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The Foot and Ankle of Australopithecus sediba

Discussion in 'General Issues and Discussion Forum' started by LuckyLisfranc, Sep 8, 2011.

  1. LuckyLisfranc

    LuckyLisfranc Well-Known Member

    Members do not see these Ads. Sign Up.
    Congratulations to Bob Kidd and his team on their article in Science regarding their analysis of the foot and ankle of the newly discovered Australopithecus sediba.

  2. davidh

    davidh Podiatry Arena Veteran

    Well done to all concerned:drinks.
  3. Rob Kidd

    Rob Kidd Well-Known Member

    Thanks Guys, I am seriously glad to have a positive vote (I have had so many negative, I have given up counting). I have two things to say. First. Dr Bernhard Zipfel - first author - is also a closet podiatrist. I first met Bernie in 1992 when I did a guest lecture in the department of podiatry at what is now University of Johannesburg; he was in the audience. I was talking about the evolution of the arch of the foot (says this, waiting to be struck dead by the Creationists............). I clearly set his mind going; he went on to do, among other things, his PhD with Lee Berger and myself. He is now curator of fossils and rocks at The Univeristy of the Witwatersrand, and a first author in Science. Didn't he do well! (to misquote an ancient UK showman)? We are both very proud to have been a part of this team.

    Secondly: this takes Morton's hypothetical prehuman foot, and throws it in the bin. We have known for at least 10 years that the fossils provide a "ghost" of our morpometric past in the following manner. We see changes disto-proximal (Hox Genes); we see changes latero-medial (in embryological speak, caudo-cranial) (Sonic Hedgehog); we see changes dorso-plantarly (Wnt systems [and their upstream and downstream qualifiers]. The OH8 foot and the STW573 (Little Foot) say this. But they didn't have a calcaneus: this does! Morton suggested the calcaneus to be "the morphological kernal of the foot": wrong! this calcaneus is ape-like. As always, we need more specimens etc etc. But is has sent us back to the drawing board. All of this said with the (unsubstantiated) assumption that sediba is a human ancestor. Rob
  4. davidh

    davidh Podiatry Arena Veteran

    Nice explanation Rob - thanks.

    All we need now is some journalist to suggest that perhaps Sediba is another Hobbit:eek::D.

    The picture may not be getting any clearer, but (for me at least) it's certainly starting to become more interesting.


  5. admin

    admin Administrator Staff Member

    Australopithecus sediba

    Australopithecus sediba is a species of Australopithecus of the early Pleistocene, identified based on fossil remains dated to about 2 million years ago. The species is known from six skeletons discovered in the Malapa Fossil Site at the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site in South Africa, including a juvenile male (MH1 also called "Karabo",[2] the holotype), an adult female (MH2, the paratype), an adult male, and three infants.[1][3] The fossils were found together at the bottom of the Malapa Cave, where they apparently fell to their death, and have been dated to between 1.980 and 1.977 million years ago.[4][5]

    Over 220 fragments from the species have been recovered to date.[1] The partial skeletons were initially described in two papers in the journal Science by American and South African paleoanthropologist Lee R. Berger from the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg and colleagues as a newly discovered species of early human ancestor called Australopithecus sediba ("sediba" meaning "natural spring" or "well" in the Sotho language).[1] MH1 is disarticulated and 34% complete if skeletal elements known to be in an unprepared block are included (59.6% if small elements are excluded) while MH2 is 45.6% complete (again 59.6% excluding small elements) and exhibits partial articulation.[6]

    Australopithecus sediba may have lived in savannas but ate fruit and other foods from the forest—behavior similar to modern-day savanna chimpanzees. The conditions in which the individuals were buried and fossilized were extraordinary, permitting the extraction of plant phytoliths from dental plaque.[7][8][9]

