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Aquatic Ape Hypothesis

User Thread
 34yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that summit is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
Aquatic Ape Hypothesis
Humans may have once been semi-aquatic. here is some stuff to go with this theory:
- humans are the only primate that takes pleasure in swimming
- humans have fat attached under the skin like aquatic animals. mammals which hibernate have seasonal fat: aquatic mammals, similar to huimans retain fat yearly.
- humans hair does not cover most of the entire body. The only environments known to give rise to naked are aquatic and subterranean
- human young are born alive except for the small subclass of monotremes and nourished with milk
- we are only ape that walks fulltime in a bipedal posture. water supports the body
-the voluntary control of breathing in humans is similar to aquatic mammals which inhale as much air as they need for a dive, then return to the surface for air
- new born human babies can hold their breathes in water
- human hair is streamlined like aquatic animals
- amino acids found in seafood is also found in humans
- humans can't survive without water for a limited time (we are the most water dependent animal)
- humans are the only terrestrial animals that cry and produce tears. the removal of excess salts from the body including tears and sweating (similar to marine animals)


What are your thoughts?

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"The summit is just a halfway point"
 42yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that xanadoool is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
Hmmm... interesting theorum.

1. Humans never swam until it was nessisary, by then, we had already lost a lot of our hairy ancestory.
2. Grazing animals have fat stores similar to our. Any creature that spends its entire day going from tree to tree, munching on what it can find will develop this way.
3. Human hair still covers our entire body, but because our genetic uncles had to walk vast distances across the savana, we naturally developed finer hair and more sweat glands than any other primate.
4. All mammals are born alive. Except the platter puss of course!
5. The banobo ape spends most of its day on its hind legs. Our bipedal nature simply developed out of our need to carry things long distance. You can carry more things for longer in your hands than you can in your mouth.
6. voluntary control of breathing? Most animals with a lymbic system can do that.
7. New born human babies can go underwater because they don't try to breathe. The first instance of breathe in an infant occurs when they have almost suffocated or the doc's given them a twack on the bum.
8. Human hair is not stream lines, if you look at it under a mircoscope, it has tiny jutty out bits all the way up... desined to hold on to sweat.
9. amino acids found in humans are found in all life.
10. Most animals will die of dehydration after 5 days without water. Humans are the same. We think being thirsty is dehydration... try walking through the sahara without a canteen, that's thirst.
11. Most mammals have tear ducts, it is simply the complexity of our facial muscles(Most complex in the animal kingdom) that allow us to reduce stress but forcing our tear ducts to overload whenever the muscles are too tense.
11.

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"Always give to the left, coz the right way is the wrong way."
 34yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that summit is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
I'm not saying this theory is 100% correct, but, xanadoool most of your arguement isn't correct. read the theory again.

1. who cares if humans never swam until it they had to. they are the only ones that take pleasure in it
2. In grazing animals muscle is attached to the skin not fat (like humans) Humans have ten times as much fat in our bodies as is normal in an animal of our size. We are by far the fattest primates.
3. hair doesn't cover our entire body. only in places.
4. being born alive is a characteristic of aquatic mammals. 'platter puss' is spelt 'platypus'
5. the bonobo does not spend most of the day on its hind legs! where did u get that from?!
6. Only few land based mammals have conscious control over their breathing for which they had aquatic ancestry like the elephant. Oh and...humans have a descended larynx, found only in sea otters and dugongs, allowing them to quickly breathe through their mouths, a trait so useful for semi-aquatic activity
7. its not so much that human new borns don't try to breathe its that they have no training in breathing...thus similar to aquatic young.
8. human hair is most definately stream lined. slide your hand up your leg or arm...notice hair points in one direction. (similar to our head of hair as well)
9. SPECIFIC amino acids found in humans are found in sea food that aren't found in other life forms.
10. Humans are the MOST water dependant mammals on earth.
11. what i meant to say originally is tears and sweating is prevalent in humans but not in other primates

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"The summit is just a halfway point"
 42yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that xanadoool is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
Okaaaaayy,

