Posted: Jun 20, 2014 8:17 am
by Jayjay4547
Sendraks wrote:

Well we know the defence systems of the termites worked, because they're still here, all over the world. Not only that, but they were here quite some time before the australopiths. So Termite defence systems are pretty solid in so far as standing the test of time.

Not so for the australopith.

Australopiths existed between 3.9mya-1.7mya, longer than any other known hominoid genus ancestral to man. If you try to model their relation with other species that is to take a snapshot. Time only comes in by one having to assume fully developed familiarity between species. If a leopard came around a corner and saw a troop of hominids foraging, then assume she knew where they slept, where they were going, how they would react if they saw her. On the other side one can assume that a typical troop often had a habituated predator that had successfully lived off the troop for some time, and it had set reaction tactics that worked somewhat. Evidence for that comes e.g. from the shikari tales of Jim Corbett.

Sendraks wrote:
Jayjay4547 wrote:OK, if the whole troop got involved, the more effective their choice and use of sticks, the more trauma to the predators and the less damage to themselves.

This makes all kinds of assumptions that australopiths were able to select suitably weighty and durable sticks for beating leopards with, given leopards are pretty durable creatures. So your expectation is that australopiths are able to select sticks that make suitable weapons, rather than pointlessly flail away with sticks that break upon contact with the Leopard and do it no significant harm.

This is a fairly sophisticated level of tool selection and use you're talking about here.

Well what exactly do you do then if you try to model the australopith-leopard relation? Throw up your hands at the implausibility of their selecting suitable defensive weapons? Seeing that their descendants to this day, can defend themselves using simple hand-held weapons? Let’s turn the argument around: suppose a primate were optimized to defend itself using simple hand-held weapons- can you imagine a better body plan than Australopithecus? Chimps have been observed to use sticks to demonstrate against leopard – banging on its hiding place. But their use is conspicuously not optimized. They don’t really have a clue. Chimps on patrol groups don’t carry sticks and stones. What would happen if a hominoid species needed to do so while foraging? The great doors of logic would shift around them into a new of co-evolution with those sticks.