Re: Polar Bear Challenge for AAH opponents

Geoffrey Watson (
7 Dec 1994 00:24:14 GMT (Sir CPU) writes:

>I would challenge the opponents of AAH could look at the skelaton of a
>polar bear and compare it to the skelaton of a black bear and identify
>which one is the "aquatic" animal.

>Or, if you knew nothing about the the behaviors of each animal (the polar
>bear and the black bear) would it be possible to identify one as being
>aquatic and one as not, even one was given the complete speciman?

>Opponents of AAH (if the theory applied to polar bears) could easily argue
>that the webbed feet of a polar bear help it in snowy conditions and are
>not necessarily an aquatic adaptation.

>Or perhaps opponents should compare the anaconda (which spends a lot of
>time in the water) to the python which doesn't.

>The point is, how aquatic does an animal have to be to be considered
>aquatic? And secondly, I think given these examples of organisms we know
>are aquatic, that an organism can be aquatic WITH VERY FEW AQUATIC
>ADAPTATIONS. And I would guess that humans display more aquatic
>adaptations than the polar bear (any polar bear experts out there?)
>Therfore, it is virtually impossible to prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt,
>that humans have never been aquatic, because it really only takes a
>relatively SMALL number of adaptations to be aquatic. In this case, the
>burden of proof is really on the AAH opponents.

>Troy Kelley

I think that the polar bear is a challenge for the PROPONENTS of the AAH
as I have indicated previously.

They are arguing that certain identifiable featrures in modern human
anataomy and behaviour can be best be explained by an aquatic stage in
human evolution. However the ecological niche usually suggested for this
phase does not seem to me to be much more ``aquatic'' than the polar
bear's. This being so, it would NOT give rise to permanent and identifiable
traces in the ancestral populations.

What is the Aquatic Ape Hypothesis anyway?
As a scientific hypothesis it is not simply that humans had some aquatic
ancestor but that that this can be deduced from some observable features
of modern man.
Geoffrey Watson