Gani & Gani 2011 River-margin habitat of Ar. ramidus

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Re: Gani & Gani 2011 River-margin habitat of Ar. ramidus

Postby Taxidea » Sat Jan 07, 2012 4:25 am

I disagree. Here are some quotes from their paper that, I put it to you, are just a bit more than a "complete misunderstanding of basic terminology"...

"Hence, the palaeorivers that deposited those channelized sandstones likely co-existed with Ar. ramidus at Aramis, and our study interval has a time span of few thousand to most tens of thousands of years." Gani & Gani (2011:2)

"Similar clasts are also found in the adjacent lower channel body, suggesting that the floodplain was repeatedly flooded by the nearby palaeoriver." Gani & Gani (2011:2)

"However, it is also likely that the lower channel body may represent a crevasse channel of a main river. In any case, our sedimentological data strongly argue for the presence of sizable rivers at 4.4 Myr in the study area." Gani & Gani (2011:3)

At the very least you have to admit that this paper completely contradicts the first paleohabitat paper in Science (of the famous "Ardi papers") that appeared to argue for no significant water courses in the nearby habitat. An implication that aquaskeptics on TR that were gloating about a year or so ago.



None of these quotes produce a sfgf. Not even close. Re-read the Ardi papers concerning the palaeohabitat'of the site.
They, for example, when discussing the collection of microfossils explicitly refer to "overbank flooding" as the
source of the fossils of aquatic organisms collected. There are other references to rivers etc. So Gani & Gani's
paper is not a complete contradiction. A change in emphasis perhaps - I only have access to the abstract.


You are clutching at pedantic word definitions as straws rather than accept a simple bit of evidence indicating that life by rivers might have influenced human evolution.


Pedantic? English philosopher G E Moore once quipped that if language is to serve as a vehicle of communication
the words have to mean something. Apparently, for you, he was wrong. Again you make a, to be polite, extravagant
claim and are wholly unable to back it up. Calling it pedantry to insist that the words mean something only gives
pedantry a good name.

[/quote]

We know what riparian habitats are. We know what savannahs are. Put the two together and you get seasonally flooded gallery forests. [/quote]


Your complete misunderstanding of basic terminology remains firmly in place. Put those two together and you get
a river or stream flowing through a savannah. For you sfgf's are astonishingly common. They're not, Anything but.
If this is the way you cobble together evidence for the waterside hypothesis you have absolutely no cause to
complain about conventional palaeo ignoring it. Your whole argument here is ineffably silly.

As usual, the single, most simple, most obvious way of getting an ape to move bipedally - i.e. when in shallow water - is actively dissected out as a possibility because it might mean that Hardy was on the right lines all along and a lot of "authorities" in paleoanthropology would look very silly.


This proposed wading model has little to do with Hardy. Read his New Scientist piece. Throw out the tool making
and dolphin hunting and we have an animal on the Pacific coast of North America that fits the bill pretty closely.
They're called sea lions

[/quote]

I disagree with Hardy on the actual location for the origin of hominin bipedalism. Suggesting that wading might have played a role, I suggest, was being on the right lines. As it is the one scenario that can guarantee bipedalism in otherwise quadrupedal apes, don't you think it's about time the field considered it seriously?
[/quote]

"Otherwise quadrupedal" What does this mean for you? We're dealing with euprimates which means we're dealing
with animals that were facultative bipeds for 40MM years. If they wanted to wade bipedally they could do so.
For 40MM years. What exactly do you think mounds of latter day wading would do to produce an obligate biped?


I mean here we are 150 years after Darwin's "freeing the hands" idea and the authorities are still largely clueless as to what might have caused this most fundamental human trait.

Algis


We are not largely clueless. Read the voluminous literature on bipedalism. There are all kinds of clues as to how
bipedalism would enhance reproductive fitness in a ape already predisposed to it. In terms of your feckless quest
for "the cause" the problem is there are almost too many reasons for an ape to experience selection that led
to enhanced bipedalism. And since we have what appears to be a significant radiation of bipedal apes in eastern
Africa in the late Miocene - early Pliocene this selection was pretty effective. As for identifying "the cause" how
could you tell which of many candidates is the magic bullet? It's holy grail stuff. An archaeologist in Israel unearths
a piece of first century cookware - short of angels instantly filling the sky and shouting out in unison "BINGO!!" the
moment he touched it - how would you know? It is on many levels a silly question
Taxidea
 
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Re: Gani & Gani 2011 River-margin habitat of Ar. ramidus

Postby AlgisKuliukas » Sat Jan 07, 2012 11:04 am

Taxidea wrote:
I disagree. Here are some quotes from their paper that, I put it to you, are just a bit more than a "complete misunderstanding of basic terminology"...