    1. ^ a b c d Berger, L. R.; de Ruiter, D. J.; Churchill, S. E.; Schmid, P.; Carlson, K. J.; Dirks, P. H. G. M.; Kibii, J. M. (2010). "Australopithecus sediba: a new species of Homo-like australopith from South Africa". Science. 328 (5975): 195–204. doi:10.1126/science.1184944. PMID 20378811. 
    2. ^ Juliet King (June 4, 2010). "Australopithecus sediba fossil named by 17-year-old Johannesburg student". Origins Centre. Archived from the original on March 25, 2012. Retrieved July 9, 2011. 
    3. ^ Ann Gibbons (2011). "A new ancestor for Homo?". Science. 332 (6029): 534. doi:10.1126/science.332.6029.534-a. PMID 21527693. 
    4. ^ African fossils put new spin on human origins story - BBC News - Jonathan Amos - Retrieved 9 September 2011.
    5. ^ Dirks, P. H. G. M.; Kibii, J. M.; Kuhn, B. F.; Steininger, C.; Churchill, S. E.; Kramers, J. D.; Pickering, R.; Farber, D. L.; et al. (2010). "Geological setting and age of Australopithecus sediba from Southern Africa". Science. 328 (5975): 205–208. doi:10.1126/science.1184950. PMID 20378812. 
    6. ^ Val, Aurore (2013). A 3D approach to understand the taphonomy of the early Hominins from the Plio-Pleistocene cave site of Malapa (Ph.D.). University of the Witwatersrand. 
    7. ^ Henry, Amanda G.; Ungar, Peter S.; Passey, Benjamin H.; Sponheimer, Matt; Rossouw, Lloyd; Bamford, Marion; Sandberg, Paul; de Ruiter, Darryl J.; Berger, Lee (June 27, 2012). "The diet of Australopithecus sediba". Nature. doi:10.1038/nature11185. Retrieved June 28, 2012. 
    8. ^ Boyle, Alan (June 27, 2012). "This pre-human ate like a chimp". MSNBC. Archived from the original on June 30, 2012. Retrieved June 28, 2012. 
    9. ^ Wilford, John Noble (June 28, 2012). "Some Prehumans Feasted on Bark Instead of Grasses". The New York Times. Retrieved June 28, 2012. 
  6. Rob Kidd

    Rob Kidd Well-Known Member

    Although there are several Hobbit denyers, the "Cretin denyer (sp?) is my mentor Charles Oxnard; have had more than a few converstions about this!

    The mistake lies (as always) in defending the undefendable. If and when we are demonstrated to be wrong by further finds, you have my assurance that WE will be the FIRST to say so!

  7. NewsBot

    NewsBot The Admin that posts the news.

    Here is another:

    The Jinniushan hominin pedal skeleton from the late Middle Pleistocene of China.
    Lu Z, Meldrum DJ, Huang Y, He J, Sarmiento EE.
    Homo. 2011 Oct 29
  8. NewsBot

    NewsBot The Admin that posts the news.

    The lower limb and mechanics of walking in Australopithecus sediba.
    DeSilva JM, Holt KG, Churchill SE, Carlson KJ, Walker CS, Zipfel B, Berger LR.
    Science. 2013 Apr 12;340(6129):1232999.
  9. NewsBot

    NewsBot The Admin that posts the news.

  10. NewsBot

    NewsBot The Admin that posts the news.

    Neanderthal hand and foot remains from Moula-Guercy, Ardèche, France.
    Mersey B, Jabbour RS, Brudvik K, Defleur A.
    Am J Phys Anthropol. 2013 Dec;152(4):516-29.
  11. NewsBot

    NewsBot The Admin that posts the news.

