Re: Polar Bear Challenge for AAH opponents

Pat Dooley (
23 Dec 1994 23:37:58 -0500

> Pat Dooley <> writes:
>>> We're still waiting for an internally consistent explanation of
>>> bipedalism, hairlessness, eccrine sweating and sub-cutaneous
>>> fat from the AAH opponents.
> If you are asking us to "force" a tie-in between these characteristics,
>should we? You have to admit; these characters you refer to are all very
>disparate in nature. It is possible that they are all _discrete_ and
unrelated characters.
The problem is that each of the characteristics I cite are quite
of primates in general and terrestrial mammals in particular. Evolution
might have
given us a few oddities but not so many in so short a time-scale.

>If "internally-consistent explainations" are important to you, then
>these "internally-consistent characters" that are found in modern humans,
>all of which point to a non-aquatic past. This list is an example of how
>is possible to tie together practically anything, and come to just about
>conclusion that you like. I just heaped these data together as I
>type this (off-the-cuff, so to speak):
>1) Humans have poor hearing under water.

My personal experience is that I can hear underwater but the sounds are
different. How does human underwater hearing compare with Bonobo
underwater hearing? How important is hearing to an animal foraging for
shell fish?
>2) Humans are quickly suseptable to hypothermia in both cool and warm

That is something of a myth. For example, Korean and Japanese female
spend up to four hours a day diving to depths of 80 ft. They spend less
time in
the water in Winter but still work in 10 C water. Lynn Cox swam Bering
in 4 hours. The water temperature varies from 7 C to 3 C. She didn€t wear
a wet suit
nor a protective lanolin covering. Admittedly, these performances are from
people who
spend a lot of time in the water, but that is precisely the point. How
many chimps can
match those human performances.
>3) Humans (and A. afarensis) have strong arches on the bottoms of their
feet, which aid in long-distance walking over land; this is useless
to aquatic
> animals.

Strong arches imply stiff feet - just like flippers. It may also be that
found them very useful on land - noone claimed she was 100% aquatic.
>4) Humans have poor eyesight under water.

When I was a kid, I used to dive into 6-9; of water to retrieve coins. I
see well enough to do that as could most other humans. How well does a
see underwater?

>5) Humans suffer from a pathologic condition, in which, when exposed to
>water, there is a re-growth and thickening of bone around the ear canal.
>This condition is only found on terrestrial mammals. Aquatic mammals are
>fully adapted to cold water, and do not show this pathologic condition
>exposed to cold water.

Hey, give us a break. Firstly, the water we are talking about was mostly
near the equator. So cold water was not a major concern. Secondly, I€ve
never claimed the AA was fully adapted to water. It didn€t have long
to evolve into a fully aquatic beast. Thirdly, how badly afficted are
diving women? Should they be called the deaf pearl divers?
> I don't like the idea of "lumping" character traits together in such a
>as I just did. The main reason that I am against it is that you start

<< deletion s>>

The traits I listed are readily derived by comparing humans with other
primates, particularly great apes. Give me some examples of major
adaptations that I€ve ignored and that can€t be explained by post-Lucy
evolutiuon (e.g. large brain).

Pat Dooley spending altogether too much time on this.