Posted: Dec 08, 2019 3:03 pm
by zoon
Jayjay4547 wrote:………..
As you say, a stick can’t be wielded in a tree. Considered together with the great tree-climbing ability of leopard and the unimpressive canines of male hominins, that suggests to me (a) if Australopithecines ever did roost in trees, they would have carried weapons up to nests that enabled them to use those weapons effectively. (b) If leopards attacked them while foraging on the ground, the hominins would have kept them at bay on the ground using weapons rather than climb a tree. (c) If leopards got into a tree where hominins were foraging, their only defence would have been to jump out of the tree onto the ground.

As you say, the ancestors of australopithecus had been coping with predation by climbing cats for a million years. But the males of those ancestors were more impressive biters e.g. Proconsul:


For a perfect comparison I should replace the homo skull with Australopithecus, but this pic off the web will serve

Spearthrower claimed that Australopithecus couldn't even hold a weapon but Hublin et al(2015)found that early human ancestors used their hands like modern humans.

The species Ardipithecus ramidus lived about 4.4 million years ago, before Australopithecus afarensis. It had an upright stance, but unlike australopithecines, its big toe was still grasping. Ardipithecus ramidus was better adapted to climbing trees than australopithecines, and, like them, lived in open woodland, as described in a 2015 article by Prof Tim White and others here:
Scenarios about hominids arising in open savanna environments go back to Lamarck in 1809 (15). It was widely expected that pre-Australopithecus hominids would continue to be found associated with open African habitats. However, the uniquely high-resolution set of diverse contextual data surrounding the Ar. ramidus remains indicate that Ardipithecus preferred wooded habitats that were neither a closed tropical forest nor open grassland savanna.

The hands of Ardipithecus ramidus had a shorter thumb than more recent hominins, so it probably did not have a strong precision grip, as described in a different 2015 article here:
Fossil hominins fall within the modern human range, but Ar. ramidus exhibits a shorter thumb (within the gorilla-hylobatid range), implying limits to its precision grasping capabilities.

The teeth of Ardipithecus ramidus are much reduced by comparison with, for example, chimpanzees, as illustrated in Tim White’s 2015 article , section 16, linked here.

Is it your view that Ardipithecus ramidus must have used sharpened sticks to ward off leopards (or whichever predators were climbing trees at the time)?