolithic of H sapiens, tool use among h/g
societies has had an INCREASE, a dramatic one at that, of complexity and
function. We find radical technology changes with each species'
appearance, although the exact boundaries are quite foggy.

>Sorry, just far to many "ifs" in all this for me to consider it much
>more than an imaginary scenario. Please give us some facts we can
>check for ourselves and do something with scientifically.

They are observations just like everything else bandied about
during the time period in question (7-5mya). Not to speak for this
person, but he seems not to have available the technical literature for
such a hunt, and I would be surprised if he knew where to look. You,
however, should be quite well trained in text searches and should also
have access to the correct professional journals (at least when you get
back to civilization :) ). You KNOW where to look, and if you are
willing to devote the time and energy for fieldwork on this, it should
be a simple matter to devote some time and energy into a text search,
which after all is the beginning of nearly all field studies.

>Provided you are in fact making these assertions, of course, I suggest
>that your thesis is beginning to defy common sense.

Really? Then please provide us with a thesis that does not defy
"common sense" as you have already defined it (i.e. solid fieldwork with
extensive evidence).

PS
I carbon-copy all my posts through e-mail because our usenet
server is very cantankerous and tends to eat posts before they reach the
public. I am sending you this e-mail copy because of this. I do this
with all my posts, but if this bothers you then tell me and I will stop.

See ya!
Scott J.

Gil Hardwick

unread,
Nov 24, 1993, 7:14:37 AM11/24/93
to

In article <2ctnr7$k...@uafhp.uark.edu> bdma...@uafhp.uark.edu writes:

>
>
> > That's no sham in the context, merely insufficient.
>
> And yet you quoted the statistic knowing it was
> misrepresentative?

------------------------------cut here--------------------------------
Date: Wed, 24 Nov 1993 19:44:32 WST


From: "Gil Hardwick" <g...@tillage.DIALix.oz.au>
Organization: Pindan Permaculture Resources
To: "Bobby Martin" <bdma...@uafhp.uark.edu>
Subject: Re: The Moist Ape

On Tue, 23 Nov 93 9:51:24 CST, "Bobby Martin" <bdma...@uafhp.uark.edu> wrote:
>
> And yet you quoted the statistic knowing it was
> misrepresentative?

Look, I quoted no statistic at all. My suggestion was that rather than
looking only at people presently inhabiting the most extreme marginal
environments an better definition of humanity might be made by taking
a sample which includes *all* humans and using that as the base line
for comparison with any other species.

At no time did I even begin to look in any more detail at the matter,
and of course it was inadequate. So what?

> Of course, these were not humans, but erect-walking apes. We
> cannot know exactly what their level of conciousness was, but taking a
> cue from chimpanzee behaivior, who take no shelter from rains and look
> miserable in a downpour, it can be argued that comfort was completely
> secondary to survival. Further, there is no indication that they did or
> could make the connection between heat and heat stroke. Hominids ran
> after prey, some fell down (and some died). Those who could cool
> themselves best got the meat and passed their traits on, while those who
> didn't died. A hypothesis for sure, but (IMO) it fits what we know about
> evolution and other primate behaivior.

Well, this here group is ANTHROPology, not hominidology or primatology.
On what grounds to you address me at all, fellow?

> This is poor speculation at best. We have many other areas in
> widely dispersed geographic areas in which the pleiocene strata are
> exposed. In many cases (especially ancient pigs, which seem to have been
> everywhere) we find a large commonality of fossiles despite the
> geographic dispersion. Yet in all those deposits, even in deposits whose
> environement would have been very similar to arboreal pleiocene africa,
> we find not one trace of hominid. And while post-cranial material may be
> very rare, dental material most definitely is not, and is quite durable.
> Were there hominids anywhere else OTHER than the rift-valley area, we
> would almost certainly have found them. However, I doubt if this
> argument will satisfy you one bit, so we will leave it open.

