Re: Here we go again

Phillip Bigelow (
Fri, 23 Dec 1994 05:47:12 GMT (The most fearsome bunny rabbit in all the land) writes:

> Hi, folks. In post #1434, J. Feinstein suggested that the "aquatic ape is
>_us_ (i.e. members of _Homo_). I think that this idea has a great deal of
>merit and deserves discussion. P. Wheeler and C. Ruff have shown that _Homo_
>has a more linear physique, with more surface area for volume, than an
>_Australopithecus_ of an equivalent mass. They argue that these features are
>adaptations for foraging and scavenging in a hot, dry habitat. I agree. Yet
>these are the sorts of characteristics that we associate with modern human
>swimmers (assuming that the water is not too cold)--lean bodies, long legs
>relative to trunk. Other characteristics of _Homo_ that distinguish it from
>_Australopithecus_, such as thorax shape and ankle structure, seems to be
>associated with aquatic activity.
> Carl

I snipped a bunch from this post, but, in general, it raises some good
points. Modern-day humans occupy a widely varied range of habitats, and in
fact, their "habitat" is largely dictated by their career choices. We have
the ability to fit into so many niches largely because of our large brain
capacity that enables us to force-fit ourselves into unnatural environments.
We can fly, swim, run, live underwater for months, live underground as long
as we want. Yet, we are _one_ species. If early (pre-Lucy) hominids were
only one tenth as intellegent as us, they may have occupied a variety of
habitats, from savannah to arboreal to coastal. This could have been simply
geographically-controlled. They could have been one species. But unless
there is some paleontological evidence, all of this is meaningless speculation. The Aquatic Ape people are engaged in a lot of speculation, similar to the
above example. If the AAT supporters believe that a "habitually aquatic"
hominid is their "aquatic ape", then, by the same logic, modern-day humans
can be classified as "habitually aerial". Both the modern human and the
purported "aquatic ape" have no skeletal adaptations to show for their
respective "adaptations". So what is the point in calling them that?