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"Rise of Man" Theory

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Good point. Could I not, though, take this a wee bit further? If large males are the fighters and defenders of the tribe, would it not make sense to suggest some sort of basic weaponry?

 

You can suggest it. What you can't do is say that absolutely Australopithecines used weapons or that their survival required them to use weapons. CDarwin and I have shown several ways -- by looking at contemporary primate species -- that Australopithecines can get by without using weapons.

 

After all, we know their descendents shaped stones.

 

True, but that doesn't mean we have a "gradual" progression of making weapons from sticks and then making stone tools. It could be no weapons from sticks at all, then make stone tools for other than defensive weaponry, and THEN get the bright idea to put those stone tools on the ends of sticks to make spears.

 

In fact, the data that many Australopithecines ended up as meals for predators but that H. erectus wiped out predators suggests (:) ) the second sequence. I can't remember data that show H. erectus being a regular meal for predators (although I'm sure it happened to isolated individuals from time to time, just as it does to H. sapiens).

 

However, I think the point is made. Australopithecus was one metre tall, had inoffensive teeth, and a relatively fragile body. To suggest that a tribe of them could fend off attack by big cats (and Smilodon was very big) without some form of weapon is not really very likely.

 

No, the point is not made, because groups of primates about the same size fend off large predators today. And, as CDarwin pointed out, Smilodon was not in Africa.

 

The descendents of Australopithecus are possibly Homo erectus and its relatives, and there is some evidence to suggest they were the first to make shaped stone tools.

 

The transitional individuals link A. afarensis to H. habilis. Another set of transitional individuals link H. habilis to H. erectus. So you have a 2 species leap and more time involved than you think.

Paranthropus are found at the same sites as Homo habilis and ergaster at Turkana and Swartkraans. The tools are all over the place.

 

So does Don Johanson's From Lucy to Language in it's article on OH 5, Australopithcus boisei. I could probably find some more things, but I'm not necessarily questioning the assumption. I'm just saying it is[/i'] an assumption.f

 

I just wanted the info. I can try to find Johanson's book at the local library. Any web sources BESIDES Wiki? Can't use Wiki as a reliable source.

 

Indeed, but not remarkably. About 50-100 cubic centimeters.

 

Scaling doesn't matter, just absolute size. I thought the difference was larger.

 

That doesn't mean much. All tool use by modern chimpanzees is in preparing plant material, and most tools used by traditional human cultures are for the same purpose.

 

1. SkepticLance refuted the point about chimps and tool use. Chimps use stones to crack nuts, but you hardly need to shape a stone for this purpose.

2. The original stone tools seem to be knives and scrapers. Scrapers are not much good in preparing plant material. Better for scraping hides off carcasses.

3. Yes, being obligate herbivores does matter. Unless the species is engaged in agriculture or cooking, you don't need tools to be a herbivore. Just pick the fruit or munch the grass. As is. Or use a convenient stone to crack nuts. But not shape the stones to knives and scrapers. And there is no evidence that H. habilis or Paranthropus used fire. Plenty of evidence that H. erectus did. So, I can't see Paranthropus having a need to make tools.

 

I think Man the Hunted goes into that pretty well. The Hunting Apes may too.

 

OK, two more books for me to find.

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lucaspa said :

 

True, but that doesn't mean we have a "gradual" progression of making weapons from sticks and then making stone tools.

 

We have a kind of progression already known, in that chimps make a lot of use of tools, while bonobos do it a bit less. Gorillas almost not at all, and Orang Utan rarely. If our current modern cousins can use simple tools, it is rather probable that our ancestors did also. I would rather suspect that the point at which the human line split off from the chimp line included very simple tool use. The human line thereafter would increasingly use tools and weapons. Perhaps not as a simple linear development, but the increase would probably be there.

 

No, the point is not made, because groups of primates about the same size fend off large predators today. And, as CDarwin pointed out, Smilodon was not in Africa.

 

You cannot compare a modern chimp with Australopithecus. The chimp is very strong, and can literally tear a human arm from its socket. The chimp also has quite aggressive dentition. I also have to say I have seen little proper evidence of any primate group fending off large predators. The standard response is to get the hell out of there!

 

Smilodon in Africa. Whoops. I made a boo boo.

However, it does not change my point. There are, and have always been over the past few million years, lots of large feline predators in Africa.

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We have a kind of progression already known, in that chimps make a lot of use of tools, while bonobos do it a bit less. Gorillas almost not at all, and Orang Utan rarely. If our current modern cousins can use simple tools, it is rather probable that our ancestors did also. I would rather suspect that the point at which the human line split off from the chimp line included very simple tool use. (emphasis mine - paralith) The human line thereafter would increasingly use tools and weapons. Perhaps not as a simple linear development, but the increase would probably be there.

 

Simple extrapolations from modern, extant species back to their ancestors isn't usually a good move, at least not without evidence to back it up. Just because chimps today use tools doesn't necessarily mean that their ancestors, especially as far back as the human-chimp split, also used simple tools. They might have, but we can't make that assumption.

 

Also, bonobos and chimps are equally related to humans, so by your thinking of a progression, they both should have about the same amount of tool use relative to humans, and they don't. I just don't think a linear progression should be applied to something like a cultural development, at least not without proper evidence to back it up.