This is all just a load of intellectual obsession. I have made no
study of any period further back than about 900 AD myself, and I have
no clue really on what filed or other research substantiated by facts
is informing your discourse. And again, what on earth are you berating
me with it, here on an anthropological forum?

> > I am not certain what you mean by "we" here.
>
> We as in H. sapiens, as opposed to our homo and australo
> ancestors.

Who else? This is an anthropology group.
^^^^^^^

> So in spite of the fact that archeology reveals a startling
> similarity of ancient h/g groups to modern (or rather pre WWII) groups,
> and that these similarities reach back as far as there is evidence, it
> is still invalid to draw any comparisons between modern and extinct h/g
> groups? While I will admit that it can be carried too far, and it
> actually has been carried too far before, to say that all such
> comparisons are invalid is indefenseable.

I never said that such a comparison is invalid at all. Indeed, learned
members of most humans societies make them, including the Aboriginal
scholars and law keepers still today. The matter is no more central to
Western anthropology than it is to any other anthropology, from any
period in history.

What I have said repeatedly, over a very long time in fact, that said
others from making such comparisons have come to view time as cyclic
rather than linear.

However, that has nothing to do whatsoever with your making up so many
lies about what I had said or written anywhere, and now attacking me
on the basis of those lies. I have had too many deadshits wanting to
have a go at me here, and I have to ask what your game is too.

If at any time you wanted to actually read my postings, and sit and
think for a moment about what I had said instead of raving on like
this it would be a blessed miracle.

> Again you take your examples from agricultural societies, not
> true h/g organizations. Your work with aborigines should (if I remember
> their culture correctly) have revealed their disdain for owning the
> land. This is a cross-cultural phenomenon with ALL h/g groups, because
> "owning" the land they subsist on is not only impractical to their
> methods (they range over very large areas and it would be impossible to
> patroll), it is also counter-productive as their food either exhausts
> (gathered materials) or moves on (fauna). It is only with the advent of
> agriculture, when the land itself became valuable as a quantity to
> better grow food, and the need for larger and larger estates to support
> ever growing families (which are themselves driven by agricultural
> pressures), that such terms "invasion" and "genocide" even took on any
> true meaning. It is an established fact that little if any warfare
> occurs between h/g groups, who are too small anyway to wage more than
> skirmishes, and that there is no evidence at all in the archeological
> record anywhere for such dispossession on a large or organized scale
> until the advent of agriculture. I am true in fact, and you are
> misunderstanding your data.

Look mate, you can make up whatever stories you wish, or choose to
believe whatever anyone else wants to tell you without checking it out
for yourself. More fool you.

If that is your version of history, you are welcome to it. You are the
one who will end up a laughing stock . . .

> I knew that, which was why I was putting the terms in quotes.
> Regardless, the cross-cultural pattern is h/g-horticulture-agriculture,
> in that chronological order. This has been born out time and again in
> the archeological record.

The chronology itself is only a construct. If you don't want to bother
checking out the nature of time either, more fool you again.

> Yet again you project your own observations back into the past
> incorrectly. The archeological record bears out the fact that, until
> about 15,000 ybp, NOBODY engaged in ANY sort of organized cultivation.
> They all behaved in a very similar (albiet not identical) fashion to
> what we find in the !kung and aboriginal culture. There was no mixing.

Oh dear, what archaeological record? Set up by whom, and to what end?
If I am unable to go and see for myself, on what basis would I just
sit here believing you?

> This is also something of misrepresentation. Our problem is not
> production. In the USA alone the land produces several times more grain
> than the population can consume (and all the other staple crops have the
> same "problem" of over-production). The problem is economical
> transportation and political stability nessesary to get the food from
> those who produce it to those who need it. But this is another story...

Well yeah, sure. Been there mate, done that. Before you were even
born.

> Do you have any studies to cite to account for this behaivior,
> or are you quoting your own anecdotal evidence?

