Re: Polar Bear Challenge for AAH opponents

Phil Nicholls (
18 Dec 1994 00:27:46 GMT

In article <3ctt23$>,
Pat Dooley <> wrote:
>In article <>,
> (Phillip Bigelow) writes:
>>All of the aquatic ape supporters on this dissussion group have
>>stated that there may be no structural changes in the hominid skeleton
>>to aquatic lifestyle. If so, no conclusion can be reached.
>Absolutely amazing. We have been saying wading/bipedalism/proboscis
>monkey/Lucy/Macaque monkeys/major structural change/ etc. etc. and
>this Phillip caught none of it. Beyond belief. Totally beyond description.
>Is this guy for real? Has he read nothing? Or anything?

Have you read any field studies of proboscis monkey behavior external to
what you get from Morgan? Yes, they can swim, but the spend 99.9% of
their time in the trees like any good leaf-eating monkey. I defy you
to find anything about their skeletal morphology that might indicate
an aquatic adaptation.

Ditto with japanese macaques. Underneath they are only slightly
different from rhesus macaques or stump-tailed macaques and none
of the differences have anything to do with swimming or wading. As
a matter of fact, until research colonies were established on some
japanese islands they tended not to go near the water.

All monkeys and apes can walk bipedally. Even some Prosimians can
do that. Monkeys that spend all of their time in the trees except
for brief movements to the forest floor will walk on the forest
floor as bipeds. Those that have developed a quadrupedal posture
for terrestrial locomotion will stand and walk bipedally when they
need to carry something OR when they become alarmed.

As a matter of fact, studies on Cayon Santiago Macaques have shown
that the frequency of bipedalism increases in direct proportion to
air temperature.

>Dear PB:
>If an ape goes into the water it is more likely to do it on 2 legs than 4.
>Of the primates observed doing this in the wild the score is :
>2 legs: 2; 4 legs: nil.
Dear Pat,

Please cite research that shows that Japanese macacques and Proboscus
monkeys are exclusively bipedal in water.

>If environmental conditions make an ape do it often enough, it will
>get better at it. It might take a few million years of evolution to
>achieve proficiency, but it'll happen, or the ape will go extinct.

If an ape adopts a bipedal posture often enough it will become very
proficient at bipedal posture, regardless of what the reason for
adopting that posture might be. Fitness is RELATIVE and not
subject to your notions of proficiency.

>One of the major props of bipedalism (forgive the pun) is that
>it facilitated wading, and then swimming and diving. There was
>a huge cost involved in bipedalism.

Assertion noted. Please provide data to support assertion.

>For your benefit, I'll quote some experts on what bipedalism
>required in evolutionary terms:
>The evolution of bipedalism required major skeletal adjustments.
>According to Richard Leakey and Roger Lewin (who studiously ignore
>the AAT), "the evolutionary shift from quadrupedalism to bipedalism
>would have required an extensive remodelling of the ape's bone
>and muscle architecture and of the overall proportion in the lower
>half of the body. Mechanisms of gait are different, mechanics of
>balance are different, functions of major muscles are different.
>An entire functional complex had to be transformed for efficient
>bipedalism to be possible." cf. "Origins Reconsidered".

So what? Apes are primarily adapted to an arboreal environment and
when the descend to the ground and just walk there is no difference
between bipedalism and quadrupedalism. I must have pointed this out
a zillion times by now. I have data to back that up and I have cited
it numerous times.

The morphology changed in response to behavior.

>The AAH people ask: under what evolutionary conditions could this occur
>without breaking the principle of non-disadvantageous intermediates?

Any conditions which provide any advantage to being errect. These

Watching for predators.
Reaching for foods
Energy efficiency
Heat rejection

All of the above are based on observed behaviors.

>And answer came there nothing but a bunch of convoluted theories that
>nothing else.

So what?

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