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.
I have to add this too. I'm in the process of reading Dawkins' "The Ancestor's Tale" and as I was reading a few moments ago, he mentions this theory..but only for a moment...
"Other hypothesis of bipedal evolution invoke the benefits of height , perhaps standing upright to look over long grass; or to keep the head above water while wading. This last is the imaginative 'aquatic ape' theory of Alister Hardy, ably championed by Elaine Morgan."
He then goes on to talk about other theories related to bipedalism. It seems to me that Dawkins favors the 'taking food home' theory as to why we began walking on 2 legs.
"Since I hadn't heard of this, I'm curious as to solid refutations of the idea."
It is about as scientific as religion. Humbug presented by highly entertaining people. Her original book has a total of 53 scientific citations (a mere 13 since 2005) including being ripped apart in the prestigious New Scientist.
"Anyone discussed it at length in a class?"
Not in class, but I did once ask a professor of evolutionary biology about it. She just rolled her eyes at me, interpret it however you wish. I did not dig further.
"Any chance they fit any part of Aquatic Ape Hypothesis?"
Ardi and Lucy were both found in land-locked Ethiopia. So I'd say that it would be highly unlikely.
"Any chance of cross breeding and keeping us as one species while some of these changes happened?"
Yes, but in the same probability category as God.
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.
Bigfoot, homeopathy, Däniken, anti-vaccine, contrails, Truthers etc..
"You have to believe in something, right?" ;)
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.