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Another way of looking at this question, is to try to estimate how smart the various contenders were.

 

The best method for doing this is the "encephalisation quotient (EQ), which is the ratio between brain mass and body mass. Calculated figures are as below (taken from wikipedia).

 

1. Homo sapiens 8.5

2. Tursiops truncatus (bottlenose dolphin) 6

3. Australopithecus afarensis 4.2

4. Chimpanzee 2.4

5. Dog 1

 

This makes it pretty clear that our Australopithecine ancestors were considerably smarter than chimps. If chimps can use tools, why not Australopithecus?

 

Add to that piece of logic the known facts that Australopithecus, as compared to chimps, had a marked upright stance, larger legs for its body size, and smaller arms (less used in climbing trees), and considerably less formidable dentition, combined with much weaker arms. It is, thus, less well equipped for escape into trees, and less well equipped with natural weapons.

 

With its better intelligence, it would seem logical to deduce that it made more use of tools and weapons, instead.

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We have a kind of progression already known, in that chimps make a lot of use of tools, while bonobos do it a bit less. Gorillas almost not at all, and Orang Utan rarely. If our current modern cousins can use simple tools, it is rather probable that our ancestors did also. I would rather suspect that the point at which the human line split off from the chimp line included very simple tool use. The human line thereafter would increasingly use tools and weapons. Perhaps not as a simple linear development, but the increase would probably be there.

 

1. The point I was making was that weapons manufacture did not have to follow the progression you outlined. You changed the specifics for weapons to general tool use. Strawman.

2. Unfortunately, the point at which the hominid line split did not include simple tool use. Instead, it was bipedality. That has been well-established by the fossils: bipedality came first. As Paralith pointed out, your progression doesn't work because chimps and bonobos are equally related to humans. It appears that apes and humans independently evolved the use of tools. Remember, octopi and some ravens have also been observed to use tools. You wouldn't say tool use was present in those common ancestors, would you? ;)

 

You cannot compare a modern chimp with Australopithecus. The chimp is very strong, and can literally tear a human arm from its socket. The chimp also has quite aggressive dentition.

 

1. And yet you compare modern chimps to Australopithecus when it comes to brain size and the ability to use tools! You say they are similar there, but different where you want them to be different. Sorry, can't have it both ways. BTW, what really matters is absolute brain size in cc, not compared to body mass. If you do that, Australopithecine brains are the same size as chimp.

 

2. How do you conclude that Australopithecus was weaker? See above for your use of selective comparisons.

3. Australopithecus dentition was a lot like that of chimps. "The canines retain the primitive form of marked difference between sexes, with the males distinguished by greater size and higher, more tapered crowns. The anterior teeth of afarensis are quite large, and among the largest known for any hominid, and similar to chimpanzees, although relatively narrower labioloingually. The differ from chimpanzees, however, in that the hominid maxillary incisors reflect the plesiomorphic condition in which the lateral incisor is much smaller than the medial one." http://www.archaeologyinfo.com/australopithecusafarensis.htm http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/homs/species.html#afarensis

I also have to say I have seen little proper evidence of any primate group fending off large predators.

"In fact, predation is not much of a problem overall for chimps, which might seem odd until you look at what you face when you face a chimp. What you face is usually not just a chimp, but a group of chimps. A group of strong, howling, stick and/or rock throwing gang of vicious little hominoids. They kill baboons and leopard cubs (with leopard-mommy present) with no more armament or natural ability than australopithecines had. They are not defenseless out there, and neither were australopithecines. In fact, even lone chimps have been seen sleeping overnight on the ground in areas frequented by leopards, which further suggests that they don't have much trouble with such predators. "

 

" "Researchers studying chimps have seen them encounter leopards a number of times. Sometimes, the chimps hardly react to the sight of a leopard, but usually they call aggressively and have managed to chase leopards away. In the daytime, leopards seem to be somewhat wary of the apes, even though, at up to 200 pounds, the cats are much larger than the primates, which weigh 70 to 85 pounds."

pg. 22, Byrne, Richard W.; and Jennifer M. Byrne, 1988, "Leopard Killers of Mahale", pp. 22-26, in Natural History, volume 3."

Both quotes from http://www.aquaticape.org/predators.html

 

The standard response is to get the hell out of there!

 

If that is the standard response, then why are you insisting Australopithecines must have used weapons? They could have "gotten the hell out of there!" Australopithecines were still partially adapted to climbing trees. So yes, they could also just run up a tree and out to a branch that the predator can't follow (due to its greater weight). However, the data above says chimps can and do stand their ground without weapons.

 

Remember, as the website says "The bottom line on dealing with predators is that a species doesn't have to be able to avoid them completely, but in order for the species to survive, they have to avoid predators well enough to be able to replace their numbers."