1. If you don't care, I don't either.
2. EVERY animal has a layer of adipose directly under the skin. How bout you the google that word and have a bit of a read before you start making a fool of yourself.
3. Okay, I suppose you've never stayed awake in bio long enough to know that we are ENTIRELY covered in hair follicles, but they are reduced the same way our sweat glands multiplied when we were walking the savanas of Africa for a couple of million years.
4. Simantics? Worrying about the spelling, not the meaning. Read my point again, every mammal is born alive, not just aquatic.
5. About 4 years of study. They have been seen to carry multiple object in both hands for up to ten miles. Plus their pelvic bones are rotated the same as ours.
6. So why can't otter speak?
7. No training school in the womb sorry, it's a reflex to suffocation.
8. So that's why olympic swimmers wear body suits or shave their hair off. HMMMMMMM...
9.Do you know what amino acids are? I would say not as otherwise, I wouldn't be laughing my arse off at present.
10. That's because we're soft-cocks. We're all made mostly of water. We just confuse our own thrist with 'dehydration', and we MUST have a drink NOW, which is a crock of shizer.
11. Read up on animals. I've seen most of them cry, it's just that they don't make 'WAWAs' when they are doing it. As I said in point 3, we have more sweat glands because of the savana, as if we were immersed in water all the time, we would need to sweat as much.

Thoroughly disgusted. Why didn't you at least read up before spouting off like that. At least I have a registered nurse stand beside me at present.

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"Always give to the left, coz the right way is the wrong way."
 34yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that summit is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
sense of humour wont get you anywhere.
Lets get this straight mate:
1. If you didn't care about this point why respond
2. Mammals which hibernate have seasonal fat: aquatic mammals, like humans, retain fat throughout the year. The human fatty layer is also attached to the skin, like most aquatic mammals, not the muscle, like almost all land mammals. cutaneous muscle, is limited in humans but present in every land mammal (including all other primates), that allows many land animals to twitch their skin, but is absent in aquatic mammals, hence the connection
3. we are not entirely covered in hair follicles...hand palms, fingers, feet, parts of the face.
4. u dont get it. being born alive is not a characteristic of most marine organisms. being born alive is a characteristic of marine mammals hence a link
5. so what if bonobos have the capability of walking upright. your missing the point that this hypothosis is linking relatedness or characteristics of humans to the marine environment where bipedalism is an advantage in buoyancy/swimming. this is not a comparison between humans and terrestrial mammals (which is wot you r doing. ie other primates). (btw bonobos are incapable to walk upright 24/7 like humans because quadrupedalism is their basic means of locomotion!)
6. it seems so that u agree with me on that.
7. a reflex to suffocation is a result of effectors responding to received external stimuli and therefore it is a by product of training
8. u agree with me here. why be so naive by trying to generate excuses
9. once again u missed the point about amino acids oh and yes i do know wot amino acids are. There is a parallelism between amino acid sequences found in sea food with amino acid sequences found in humans
10. u agree with me once again
11. give me proof then that you've seen most animals cry. . Tears are vectors for the removal of excess salts from the body, as might result from the ingestion of saltwater, hence the connection with the marine organisms such as the sea turtle which excretes salt via tears

have you studied this theory before?...hmmmm.

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"The summit is just a halfway point"
[  Edited by summit at   ]
 70yrs • M •
anthrosciguy is new to Captain Cynic and has less than 15 posts. New members have certain restrictions and must fill in CAPTCHAs to use various parts of the site.
For the past ten years, I've been looking at the evidence given for the aquatic ape theory to determine whether it's accurate, honest, and makes sense in terms of evolutionary theory. Sadly, it fails badly.

I've been doing this checking for 10 years now and have had a version of my site up since 1996. My site has been used as a reference by The Straight Dope (22 Jan 2002) http://www.straightdope.com/mailbag/maquaticape.html and The Fortean Times (Oct 2003), as well as the Talk Origins Archive and several college courses.

The site is Aquatic Ape Theory: Sink or Swim? http://www.aquaticape.org
A few notes on what you've quoted (unfortunately, you've been misled about the facts); I have quite a lot more on my site:

Humans may have once been semi-aquatic. here is some stuff to go with this theory:
- humans are the only primate that takes pleasure in swimming


Must we be able to prove they"take pleasure" in swimming? How about primates who are simply very good at swimming and do so regularly? In that case, there are several, and they dive too, and no, they are not mostly bipedal as "aquatic ape" proponents often claim.

- humans have fat attached under the skin like aquatic animals. mammals which hibernate have seasonal fat: aquatic mammals, similar to huimans retain fat yearly.