Anecdotal evidence? Anecdotal? We are *DOING* it mate. If you want to
come along and do the studies another in the next series of nitwits
can "cite" somewhere down the track, please do pack your bags and get
here into the field with us.

> Again, you seem to be using your own anecdotal observations
> rather than objective and comprehensive data collection. Like a disease
> western culture is spreading throughout the world, undermining and
> either destroying or co-opting the native systems. The reasons for this
> are many and complex, but as far as my observations go I see that in
> spite of the reactionary rhetoric and actions of such countries as Iran
> and China, or the best efforts of native cultures such as the Hopi or
> the aborigines, western culture ALWAYS makes inroads.

Shit, you really do have it bad. The collecting of data, however
"objective and comprehensive" you might finally manage to make it,
does not, never has and never will *preceed* the fact. The rest of
your albiet *sincere* belief I won't challenge under your own US
constitution guaranteeing freedom of religion.

> OH REALLY? So the entirety of the effort of the past 150 years
> is completely invalid, because while we may have found extensive
> fragmentary evidence that "complete" specimen eludes us? Should we all
> still believe that we were molded from wet clay, or created from the
> dreams of a god, or were once mice or birds or some other creature? This
> IN SPITE OF EVIDENCE, STRONG EVIDENCE, THAT THESE BELIEFS ARE WRONG? I
> find the "since science is always changing its mind because it never
> finds all the evidence, it is invalid as a whole" attitude absolutely
> incredible coming from a trained scientist of your obvious education.

Um, your slip is showing here.

It doesn't matter how long the effort has been going on. Christians
have been at it for around two thousand years now, and while I am a
little more than chuffed by your recognition of my sheer briliiance
and learning, I am sorry but you can't borrow any of it to lend any
more merit to your position than you can substantiate with fact.

Especially for no other reason than to show someone else up as being
wrong, when I have no doubt they have done nothing to harm you any
time at all.

> See ya!

You too, eh?

Bobby Martin

unread,
Nov 24, 1993, 11:54:42 AM11/24/93
to

GOODNESS ME, LOOK AT MR "PLEASE DON'T FLAME ME, IT DOESN'T SOLVE
ANYTHING AND MAKES ME UPSET" GO AT ME NOW. LETS ALL TAKE A MOMENT AND
BOW OUR HEADS IN FORGIVENESS OF A HYPOCRITICAL CULTURAL FART WHO CAN'T
GET ENOUGH FUNDING TO GET OUT OF THE BUSH.


> environments an better definition of humanity might be made by taking
> a sample which includes *all* humans and using that as the base line
> for comparison with any other species.

But the problem is that we don't live like any other type of
animal anymore, and there is very strong evidence that we no longer live
like any other humans in history have (at least in the past 15,000
years). Quoting population distributions for agricultural societies and
then claiming they are representative of primitive h/g ones is
misleading. Through your own studies you should know that.

> At no time did I even begin to look in any more detail at the matter,
> and of course it was inadequate. So what?

Since there only seem to be three trained anthropologists on the
net, quoting such a statistic in support of your argument, when it seems
you should know that it is misrepresentative of that argument, is
disingenuous at best. We're the only other two that will catch you at
it, and we don't watch all the time.

> Well, this here group is ANTHROPology, not hominidology or primatology.
> On what grounds to you address me at all, fellow?

Oh, gee, I forgot that you consider "real" anthropologists to
only be cultural anthropologists. I think the entire professional body
of physical anthropologists (hominid studies, primatology) and
archeologists (archeology) would be very surprised to learn this.

> This is all just a load of intellectual obsession. I have made no
> study of any period further back than about 900 AD myself, and I have

Then you show yourself to be totally unqualified to participate
in this disucssion while representing yourself as a professional
anthropologist. As far as it goes, stick to what you know and leave the
good theorising to the professionals.

