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Aquatic Ape Hypothesis


JadedAtheist
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This is by far the coolest hypothesis I've heard. The almighty Wikipedia article may be found here.

 

A snippet of the theory..

 

 

The aquatic ape hypothesis (AAH) is an alternative explanation of some characteristics of human evolution which hypothesizes that the common ancestors of modern humans spent a period of time adapting to life in a partially-aquatic environment. The hypothesis is based on differences between humans and other great apes, and apparent similarities between humans and some aquatic mammals. First proposed in 1942 and expanded in 1960, its greatest proponent has been the writer Elaine Morgan, who has spent more than forty years discussing the AAH.

 

While it is uncontroversial that both H. neanderthalensis and early H. sapiens were better suited to aquatic environments than other great apes,[1][2] and there have been conjectures suggesting protohumans underwent some adaptations due to interaction with water[3] the sort of radical specialization posited by the AAH has not been accepted within the scientific community as a valid explanation for human divergence from related primates.

 

 

What do y'all think?

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I think it is HIGHLY unlikely. All the available evidence suggest that we evolved on the plains of Africa.

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I don't think the aquatic ape hypothesis holds water. :) The best theory I've heard is that we are hairless because we evolved to run long distances for hunting and would overheat if we had hair like chimps. That makes perfect sense.

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I think it is HIGHLY unlikely. All the available evidence suggest that we evolved on the plains of Africa.

The available evidence does suggest that we evolved on the plains of Africa, but where on the plains of Africa? And where did we usually travel along? Waterways. Nothing about us evolving for a plains enviroment would negate the water ape hypothesis completely. We didn't evolve to be completely aquatic, and we weren't headed in that direction, that part is unlikely. Though travelling through water after prey easily, by losing most of our hair, would put us at an advantage. We could chase prey acrossed waterways unlike alot of other predators renowned for hating water.

 

Also, why do we do so well, seemingly naturally, in water, whereas chimps can't swim. They can wade, but not swim.

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i think it is a interesting therory but i dont think there is enough evidence to point to us ever being semi aquatic but i will agree we do so much better than chimps in water.:scratch:

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It's not such a strange theory. There is a group of chimps in Japan, the ones that live in the mountains and like to swim in the heated pools in winter. They have learned to swim under water, while holding their breath, and collect seeds like rice or wheat that are thrown to them. It's a learned behavior and scientists claim this demonstrates evolutionary behavior. Now we have monkeys that can swim under water, which was something this group did not do until recently.

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I think it is HIGHLY unlikely. All the available evidence suggest that we evolved on the plains of Africa.

The available evidence does suggest that we evolved on the plains of Africa, but where on the plains of Africa? And where did we usually travel along? Waterways. Nothing about us evolving for a plains enviroment would negate the water ape hypothesis completely. We didn't evolve to be completely aquatic, and we weren't headed in that direction, that part is unlikely. Though travelling through water after prey easily, by losing most of our hair, would put us at an advantage. We could chase prey acrossed waterways unlike alot of other predators renowned for hating water.

 

Also, why do we do so well, seemingly naturally, in water, whereas chimps can't swim. They can wade, but not swim.

 

 

We may be better in water than other great apes, but to say we do well in water compared to non-primate species is giving us to much credit. Of all the grat apes, we are probably the farthest from our tree dwelling heritage. We are the only surviving great ape that walks upright which coincidently puts our legs directly behind us when we swim. The arches in our feet and the curvature of our spines have evolved to support our weight without the help of buoyancy from water. In fact, one of the things humans do particularly well in comparison to other animals is run long distances in heat. There are still tribes in Africa that live a lifestyle similar to what our distant ancestors would have lived. One of the ways that they hunt is to chace down animals for several hours over several miles, close to midday. They attack their prey with heat exhaustion then finish it off with wooden spears. They can do this because of a human adaptation that is worthless in water, the ability to sweat over their entire body. On top of this, human skin is quite permiable to water. Anyone who has spent several hours in a pool knows that our skin shrivels up like a raisin when in water for long periods of time. This can get so sever that the skin can become highly susceptible to cuts and abbraisions and sometimes splits on its own, which can lead to infections. As for losing our hair, that is not neccesary for an aquatic life. Many semi-aquatic mammals retain their hair. Beavers, otters and platypi all retain their hair despite spending a large portion of their time in water. Some bears can spend a lot of time in water and they still have their hair. Humans likely lost their hair for the same reasons many African mammals lost theirs, heat.

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