Re: Planet Of The Apes & Termonology
Tue, 10 Jun 1997 02:56:45 -0400 (EDT)

In a message dated 6/9/97 10:25:26 PM, wrote:

I'm not entirely sure this discussion belongs on this, so, folks, yell at me
(via email of course) if appropriate.

>First a pet peeve:

>1. Apes are not monkeys

>2. Monkeys are not apes

And, by the same definition, humans aren't apes. But these definitions are
pretty arbitrary. Apes certainly fall entirely within the monkey family, and
we fall within that of the apes. In other words, apes are closer to some
monkeys than other monkeys are. So calling an ape (or a human) a monkey
isn't really inaccurate, although there are valid reasons for drawing a

>Let me throw out a few benchmarks. Homo and Pan (chimpanzees) shared

>parents around 14 million years back (immunological and fossil


All this timing business remain unsettled. Conventional wisdom today,
however, says that humans and chimps shared a common ancestor only 3 million
years ago.

>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.

Well, perhaps not for the individual (depending on your definition).
Domestication, however, is a spectacular success for the species. There's a
lot more dogs than wolves today, and with some species (cats and sheep) the
ancestor species is nearly extinct.

>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


The preponderance of evidence vis-a-vis that is simply missing. We don't
have any Neanderthals to crossbreed with humans, so who knows if we could.
For all we know, they might have had 48 chromosomes like other apes rather
than our 46 and crossbreeding would be quite out of the question.

Typical Neanderthals fell well outside of modern human norms in several
respects. There larynxes were different and they probably couldn't speak as
well as us. They had enormous nasal passages. Their arms were put together
slightly differently and they would have been about twice as strong as us
(much as with the apes). Conventional wisdom today is that they were
separate species both descended from Homo Heidelbergensis (sp?). This is
pretty tentative conventional wisdom, though.

Speciation is a little more complicated than you put it. There's also
species that could interbreed but don't, e.g., all the big cats.
Homo/Neanderthal could have been that, too.

>We are not significantly advanced from Neanderthals


Not more advanced, but somewhat different.

>Domestication does not always result in species.

I don't think it ever has, to date. It could, if you bred the species for
differing sexual behaviour or genitalia.

>Monkeys are small, cheap and terrably limited in their abilities,

Not *that* limited. Quite capable of caretaking or machine operation, at
least in theory. Some mental abilities seem limited to apes, and some only to


>great apes (orangutans, gorillas, chimps) are very delicate, expensive

>and rare creatures.

Expensive, yes. Rare, yes (although if they were successfully domesticated
they'd become very common, like dogs, cats, parakeets, horses, etc)
Delicate? No more than any other large animal.

>There is a surplus of available human labor.

Really? Could you give me some? I never have enough.