> However, that has nothing to do whatsoever with your making up so many
> lies about what I had said or written anywhere, and now attacking me
> on the basis of those lies. I have had too many deadshits wanting to
> have a go at me here, and I have to ask what your game is too.

Ok, flame #1 from Mr. Gil. I have never once lied about your
stance, nor made up anything at all about your own opinions. I am
recently come to this forum, and so forgive me if I haven't managed to
find a golden archive with all of your pearls of wisdom stored there. So
much for my loss.
My "game" is to prevent misrepresentation of arguments from
occurring when I see them happen, and force a clarification when I think
it has occurred. So far I have invalidated your distribution statistic
(which I meant to do) and your credibility in discussing this issue
(which was a bonus).

> If at any time you wanted to actually read my postings, and sit and
> think for a moment about what I had said instead of raving on like
> this it would be a blessed miracle.

Flame #2. I have, in my opinion, attempted to keep a level head
when criticising your posts, as I recall your previous ones complaining
about how others have flamed you. It is only now, with your obvious
flamings in this post, that I have decided to meet fire with fire, as it
were.

> for yourself. More fool you.

Flame #3.


> If that is your version of history, you are welcome to it. You are the
> one who will end up a laughing stock . . .

Well, for one who claims to have only studied the past thousand
years of history, you have no right to judge any "version of history".
Flame #4, btw.

> The chronology itself is only a construct. If you don't want to bother
> checking out the nature of time either, more fool you again.

All chronologies are constructs. This does not invalidate them.
For someone with so narrow a specialization (cultural anth, past 1000
years, australia aboriginies) I doubt very much if you have any
comprehension of the nature of time either.
Flame #5.

> Oh dear, what archaeological record? Set up by whom, and to what end?
> If I am unable to go and see for myself, on what basis would I just
> sit here believing you?

By such a definition you have invalidated all discussion on this
net. Since I cannot confirm a single opinion you postulate here by
seeing it for myself, you have removed yourself from any credibility
whatever, even in your own specialty. Why should we believe you?

> Shit, you really do have it bad. The collecting of data, however

Oh, so now you are swearing as well? How "professional". I bet
your write-ups are a real treat. But then, you must not do those at all,
since, according to what you seem to be representing the current state
of australian cultural anthropology, nobody would believe you anyway.
i Flame #6.


> and learning, I am sorry but you can't borrow any of it to lend any
> more merit to your position than you can substantiate with fact.

Yet by your own definition of "facts" you lie all the time on
the net. I cannot confirm any of your posts, so again by your own
definition, they are lies.
Flame #7.

> Especially for no other reason than to show someone else up as being
> wrong, when I have no doubt they have done nothing to harm you any

Is that it? Are you so mad because I proved you wrong? How did
you get so far in such a field with so poor an attitude toward
criticism. Stay in the bush Mr. Hardwick. At least the aborigines may
understand you.

See ya!
Scott J.

Pete Vincent

unread,
Nov 24, 1993, 3:56:52 PM11/24/93
to
In <2ctnr7$k...@uafhp.uark.edu> bdma...@uafhp.uark.edu writes:

>
> Of course, these were not humans, but erect-walking apes. We
> cannot know exactly what their level of conciousness was, but taking a
> cue from chimpanzee behaivior, who take no shelter from rains and look
> miserable in a downpour, it can be argued that comfort was completely
> secondary to survival. Further, there is no indication that they did or
> could make the connection between heat and heat stroke. Hominids ran
> after prey, some fell down (and some died). Those who could cool
> themselves best got the meat and passed their traits on, while those who
> didn't died. A hypothesis for sure, but (IMO) it fits what we know about
> evolution and other primate behaivior.
>

If we are talking about our earliest bipedal ancestors, newly out from
the forest cover and fructivourous diet, I would suggest that they did
little running after prey. More likely they cut their teeth, as it were,
as scavengers, something to which their speed and armament more suited
them. While hominid dentition is capable of coping with fresh raw flesh,
it would have an easier time with a nicely aged carcass. Note also that
primate social behaviour would adapt easily to scavenging pack behaviour
like that of jackals. It may have taken several million years to make
the move to actually killing their own dinner. (I wonder what our
physiology can tell us about our ancestor's tolerance for decaying meat).

