A faint whisper of reason on Dikika

Although the dust has settled in regards to my post about the quality of research done on the now famous Dikika fossil, I feel vindicated to some degree to have read that Desmond Morris has some words of reason about this matter. I found about this news article, which features Morris, along with an exclusive interview with Zeresenay Alemseged, who discovered the oldest child in the world, from this blog post.

Here’s what Morris has had to say,

If they were, then the most popular theory of why humans stood up is challenged, says Desmond Morris, the zoologist who studies human behavior. This theory says they did it because they had learned to use their hands for making tools and weapons but still needed to get around. “If Selam is significant and not an oddity, that means bipedalism came first. So there must have been a different reason for it.”But he warns against drawing too many conclusions. “People end up basing their idea of an entire species on a little girl’s skeleton. There’s a man in the Guinness World Records who is eight feet tall. If you found him, and only him, in three million years’ time what would you think we had been?”

This is one of the many problems with fossil record. Should Dikika’s scapula be really gorilla-like can we validate this one observation as a species trait? Remember that the individual was not yet even mature, at which point the skeleton would restructure too.

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