Human Ancestors Not Swingers

The science or study of primitive societies and the nature of man.

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Human Ancestors Not Swingers

Postby Beagle » Tue Apr 14, 2009 10:08 pm

http://sciencenow.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/2009/413/2?rss=1

Humans descended from apes that lived in trees, but researchers have been battling over whether the earliest humans remained agile climbers when they started walking upright on the ground. A new study concludes that early humans may not have been very good at tree-climbing. If correct, the results suggest that our ancestors traded in their arboreal adaptations to become fully human.


From todays news section, new research about how fast we may have evolved to bipedalism. There is a lot of discussion in Anthropology right now about the LCA (last common ancestor), and even heated debate.

That's good. Keep the pot stirring.
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Postby curious01 » Wed Apr 15, 2009 6:33 am

I dunno... maybe human ancestors were better at standing on limbs, not grasping with feet?!? I know I was a hell of a branch swinger & walker as a child! I spent half my young life playing Tarzan.

Seriously though, I would hesitantly agree with the view that the concestors were agile tree climbers, albeit using a different locomotion than monkeys & chimps.
One stupid primate swimming in an endless universe!
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Postby Minimalist » Wed Apr 15, 2009 9:11 am

Some time ago I recall reading a suggestion that the early tree-dwellers were forced to abandon the trees because climate change thinned the forests making it impossible for those tree-dwellers to stay aloft.

There's a certain logic to it if you apply Darwin's idea that a population has to be under stress in order to evolve. Wish I could recall where I saw that.
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Postby kbs2244 » Wed Apr 15, 2009 10:04 am

I thought the chain between humans and chimps had been pretty well broken.
Just too many "missing links."
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Postby Digit » Wed Apr 15, 2009 12:24 pm

Yeah Min, read the same, I find it dubious unless the tree cover was reduced to that which is familiar today on the African plains as I doubt there were sufficient numbers of our ancestors to need thousands of square miles of forested territory.

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Postby Minimalist » Wed Apr 15, 2009 2:15 pm

Too long ago for me to remember the details, Dig.
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Postby Beagle » Thu Apr 16, 2009 7:44 am

Minimalist wrote:Some time ago I recall reading a suggestion that the early tree-dwellers were forced to abandon the trees because climate change thinned the forests making it impossible for those tree-dwellers to stay aloft.

There's a certain logic to it if you apply Darwin's idea that a population has to be under stress in order to evolve. Wish I could recall where I saw that.


http://johnhawks.net/weblog/topics/geology/rift/rift_valley_overview.html

Hawks gives a brief note on the climate change that befell East Africa due to the Great Rift Valley formation millions of years ago. This is the leading theory as to why an ancient ape in East Africa differentiated from it's brothers in the West. But - it's only a theory, even though it's the only one for many years. So I'm sure this is what you read Min.
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Postby Minimalist » Thu Apr 16, 2009 7:58 am

Thanks, Beags. I don't recall the geological stuff so it may have been a commentary written by someone else that focused only on the trees but this certainly lays out the full idea.
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