"Hence, the palaeorivers that deposited those channelized sandstones likely co-existed with Ar. ramidus at Aramis, and our study interval has a time span of few thousand to most tens of thousands of years." Gani & Gani (2011:2)

"Similar clasts are also found in the adjacent lower channel body, suggesting that the floodplain was repeatedly flooded by the nearby palaeoriver." Gani & Gani (2011:2)

"However, it is also likely that the lower channel body may represent a crevasse channel of a main river. In any case, our sedimentological data strongly argue for the presence of sizable rivers at 4.4 Myr in the study area." Gani & Gani (2011:3)

At the very least you have to admit that this paper completely contradicts the first paleohabitat paper in Science (of the famous "Ardi papers") that appeared to argue for no significant water courses in the nearby habitat. An implication that aquaskeptics on TR that were gloating about a year or so ago.


None of these quotes produce a sfgf. Not even close. Re-read the Ardi papers concerning the palaeohabitat'of the site.
They, for example, when discussing the collection of microfossils explicitly refer to "overbank flooding" as the
source of the fossils of aquatic organisms collected. There are other references to rivers etc. So Gani & Gani's
paper is not a complete contradiction. A change in emphasis perhaps - I only have access to the abstract.



I presume "sfgf" = seasonally flooded gallery forest.

The whole point of this paper is to update the "Ardi papers" paleohabitat content by reporting that they had underemphasised the proximity to, prevalence of and therefore potential significance of rivers.

Over on TR, aquakeptics were gloating about how the "Ardi papers" did not stress the importance of water courses in the habitat of ardipithecus. This paper contradicts that view completely by emphasising that rivers were present and important.

I'll email you a copy of the paper.

Taxidea wrote:
You are clutching at pedantic word definitions as straws rather than accept a simple bit of evidence indicating that life by rivers might have influenced human evolution.


Pedantic? English philosopher G E Moore once quipped that if language is to serve as a vehicle of communication
the words have to mean something. Apparently, for you, he was wrong. Again you make a, to be polite, extravagant
claim and are wholly unable to back it up. Calling it pedantry to insist that the words mean something only gives
pedantry a good name.



We know what riparian habitats are. We know what savannahs are. Put the two together and you get seasonally flooded gallery forests.


Your complete misunderstanding of basic terminology remains firmly in place. Put those two together and you get
a river or stream flowing through a savannah. For you sfgf's are astonishingly common. They're not, Anything but.
If this is the way you cobble together evidence for the waterside hypothesis you have absolutely no cause to
complain about conventional palaeo ignoring it. Your whole argument here is ineffably silly.



I understand what they are, Taxidea, but you seem not to.

"Savannas are also characterized by seasonal water availability, with the majority of rainfall confined to one season." There is nothing silly about understanding what savannahs and a gallery forests are, hypothesising that this is the kind of habitat where hominins would live and that they'd be exposed to a significantly greater amount of wading as a result.

Google Earth onto East Africa. It only takes a few seconds before you find gallery forests.

Taxidea wrote:

As usual, the single, most simple, most obvious way of getting an ape to move bipedally - i.e. when in shallow water - is actively dissected out as a possibility because it might mean that Hardy was on the right lines all along and a lot of "authorities" in paleoanthropology would look very silly.


This proposed wading model has little to do with Hardy. Read his New Scientist piece. Throw out the tool making
and dolphin hunting and we have an animal on the Pacific coast of North America that fits the bill pretty closely.
They're called sea lions



I disagree with Hardy on the actual location for the origin of hominin bipedalism. Suggesting that wading might have played a role, I suggest, was being on the right lines. As it is the one scenario that can guarantee bipedalism in otherwise quadrupedal apes, don't you think it's about time the field considered it seriously?


"Otherwise quadrupedal" What does this mean for you? We're dealing with euprimates which means we're dealing
with animals that were facultative bipeds for 40MM years. If they wanted to wade bipedally they could do so.
For 40MM years. What exactly do you think mounds of latter day wading would do to produce an obligate biped?



