Human and ape phylogeny

John grehan jgrehan at TPBMAIL.NET
Mon Apr 7 00:20:27 CDT 2003

At 09:39 AM 4/6/2003 -0700, Curtis Clark wrote:

>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.

I quite agree. There is no necessary basis for the assumption that hominids
of the post-chimp lineage split looked anything like chimps - yet when one
looks at all those 'reconstructions' in National Geographic and other
venues one finds australopithicenes rendered in chimp-like (or at least
African ape-like) form in facial appearance and in hair covering. Even some
of the behavioral renditions such as those popularized in 'Discovery
Channel' (for those with the misfortune to view their liberties) appear to
be modelled on modern chimps.

I may have mentioned that some recent australopithicene skull
reconstructions are beginning to look a bit orangutan-like. Of course
orangutans themselves have evolved (reflected in their autapomorphies) and
if they are our nearest living relatives the hominid split may have been
something in the order of 20 million years (which is why some of the
proposed biological similarities such as the lack of estrus become rather
interesting as being comparatively old in origin rather than a recent
innovation for humans).

>The human-orang hypothesis gains no added value from being iconoclastic,
>despite the fact that other
>iconoclastic ideas proved to be correct.

Agreed. The orangutan hypothesis must stand bipedally on its own merits.

John Grehan

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