==========================================================================
% Pete Vincent
% Disclaimer: all I know I
% learned from reading Usenet.

Gerold Firl

unread,
Nov 24, 1993, 7:24:19 PM11/24/93
to
In article <2ctptr$1...@uafhp.uark.edu> bdma...@uafhp.uark.edu (Bobby Martin) writes:
>g...@tillage.DIALix.oz.au (Gil Hardwick) writes:

>>Let me suggest here perhaps that FIRST came intelligence, with the rest
>>of these adaptive "traits" following along as the brain demanded of them
>>in supporting its wholly eclectic range of choices.

> This has, as far as can BE proven, been proven wrong. All
>physical traits point to bipedalism with small brains leading to
>bipedalsim with big brains.

We actually have some fossils to back this up. There is sufficient fossil
evidence to show that australopithicus was fully bipedal, right? Cranial
capacity of australo. is well documented, but my impression is that the
lighter bones have not been found in sufficient numbers to completely
characterise australo. locamotion. Fagan states that H. Erectus was adapted
for speed; anyone know about h. habilus and the earlier apes?

>The technological suites, from the pebble
>tools of H habilis (or perhaps A africanus), to the Mousterian of the
>Neandertals righ up to the neolithic of H sapiens, tool use among h/g
>societies has had an INCREASE, a dramatic one at that, of complexity and
>function. We find radical technology changes with each species'
>appearance, although the exact boundaries are quite foggy.

Right. It is only comparatively recently that technology has given homo the
luxury of killing at a distance. For most of the past few million years our
clubs and stones were useful only at close quarters. A superior cooling
system would allow us to get within the range of primitive weaponry.

Question: how well accepted is the erectus -> habilus -> australopithicus
-> ramapithicus chronology? I just found _People of the Lake_ on a
bookshelf at home, and read the first chapter, but I seem to recall that
Leakey's evolutionary sequence has been disputed by some. Is ramapithicus
widely seen as ancestral to homo?

By the way, there is only one way to deal with people who escalate
discussions into flamefests: ignore them. Flamewars damp down very quickly
if a little restraint is exercised.

Gerold Firl

unread,
Nov 24, 1993, 7:57:14 PM11/24/93
to
In article <2d0hqk$s...@nntp.ucs.ubc.ca> VIN...@ERICH.TRIUMF.CA (Pete Vincent) writes:

>If we are talking about our earliest bipedal ancestors, newly out from
>the forest cover and fructivourous diet, I would suggest that they did
>little running after prey.

According to Leakey, the teeth and jaw-hinge of the very early hominids
typical for an animal that did a lot of grinding; probably more of a leaf-
eater than a fructivore. And certainly a species making a transition from
arboreal to terrestrial is not going to be very fast.

>More likely they cut their teeth, as it were,
>as scavengers, something to which their speed and armament more suited
>them.

The transition from what appears to be a strict herbivore to an omnivore,
and finally to a big-game hunter, took a long time. The scavenger business
is a tough one to break into. Lions, hyenas, and even jackels would be
stiff competition for any species which did not have specific adaptations
for the kind of rough-and-tumble that takes place around availible meat.

>While hominid dentition is capable of coping with fresh raw flesh,
>it would have an easier time with a nicely aged carcass. Note also that
>primate social behaviour would adapt easily to scavenging pack behaviour
>like that of jackals. It may have taken several million years to make
>the move to actually killing their own dinner.

Perhaps, though I expect that the transition from leaf-eater to meat-
eater was the big hurdle. Savanna scavengers are all part-time; they need
to be able to hunt and kill as well.

>(I wonder what our
>physiology can tell us about our ancestor's tolerance for decaying meat).