So have you swallowed the new Filleresque dogma, too? "Otherwise quadrupedal" means moving, normally, on land. gorillas, chimps, orang utans, almost all cercopithecoid monkeys, and in fact almost all primates do so. Put the bigger ones in water and they'll switch to bipedalism. It's the most obvious, simple way of inducing bipedal locomotion in an ape and yet not one paper has ever specifically looked at it in the paleoanthropological journals in 150 years.

Even if you follow Filler and think that the whole bipedal origins question is now suddenly, miraculously, rendered obsolete, simply by imagining that our lineage were always bipedal there are still two awkward questions you need to answer.

1) No matter how far back you go, there comes a point where you have to agree that apes evolved from a clade of cercopithecoid monkeys and the 'normal' locomotor behaviour for the those is most certainly quadrupedal on land. So, why did one clade suddenly start moving bipedally then? Wading helps there.

2) Our great ape cousins the chimps and gorillas stopped moving bipedally, whereas we became obligate bipeds. How do you explain that divergence? Wading helps there too - if we postulate that the LCA was a wading-climbing ape and since then chimps and gorillas did less wading and more climbing, whereas we did more wading and less climbing.

Taxidea wrote:
I mean here we are 150 years after Darwin's "freeing the hands" idea and the authorities are still largely clueless as to what might have caused this most fundamental human trait.

Algis


We are not largely clueless. Read the voluminous literature on bipedalism. There are all kinds of clues as to how
bipedalism would enhance reproductive fitness in a ape already predisposed to it. In terms of your feckless quest
for "the cause" the problem is there are almost too many reasons for an ape to experience selection that led
to enhanced bipedalism. And since we have what appears to be a significant radiation of bipedal apes in eastern
Africa in the late Miocene - early Pliocene this selection was pretty effective. As for identifying "the cause" how
could you tell which of many candidates is the magic bullet? It's holy grail stuff. An archaeologist in Israel unearths
a piece of first century cookware - short of angels instantly filling the sky and shouting out in unison "BINGO!!" the
moment he touched it - how would you know? It is on many levels a silly question


Taxidae, I have read a huge amount of that literature. My chapter in the e-book is basically a summary of a massive PhD lit review. If you explore the web page that supports this, you can dig down and see that I'm very aware about all of the published ideas.

Perhaps "clueless" isn't the right description. The point is that there are so many ideas and many of them are contradictory. They can't see the woods for the trees. I'm not the only one who thinks this. Kevin Hunt describes the plethora of bipedalism ideas as a "tangled thicket", others, such as Will Harcourt-Smith seems to think it was all much more complex than we thought. Meanwhile, the new Filler dogma just brushes them all under the carpet and says "hey, there's no problem to solve - we were always bipedal". Sorry, but I'm just not very impressed. It seems obvious to me that they've just missed the most important factor because of a prejudice against a certain "aquatic" idea that was misunderstood and then rejected on the basis of gossip and no science.

I'm not suggesting that wading was the exclusive, only, cause. I'm not arguing for any "magic bullet". Clearly, vertical climbing, feeding, carrying, energy efficiency, etc were important too. All I'm arguing is that wading has to be part of that mix and, in fact, probably the most significant part.

It's the simplest and most easily demonstrable in extant great apes. It provides the clearest cut selection and, as we see again with this paper, it is supported by the paleohabitat evidence. It should be one of the big three or four that students are taught when they cover hominin bipedal origins but instead it's still treated with patronising disdain because of this unfortunate association with the so-called "aquatic ape hypothesis" which, the field have convinced themselves, belongs in the same crazy box as Von Daniken and Intelligent Design.

Not only should it be taken out of the box, it should be placed firmly in the mainstream as one of the major ideas to consider.

Algis
Waterside hypotheses of human evolution assert that selection from wading, swimming and diving and procurement of food from aquatic habitats have significantly affected the evolution of the lineage leading to Homo sapiens as distinct from that leading to Pan. (p118)
Kuliukas, A., Morgan, E. (2011). Aquatic scenarios in the thinking on human evolution: What are they and how do they compare?. In: Vaneechoutte, M., Verhaegen, M., Kuliukas, A. (2011). Was Man More Aquatic in the Past?
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