    Human calcanei from the Middle Pleistocene site of Sima de los Huesos (Sierra de Atapuerca, Burgos, Spain).
    Pablos A, Martínez I, Lorenzo C, Sala N, Gracia-Téllez A, Arsuaga JL5.
    J Hum Evol. 2014 Jun 21
  12. Rob Kidd

    Rob Kidd Well-Known Member

    The presumed robusticity of these calcaneal fragments does not sit with the sediba findings - but why should they - they are not the same time scale nor the same provenance in any other sense of the word. "Mid Pleistocene would assume an age of about 1.23 MA, whereas sediba is in the order of 1.9 MA. Clearly somewhere along the way, the calcaneus became very robust, but when, where remains unknown. Finally, be wary of assuming any fossil fine is a direct ancestor; whatever they tell you there is no evidence of this (ancestor yes, direct ancestor no).
  13. Rob Kidd

    Rob Kidd Well-Known Member

    I found this on Youtube this arvo; it may be interesting to those who dither around their handbags with the Creationist claptrap that is espoused from time to time. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IPyKaH09lpc

  14. BEN-HUR

    BEN-HUR Well-Known Member

    How disappointing. I was hoping to find some possible new find/info within the Au. sediba story, only to find an unrelated post/link to this sediba thread from a whinging individual who has a history of providing zilch evidence for his evolutionary beliefs. Instead we get a link to some lame youtuber having a gripe about a "young earth creationist physicist" i.e. pertaining to his views to quantized redshifts... pertaining to the field of astronomy... but I'm under the impression we're dabbling in the field of paleontology/anthropology on this thread. But hey Rob, if you have run out of material/evidence pertaining to your field of study then knock your socks off. I would suggest though, before you dish up youtube vids on young earth creationists... you might want to reconsider your endorsement of the likes of...

    ... as discussed in this thread: New strain of fact-resistant humans (http://www.podiatry-arena.com/podiatry-forum/showthread.php?t=102572)... whoops sorry, how forgetful of me... that thread doesn't exist... banished for some unknown reason (possibly because you shot yourself if the foot by mentioning names???). More can be discussed on the hypocrisy on that thread - but best left alone.

    Let's get back to the subject matter... the fickle, fragmented (albeit interesting) world of comparative anatomy of extinct primates i.e. Australopithecines... Au. sediba. After all, I have read that Professor Charles Oxnard claimed Australopithecines being a unique group of extinct primates, as well as not evolutionary links (i.e. not anatomically intermediate between apes & humans). Varying views on this issue been made since those claims.

    Speaking of Professor Charles Oxnard:
    Careful Rob, remember to reference Professor Charles Oxnard by his correct title... you had a go at me about 4 years ago for referencing him as Dr Charles Oxnard (where you stated that he has been "Prof Oxnard since about 1966").

    I'm glad you realise there are the potential for mistakes when "defending the undefendable" [sic]... & state intended honesty of making known any errors when they come to hand.


    Don't the above two views/quotes contradict each other? But then again, what is the difference between an "ancestor"... a "direct ancestor" &... a "human ancestor"?

    I can't see any evidence of an "ancestor"... a "direct ancestor" or... a "human ancestor"... no matter how one wishes to spin the semantics &/or data (interpretation of bone fragments). But then again, you may have been influenced by Dr Lee Berger on the issue of ancestry (particularly with his personal relationship with Au. sediba).

    Speaking of interpretation i.e. gait of Au. sediba:
    The lower limb and mechanics of walking in Australopithecus sediba:

    The above seems to contradict (to my understanding) the assumed gait interpretation of the following i.e. "extreme medial weight transfer (hyperpronation)" stated above seems to contradict "pigeon-toed way of walking" as stated below:

    The Foot and Ankle of Australopithecus sediba:

    Any idea what this "unique form of bipedalism" may have looked liked?

    There are also a number of researchers who doubt the various assumptions on the Au. sediba case i.e. doubts from William H Kimbel (Director Institute of Human Origins and the School of Human Evolution and Social Change, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona 85287-4101, USA.) in the following paper...
    Palaeoanthropology: Hesitation on hominin history:

    In reference to sediba's gait, Kimbel is noted (here) for referencing it to Monty Python's Ministry of Silly Walks... i.e. "hyperpronation" gait of John Cleece at 2min.10 of the following...

    It is also interesting to note that others question the assumptions pertaining to Au. sediba (i.e. transitional species between Australopithecus & Homo species) & its prominent supporter Lee Berger (founder, whoops... co-founder; Berger's 9 year old son stumbled upon a fossilized bone).