We do tend to prefer our meat slightly aged; is this thought to be related
to a scavenging history?

NICHOLLS PHILIP A

unread,
Nov 24, 1993, 8:14:56 PM11/24/93
to
> ger...@sdd.hp.com (Gerold Firl) writes:

>We actually have some fossils to back this up. There is sufficient fossil
>evidence to show that australopithicus was fully bipedal, right? Cranial
>capacity of australo. is well documented, but my impression is that the
>lighter bones have not been found in sufficient numbers to completely
>characterise australo. locamotion. Fagan states that H. Erectus was adapted
>for speed; anyone know about h. habilus and the earlier apes?

My reading of the data is that Australopithecus afarensis, the earliest
hominid we have on record (6? - 3.4 million years ago) was fully bipedal
and retained some anthropoid climbing ability. In other words, while it
could walk erect all the time it had not behaviorally made the shift to
abandon life in the trees. It's bipedalism was different from modern
human bipedalism, but it was still a biped.

In terms of the brain, endocranial casts are available and show that at
least in terms of size and surface morphology the brain was nearly
identical to that of a chimpanzee.

I don't think we can say that any human, even modern ones, are adapted for
speed. Humans are adapted for endurance and this probably began with the
Australopithecines.

We have Homo habilis now at about 2.0 million years ago and comtemporary with
later Australopithecines (A.africanus and A.robustus/Paranthropus robustus).
We also have Homo habilis at about that time. Homo habilis has no known
postcranial skeleltal elements (OH 62, a supposed H.habilis found by
Johanson is not a H. habilis at all according to my advisor [Dean Falk] ) and
and we now have a nearly complete Homo erectus from East Africa dating back
to 1.6 million years.

>>The technological suites, from the pebble
>>tools of H habilis (or perhaps A africanus), to the Mousterian of the
>>Neandertals righ up to the neolithic of H sapiens, tool use among h/g
>>societies has had an INCREASE, a dramatic one at that, of complexity and
>>function. We find radical technology changes with each species'
>>appearance, although the exact boundaries are quite foggy.
>
>Right. It is only comparatively recently that technology has given homo the
>luxury of killing at a distance. For most of the past few million years our
>clubs and stones were useful only at close quarters. A superior cooling
>system would allow us to get within the range of primitive weaponry.
>
>Question: how well accepted is the erectus -> habilus -> australopithicus
>-> ramapithicus chronology? I just found _People of the Lake_ on a
>bookshelf at home, and read the first chapter, but I seem to recall that
>Leakey's evolutionary sequence has been disputed by some. Is ramapithicus
>widely seen as ancestral to homo?

Ramapithecus is no longer considered on the hominid line. The general
consensous is that some kind of Australopithecine gave rise to Homo
habilis which in turn gives rise to Homo erectus.

Gil Hardwick

unread,
Nov 25, 1993, 10:13:57 AM11/25/93
to

In article <2d0hqk$s...@nntp.ucs.ubc.ca> VIN...@ERICH.TRIUMF.CA writes:

> If we are talking about our earliest bipedal ancestors, newly out from
> the forest cover and fructivourous diet, I would suggest that they did
> little running after prey. More likely they cut their teeth, as it were,
> as scavengers, something to which their speed and armament more suited
> them. While hominid dentition is capable of coping with fresh raw flesh,
> it would have an easier time with a nicely aged carcass. Note also that
> primate social behaviour would adapt easily to scavenging pack behaviour
> like that of jackals. It may have taken several million years to make
> the move to actually killing their own dinner. (I wonder what our
> physiology can tell us about our ancestor's tolerance for decaying meat).

This is getting closer to the truth. Again, I point out the foraging
habits of those most responsible for others in their care, while those
who don't care what they get get what they get . . .

