Naked Science Forum

Life Sciences => Plant Sciences, Zoology & Evolution => Topic started by: thedoc on 22/12/2016 09:23:02

Title: What is the aquatic ape theory?
Post by: thedoc on 22/12/2016 09:23:02
Guillermo Davies Ore  asked the Naked Scientists:
   
Maybe Dr. Helen Scales would be interested in this issue.  I'd like to know your opinion about the Aquatic Ape Theory, developed by Alistair Hardy and Elaine Morgan.  Is it a valid theory, or should we completely discard it?

Thanks

Best regards


Guillermo Davies
Lima, Perú
What do you think?
Title: Re: What is the aquatic ape theory?
Post by: evan_au on 25/12/2016 10:14:59
The aquatic ape hypothesis suggests that human characteristics as diverse as hairlessness, fat under the skin, structure of the throat and fingers that get wrinkly when they get wet (compared to other primates) may have been due to a period spent living in (or near) the water.

It is valid to propose it as a hypothesis. But then you have to find evidence to support it.

Apparently the consensus  today is that the human characteristics attributed to life in the water can be better explained by assuming that humans are adapted to life on land (rather than in trees).

See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aquatic_ape_hypothesis
Title: Re: What is the aquatic ape theory?
Post by: alancalverd on 25/12/2016 10:56:45
We do tend to live closer to permanent water than other apes, and we are particularly good at swimming under water to pick up shellfish. Long scalp hair protects us from sunstroke when swimming. But whilst an untrimmed beard may look spectacular on an upright alpha male, it would be a hindrance in the water and we can't outswim predators like tigers and crocodiles.  It is more likely that we evolved as collaborative plains hunters and as we moved away from a fruit and vegetable diet it was easier to live near drinking water than to evolve the storage capacity of plains quadrupeds.