 

However, there is also data showing that chimps will throw rocks or pick up tree limbs and throw them at the predator. This would fit in with your idea that Australopithecines used tools to defend themselves, altho it is quite less than deliberately making "spears" and keeping them handy. This is just spontaneously picking up what is lying to hand, not using forethought in planning a defense. Making stone tools says "forethought", since you aren't going to have enough time to sit down and knap a flint while the predator is approaching! :)

 

This makes it pretty clear that our Australopithecine ancestors were considerably smarter than chimps. If chimps can use tools, why not Australopithecus? ... With its better intelligence, it would seem logical to deduce that it made more use of tools and weapons, instead.

 

Skeptic, I think you didn't read what I posted: "You can suggest it. What you can't do is say that absolutely Australopithecines used weapons or that their survival required them to use weapons. CDarwin and I have shown several ways -- by looking at contemporary primate species -- that Australopithecines can get by without using weapons. "

 

I don't know anyone that definitively rules out the use of tools by Australopithecus. Instead, it is the manufacture of stone tools that is used to demarcate Homo. Chimp tool use is most often (always?)spontaneous and uses materials close to hand. Manufacturing stone tools requires forethought to future situations where the tools will be useful. A different level of cognition.

 

You are also shifting the goalposts and saying "use of tools". That's different from saying Australopithecines must have used weapons.

 

Yes, you can deduce the hypothesis. What you haven't got is the data to support the hypothesis strongly enough that we accept it as (provisionally) true. We may have to live with the unanswered question of whether and how extensively Australopithecines used tools for quite a while, because the data is going to be very difficult to find. It's just that your circumstantial arguments do not lead us to the idea that Australopithecines MUST have used tools and weapons. Even if we think they used tools, that doesn't mean they used spears. :)Don't overinterpret the data

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Remember, as the website says "The bottom line on dealing with predators is that a species doesn't have to be able to avoid them completely, but in order for the species to survive, they have to avoid predators well enough to be able to replace their numbers."

 

As a small addition to lucaspa's excellent post, predators don't have to be fought tooth and nail in order to drive them away, either. They also wish to avoid injury, and they won't put more energy into a certain prey item than they are going to get out of it by eating it. Getting away with a chimp isn't worth the time and energy it might take to fight it into submission. Studies on this phenomena have been done with snakes hunting lizards - if the lizard struggles long enough, the snake will probably let it go. It's become too much trouble to subdue the animal, and the calories gained from eating it won't balance out, so they just let it go to prevent further loss of energy or risk of injury. So it's not as though the australopithecines would need to inflict serious damage to any predators they encountered - as long as they made themselves just too much trouble to catch, the predator would most likely happily find some other prey. They wouldn't necessarily need spears to do this.

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I am afraid that lucaspa's post was not so excellent. Several errors, and some inconvenient points ignored.

 

lucaspa said

 

the point at which the hominid line split did not include simple tool use. Instead, it was bipedality

 

Actually, that is pure speculation. The problem is that using tools and weapons is a quality that is not preserved in the fossil record until stone tools are chipped, or favourite tools are grooved. We know Australopithecus used tools for gatherig termits, since the tools used have survived and carry the characteristic grooves. However, any use of sticks etc will not preserve. Bipedality is preserved in fossils, but not tool use. So we cannot say which comes first.

 

your progression doesn't work because chimps and bonobos are equally related to humans

 

In making this statement, you are suggesting things I was not implying. I said that a progression existed. I did not say it was correlated to genetic relationship with humans. We do not even have equal tool use among different cultures of humans. The progression exists over time.

 

How do you conclude that Australopithecus was weaker?

 

The fossil record shows stronger legs and weaker arms. Muscle mass can be deduced from bone structure. Arms are used as weapons. Unless Australopithecus was into karate, legs are not. In this sense, they were weaker than chimps.

 

Chimps are much more able to fend off leopards, due to their very strong arms. Australopithecus was supposed to be the first plains ape, as opposed to forest ape, because of the increased leg strength and reduced arm strength. An adaptation for walking, not climbing. This means that they are less able to escape up a tree, and more likely to be away from the trees. They also had upright stance, which means they are adapted to carrying things. But what would they carry, apart from females carrying the young? The logical answer is some kind of tool or weapon.

 

Instead, it is the manufacture of stone tools that is used to demarcate Homo.

 

The authorities I have read on this subject did not limit it to stone. If someone makes a weapon from iron, does that mean they are not human? By this standard, virtually no-one in the 21st Century is human. Yet if you do the logical alternative, and say that it is tool manufacture that designates human, you have to call the New Caledonian crow human. It manufactures tools. Your statement is not correct.

 

You also said

 

BTW, what really matters is absolute brain size in cc, not compared to body mass

 

If that is correct, then most of the world's top authorities on this subject are wrong. It also means that quite a few animals are smarter than humans, since they have larger brains.

For example : The bottlenose dolpin has a brain of 1700 cc, compared to the human male of 1400. Neanderthal man had a larger brain than modern man, but an EQ very similar.

I believe that many whales have even larger brains. I have not looked it up, but I suspect that the elephant has a larger brain also.

 

However, if you look at the EQ, you get a much closer correlation to intelligence and tool use. The New Caledonian crow, for example, has an EQ very close to the chimpanzee, though its actual brain is much smaller.

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I am afraid that lucaspa's post was not so excellent. Several errors, and some inconvenient points ignored.

 

So what you are going to do is nitpick and snipe.

