> Date: Tue, 14 May 1996 11:48:03 +0000
> Subject: Talking apes
> To refresh - I had asserted, too dogmatically, that taxonomic
> classification is arbitrary and he replied with reference to the
> shape of the "jaw."
> My comment with regard to arbitrariness becomes relevant here. If
> one has a fossil (fragment) of an upper jaw (maxilla) one cannot, in
> good conscience or, I claim, in good scientific practice, name a
> species and proceed to describe it (with apologies to Cuvier). But
> this is exactly what was done in the case of Ramapithecus. This
> taxon has now been eliminated on the strength of opinion. If one has
> a fossil of a leg or, better, a pelvis it is easy to recognize
> bipedalism. This attribute, by the way, appears in the fossil record
> without ANY precursors.
What would be a precursor to bipedalism? Tripedalism?
Paul Arveson, Research Physicist
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