This is a complicated mashup of wrong "facts". Human fat, like the fat of all mammals, is attached to internal depots -- we have a wide range of fattiness in humans (from around 2-5% to over 75%) and our fat characterisitics -- both amounts and where you find them, are similar to other primates which are overfed in captivity. All fat is seasonal; it's a food source which gets laid on in good times and used up in bad times, for humans as well as all other animals, including aquatic mammals. There's a lot more about fat on my site.

- humans hair does not cover most of the entire body. The only environments known to give rise to naked are aquatic and subterranean

Actually human hair covers most of the body, but much of the hair on the body is short and generally thin. The claim that "the only environments..." is a way that aquatic ape proponents dishonestly try to make a statement without saying just what mammals they are comparing us to, because they really don't like pointing out that they are comparing us to whales and serenia (dugongs and manatees), which are highly specialized aquatic mammals which have been fully aquatic for many tens of millions of years, which cannot live outside water, and which, like seals, have highly specialized skin which is very different than ours.

- human young are born alive except for the small subclass of monotremes and nourished with milk

True of all mammals except montremes; and even they nourish their young with milk. However, there are differences between aquatic and terrestrial mammals in this, and especially between aquatic mammals and humans. Aquatic mammals are born rather advanced as opposed to humans, and they have milk which is very different than humans milk in several features (extremely rich in fat and protein, and very low in lactose).

- we are only ape that walks fulltime in a bipedal posture. water supports the body

First part true, more or less (pretty much fulltime, anyway); the second is a non sequitor really. Variations of this argument have been used by aa proponents, and then when you (I actually) point out the problems with this idea they fairly scream out that they were never suggesting that we were in water deep enough to support us... then they go on talking about water and support. I think they're a bit confused on their strategy on that point.

-the voluntary control of breathing in humans is similar to aquatic mammals which inhale as much air as they need for a dive, then return to the surface for air

Radical differences. First, the voluntary breath control of humans is present to a greater degree than in mammals which are quadrupedal, since a side benefit of bipedalism is exactly that freedom in breathing because the forelimbs aren't being used in locomotion. The statement about aquatic mammals here is possibly true, but I haven't seen it shown to be true -- Elaine Morgan claimed this (ignoring the fact that aquatic mammals such as seals and whales actually exhale before diving, collapsing their lungs -- the oxygen for their dives is held in their blood, which is radically different than ours). When Morgan made this claim she used a ref about bradycardia (the slowing of the heart rate) erroneously thinking it was about breathholding.

BTW, untrained dogs can hold their breath somewhat longer than can untrained humans -- the fact that they can do it at all shows the statement to be false; the fact that they actually do better than we do at breathholding shows we aren't all that good at it.

new born human babies can hold their breathes in water

The "swimming babies" features are common to all mammalian infants tested, terrestrial and aquatic. And although the statement you made has been made for years now (and has been corrected, at least by me, for over a decade) the original paper that found this fact also mentioned very clearly that this is not something unique to humans or to aquatic mammals.

- human hair is streamlined like aquatic animals

This is the "hair tracts" idea, and it's nonsense. First, when you're making this statement, ignore curly hair on the body, like the hair you find on many many people; also ignore the hair on your shoulders, which for many people goes every which way. And then tell me just what swimming position goes along with this idea, because if you're honest you'll be forced to admit that this requires swimming in a prone position, with the crown of the head pointing forward (not looking where you're going) and with the arms held straight down along the sides. I've had people claim that "some variation of the breaststroke" would do it, one where the entire head and beard is held out of the water and with the arms held along the sides. Really now -- next time you're at a pool try swimming in that position.

- amino acids found in seafood is also found in humans

Confused statement. This is an attempt at a statement about DHA in the diet (not to be confused with DHEA). DHA is needed for brain growth and is present in fish, but it's also available in wild game, and can be synthesized (except by infants, who get it through breast milk) from LNA, which is available in a great many plants.

- humans can't survive without water for a limited time (we are the most water dependent animal)

The statement that we are the most water dependent animal is nonsense, even if you lop off all aqautic and semi-aquatic animals.

