44th human-orangutan synapomorphy

John Grehan jgrehan at SCIENCEBUFF.ORG
Fri Jan 14 12:24:22 CST 2005

> Behalf Of Ken Kinman
> Sent: Friday, January 14, 2005 11:49 AM
> Subject: Re: [TAXACOM] 44th human-orangutan synapomorphy
> John,
>      I'm pretty sure that is not what Richard was suggesting.  And I
> think it is a very reasonable possibility.  

Richard posted his thanks for Ken's recognition of what he [Richard] was
trying to communicate, but the above doesn't tell me anything. Richard
stated "I suggest that mechanical ability is a plesiomorphy, having
arisen much earlier in the animal kingdom." If the feature is a
plesiomorphy for primates then it would seem to me that its occurrence
in humans and orangutans would have to be attributed to the feature was
retained from the primate ancestor and so its absence in other primate
groups would have to be attributed to loss of the feature. Where did I
go wrong in my interpretation?

I do think it is reasonable to
> conclude that many of your proposed synapomorphies are plesiomorphies
> other homoplasies), and thus my suggestion that orangutans and
> could occupy adjacent clades rather than clading together (as you
> propose).  

It would seem to me that the synapomorphies do not prevent one from
placing orangutans and hominids as adjacent clades at all. In fact they
would have to be adjacent clades. At a higher level they would, of
course, be placed within an encompassing clade (perhaps Hominidae).

So in conclusion, I think you might want to heed the advice of
> not getting "carried away" on your synapomorphy lists.  But somehow I
> don't think you will, so I give up and am moving on to other things.

I think you said that once before.

> However, I strongly suspect you are greatly underestimating the
> ability of chimps, capuchin monkeys, etc.

Everything is open to doubt, but it is the specialist literature that
points to orangutans being mechanical geniuses compared with other
primates. That's not just me reading something into the literature.

John Grehan

>     -- Ken
> ****************************************************
> John Grehan wrote:
>      Richard's suggestion that the mechanical ability is something
> ancestral to primates and lost in all groups except orangutans and
> is a reasonable possibility.

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