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DAILY FACTOID: Shiva’s Ape Replaces Rama’s Ape — Geneticists Rejoice.

June 15, 2019

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The Winner and Our Beloved Ancestor, Shiva (or Siva as she was called by her besties)

 

 

12.3-11.7 million years ago
Ramapithecus (Rama’s ape) is no more. Another Hindu god has taken over the franchise; Ramapithecus is now subsumed under Sivapithecus, an earlier discovery, and is no longer a valid taxon name.

The story is interesting from a history-of-science point of view. Ramapithecus used to be presented as the very first ape on the human line, postdating the split between humans and great apes, maybe even a biped. This was given in textbooks not so long ago as established fact. Then geneticists (Sarich and Wilson) came along and declared that the genetic divergence between chimps and humans is so low that the split had to be way later than Ramapithecus. There was a lot of fuss over this. Paleoanthropologists didn’t like geneticists telling them their job. Eventually, though, the paleoanthropologists found some new fossils. These showed in particular that the line of Ramapithecus‘s jaw was not arch-shaped, like a human’s, but more U-shaped, like a non-human ape’s. So after thinking it over a while, paleoanthropologists decided that Ramapithecus (now part of Sivapithecus) looked more like an orangutan re(lative: likely ancestor of a great radiation of orangutan kin that left just one genus, Pongo, in the present.
(https://logarithmichistory.wordpress.com/)

So now you know.

One wonders why someone like me would collect what is obviously useless information. I used to collect things, lots of things and store them in my home as well as in eight large shipping containers. Is this what I do with bits of arcane information, pack them away in my computer’s memory? Why? They still exist on the internet and are easily retrievable. Compulsive collecting is a form of mental illness, like the fear of heights, claustrophobia or hypochondria all of which I suffer from. If truth be known (and it rarely is) I am afflicted with just about every phobia to which they have affixed a Latin or Greek name and a few that the namers have not gotten around to yet. Maybe, I just compulsively collect phobias.

Anyway, about ten years ago, I abandoned the house and everything in it as well as the eight shipping containers and fled to Thailand. Will I, a few years from now, erase everything from my computer and flee again to somewhere odd but sensual? Hmm, probably not.

Anyway, what interests me most in this off the wall factoid is that Siva (also written Shiva) replaced Rama among the early apes — that and the amount of smug pleasure experts in one field of study appear to get in pissing on the favorite theories of their colleagues in another.

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