- humans are the only terrestrial animals that cry and produce tears. the removal of excess salts from the body including tears and sweating (similar to marine animals)

We are not the only animals who produce tears, but we are the only animal which is proven to produce emotional tears. All animals produce basal tears which keep the eye lubricated. When it comes to emotional tears, there are anecdotes of various animals, both aquatic and terrestrial, producing them, but no proof. One interesting aspect of this claim is that it originates with Morgan and she got her info from a good book on the subject but, when it came to making her list, she listed all the anecdotes about aquatic animals and ignored all the ones about terrestrial animals, which means she either did so dishonestly or merely inadvertently skipped every other paragraph. Tears and sweat are not vectors for removing salt from the body -- you lose some, but you always lose more water in doing so, and the whole process is unregulated. This is critical, since adjustment of the salt/water balance is critically important (doing it wrong leaves one weak, cramping, and soon violently ill and eventually dead). In all mammals, the avenue of maintaining the salt/water balance and getting rid of excess salts is via the kidneys. In actual marine mammals the kidneys are large and heavily lobulated, unlike those in humans and other terrestrial mammals (except for desert animals such as kangaroo mice, which face the same problem that marine mammals face -- lack of fresh water).

In fact, this particular bit of "evidence" is so over that even aquatic apedom's reigning queen, Elaine Morgan, has disavowed it -- although at the same time she tries to have her cake after eating it.

What are your thoughts?

See my web site for more.



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 70yrs • M •
anthrosciguy is new to Captain Cynic and has less than 15 posts. New members have certain restrictions and must fill in CAPTCHAs to use various parts of the site.
4. u dont get it. being born alive is not a characteristic of most marine organisms. being born alive is a characteristic of marine mammals hence a link


BTW, this particular statement won't make you sound very sensible in an argument. Because live birth is characterisitic of all mammals except for platypus and echidna it cannot be a reasonable bit of evidence to use to try to create a human/aquatic mammal link. Not unless you're trying to say that every single mammal (except for platypus and echidnas) is aquatic... and that would be even more foolish.

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 34yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that summit is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
quote:
unfortunately, you've been misled about the facts


I was never misled; I simply put forward ideas. I never claimed it as fact. Unfortunately you may fail to realise that scientific theories are not facts. The ultimate goal of science is to understand the natural world in terms of scientific theories, which are only concepts. The word 'theory' refers to a speculative idea. You claim falsity in the aquatic ape theory, yet it is only a possible explanation of observation and testings. They are not answers. They are simply reasons. You cannot claim the truth regardless of your 'evidence' towards or against a theory. There are many people including scientists and especially postmodernists that claim your wrong. Theories will always be challenged either side. A theory can't claim the truth or fact- they are simply reasons.
It is interesting to read your thoughts though.

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"The summit is just a halfway point"
 70yrs • M •
anthrosciguy is new to Captain Cynic and has less than 15 posts. New members have certain restrictions and must fill in CAPTCHAs to use various parts of the site.
quote:
I was never misled; I simply put forward ideas. I never claimed it as fact. Unfortunately you may fail to realise ...


If you presented the statements you did as falsehoods to attempt to start a conversation, then, no, you weren't misled. I made the assumption that you thought there might be something to the facts -- all of them wrong -- you posted in your opening post. Either way, I'm happy to be able to correct the falsehoods, if not for your sake then for others.

You're getting a little fuzzy there talking about theories -- it almost seems like you're trying to say the "aquatic ape" claims aren't false even though they are.

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 34yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that summit is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
what you claim as 'false' is one-sided. But then again most of science is biased. There is no universal truth.

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"The summit is just a halfway point"
 70yrs • M •
anthrosciguy is new to Captain Cynic and has less than 15 posts. New members have certain restrictions and must fill in CAPTCHAs to use various parts of the site.
quote:
what you claim as 'false' is one-sided. But then again most of science is biased. There is no universal truth.


There are such things as facts. You are, as Daniel Moynahan said, entitled to your own opinions but not your own facts.

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 34yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that summit is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
Yes that is what I am saying- you are entitled to your own opinions but you cannot claim fact as universal

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"The summit is just a halfway point"
 36yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that Atlantis5 is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
Interesting theory at least. Got a couple of thoughts to share.

1. Was it perhaps hunt for fish back then and the sensation of weightlessness that now make us take pleasure in it?

3. The dense hair locations, such as found in armpits and genital areas are also believed to serve as scent (or feromone) spreading augmenters, creating a larger surface of spread by making air diffusion easier, thus improving your chances of survival by mating. (IF the feromone thing exists).

