3 thoughts on “Aquatic Apes

  1. marc verhaegen

    There are still a lot of misconceptions & unproven assumptions about our semi-aquatic evolution (so-called AAT), not only by AAT opponents (e.g. Hawks), but even by some proponents: “it” didn’t happen 6 mill.yrs ago as Elaine Morgan thought, and “it” has nothing to do with apes or australopiths or even habilis, but “it” is about archaic Homo during the Ice Ages (<2.6 Ma), e.g. most erectus-like fossils are typically found amid shellfish (even marine shells) and show clear convergences to littoral species: drastic brain enlargement (DHA), pachyostosis, platymeria, platycephaly, ear exostoses, intercontinental dispersal, projecting nostrils etc. Pleistocene Homo did not run over open plains as is still often believed, but simply followed coasts & rivers, beach-combing, wading bipedally & wading for shallow aquatic & waterside foods. Their lifestyle included shallow diving for shellfish when they followed the coasts as far as Flores, the Cape & Pakefield. This has been called the “coastal dispersal” model by Stephen Munro (2010 “Molluscs as Ecological Indicators in Palaeoanthropological Contexts” PhD thesis Austr.Nat.Univ Canberra), a better term than “aquatic ape”, see my paper “The Aquatic Ape Evolves: Common Misconceptions and Unproven Assumptions about the So-Called Aquatic Ape Hypothesis” Hum.Evol.28:237-266, 2013 independent.academia.edu/marcverhaegen m_verhaegen at skynet.be

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  2. marc verhaegen

    Yes, unfortunately, papers published in Hum.Evol. are not easy to find, but “AAT-minded” papers are usually refused by the conservative anthropological journals (JHE, Evol.Anthr., AJPA etc.) which still prefer “open plain” views (savanna hunting, endurance running etc.) instead of “coastal dispersal” views of Pleistocene Homo.
    Not only Hum.Evol., but also HOMO J.compar.hum.Biol. has published pro-AAT papers, e.g.
    – M.Vaneechoutte, S.Munro & M.Verhaegen 2012 “Reply to John Langdon’s review of the eBook: Was Man more aquatic in the past?” HOMO J.compar.hum.Biol.63:496-503,
    – M.Verhaegen & S.Munro 2011 “Pachyosteosclerosis suggests archaic Homo frequently collected sessile littoral foods” HOMO J.compar.hum.Biol.62:237-247, abstract: “Fossil skeletons of Homo erectus and related specimens typically had heavy cranial and postcranial bones, and it has been hypothesized that these represent adaptations, or are responses, to various physical activities such as endurance running, heavy exertion, and/or aggressive behaviour. According to the comparative biological data, however, skeletons that show a combination of disproportionally large diameters, extremely compact bone cortex, and very narrow medullary canals are associated with aquatic or semi-aquatic tetrapods that wade, bottom-walk, and/or dive for sessile foods such as hard-shelled invertebrates in shallow waters. These so-called pachyosteosclerotic bones are less supple and more brittle than non-pachyosteosclerotic bones, and marine biologists agree that they function as hydrostatic ballast for buoyancy control. This paper discusses the possibility that heavy skeletons in archaic Homo might be associated with part-time collection of sessile foods in shallow waters, as has recently been suggested by Joordens et al. 2009).” http://www.researchgate.net/profile/Marc_Verhaegen
    independent.academia.edu/marcverhaegen

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