 

lucaspa said

 

the point at which the hominid line split did not include simple tool use. Instead, it was bipedality

 

Actually, that is pure speculation.

 

No, it's not. We are back to Toumai and Orrorin. Here the brain size (by your index) is much smaller than chimps. So, by your index, the brain is too small for the cognition of chimps but are equal to primates that do not use tools.

 

We know Australopithecus used tools for gatherig termits, since the tools used have survived and carry the characteristic grooves.

 

The tools were made from bone: http://171.66.122.165/cgi/content/full/98/4/1358

 

So yes, you have very strong evidence that Australopithecus robustus used tools. That, of course, is not A. afarensis. See below for EQ of the two.

 

How do you conclude that Australopithecus was weaker?

 

The fossil record shows stronger legs and weaker arms.

 

I have found contrary data: "Their [A. afarensis] bones show that they were physically very strong." http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/homs/species.html

 

Oh dear. More data that is directly contrary to what you claim:

 

"Compared to their small body mass, the forelimbs of early hominids are both longer and more muscular than those of recent humans. The arms are shorter than in chimpanzees, but the areas of muscle attachment have greater strength. Strength is especially evident in a large humerus from the Ethiopian site of Maka, dating to 3.4 million years ago (White et al. 1993). The prominent muscle attachments on this large specimen indicate that the individual was very strong, but also that most muscle exertion was in a single preferred pattern. The bone is thicker than chimpanzee humeri of equal length, again reflecting its mechanical strength. " http://johnhawks.net/weblog/fossils/afarensis/forelimbs_climbing_afarensis.html

 

So perhaps you would be willing to share the source of your data. If you look ahead in the post, you will find that you present bad data elsewhere. I'm beginning to think that, in desperation, you are starting to make your data up. I hope I am wrong.

 

Australopithecus was supposed to be the first plains ape, as opposed to forest ape, because of the increased leg strength and reduced arm strength. An adaptation for walking, not climbing.

 

A. afarensis and A. africanus both retained the long arms and upper body strength for climbing. They were bipedal, but not bipedal like us. Their bipedality was intermediate between chimps and us.

 

Instead, it is the manufacture of stone tools that is used to demarcate Homo.

 

The authorities I have read on this subject did not limit it to stone. If someone makes a weapon from iron, does that mean they are not human?

 

Now you are being silly. You are taking the sentence completely out of context. It shows you have stopped having a serious discussion and are trying to make this personal. Let's look at what I said: "I don't know anyone that definitively rules out the use of tools by Australopithecus. Instead, it is the manufacture of stone tools that is used to demarcate Homo." It's obvious I'm talking about the classification of extinct hominids, not modern Homo sapiens! Also I'm making a distinction about the use of tools and the manufactire of tools. Stone tools are clearly on the side of manufacture. The demarcation from Australopithecus to Homo was decided by Leakey by the making of stone tools. Should he have made that the demarcation point? That's a differenct discussion. The fact is that manufacture of stone tools IS the demarcation point.

 

BTW, what really matters is absolute brain size in cc, not compared to body mass

 

If that is correct, then most of the world's top authorities on this subject are wrong. It also means that quite a few animals are smarter than humans, since they have larger brains.

For example : The bottlenose dolpin has a brain of 1700 cc, compared to the human male of 1400. Neanderthal man had a larger brain than modern man, but an EQ very similar.

I believe that many whales have even larger brains. I have not looked it up, but I suspect that the elephant has a larger brain also.

 

Probably do. My point was that large body size or small body size can artificially decrease or increase the index and thus obscure real intelligence. Now, you say I ignore some facts. I've been to Wikipedia and the page you used. First, is the caveat that the page doesn't seem to fit the quality standards! Second, I don't see a list now, but I do see this:

 

"However, there seems to be some controversy over whether humans have the highest brain to body mass ratio (followed by dolphins),[1][2][3] or whether treeshrews are on the top of the list[4] Treeshrews hold nearly 10% of their mass in their brain, making it one of the most encephalized animals.[5]

 

Since shrews are less intelligent than humans, many[citation needed] believe that intelligence correlates with the absolute brain-mass left over from when one subtracts the brain-mass for running the body."

 

So, if you insist on use the EQ, the treeshrews have an even higher EQ than humans!

 

Brain shape and size of the areas are more important. For instance, neandertal brains are bigger overall but the frontal cortex is smaller. This doesn't negate my point that absolute brain size is a criteria. I never said it was the ONLY criteria!

 

However, if you look at the EQ, you get a much closer correlation to intelligence and tool use. The New Caledonian crow, for example, has an EQ very close to the chimpanzee, though its actual brain is much smaller.

 

Really? After all, the dolphin brain has an EQ = 6 but no tool use! BTW, what's your source for the EQ of the New Caledonian crow? You'll see below why I'm asking.

 

But let's look at this more carefully: http://homepage.mac.com/wis/Personal/lectures/evolutionary-anatomy/Primate%20Brains.pdf

 

Using the Jerison EQ in the table (which you seem to be using), we have:

 

1. H. sapiens = 8.07

2. Chimp = 3.01

3. A. africanus = 2.79

4. A. afarensis = 2.44

5. H. habilis = 4.31

6. Cebus = 3.25

7. Saimiri = 2.68

 

So, the numbers don't match the ones you gave us. Big surprise. Not the first time you've given us bad data. You had EQ of chimp = 2.4 and A. afarensis = 4.2. So, did you deliberately tamper with the data or did you just get bad data? If the latter, where exactly did you get your data?