6. The larynx is greatly involved in verbal communication. And verbal communication was essential when hunting a mammoth with your favorite pack of club- and spearmen back then. A true social keeper! (And yes, otters are allowed to communicate )

8. Streamlined hair could also be seen as a landbased aerodynamic evolution. Makes you run just a wee bit harder when chased by a sabertooth. (also, see 3).

9. Didn't the brain thank its increased size to the fish protein once the primates started to have feasts at the seasides?

10. Aren't whales the most water dependant mammals? (Yet I've seen some whales on the beaches that wore bikinis and sunscreen and weren't being dragged back into see by Greenpeace).

11. Tear secretion is a way of cleaning the eye. You certainly will notice that when you rub a peeled union in your eye. That is its physiological function. Why is it emotional induced can be related to childhood. Crying is emotional. It signals you desire help. If you cry, mom would help you. Crying can be a social thing, too.

Listen guys, some of us may be scientists or scientists in becoming so we all got the same goal. Keep it cool. Theories must be falsifiable. The Aquatic Ape is a perfect example and thus I respect the topic starter for his initiative. Sharing thoughts can also be done with respect.

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"Experience is a hard teacher because she gives you the test first, and the lesson afterwards."
 71yrs • M •
muralman is new to Captain Cynic and has less than 15 posts. New members have certain restrictions and must fill in CAPTCHAs to use various parts of the site.
I have taken a lot of interest in this subject. One just has to take a look at a naked erect human alongside the three other apes to know some powerful environmental forces made us what we are.

First of all, I would like to throw a little water on the now largely dismissed savannah theory. A ramidus, Ardi, was walking around a land of meadows with scattered trees, forests, rivers, and lakes, not a dry savannah.

Baboons are savannah primates, and they have kept fleet of foot near a tree. Early hominids, like A aferernsis were not runners. They would have been exterminated if ventured too far from a tree. Yet Afererinsis lasted 2 million years, quite a successful run.

Savannah folks love to talk about the bush people trotting down an antelope in the noonday sun. After what might be a 6 hour trot, they kill the heat stroke suffering antelope. What they don't show you is the bush people stow water in Ostrich eggs all over in strategic places. You see, sweating is fine for cooling but you are paying a high price in your own dehydration. You are also loosing copious amount of salt.

A aferensis, with only a chimp size brain, isn't going to trot long distances into the savannah. That would have been suicide.

Looking at our bodies again compared to the other apes, we are the streamlined ones. Our toes can point, our muscles are smoothed by skin fat. We have butts. This has all been gone over.

To me the smoking gun has been the human lice studies. We have a lice that only lives in our head hair. We borrowed the Gorilla's somewhere along the line for out pubic hair.

We can tell, through DNA clocking, our lice specialized to the head by 3 million years ago. That means we were nude way before we could take to the savannah.

Why were we bipedal, and nude, with a chimp brain? Because we were specialists. We waded dove, and swam for the protein rich creatures in the water. We also could use the water as an escape route from land predators.

Of course, the waterways were not without their own dangers. Animals go through survival struggles all the time. It just seems to me much more plausible we made the upright, salt expiration, and nudeness changes all at once.

Homo Habilis was found with his varied tools along with hippo and croc bones that had been cut open with a sharp rock. Don't think for a moment I believe the diminutive H habilis killed those big animals. They were smart and successful enough to exit Africa, following the shores and seas.

Little H floresiensis, a derivative of the H habilis line was marooned on an Indonesian island until as little as 19,000 years ago. They were the top predator, so they did venture into the island interior. There dump leavings contained fish, crabs, and shellfish bones.

H floresiensis had sloping clavicle, long strong arms, and really big flat feet. This is the build for a specialized swimmer.

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 43yrs • F •
Dren is new to Captain Cynic and has less than 15 posts. New members have certain restrictions and must fill in CAPTCHAs to use various parts of the site.
All the theory's are great... I believe in this... we are not truly native to this planet. We are ape hybrids of sorts... a being not from this planet breed themselves with the apes from this planet in order to live here. It is an idea that solves all the big question... the one that bothers me the most is not the god question, however it certainly answer that one, but why we are the only species on the earth that cannot live in harmony with the planet. Not to mention how quickly we evolved it's a jump that no other species has been able to make and we made it the blink of an eye. ?????????????? (It keeps me warm at night)

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Aquatic Ape Hypothesis
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