Similarly, traditional modern human populations still individually forage in coastal environments, using small hand tools, such as knives, blades, and stones to separate sessile bivalves from their substrate, and to open shells Bird and Bliege-Bird, 1997. This flexibility ultimately led to the invention of culture and technology. Hairlessness, for instance, is only a feature of fully aquatic mammals such as whales and dolphins. Scientist supporters of the waterside ape hypothesis have responded to this article. Given the problems it still gives us millions of years later, such as back pain, hemorrhoids and hernias, bipedalism must have been necessary for some reason.
So what does Aquatic Ape Theory have to do with mermaids? It is much harder to explain why we differ from the gorilla and the chimpanzee much more markedly than they differ from one another. Why us and not them? Although there is evidence that brachiating apes developed bipedalism in the trees, the Aquatic Ape Theory says it was required for wading in the semi-aquatic habitat under the trees. It is good for insulation in water, and for giving buoyancy. If mermaids are real, they probably live in small groups and work together in a social community. Others like hippos adapted by becoming very massive.
Our tendency to put on fat is likelier to be an inheritance from an earlier aquatic phase of our evolution. We weep tears of emotion, controlled by different nerves from the ones that cause our eyes to water in response to smoke or dust. They described it as having the body of a young girl and the tail of a fish. There are several things about us that are decidedly different from other mammals, most notably from other primates. Then he suggested that many of the unique characteristics of humans and their ancestors, marking them out as different from the other apes, could be explained as adaptations to spending time in water. By positing a single assumption -- that as yet undiscovered hominids lived in a unique aquatic environment -- the theory is able to encompass the evolution of several different characteristics of the human body that otherwise would not appear to be tightly linked to each other.
All the suggested anatomical and physiological adaptations can be explained by other hypotheses, which fit much better with what we actually know about the ecology of ancient hominins. With the Pleistocene cooling, our ancestors returned to land and became bipedal omnivores and scavengers and later hunters of coastal and riverside animals. What about walking on two legs? It has become very elastic, and its will seize hold of any mentions of water, fish or shellfish in human evolution, and any archaeological sites found near coasts, rivers and lakes as supporting evidence. An early proponent of the theory, Elaine Morgan, was a documentary writer and composed a series of books on the topic that helped to raise more awareness for it beginning in 1972. The hypothesis suggests that everything from walking upright to our lack of hair, from holding our breath to eating shellfish could be because an aquatic phase in our ancestry. Wrangham and his colleagues acknowledge that their case rests on circumstantial evidence.
It is interesting that the bonobos often mate face-to-face as humans do; in our case it is explained as a consequence of bipedalism. In that test, the aquatic ape has failed — again and again. In 1960, marine biologist Alister Hardy published an article in New Scientist, titled: He re-told the familiar tale of the evolution of land animals from ancient fish, and then considered the return of various groups of reptiles, birds and mammals to an aquatic existence: ichthyosaurs and plesiosaurs, crocodiles, sea-snakes, penguins, whales, dolphins and porpoises, manatees and dugongs, and seals—as well as polar bears, otters and water voles, who hunt in water. Much of the fat is attached to the skin, while other land mammals tend to store their fat internally. Sexual selection may also explain our body fat distribution, which differs between the sexes.
And we know that species as far as part in time as Sahelanthropus tchadensis 7m years ago and Homo erectus 2m years ago all lived in. While some of these woods included wetland, this was just part of the mosaic of habitats that our ancestors learned to survive in, and there is absolutely no trace of a hominin ancestor as aquatic as that described by Hardy and Morgan. Collaborating with Louis Leakey, Tobias identified, described and named the new species. This suggests that they ate hard seeds, nuts, and fruits previously available only to arboreal rodents and forest-floor pigs. Not so obvious is our fatness, which is about ten times what it should be. My ideas on the subject have evolved since my first paper in 1985. A post from January 2005 dates to the first few weeks of my regular blogging.
Thanks a lot for giving us the access to your fine work! Gioacchino Sera 18781960 Sera, an Italian biologist, was probably the first to suggest a possible aquatic phase in primate evolution. Sarawak Mus J 1986; 36: 251-62. Die Naturwissenschaften 97 3 : 241-263 Odent M 1996 We are All Water Babies. But these don't have much to say about the origins of bipedalism, more than 6 million years before — they just demonstrate the behavioural flexibility of later hominins. It leaves the Aquatic Ape Theory explaining nothing whatsoever about the evolution of the hominids. The relatively hairless skin of humans is believed to be an adaption that is comparable to what aquatic mammals have as well, which is clear difference from land-based mammals. If either Morgan or Hardy had been anthropologists, or had ever performed research or written scientific papers about their aquatic ape theory, we might have found out who was wrong.
Woe to the sailor who crossed a mermaid. So those all sound pretty compelling, don't they? The advantages of the upright gait are easily understood by the versatility of this locomotion in a semi-aquatic mode of life. Chuck had also written to several senior paleoanthropologists in American universities about Morgan's book asking them what they thought about it. Compared with other animals, we are not actually that good at swimming, and our skin leaks as well, letting in water so that our fingers become prune-like after a long bath. Compared with other animals, we are not actually that good at swimming, and our skin leaks as well, letting in water so that our fingers become prune-like after a long bath. Every statement of natural causes is potentially scientific.