Re: AAT Theory

David L Burkhead (
28 Aug 1995 18:33:22 GMT

In article <41st3s$> Mike Reid <> writes:
>Why is there such vehemence against the Aquatic Ape Theory?
>It's true that it's far out and lacks strong fossil evidence to
>support it, but that does not mean that it's wrong! In the early years
>of this century, Wegner proposed the idea of continental drift based
>solely on his observation that the Earth's continents, if rearranged,
>could fit together like a jig-saw puzzle. This was purely
>circumstantial evidence. Most Earth scientists of that time dismissed
>his idea as foolish and far out. It was not until the 1960's when
>seafloor spreading was discovered that Wegner's idea was born out.

Incorrect. Wegner had a _lot_ more data to work with than just
the physical shapes of the continents. He had, among other things,
rock types where a layer would end at one continent, and begin again
where the other continent "fit" into it. The same types of fossiles
would be found on both continents. That kind of thing.

The reason most scientists dismissed his ideas was that he
claimed the the continents floated through the sea-floor basalts,
plowing their way through solid rock. That criticism was entirely
valid at the time. It remains valid today. It was not until further
evidence in Earthquake zones, sea floor spreading, careful
measurements that actually showed continental motion, and such that
the later theory of plate tectonics could be formulated.

IOW, Wegner was _wrong_. His theory was wrong. It remains wrong
today. It was a _new_ theory, which happened to have some features in
common with continental drift, one which did not have continental
drift's fatal flaws, that was accepted by geologists.

>Today, scarcely anyone doubts the truth of continental drift. Until
>more fossil evidence is discovered, I doubt that it will be possible
>to either prove or disprove the AAT. Until such time, why can't more
>"mainstream" scientists at least view it as a plausible theory
>worthy of respect, whether they agree with it or not? Remember the
>lessons learned by those mainstream scientists who originally
>ridiculed the idea of continental drift.

Actually, the AAH folk have as much as admitted that fossil proof
or disproof of their theory is impossible. Not just unlikely, but
impossible. The idea that AAH might predict skeletal differences in
early hominids in comparison with other hypotheses has been dismissed
by AAH proponents.

Also, unlike the proponents of plate tectonics, who _dealt with_
and _resolved_ the complaints about continental drift as a theory, the
AAH people have shown a remarkable lack of willingness to respond
meaningfully to criticisms of AAH. We see the same straw men about
"mainstream" theories again and again. We see tactics like
complaining about hominids being "odd man out" as a savannah creature,
but criticism about hominids being "odd man out" as an _aquatic_
creature is ignored. When aquatic development is noted as a way for
small, defensless proto-hominids to escape land predators, questions
about how they dealt with _aquatic_ predators are ignored.

As a theory it makes no predictions, answers no questions (net
anyway--at least as many questions are "raised" as "answered"), and
is built on ad hoc assumptions--hardly the earmarks of a scientific

David L. Burkhead

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