    Claim over 'human ancestor' sparks furore:

    Paleoanthropologist Now Rides High on a New Fossil Tide:

    This article: How Science Is Done (cont'd) stated the following...

    Now don't shoot the messenger... I'm just citing what others have stated on the topic of Au. sediba... & subsequent research/assumptions/interpretation thereof.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 22, 2016
  15. Rob Kidd

    Rob Kidd Well-Known Member

    Classic Creationist stance - obstructionism. I had been led to believe by one of your recent diatribes that you have moved on to being a person of "intelligent design" (same emperor, different clothes).

    To fill in the gap that you left - perhaps deliberately, the initial analysis of the sediba calcaneus was actually undertaken by me.

    To suggest surprise something in "Science" survived peer review is akin to stating that The Pope is not a Catholic. If you had been there (Have you ever been at the sharp end of per review?) you would have seen the nine months or so of back and forth.

  16. BEN-HUR

    BEN-HUR Well-Known Member

    Classic Rob stance (I wouldn't generalise & state evolutionist stance) - evasive, association fallacy & confirmation bias tactics. I have been of an Intelligent Design persuasion for quite a while. If you care to lose your ignorance on the matter, you would learn that there is some major differences between the two (yes, similarities as well i.e. both refute evolution/neo-Darwinian views). I follow where the evidence leads & are thus open to change as the empirical data reflect. The Darwinian mechanism does a good job in explaining small scale variation (i.e. Natural Selection - selecting from already present genome material) but not large scale innovation (i.e. new body plans: organs, limbs, wings etc... thus requiring massive amount of new up-hill complexity functional code to the genome). One evolutionary biologist who is a critic of Neo Darwinism has stated that... "the theory explains the survival of the fittest but not the arrival of the fittest." The often cited evolutionary mechanisms of mutation/Natural Selection, along with supplementation mechanisms such gene duplication lacks the creative power to build fundamental innovations in the history of life.

    Dr Stephen Myer states... the case for Intelligent Design is based on a standard method of scientific reasoning (the same method Darwin used)... it's called, "inference to the best explanation"... where the best explanation is an one which invokes a cause which is uniquely known to cause the effect in question... complex information/coding & subsequent design... evidence of design (i.e. digital code, integrated circuitry, nano technology within cells etc...). What we know about cause & effect is that only minds generate information rich structures & therefore when we find information at the foundation of life as we do (even simple 1 celled organisms); we argue that the best explanation of that is a designing mind of some kind. Meanwhile, millions of dollars have been poured into projects such as SETI (search for extraterrestrial intelligence).

    Dr Stephen Myer discusses the above issues in the following short video...

    No - certainly no intentional (deliberate) gap made anywhere at all... I just highlighted relevant views pertaining to Au. sediba (the subject matter)... the characteristics, traits & issues (concerns) various researchers have noted. However, if you would like me to fill in that assumed gap... I understand (via the research you were associated with) that the sediba calcaneus was (quote)... "Au. sediba is apelike in possessing a more gracile calcaneal body and a more robust medial malleolus than expected."

    No - once again, don't shoot the messenger. I noted someone's view on this due to the apparent questionable history of one of Au. sediba's biggest supporters (the guy that co-found & named the specimen), Lee Berger i.e....

    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 22, 2016
  17. Rob Kidd

    Rob Kidd Well-Known Member

    Well there is several comments that could be made, but there is little point in flogging a dead horse.

    As a matter of interest, Lee and I were PhD students at the same time, not the same place - I know him well. He was at the University of Witwatersrand (where I have been an adjunct member of staff), while I was at The University of Western Australia. If you take the trouble to look at the first author of the foot of A. sediba, you will find him to be Dr Bernhard Zipfel - ex head of school of podiatry in South Africa. Lee and I supervised his PhD at Wits. Yes Lee is a controversial character, and yes he is larger than life. What I will tell you is that he is in work most mornings by 5.00pm, and still there at 6.00pm. At one time he had many detractors - do your homework and find the book review of his first book (the title is out of my head just now); then do more homework and ask where he is now?

