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.


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I'm not being close minded, just applying the same scrutiny I once did to religion. ;)

The hypothesis is neither new nor valid, and about as interesting as Lamarckism or Lysenkoism.

Agreed. Like Elaine Morgan said, this shouldn't be grouped with the Yeti and such things. It does have some potential behind it and I think it should be looked into further.

Bigfoot, homeopathy, Däniken, anti-vaccine, contrails, Truthers etc..

"You have to believe in something, right?" ;) 

There is a signifcant difference between this being a hypothesis that fits some of the information, and bigfoot or anti-vaccine. Those others that you have listed don't have any reason to exist and it carries with it an extreme rejection. There may be no reason to accept. It may not have a single grain of truth. But it's pretty insulting and stiffling to science to ridicule someone for being wrong. If we had no conceptual thinkers willing to be wrong, we wouldn't make progress out of fear of being wrong.
Thank you for putting into words what I could not. Gaytor's got my back! lol
Yes, even if the idea is not worth actively investigating, it shouldn't be ridiculed without proper investigation.  I feel the same way about many conspiracy theories - even if they are wrong, I think it's equally wrong to automatically ridicule them just because of the template of the theory.

It was properly investigated decades ago and found to be BS. Reconsideration requires new evidence NOT new argumentation. Argumentation is never evidence. The entire idea is argumentation.

As I have understood it the hypothesis was presented in the mid-seventies, investigated through the eighties, rejected in the nineties and ridiculed in the noughties. In the tens it has left academia and been taken up by those who are either scientifically illiterate or dogmatic.

Riddle me this, are there any semi-aquatic mammals which have thick fur? (hint: Otter)

Addendum: There was one scientific study presented in prestigious the Lancet which linked MMR and autism. The hypothesis has since been soundly refuted. In other words, exactly the same story as AAH.

I think that you are starting to argue with yourself a bit. I'm fine with the hypothesis being incorrect. Nelson's link as the first response was enough to make me doubt it.

The difference between Aquatic Ape as a proposed hypothesis at one time and the Autism study is faked information. If we treated everyone whom came to the wrong conclusion as those that faked information, you wouldn't expect that to be stifling to new ideas? 

I just hadn't heard the idea and was looking for info on it. It worked and others were introduced to the idea too. Now they can have the chance to accept or reject it. But tossing it out as ever possible would be contrary to science in the sense that if we found evidence to support it, we should come back to it. If we don't, then it stays in the bag with the rest of the ideas that just don't seem to fit. But I'm not a scientist, it's just my lay understanding of how it's supposed to work. 

This idea was first put forth in the 1980s. It WAS analyzed at the time and found rather dumb. That is how it is. It does not have to be reconsidered "seriously" a quarter century later to give the appearance of open-mindedness.

Been there, done that. The same happened with Velikovsky. That an idea is resurrect from the discard pile decades later is not reason to criticize those who point out it belongs in the discard pile. That it is new to you does not mean it is nwe.

I agree, but I also recognize the need for evidence before an hypothesis can be taken seriously.  Science doesn't know most things, but that doesn't lend any credibility to filling the gaps with fabrications.  I happen to think the Egyptians had a lot more technical savvy than generally recognized, but without hard evidence that is nothing more than conjecture.  I happen to think it's better conjecture than 'aliens did it', but I recognize nonetheless that it is still conjecture.  The same goes for this AAH.  It's very appealing because of the mythological elements that play into it - mermaids, Atlantis, Poseidon, Aquaman, 20,000 leagues under the sea - but without significant supporting evidence I think it's important not to place too much stock in it.

Well I'm not inferring anything like Aquaman or the sort. I simply question that a yet to be found fossil on the eastern cost of Africa that shows where certain evolutionary traits came from is beyond the realm of possibility. It's not like she's saying aliens made us. I'm sorry if I'm talking out of my ass here, admittedly I have no credentials or any sort. But what is making me so interested is why such an innocuous theory/hypothesis has garnered such ire from the scientific community. Such an ire that has her pegged as a crackpot for positing only that some of our early ancestors were coastal faring and adapted to their habitat. It really is very reminiscent of religion's staunchness and inability to entertain new ideas. Kinda weirds me out.



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