 

Instead, chimps have an EQ higher than either Australopithecine species, and considerably higher than A. afarensis, which is the one we are talking about.

BTW, A. robustus, which has those bone tools, has an EQ = 3.24. So, based on the EQ numbers, we can readily doubt that A. afarensis, despite being our direct ancestor, used tools. They did not have EQs equal to other hominids that we know use/used tools.

 

We have Saimiri who has an EQ between A. afarensis and chimp and it does not use tools. Neither does Ateles with an EQ = 2.49

 

However, orangutans, (P. pygmaus) at EQ = 2.36, have primitive tool use in the wild. OTOH, gibbons (Hylobates) at EQ = 2.6, apparently do not use tools.

 

Therefore, we have doubts that EQ does, at all, correlate to tool use.

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lucaspa said :

 

No, it's not. We are back to Toumai and Orrorin. Here the brain size (by your index) is much smaller than chimps. So, by your index, the brain is too small for the cognition of chimps but are equal to primates that do not use tools.

 

As I said before, brain size, per se, does not necessarily mean anything. Only two species today actually manufacture tools, as opposed to picking up something convenient and using it. That is : humans and the New Caledonian crow. The crow has a tiny brain by comparison with any primate, but is clearly smart.

 

The African grey parrot is the only organism apart from humans that can be trained to use any human language meaningfully. And it also has a brain that is tiny compared to any primate.

 

There was an article in New Scientist a few weeks back (Australian printed edition) which included a graph showing the EQs of a range of organisms. The smarter members of the crow and parrot family has EQ's similar to chimps on this graph.

 

My information of Australopithecus body structure came from a Scientific American article a few years back. It did not give quantitative measures, but did say that in terms of upright stance, leg length and strength, and arm length and strength, the australopithecines were intermediate between chimp and human. Thus, the stance is more upright than chimps, legs longer and stronger, and arms shorter and weaker.

 

 

lucaspa said

 

So, the numbers don't match the ones you gave us. Big surprise. Not the first time you've given us bad data. You had EQ of chimp = 2.4 and A. afarensis = 4.2. So, did you deliberately tamper with the data or did you just get bad data? If the latter, where exactly did you get your data?

 

The above statement is a rather nasty insinuation that I might not stick to the truth. I always stick to the truth as I know it. Does not always mean that the data is accurate, since my sources can be wrong, but I do not knowingly tell lies.

 

I conducted a google search to locate my data. Sadly, I have discovered that estimates of EQ are very variable. Here is a piece of the google search page.

 

Quote

 

[PDF] Brain Evolution and Endocasts: IntroductionFile Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat

man EQ is 5.46, the chimpanzee 2.25, and the gorilla ... our early hominids to overlap with chimpanzee EQ. values. In our quest to better understand the ...

doi.wiley.com/10.1002/0471663573.ch1 - Similar pages

 

Encephalization Text - Physics Forums LibrarySpecies EQ Man 7.44 Dolphin 5.31 Chimpanzee 2.49 Rhesus Monkey 2.09 Elephant 1.87 Whale 1.76 Dog 1.17 Cat 1.00 Horse 0.86 Sheep 0.81 Mouse 0.50 Rat 0.40 ...

http://www.physicsforums.com/archive/index.php/t-16355.html - 13k - Cached - Similar pages

 

As you can see, the estimates vary drastically. My first source did not agree with yours. No surprises there! It seems from my later search that no two sources seem to agree with each other. My first source showed Australopithecus EQ a lot higher than chimps (4.2 compered to 2.4). However, you can see in the two sources above, the chimp EQ is shown as 2.25 and 2.49, while human is shown as 5.46 and 7.44.

 

It appears that the result may differ depending on the method used to calculate.

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lucaspa said :

 

No, it's not. We are back to Toumai and Orrorin. Here the brain size (by your index) is much smaller than chimps. So, by your index, the brain is too small for the cognition of chimps but are equal to primates that do not use tools.

 

As I said before, brain size, per se, does not necessarily mean anything.

 

I said "by your index". Meaning the EQ. YOu can't trot out EQ and use it as evidence Australopithecus used tools and then drop it when the EQ goes against you.

 

My information of Australopithecus body structure came from a Scientific American article a few years back. It did not give quantitative measures, but did say that in terms of upright stance, leg length and strength, and arm length and strength, the australopithecines were intermediate between chimp and human. Thus, the stance is more upright than chimps, legs longer and stronger, and arms shorter and weaker.

 

So, I provide quotes on the strength of Australopithecus and you give an undefined SciAm article. In terms of upright stance, A. afarensis was intermediate between apes and sapiens. But the rest doesn't seem to be true. Find the data.

 

The above statement is a rather nasty insinuation that I might not stick to the truth. I always stick to the truth as I know it. Does not always mean that the data is accurate, since my sources can be wrong, but I do not knowingly tell lies.

