Re: Fossil Evidence for AAT

Troy Kelley (
Tue, 27 Dec 1994 15:26:10 GMT

Subject: Re: Fossil Evidence for AAT
From: Phillip Bigelow,
Date: Fri, 23 Dec 1994 06:36:42 GMT
In article <> Phillip Bigelow, writes:
>Troy Kelley <> writes:
>> (Sir CPU) writes:
>>Since everyone is so concerned with fossil evidence for AAT and that is
>>all the opponents will discuss, the let's talk about the fossil
>>Again, most of this was taken from Marc Verhaegen's article "Aquatic
>>Features in Fossil Hominids?" from the "Aquatic Ape: Fact or Fiction"
>>conference proceedings.
>>1. Fossils of H. erectus indicate a very thick cranial vault which is
>>accompanied by very dense bones in the rest of the skeleton. This is
>>consistent with an aquatic environment adaptation.
> No it is not. According to Wall (the Journal of Paleontology research
>that I cited in the earlier post), only _limb bones_ should be used. The
>cranial region is not comparative in this case. Homo erectus' limb bones
>are, indeed, rather thick, however, no density value has been provided,
>far as I know, so, until such accurate density values are published, I
>regard this as uncertain data. Further, A. afarensis bones are thin and
>long ("gracile" in the paleontological term). Even visual inspection of
>bones indicates that the species had average (or even possibly less
>bones than us. To muddy the waters even further, Homo sapiens
neanderthalis had
>even more massive bones that H. erectus, yet neanderthals were clearly
>terrestrial, and in addition, lived _later_ than H. erectus.
> <pb>

The text I sighted from Verheagan included limb bones.

>>2. Neanderthals and H. erectus show extensive and bilateral ear
>>exostoses. This anomaly is only seen in people who do a lot of diving,
>>especially in cold water.
> WHERE IS YOUR DATA ON THIS!?! H. erectus has been unequivically shown
>be a savannah scavenger (from tools and scavenging marks on animal bones
>attributed to H. erectus). So, if it is a savannah scavenger, are you
>claiming that H. erectus did a lot of diving?
> <pb>

Again, I gave the reference earlier in the post. I am just stating the
facts in the FOSSIL evidence that show aquatic adaptations, I am not
"claiming" anything. Besides, simply because H. erectus has been shown to
scavenge does not necessarily mean that it could not have been partially
aquatic AS WELL as scavenging on the savannah.

Why do proponents of AAT insist on assuming that AAT means that a
savannah period never happened. They are not mutually exclusive.

>Most terrestrial animals have
>better developed sinuses than aquatic animals.
> <pb>

I doubt this is absolutely true, but I need to check on this. I get the
feeling that the sinus structures that terrestrial animals use in
smelling and locating food are much different (in terms of number of
sensory cells and function of the sturcture itself) than the sinuses
cavaities which are characteristic of aquatic animals, which don't use
smell to locate food underwater. This is more characteristic of human
sinus sturctures, which are rather large, and not are used in the same
manner as wolves and foxes.

>>5. Most fossil hominids have phalanges with very broad shafts, even
>>broader than man. Broad phalanges are seen in all aquatic mammals.
> Again, this is probably a transitional condition between the
>apes and humans. Chimpanzees and gorillas have larger phalanges than do
>humans, and they are terrestrial/arboreal. By the way, sea otters do
>have broad phalanges. I suspect that there are many more. I may look
>this more.
> <pb>

Well, first it would make since that gorillas have larger phalages than
humans because they are much bigger than humans anyway. Secondly, I said
"broad shafts" not larger, and there is a difference.

>>8. Feet of early hominids were very broad with Neanderthal having
>>feet than many people today. A. afarenis had a shorter heel and longer
>>forefoot than modern man and it bears a striking resemblance to a
>>sea-lion foot.
> It bears a stronger resemblance to a chimpanzee foot.

> <pb>

Have you SEEN a chimp foot??? Pick up a primate book and take a close
look at a chimp foot. The chimpanzee foot looks like a human hand. It has
a much more pronounced opposable thumb and it more "cupped" shaped. The
human foot is FLAT and BROAD, with no pronounced opposable thumb, which
is what many aquatic animals have, flat broad feet.

A much better argument would have been that flat, broad feet are
adaptations to bipedalism.

Troy Kelley