    There is one point I will suggest though: surely a process of intelligent design requires, by definition an intelligent designer? In a previous post you described yourself as agnostic. To me this is an oxymoron. I really cannot be bothered to enter a debate of "where the evidence goes".
  18. W J Liggins

    W J Liggins Well-Known Member

    Mathew, you state:

    "Some paleoanthropologists have expressed surprise that both the Austin barium paper and the five papers by the Berger team survived peer review and were published in Nature and Science respectively."

    Would you please enlighten us on:

    i) the names and qualifications of these paleoanthropologists
    ii) the reason that they expressed surprise that the papers survived peer review

    Many thanks

    Bill Liggins
  19. BEN-HUR

    BEN-HUR Well-Known Member

    Yea well (the feeling is mutual)... "there is several comments that could be made, but there is little point in flogging a dead horse". That's OK... we are both busy individuals I'm sure.

    However, being that you made inquiry to the following... I'll answer (of which I have answered to some degree in the past)...

    Correct Rob... that stands to reason. Another way I sometimes express it is... "an ultimate cause" (i.e. in line with the principle of causation)... what is the "ultimate cause" of i.e. matter, energy, life, information, consciousness...??? Another way/direction of looking at it is... if something had a beginning... then by definition it must have a beginner.

    Can get a bit mind numbing when you look at the above this way... the ultimate cause of all causes & subsequent causes must itself be uncaused.

    Correct... yet this can be an issue of semantics (definition) for some. Hence the following definition (which tends to resonates with me) may be of help:


    In short, I simple do not know... on the existence of God & subsequent nature of God... even more questionable from an organised religious perspective... a Biblical perspective i.e. just far too many inconsistencies to be reflective of an omnipotent entity/being. This is a big topic... you're probably not interested... I don't have the time... so for the sake of all concerned, I'll stop here.

    I subsequently do not know the identity of the "Intelligent Designer"... the "ultimate cause"... & guess what Rob (respectfully) - neither do you know what the "ultimate cause" is. Yes, we all require one regardless of our position (i.e. naturalists/materialists --> Abiogenesis)... yet no one (really) knows Rob (& can provide conclusive empirical evidence of it... even if they are Biblical theist)... which brings us to the next point...

    We both require an ultimate cause (X), my position is of an intelligent design perspective (but do not know the entity of the ultimate cause/intelligence); your evolutionary position is of an naturalist/materialist perspective (but you do not know the nature of the ultimate cause/Abiogenesis). Hence we are in the same predicament as far as ultimate cause is concerned... but let's get into the empirical stuff... what position fits the empirical data/science the best in our world (in short)...

    - X (Intelligent Design) --> higher order primordial genome - mass information present at the start to allow for diversification of lifeforms via a proposed orchard of life scenario i.e. natural Selection/mutations drawing from already present information within organisms... contributing to modification/diversification of life forms (within the boundary the organism's genome allows) & subsequent observable Genetic Entropy (science notes today) which is increasing (hence there must have been a time when there was less entropy/genetic degradation) the degree of genetic faults we see today.

    - X (evolution) --> (initially zero information present) one-celled creatures (relatively small amount of info present) acquiring more functional information (by no known testable means) to eventually evolve into multicellular organisms to then progress via a proposed tree of life scenario via the stated (assumed) mechanisms of Natural Selection/mutations (yet deleterious mutations is much greater than the rate of beneficial mutations) for the acquisition of required billions of bits/bytes of conducive/functional new (in up-hill complexity) coding/information to substantiate the evident degree of mass/diversity of lifeforms present today... all whilst Genetic Entropy taking place at the same time degrading genome information.