 

So let's see what you picked for a source:

 

The first one you listed is doi.wiley.com/10.1002/0471663573.ch1 This goes to the Wiley Interscience site where you need a subscription to access the paper there. So there are no EQ values there. Are you telling us you have a subscription?

 

The other source -- http://www.physicsforums.com/archive/index.php/t-16355.html -- is a post from a forum on physics. It talks about an unsubstantiated e-mail with a professor. Couldn't you have looked at an .edu site? It appears that you don't check the reliability of the sources you use.

 

The page doesn't have any data on extinct hominid EQ. So where did you get those?

 

And you apparently can't even copy the numbers correctly. From the page:

"Man 7.44

Dolphin 5.31

Chimpanzee 2.49

Rhesus Monkey 2.09

Elephant 1.87

Whale 1.76

Dog 1.17

Cat 1.00 "

 

Your list:

"1. Homo sapiens 8.5

2. Tursiops truncatus (bottlenose dolphin) 6

3. Australopithecus afarensis 4.2

4. Chimpanzee 2.4

5. Dog 1"

 

None of the 2 species that are common to the lists have the same EQ. So I'll ask again: what was your source?

 

My source, if you had bothered to look, gave values from 2 different tests and at least cited the equations and source for those. I picked the list that seemed to correlate best with yours.

 

It appears that the result may differ depending on the method used to calculate.

 

And there goes the attempt to use EQ as an argument that Australopithecus used tools!

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To lucaspa

 

It appears you are correct on one point anyway. I lost the google reference I used for EQ, but there are heaps of others. One stated that Homo habilis had an EQ of 4.2, so I suspect my original source made an error and got Homo habilis and Australopithecus mixed up. On the others, though, it simply seems that EQ measures are not consistent.

 

You said

 

The first one you listed is doi.wiley.com/10.1002/0471663573.ch1 This goes to the Wiley Interscience site where you need a subscription to access the paper there. So there are no EQ values there. Are you telling us you have a subscription?

 

The other source -- http://www.physicsforums.com/archive...p/t-16355.html -- is a post from a forum on physics. It talks about an unsubstantiated e-mail with a professor. Couldn't you have looked at an .edu site? It appears that you don't check the reliability of the sources you use.

 

My point here was simply to point out that different sources appear to quote different EQ's. You have taken this beyond what I was saying.

 

And yes, different sources DO quote different EQ's.

 

Anyway, it appears that chimps and australopithecines have similar EQ's. Since chimps use tools, including short spears, I see no discrepancy here with my statement that australopithecines may have used crude spears for defense.

 

It is still possible that they may even have chipped crude stone tools. The usual explanation for why such tools are found with australopithecine fossils is that the tools were made later and just happened to get mixed up with the earlier fossils. That may well be correct, but we don't know.

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Seeing as there wern't really any natural predators that could take them down around that time I don't see why it couldn't happen it fits in with a lot of my theories of a setteled people far before we previously thought

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Anyway, it appears that chimps and australopithecines have similar EQ's. Since chimps use tools, including short spears, I see no discrepancy here with my statement that australopithecines may have used crude spears for defense.

 

As long as you say "may", you are OK. But go back and look at your statements. Your first statements had the "may" absent; you stated it (several times) as undeniable that australopithecines used spears for defense.

 

As it happens, the observed examples of chimps using "spears" is for hunting. In defense, the observations are that chimps use branches as clubs, not for stabbing.

 

It is still possible that they may even have chipped crude stone tools. The usual explanation for why such tools are found with australopithecine fossils is that the tools were made later and just happened to get mixed up with the earlier fossils. That may well be correct, but we don't know.

 

Again, I don't recall seeing any data of stone tools with A. afarensis or A. africanus and no one has provided specific citations (Wikipedia here is not sufficient). Instead, the examples given of stone tools are later when there are Paranthropus species and H. habilis.

 

Seeing as there wern't really any natural predators that could take them down around that time I don't see why it couldn't happen it fits in with a lot of my theories of a setteled people far before we previously thought

 

There were predators that regularly preyed upon Australopithecus. One of the more extensive collections of A. africanus fossils occurs in a cleft in the rocks beneath a tree where leopards regularly took the bodies of A. africanus kills to eat. The bones dropped into the cleft. The bones bear the tooth marks of the predator.

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lucaspa said :

 

As it happens, the observed examples of chimps using "spears" is for hunting. In defense, the observations are that chimps use branches as clubs, not for stabbing.

 

If I overstated my case, then sorry. What I was trying to get at is that an animal as vulnerable as Australopithecus which was supposed to be the first 'plains ape' had to have some extra method of fending off predators. Since they had substantially more upright stance than chimps, this frees the arms to use tools. Since chimps use weapons, why not Australopithecus? I agree that it does not have to be spears. My thoughts are that spears would be more effective, but yes, it could be clubs instead. The fact that chimps use spears for hunting and clubs for defense, though, does not prove that Australopithecus did the same.

 

As a social species, a bunch of them working together with either spears or clubs could drive off a leopard or worse. Without weapons, it seems to me that this species would not survive long on the African plains.

