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Glendale Community College Origin of Bipedalism Discussion

Glendale Community College Origin of Bipedalism Discussion

In this discussion I want you to think about the two hypotheses of the origin of bipedalism you’ve just been presented with. In your post, address the following:

  1. Which of these hypotheses — the “patchy forest hypothesis” or the “provisioning hypothesis” do you find more convincing, and why? Defend your choice as much as possible by referring to evidence (or lack of evidence) and logical reasoning rather than simply a gut feeling. Try to convince anyone reading your post that you are correct!
  2. What evidence might we uncover in the future that would make you change your mind about this, and why? Try to make the evidence something concrete that could actually be uncovered. Say what the actual evidence is, not just what it’s evidence for (see below for an explanation of what this means). The more realistic your evidence — the more it matches the kind of thing anthropologists can actually find, using the methods that anthropologists use — the better.


    • This is the hard part — it makes you think about the course material in a different way. But it’s good practice in thinking through how evidence works, and what sort of evidence anthropologists use. Don’t worry if I chime in on the discussion and push back on your suggestions! As long as you’re presenting your ideas sincerely, you’re fine. The whole point of doing this as a discussion is to see what comes up and then discuss it. Some of the ideas may turn out to be problematic, and that’s totally OK. That’s how we learn to think about this stuff in a clearer way.
    • What do I mean by “what the actual evidence is, not just what it’s evidence for”? To take a very silly, not realistic, example, you wouldn’t want to just say, “We find evidence that aliens came down from space and transformed our quadrupedal ancestors into bipedal ones.” This is what we concluded, but doesn’t say what the evidence actually is. What evidence did we actually find that made us think aliens came down? So, instead, you’d want something more like, “We find fossilized impressions that are consistent with the landing gear of a large machine in Africa around 7 million years ago, surrounded by quadrupedal primate footprints walking toward them and bipedal ones walking away from them. This suggests that aliens visited earth and transformed our quadrupedal ancestors into bipedal ones.” So, your evidence needs to be something like this: a specific finding that leads us to the conclusion. (Just, you know, don’t make your evidence or conclusions so silly like I did.)

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