    Hence above we have opposite scenarios. The digital information of life appears to be steadily degrading rather than increasing (mutations - Genetic Entropy - disease), falsifying an essential prediction of neo-Darwinian theory... & subsequently verifying a prediction of intelligent design science (i.e. higher order primordial genome). Thus the neo-Darwinian premise & associated mechanisms are not realistically valid as it requires something that is in contradiction to the observable/empirical science.
  20. BEN-HUR

    BEN-HUR Well-Known Member

    Bill... I did not state the above... I made it quite clear (see below & post #14 again) that it was a quote from someone else (hence the reference preceding the quote bubble)...

    Like I said... "Now don't shoot the messenger". If you want to specifically know those answers to your two questions you will have to ask him/her/them yourself. The statement came from an evolution related site i.e. see here: About Us... i.e....

    Now, I believe the founder of the above institute is a very famous paleoanthropologist - Donald Johanson ("known for discovering the fossil of a female hominid australopithecine known as "Lucy" in the Afar Triangle region of Hadar, Ethiopia.")

    ... but you will have to get in contact with the Institute of Human Origins to find out who specifically made the statement & thus inquire the answers to those questions.
  21. Rob Kidd

    Rob Kidd Well-Known Member

    Ben Hurr, what you do not allude to, for whatever reason, is that the term "Agnosticism" was first coined by Tom Huxley - Charles Darwin's best mate. As a matter of interest, he is the head of the school of anatomy from which I derive - but that is another story. What you should recognise is the huge academic background that has come forthwith from him.

    1) though the details allude me, Arnold, as in the headmaster in Tom Brown's school days was a relation - his mother in law?, his Gran?, Not sure.

    2) Of his several famous grandkids, Andrew was awarded the Nobel prize in P&M in 1963.

    3) another grandie, Julian, a famous evolutionary biologist, formed the bivariate allomatry equation, which I assume you are familiar with.

    4) as for the literature stuff - I will leave that to literature people.

    And if you like pottery - well just google Darwin/Wedgwood/Huxley/Keynes (as in Keynesian economics) - and find a right little ecosytem. They had brains that leave the rest of us for dead.

  22. BEN-HUR

    BEN-HUR Well-Known Member

    "for whatever reason"... you never asked me to provide an historical account/essay on "Agnosticism" Rob :rolleyes:... crikey, my posts are long enough as they are (I'll admit :eek:) without going into any further detail on such issues. You questioned my agnostic stance - I gave an answer. But thanks anyway on your brief history on the Agnostics; I was aware that Tom Huxley coined the term as well as aware that Charles Darwin thought the position of "agnostic" better classified his state of mind on the metaphysical. Agnostics come from various directions/backgrounds... & as you alluded, they have (naturally) given such related issues much thought (as I have)... hey, you may even be one ;).

    Rob, just by way of Bill's inquiry to that statement (from this source) re.: Berger & the peer review issue (which I was going to add to my last post). Do you think the following could have any validity in this case (just curious)...

    I should also note as well Bill... I believe there is some degree of bickering/animosity between palaeoanthropology camps (Rob may shed some light on this)... i.e. competition on the hierarchy of candidates/specimens/views over another's (i.e. Au. afarensis, founded by Donald Johanson [i.e. notice source (in post #20) where that statement came from] has been a major player on the scene). I have read in the past that was the environment - I'm not sure if it is still the case... if so, that might possibly explain the sentiments/nature of claim made in the piece in question (but hey, I'm just putting it out there - just an assumption).
  23. Rob Kidd

    Rob Kidd Well-Known Member

    I have no idea. But - if you interrogate my face book page you will find them both - and then some.
  24. Rob Kidd

    Rob Kidd Well-Known Member

    The question needs to be answered: Stephen -was he a scientist? By your own admission his PhD was not in science per se. Next time I need a plumber, I will get a carpenter.
  25. NewsBot

    NewsBot The Admin that posts the news.