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It's been a while since I've been on this site, I've just skimmed the last page or so, but I think I can respond to this last post as a summary of Skeptic's position.

 

I believe Lucaspa wanted citations on my assertion that the Paranthropus and stone tools had been found in association; I'm really not sure that that's the case any more. I was sure I'd heard that somewhere, but the fact that I can't seem to find anything that states that explicitly leads me to think that my memory may have been faulty... I don't know.

 

Anyway

 

What I was trying to get at is that an animal as vulnerable as Australopithecus which was supposed to be the first 'plains ape' had to have some extra method of fending off predators.

 

But it wasn't the first 'plains ape'! Nothing of the kind. It was an 'edge species' like the modern macaques, baboons, vervet monkeys, and even chimpanzees in some populations. It lived on the border between denser forest and more open scrub-land (the 'forest margin'). No plains at all. Just like for all these other species, there would always have been a tree to run up.

 

Archaeologyinfo.com article on afarensis

 

Also see Fleagle's Primate Adaptation and Evolution and Hart and Sussman's Man the Hunted (that's where the term 'edge species' comes from)

 

I think there are also problems with your assertion that Australopithecus were any more vulnerable than chimpanzees so as to require such extraordinary tactical abilities. If anything, being upright gives a defensive advantage. It makes you look big and intimidating, and frees the arms, not just for wielding spears and clubs, but for simply banging and throwing things in the same way a chimpanzee might. There are actually models for the origin of bipedalism based on its advantage in display.

 

See the wikipedia article (if you can find the sentence), or more substantively Fleagle's book (I know I cite it a lot, but its a good book).

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To CDarwin

 

I had a look at your Wiki reference. Nothing particularly startling there. The problem, of course, with all this discussion is that finding hard evidence is pretty much impossible. Most tools and weapons used by chimps would not survive as fossils over millions of years, and neither would the tools and weapons that Australopithecus might have used.

 

Anthropologists sometimes say that tool and weapon use bagan with Homo habilis. That is probably where the first deliberately shaped stone tools began. However, we cannot know what wooden, bone, or unshaped stone tools and weapons were in use earlier.

 

I know I cannot prove my suggestion, either. However, if chimps can use tools and weapons, then why are you so sure that Australopithecus cannot?

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To CDarwin

 

I had a look at your Wiki reference. Nothing particularly startling there.

 

Oh I was just citing my statement about models for bipedality based on display.

 

The problem, of course, with all this discussion is that finding hard evidence is pretty much impossible. Most tools and weapons used by chimps would not survive as fossils over millions of years, and neither would the tools and weapons that Australopithecus might have used.

Anthropologists sometimes say that tool and weapon use bagan with Homo habilis. That is probably where the first deliberately shaped stone tools began. However, we cannot know what wooden, bone, or unshaped stone tools and weapons were in use earlier.

 

That's hardly a new idea. Raymond Dart, the discover of Australopithecus africanus in 1924, called it the osteodontokeratic culture, and it's been long assumed the predecessor to the lithic culture of Homo habilis.

 

I know I cannot prove my suggestion, either. However, if chimps can use tools and weapons, then why are you so sure that Australopithecus cannot?

 

See, now you've softened your position to that, which no one can argue with. You can't claim that was your original suggestion though, and that's what this debate has been about.

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To CDarwin

 

Here is my original posting on this subject. I don't think I have softened my view.

 

Do you remember the 'Walking with Cavemen' television series? They had this ridiculous bit about Australopithecus afarensis. The one metre high upright ape apparently lived in the African plains. As such, it would be prone to predation by big cats. The TV series said that it resisted this predation through social grouping. Togetherness to drive off the sabre tooth giant cats. Yeah right!

 

I immediately visualised a bunch of, say 100 Australopithecus being stalked by a Smilodon. The big cat would simply walk up to the bunch - grab an individual - and return again every time it was hungry. Within a few months the apes would be gone.

 

However, if we alter the picture a wee bit, everything changes. Imagine that our ancestors instead are carrying long wooden branches, with points on the end. Smilodon walks up and is confronted by a porcupine of sharp spears. The Australopithecus wielding these spears stab viciously at the cat, and drive it off. Survival through the use of tools and weapons.

 

Admitting I was mistaken about Smilodon, I do not think my view has changed. I still cannot see how a relatively vulnerable species could survive on the African plains without weapons. I appreciate that you claim that Australopithecus was a dweller of the forest edge rather than the open plains. However, they are still supposed to have hunted food on the plains, which would render them vulnerable. I picked the idea of wooden spears rather than clubs simply because they seem more formidable weapons to me.

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However, they are still supposed to have hunted food on the plains, which would render them vulnerable.

 

No! Then that's the problem. They wouldn't have hunted food on the plains. No plains. No "hunting" either, for that matter, the teeth of Austrolopithecus weren't really suited for processing meat. They had big crenulated teeth for processing tough, gritty foods like tubers. More potatoes than meat. Really, other than being bipedal and eating tougher foods, there is really very little to separate Australopithecus and some modern chimpanzees or even baboons ecologically.

