Re: Polar Bear Challenge for AAH opponents

Phil Nicholls (
11 Dec 1994 14:56:49 GMT

In article <3ca75d$>, Sir CPU <> wrote:
>In article <3c2vbe$>, (Geoffrey
>Watson) writes:
>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.
>Your missing the point. First, the polar bear does show some equatic
>adaptations, but very few. So your statement " This being so, it would NOT
>give rise to permanent and identifiable traces in the ancestral
>populations." is wrong.
>Secondly, the point is, if a polar bear can be aquatic, with very few
>aquatic adaptations, then why can't hominids?

I would say that there are human populations today as aquatic as the
polar bears. Now I am afraid I am not an expert on the skeletal
morphology of Ursidae but I believe that the PRIMARY adaptation for
all bears is terrestrial.

The problem with the "aquatic ape hypothesis" is that when you try to
pin the proponents down it goes from "aquatic apes" to "semi-aquatic"
apes to eventually "occasional-dip-in-the-pool apes" and eventually
"dry-cleaned apes." Since none of the evidence is based on skeletal
biology there is no way to disprove it so it becomes the perfect
example of a "waterproof" (excuse the pun) hypothesis, very much
like "intelligent design" used by the creationists on

Philip "Chris" Nicholls Department of Anthropology
Institute for Hydrohominoid Studies SUNY Albany
University of Ediacara
"Semper Alouatta"