    Rearfoot posture of Australopithecus sediba and the evolution of the hominin longitudinal arch.
    Prang TC
    Sci Rep. 2015 Dec 2;5:17677. doi: 10.1038/srep17677.
  26. BEN-HUR

    BEN-HUR Well-Known Member

    Observations above (& interpretations/conclusions thereof) are more consistent with the (fragmented) empirical data reported on elsewhere... that being Australopithecus afarensis, A. africanus, Homo floresiensis & A. sediba were not habitual bipeds to say the very least. Prof. (Dr) Lieberman (amongst others) take note!
  27. NewsBot

    NewsBot The Admin that posts the news.

    The subtalar joint complex of Australopithecus sediba
    Thomas C. Prang
    Journal of Human Evolution; Volume 90, January 2016, Pages 105–119
  28. NewsBot

    NewsBot The Admin that posts the news.

    Reevaluating the functional implications of Australopithecus afarensis navicular morphology
    Thomas C. Prang
    Journal of Human Evolution; Volume 97, August 2016, Pages 73?85
  29. NewsBot

    NewsBot The Admin that posts the news.

    Footprints reveal direct evidence of group behavior and locomotion in Homo erectus.
    Hatala KG et al
    Sci Rep. 2016 Jul 12;6:28766. doi: 10.1038/srep28766.
  30. NewsBot

    NewsBot The Admin that posts the news.

    Trabecular architecture in the StW 352 fossil hominin calcaneus.
    Zeininger A, Patel BA, Zipfel B, Carlson KJ
    J Hum Evol. 2016 Aug;97:145-58
  31. NewsBot

    NewsBot The Admin that posts the news.

    Laetoli footprints reveal bipedal gait biomechanics different from those of modern humans and chimpanzees.
    Hatala KG et al
    Proc Biol Sci. 2016 Aug 17;283(1836)
  32. NewsBot

    NewsBot The Admin that posts the news.

    More gorilla than chimp
    A new study that for the first time examined the internal anatomy of a fossil human relative's heel bone, or calcaneus, shows greater similarities with gorillas than chimpanzees
  33. NewsBot

    NewsBot The Admin that posts the news.

  34. BEN-HUR

    BEN-HUR Well-Known Member

    Interesting article (albeit, discussing A. afarensis… not A. sediba). Yes, there does appear to be a debate on this issue (of which is quite prevalent on such Paleoanthropological topics)... & rightly so. There appears to be such a high degree of subjective/imaginative interpretations on such scant evidence… which then clashes with another’s interpretation on the very same scant evidence.

    Palaeontology appears to be a field that seems to produce such abundant returns (interpretations) from such few fragments of fact/evidence... but then, maybe it is characteristic to draw upon such a degree of (subjective) speculations whilst interpreting the evidence within this field... albeit, such speculations would be influenced by the world-view of the researcher attempting to interpret such evidence (making the evidence fit the story the researcher likes best or prefers).

    An alternative view... or the other side of the "debate" (from Paleoanthropologist William Harcourt-Smith)...
    Sounds like a reasonable/rational & valid point.

    Another view on the issue of… age of the individuals & sexual dimorphism in relation to the attributed footprints (from Paleoanthropologist Owen Lovejoy)...
    Yes, like I said earlier... such abundant returns/interpretations (age & sexual dimorphism) from such few fragments of fact/evidence (in this case, footprints).

    Hmm... ok then... Manzi & Cherin like their interpretation as it best fits their world-view perception of the footprints. Maybe they were "gorillas" or some associate ape-like primate. How do we know what species made the footprints (based on fossils found in the region?... fossils allocated an assumed similar age/date assignment as the footprints?)? Maybe this primate species was wading through water in a bipedal fashion (as primates of today are seen to do)... leaving foot impressions on the soft watery surface… a soft watery surface which would likely alter the morphology of the footprint & the depth of the impression??? I believe the likes of fossilized footprints are a rare occurrence... requiring specific circumstances for such to be preserved (usually water associated circumstances/environment & covered in a short period of time)... & thus not subjected to the elements (wind/rain - erosion)... thereby eroded by a short passage of time.

    As intriguing as the topic is... there is only so much we can obtain from the evidence at hand (fossilized “footprints”)… without delving too far into just-so storytelling.

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