Human and ape phylogeny

Curtis Clark jcclark at CSUPOMONA.EDU
Sun Apr 6 11:09:06 CDT 2003

At 10:27 2003-04-06 +00-02, John grehan wrote:
>An additional point of interest (please note that I say of 'interest'
>rather than any necessary significance) are some comments emerging that the
>early hominids (such as australopithicenes and Orrorin) are not looking as
>chimp like as expected for such a short interval from the presumed
>chimp-human split.

I've read this thread with increasing disbelief. Has nobody paid any
attention to the body of work in phylogenetic systematics over the past
twenty years? (I'm not pointing at you, John; you admitted from the
beginning that it was not one of your strengths.)

Not looking as chimp-like? Who ever said that chimps didn't evolve over
that same period? It is admittedly difficult to do science without
preconception, but we at least have to try. Chimps are not "primitive", no
matter how many plesiomorphies they retain. The human-orang hypothesis
gains no added value from being iconoclastic, despite the fact that other
iconoclastic ideas proved to be correct. Sequence data have no mystical
verity: they can be dealt with in the same broad frame as all other
evidence of kinship. If I went back through the posts, I could probably
find other examples.

Just because we're one of the ingoup taxa, that doesn't mean that we can't
still do good science.

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