Planet Of The Apes & Termonology

Nick Nicholas (
Tue, 10 Jun 1997 01:07:15 -0400

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First a pet peeve:
1. Apes are not monkeys
2. Monkeys are not apes

Both are primates as are all members of genus homo along with lemurs,
lorises and tarsiers.
It's a big family tree and we are interested in evolution and the
technology used by at least some primates. Since I took my major in this
a lifetime ago please indulge me.

Let me throw out a few benchmarks. Homo and Pan (chimpanzees) shared
parents around 14 million years back (immunological and fossil
evidence). It appears that our branch adopted a more aggressive approach
to technology. As most chimp tech is, by and large limited to sticks
there is no fossil record. We can assume that they were using it 10
million years ago or just for the last century with equal validity. H.
Australopithecus appears associated with "stone axes" or "tools"
(actually a rock broken into 2 or more pieces, according to the patent)
around 3 million years back, give or take. String and rope appear 20,000
BP. (Just found that checking sources and it oddly corresponds to the
time frame when we first needed to make leashes and collars for Canus
associates). Canus Lupus appears to be the first victim of
domestication, which, as Eric Watt Forste points out is not always a
good thing for the domesticee.

Social organization of early H. Sapiens seems is closer to baboon troops
than chimps or gorillas but this is probably a parallel evolution
development given that baboons split off 2@10**6 BP.

Just 2 more points to inject :
The preponderance of evidence is that H. Sapiens and H. Neanderthalis
are not distinct species making the correct names H. Sapiens Sapiens
(cro-magnon) and H. Sapiens Neanderthalis. Using the biological
definition of species (progeny of members of the set are able to
procreate, contrast donkeys and horses produce offspring, a mule that is
sterile). We are not significantly advanced from Neanderthals

Domestication does not always result in species. Canus Lupus can and do
breed with C. Familiaris and having owned one such creature (erroneously
referred to as hybrid ), I can assure you they are viable (and very
little like your usual dog). They are, as a matter of fact, costly,
dangerous and unreliable (not unpredictable).

Monkeys are small, cheap and terrably limited in their abilities, the
great apes (orangutans, gorillas, chimps) are very delicate, expensive
and rare creatures. There is a surplus of available human labor.
"Owning" 90% of a wolf (10% dog) was very demanding emotionally. They
are not ment to be a possesion any more than another human. It really is
morally repugnant.

Robin Hanson wrote:

> Eugene Leitl writes:
> >Concerning using primates for slaves, see big problems:
> >a) primates are very, very costly
> >b) primates are dangerous
> >c) primates are notoriously unreliable
> Yes, but aren't these three facts a *consequence* of their not yet
> being domesticated?
> Robin D. Hanson

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