I loaded a bunch of TED Talks on my IPod for a recent trip. One of them was by Elaine Morgan. She's a proponent of the Aquatic Ape Hypothesis. I hadn't ever heard of this. The basic premise is that if we had evolved in the water for some part of our evolution, it would explain a few issues such as the difficulties in beginning to walk bipedally, what happened to our hair, our hooded noses, narrow shoulders, subcutaneous fat, etc. It's really an interesting talk. She's a strong advocate and borderline indignant about science's wide rejection of the hypothesis.
Since I hadn't heard of this, I'm curious as to solid refutations of the idea. Anyone discussed it at length in a class? Read a great paper on it? Off hand, my brain is trying to wrap itself around the timeline of Ardi and Lucy being bi-pedal, Any chance they fit any part of Aquatic Ape Hypothesis? Any chance of cross breeding and keeping us as one species while some of these changes happened? I'd like to get a better understanding of this if someone feels like they have a grasp on it.
Here is the vid and the Wiki-link which includes criticism of it.
Very very intriguing. There are a number of human idiosyncrasies that are not well explained and that leaves the door open to conjecture such as this aquatic ape idea; ancient astronaut proponents also love to jump into these gaps.
I definitely see some room for aquatic factors in our evolution, although I'm not sure just what sort of environment the AAH people are advocating. Certainly our ability to dive has provided us with tremendous advantage in many instances - oyster harvests by island dwellers being just one example. Perhaps the amphibious ape would be a better explanation, being able to move in and out of water to escape either tigers or crocodiles as necessity dictated. Our versatility in crossing land & water certainly lent us extended range, limiting the sort of speciation that occurred between chimps & bonobos. I'm interested to see if some aspects of AAH aren't incorporated in the near future.
This is very interesting. It's possible that our ancestors spent most of their time in the water. It could also help explain why babies hold their breaths automatically when put under water.
On the hairless idea, I read something about how lice co-evolved with humans. The ancestor of head lice would have been all over body but as we lost our hair the lice could no longer travel along the whole body. The lice that stayed in the pubic area evolved into what we call "crabs". Then, as we started wearing clothes, they evolved into "bed bugs" Also, lice can survive under water for long periods of time (12 hours I think) so it would work with the aquatic ape hypothesis.
...I can't seem to find the link to the article I read
As someone who previously removed head lice for a living (yuck, I know) I've gotta make sure I correct you. :)
Bed bugs are not lice; they're not related.
There are three types of lice, however: head, body, and pubic (crabs). Body lice actually live in clothing, and lay their eggs there, and leave the clothes to feed. They are a problem for people who don't have access to a washer/dryer... homeless folks, refugees, soldiers on the field (esp way back when... body lice brought down Napolean's army... because they actually do spread disease, while head lice definitely do not spread disease). They're very uncommon, at least in first world countries.
However, Dawkins enlightened me by mentioning in his book (The Greatest Show on Earth) that human lice (the three varietals) are actually descended from crustaceans... which might actually explain their initial origin.
The aforementioned lice species can only live on humans, but humans are not the only animals to host lice. Even fish can have lice!
Could be something to this aquatic ape idea!