 

If all you're saying is that Australopithecus did what modern chimpanzees do with banging sticks and throwing the occasional rock, then I agree that's a probable scenario. Its the extraordinary measures that I've taken issue with, as well as the notion that the earliest tools must have been weapons. I just don't see any support for that, especially since the earliest stone tools weren't weapons at all, but butchering implements.

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CDarwin said :

 

Its the extraordinary measures that I've taken issue with, as well as the notion that the earliest tools must have been weapons. I just don't see any support for that, especially since the earliest stone tools weren't weapons at all, but butchering implements.

 

Looks like you are 'guilty' of the nefarious crime of being human. Like most of us, you read into my statements a bit more than I said. I did not say that the earliest tools were weapons, or suggest any extraordinary measures. Merely that Australopithecus could not have survived a plains existence without some kind of weapon. I don't think we have any clear data on what the earliest tools were.

 

If you are correct that Australopithecus did not live on or hunt food on the plains, then my information is out of date. Both the 'Walking with Cavemen' TV series, and at least one Scientific American article stated that they did, but new information may have rendered that obsolete.

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If I overstated my case, then sorry. What I was trying to get at is that an animal as vulnerable as Australopithecus which was supposed to be the first 'plains ape' had to have some extra method of fending off predators.

 

Notice what I bolded. That is what is causing the disagreement. CDarwin and I are disputing the "had to have".

1. Australopithecus was no more "vulnerable" than modern chimps. We posted the data that Australopithecus was as strong as modern chimps.

2. Running and climbing the available trees would help, so would display by the tribe. Also, a species doesn't have to fend off every predator attack; just enough to keep the losses bearable.

 

Since they had substantially more upright stance than chimps, this frees the arms to use tools. Since chimps use weapons, why not Australopithecus?

 

Because modern chimps have had 3 million more years of evolution than Australopithecus. I notice that using spears to hunt is only in ONE chimp community. I submit that it is a recent invention, not a trait of the species. Chimps too are evolving and we may have just seen a truly significant advance in chimp use of tools.

 

My thoughts are that spears would be more effective, but yes, it could be clubs instead. The fact that chimps use spears for hunting and clubs for defense, though, does not prove that Australopithecus did the same.

 

Now you are starting to use the appropriate amount of tentativeness. You are hypothesizing that Australopithecus used weapons. OK, that's an acceptable hypothesis. I can't falsify it, so it stays on the table as a possibility. But because you lack overwhelming supporting evidence, you have to insert the appropriate tentativeness.

 

As a social species, a bunch of them working together with either spears or clubs could drive off a leopard or worse. Without weapons, it seems to me that this species would not survive long on the African plains.

 

Baboons and herd animals survive on the plains today. Also remember that Australopithecus is living in an environment where there are still a lot of trees; it's not a treeless plain like the savannah today. And Australopithecus, while able to be bipedal, still retains adaptations for climbing. So escape up trees is still possible. So I maintain that, as an alternative hypothesis, Australopithecus could survive without using weapons. Did they survive without weapons? Insufficient data.

 

I saw on a TV documentary the reaction of a tribe of baboons to a single leopard. In spite of having lethal canine teeth, the baboons turned and ran. Australopithecus was much more poorly equipped with natural weaponry than baboons, and had to face much more lethal predators than leopards. There is no way they could have survived by making loud noises and throwing stones.

 

To CDarwin

 

Here is my original posting on this subject. I don't think I have softened my view.

 

You should have. Notice what I bolded in your quote above. That is absolute certainty. You have backed away from that.

 

I still cannot see how a relatively vulnerable species could survive on the African plains without weapons.

 

And that despite all the data CDarwin and I have posted! sigh.

 

I appreciate that you claim that Australopithecus was a dweller of the forest edge rather than the open plains. However, they are still supposed to have hunted food on the plains, which would render them vulnerable.

 

:confused: Where was that claim made? Where is your data? No, they hunted at the forest's edge, which means they can run for trees.

 

I picked the idea of wooden spears rather than clubs simply because they seem more formidable weapons to me.

 

But thrown stones and yelling are also weapons. And they can be effective. Remember, predators are, by necessity, cowards. They can't take or risk damage while hunting; that's why most predators are so much larger than their prey. If hurt, they starve. So any individual with a genetic disposition to take risks is not going to survive.

 

It appears that, despite our best efforts to show you an alternative hypothesis, you still can't grasp its possibility.

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To lucaspa

 

My original information came from a Scientific American article about 10 years old, which described Australopithecus as the first plains ape, hunting and gathering food on the plains. It also described them as small and vulnerable.

 

If that is now obsolete, and they were forest edge dwellers, of course that changes matters. My conclusions were sound, based on the data. If the data has changed, the conclusions must also change.

 

You said :

 

Because modern chimps have had 3 million more years of evolution than Australopithecus.

 

This demonstrates that lucaspa is quite capable of logical fallacies. Life has been evolving for 3 to 4 billion years. Mammals have been around for something like 200 million. A 3 million difference between two varieties of ape is not of great importance in degree of evolution.

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This demonstrates that lucaspa is quite capable of logical fallacies. Life has been evolving for 3 to 4 billion years. Mammals have been around for something like 200 million. A 3 million difference between two varieties of ape is not of great importance in degree of evolution.

 

It was of a fair amount of importance for us.

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