Bobby Martin

unread,
Nov 26, 1993, 11:24:01 AM11/26/93
to
ger...@sdd.hp.com (Gerold Firl) writes:
>Question: how well accepted is the erectus -> habilus -> australopithicus
>-> ramapithicus chronology? I just found _People of the Lake_ on a
>bookshelf at home, and read the first chapter, but I seem to recall that
>Leakey's evolutionary sequence has been disputed by some. Is ramapithicus
>widely seen as ancestral to homo?

Well, ramapithicus is, as they say, "right out". As far as I know, and Ihaven't been keeping up as well as I should, the Sivapithids are the
current candidates for "first apes". However, except for teeth, ape
fossiles have been very hard to come by, and nobody's making any hard
claims about the first ape right now.
As to the rest, yes A afarensis is the earliest, with habilis
being the next in line and erectus following up. However, the big debate
right now is the exact ancestral tree. New australo fossile evidence has
suggested that habilis, africanus, robustus, and bosei all co-existed at
roughly the same time period, and were not in any real way related like
we thought they were. However, this is still hotly contested, so its a
"wait and see" sort of thing right now. Leakey just came out with a
book, whose name escapes me (sorry) that should be fairly up to date
about this particular debate, if not particularly unbiased.

See ya!
Scott J.

Gil Hardwick

unread,
Nov 26, 1993, 9:52:46 PM11/26/93
to

> We actually have some fossils to back this up. There is sufficient fossil
> evidence to show that australopithicus was fully bipedal, right? Cranial
> capacity of australo. is well documented, but my impression is that the
> lighter bones have not been found in sufficient numbers to completely
> characterise australo. locamotion. Fagan states that H. Erectus was adapted
> for speed; anyone know about h. habilus and the earlier apes?

I can accept that, my suggestion being only a suggestion.

> Right. It is only comparatively recently that technology has given homo the
> luxury of killing at a distance. For most of the past few million years our
> clubs and stones were useful only at close quarters. A superior cooling
> system would allow us to get within the range of primitive weaponry.

But this part remains a real problem. You appear to be assuming that
we needed to go out into the hot sun in order to feed ourselves over
so long a period for the physical adaptations you describe to have
become normal for humans. I repeat, Gerold, humans do not go out into
the hot sun except perhaps for mad dogs and Englishmen (and men in the
employ of Derby/West Kimberley Shire Council), but seek shade during
those parts of the day.

It is simply not necessary to do that, and if you decide to do a study
of your own you will find the peak periods of food gathering activity
from sunrise to mid-morning, then from late afternoon to sunset. You
can calculate the sun's elevation for any part of the earth you wish,
and show without contradiction exacly when solar radiation penetrates
our atmosphere instead of glancing off at its acute angles early and
late in the day.

> Question: how well accepted is the erectus -> habilus -> australopithicus
> -> ramapithicus chronology? I just found _People of the Lake_ on a
> bookshelf at home, and read the first chapter, but I seem to recall that
> Leakey's evolutionary sequence has been disputed by some. Is ramapithicus
> widely seen as ancestral to homo?
>
> By the way, there is only one way to deal with people who escalate
> discussions into flamefests: ignore them. Flamewars damp down very quickly
> if a little restraint is exercised.

It would be useful were some reliable information presented here to
start with instead of this bull-headed determination to have us all
accept every eccentric theory anyone wants to dream up, especially in
circumstances where its only credibility arises from its presentation
for discussion on a science forum.

Again, the nature of the medium prevents anyone stopping you from
doing that, but that does not and cannot substantiate your claims that
humans hunt and gather their food in high temperatures. They simply do
not. They DO NOT, Gerold. Anywhere on earth.

I am thoroughly weary of all your juvenile mates targeting me as I
state my objections, until I finally resign myself to the fact that
the robust personal attacks in defence of the thorough abstractions
gleaned only from books is all they can understand.

Posting such utter nonsense here so repeatedly, and so hysterically
defending it without ever even making the least effort to offer us any
factual information, gives me the licence to flame any one of you at
whim.

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