knuckle-walking (was: hominid classification)

Ken Kinman kinman2 at YAHOO.COM
Wed Aug 11 22:27:21 CDT 2004

Why would you want to cite Dainton (2001)----just because he argues against Richmond and Strait?  The latter authors (in their response to Dainton, 2001) even agree with him that it is possible that knuckle-walking could have evolved in parallel between Gorilla and a Pan-hominid clade (although questioning the parsimony of such an argument).   Dainton's main argument is that Gorilla evolved knuckle walking separately from a Pan-hominid clade.  I don't see how that helps your viewpoint on an orangutan-hominid clade.  Talk about red herrings!!

      Quite apart from the arguments over knuckle-walking (per se), the point is that the morphology of the distal radius is very similar (in more than one way) between Gorilla, Pan, and early Australopithecus----and quite different from that of the Asian apes.  And frankly, I can't help but wonder if there are plenty of morphological synapomorphies for the African clade, but your request for information from primate paleosystematists somehow "put them off", and that they just didn't think it was worth their time responding.  Frankly, I'm getting to that point myself, so don't be surprised if I abandon this particular thread.
           ------ Ken Kinman
P.S.  And I do think fossils are important for phylogeny, but for those which are extremely fragmentary (including a number of hominids), their usefulness is somewhat limited (and certainly not JUST because they don't have recoverable DNA).
John Grehan wrote:
     In my reading of the papers by Richmond and Strait 2000 making such a claim is about the most tenuous of arguments I have seen and one that was counter argued by Dainton (2001).  The knuckle-walking argument appeared to me to be more of a reading into the data than out.

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