Rui Diogo

Associate Professor, Howard University
  • Howard University
  • United States of America

Subject

Evolutionary developmental biology

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Recent Comments

May 03, 2018
Replying to marc verhaegen

:-)  Thanks, Rui.  The great anatomist Adolph Schultz (who dissected in his long career hundreds of apes and monkeys, but no bonobos as far as I know) already described many unexpected apelike features "retained" in human anatomy (in adult and/or premature humans).  Thank you very much for your beautiful and detailed work on bonobo anatomy, which seems to confirm that the traditional idea that human ancestors became bipedal by evolving directly from forest- to open plain-dwelling is at least much too simplistic (anthropocentric).

More likely in my opinion (please google  my recent update "Ape and Human Evolution 2018 biology vs anthropocentrism") is that the early "apes" (Miocene hominoids) adapted to living in flooded forests (possibly mangrove or swamp forests or wetlands), and that, much later, Plio- or early-Pleistocene Homo adapted "further" to a littoral lifestyle (Coastal Dispersal Model, e.g. S. Munro 2010 Molluscs as Ecological Indicators in Palaeoanthropological Contexts, PhD thesis Canberra University) - which helps explain not only the "fast" intercontinental diaspora of "archaic" Homo (along African and southern Eurasian coasts, and later also rivers), but also, for instance, Homo's drastic brain enlargement (littoral foods are extremely rich in brain-specific nutrients such as DHA, see e.g. S. Cunnane 2005 Survival of the Fattest, World Scientific).

you know also another funny story, normally i have no problem at all publishing papers, in fact i think none of my last 30 papers or so were refused, and they go to top journals  such as Nature, Evolution, Biol Rev, etc.. with one exception.. this one, which was refused in 4 or 5 journals.. I wonder why.. :) .. same style, same kind of images.. but story criticizes many a way of thinking that has been prevalent in a field, Bioanth, which is remarkably conservative, scientifically.. so it is good some people, like us, try to change that.. ok, will read your update now..

May 03, 2018
Replying to marc verhaegen

:-)  Thanks, Rui.  The great anatomist Adolph Schultz (who dissected in his long career hundreds of apes and monkeys, but no bonobos as far as I know) already described many unexpected apelike features "retained" in human anatomy (in adult and/or premature humans).  Thank you very much for your beautiful and detailed work on bonobo anatomy, which seems to confirm that the traditional idea that human ancestors became bipedal by evolving directly from forest- to open plain-dwelling is at least much too simplistic (anthropocentric).

More likely in my opinion (please google  my recent update "Ape and Human Evolution 2018 biology vs anthropocentrism") is that the early "apes" (Miocene hominoids) adapted to living in flooded forests (possibly mangrove or swamp forests or wetlands), and that, much later, Plio- or early-Pleistocene Homo adapted "further" to a littoral lifestyle (Coastal Dispersal Model, e.g. S. Munro 2010 Molluscs as Ecological Indicators in Palaeoanthropological Contexts, PhD thesis Canberra University) - which helps explain not only the "fast" intercontinental diaspora of "archaic" Homo (along African and southern Eurasian coasts, and later also rivers), but also, for instance, Homo's drastic brain enlargement (littoral foods are extremely rich in brain-specific nutrients such as DHA, see e.g. S. Cunnane 2005 Survival of the Fattest, World Scientific).

Very interesting ideas. I will read your update right now

May 01, 2018
Replying to marc verhaegen

This is a very important paper in my opinion. It shows that many of the so-called "human" features in humans and fossil Homo are not human-derived, but are hominid-primitive or even hominoid-primitive, i.e. were already seen in the Mio-Pliocene ancestors and relatives of some or all living apes and humans.  Diogo here shows this clearly for different muscular features, but we already argued this for several skeletal features, e.g. there are different indications that all or some early hominids (i.e. extinct relatives of Pan, Homo and Gorilla such as the australopithecines) were already orthograde (i.e. with vertical lumbar spine) and possibly even bipedal, probably not for running in African savannahs as often assumed traditionally and anthropocentrically, but more likely not only for climbing vertically but also for wading bipedally in the flooded forests or wetlands where many or even most Mio-Pliocene hominoids including the austalopithecines apparently fossilized (e.g. Verhaegen, Puech & Munro 2002 "Aquarboreal Ancestors?" Trends in Ecology & Evolution 17:212-7).

Diogo asks whether the muscular features he describes are no adaptations, but possibly by-products of other features. If we consider a possibly more climbing-wading locomotion (orthograde aquarborealism) for the early hominids or even hominoids, as exemplified by bonobos or lowland gorillas when wading bipedally in forest swamps (google e.g. "bonobo wading" or "gorilla bai"), it may well be that at least some of Diogo's findings do not have to be explained as evolutionary by-products, but simply as adaptations to the original hominid and/or hominoid environment (google e.g. "Ape and Human Evolution 2018 made easy" or "not Homo but Pan naledi? 2018").

Thanks Marc. It is in fact striking to see that in history of sciences we tended to do the mistake of thinking we are unique in almost everything, and even now that we realize those mistakes, most people cannot avoid thinking within that erroneous framework.. it will take some time (and buzz) to change that, but it will be done, soon..

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