Predatory Massacres and Human Evolution

Discussion in 'Health and medical' started by Jim McGinn, Mar 10, 2004.

  1. Jim McGinn

    Jim McGinn Guest

    "Paul Crowley" <[email protected]> wrote

    > > > I would never put forward anything so foolish. Chimps
    > > > (and other quadrupedal hominoids) have perfectly good
    > > > systems for carrying infants and food, which they've
    > > > had for some tens of millions of years. There is no
    > > > remotely possibility of a 'selective pressure' from
    > > > those activities -- except to continue doing exactly
    > > > what they are doing now.
    > >
    > > You seem unable to comprehend that with A'pith we are
    > > talking about animals that are extremely dependent on
    > > treed habitat. Let me explain. With the onset of the
    > > monsoon habitat of late miocene Africa, treed habitat
    > > became very patchy. We might envision the geography as
    > > now having only 10% to 20% of the tree cover that it had
    > > previously and all of this being in city-sized, town
    > > sized patches of forest along or near water features:
    > > rivers, lake, ponds, and even areas of high ground
    > > water. The expansive, predatory filled, treeless habitat
    > > was unsurvivable to them. They weren't out walking
    > > around much.
    >
    > When this happened (and it may well have done in some
    > places at some times) it probably did so over many
    > generations -- but, in any case, far too quickly to allow
    > for evolutionary adaptation. Any hominids in the area
    > would not have coped -- they'd have died, or moved away.

    In the town-sized, city-sized patches of remaining forest
    that I envision they would have persisted--as long as they
    had strategies that allowed them to survive the dry season.

    >
    > > > > Bipedalism is a stick-wielding, rock-throwing
    > > > > adaptation
    > > >
    > > > I don't buy rock-throwing though. Good throwing rocks
    > > > (that can be thrown some distance and do some damage)
    > > > are not easy to find on the ground in nearly all
    > > > circumstances when you need them.
    > >
    > > You'd first have to sell me on your premise that it is
    > > supposedly necessary to assume that for rock throwing to
    > > have been selectively advantageous that it is necessary
    > > for them to have been able to "do some damage," to quote
    > > your words.
    >
    > A large animal is not going to move away, unless it has
    > realistic fears of suffering injury.

    Are you saying that being hit by rocks and clubs can't
    cause injury?

    >
    > > I indicate otherwise in my hypothesis. More to the
    > > point, according to my hypothesis their rock throwing
    > > would not need to be lethal, it just had to be good
    > > enough to scare off large mammals with whom which they
    > > competed for resources.
    >
    > What large mammals are these? What are they eating?

    Migratory African animals eating vegetation.

    >
    > > > That would mean that early (proto-)hominids would have
    > > > had to carry a supply -- and that's highly unlikely.
    > >
    > > So, let me get this straight, in your learned opinion
    > > it's not plausible that A'pith might carry rocks a few
    > > hundred yards,
    >
    > It's not easy to carry more than a few rocks in your arms
    > for a few hundred yards -- especially over rough ground

    Is it, supposedely, easier to carry a baby while being
    chased by a pack of lions?

    >
    > > and/or from one strategic location to another, within
    > > the context of a town sized patch of forest habitat (as
    > > indicated in my hypthesis)
    >
    > And when you get them to the place you need, the targets
    > will usually have moved on anyway.

    In my model getting their targets (large migratory food
    competitors) to move away *is* the goal.

    >
    > > but supposedly it is plausible for them to be carrying
    > > their young through treeless habitat
    >
    > I don't see hominids carrying small infants around --
    > except over very short distances, or on very rare
    > migrations.

    Then why would you suggest this as a significant factor of
    hominid evolution?

    >
    > > running from and fending off lions, hyena, and wild dogs
    > > (as, it seems, is indicated in your hypothesis).
    >
    > Nope. I don't see hominid life as viable at all when there
    > were predators in any numbers.

    I agree. The best strategy of an early hominid community to
    avoid predation is to maintain the resources at their
    isolated city-sized, town-sized patch of forest so that they
    may continue to maintain their individual strengths and
    collective unity through the dry season so that the
    predators will ignore them and go to other more poverty
    stricken patches of forest wherein the A'piths are
    individually weak and collectively disunited and are,
    therefore, easier pickings.

    A small tribe could survive
    > indefinitely in a river valley set on a desert coastline,
    > where only the occasional lion turned up. Over time, the
    > number and size of potentially inhabitable valleys would
    > have increased, and the required degree of isolation would
    > have reduced. But hominids would have always had to live
    > at a significant distance from areas dominated by
    > predators.

    But the evidence indicates that hominids were regularly
    victims of predatory massacres:

    http://makeashorterlink.com/?E6B112AA7

    cre+group%3Asci.anthropology.paleo&btnG=Google+Search Jim
     
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