RE: evolution-the aquatic ape-predators

Brian D Williams (
Fri, 24 Jan 1997 07:12:07 -0800 (PST)

J de Lyser <>

>I've downloaded over 100 postings in the paleontology newsgroups
>that dealt with predators and aquatic ape theory. All of them
>spoke of a catlike predator (mostly mistaking lions and leopards
>for having been around at the time) but none of them supplied the
>name of the creature. I'm 90% sure any predecessor of panthera
>genera couldn't have been around at lucy's time, and if it was, it
>was in its infancy, far from the maneater modern lions and
>leopards are.

I remember the T.V. series you spoke of, in fact, that series is
being re-broadcast starting tonight here in Chicago (WTTW Channel
11 9pm CST).

I called the Field Museum here to try and find out the name of
your predator, but their "Top Gun" wasn't in, so they refered me to
Gary Galbreath at Northwestern University.

Gary finished my opening sentence with "you mean the cave with the
skulls with the leopard fang holes in them." uhh yea. He was 90%
sure the cave was called Swarkarenz,(sp?) in South Africa, and
there was a book/booklet writen about it by a C.K. Brain. It seems
they were quite sure it was a "modern" leopard (There were modern
bones in the cave). Anyway I hope this helps.

Even more interesting was that Gary told me there has been a
recent find of one of what they believe is one of lucy's ancestors,
it has been named Ardipithecus and the team that found it is
keeping it pretty close right now.

I brought up the aquatic ape theory and Gary made the interesting
point that modern apes and gorillias exhibit avoidance of open
water, they often will drown in very shallow pools. He said that
there were large areas of the central congo that appeared to offer
excellent ape habitat but had never been occupied because of water
barriers, even shallow narrow streams seem to do the trick.