Re: Polar Bear Challenge for AAH opponents

Phil Nicholls (
28 Dec 1994 13:16:14 GMT

In article <3dqljc$>,
Pat Dooley <> wrote:
>I note that you actually had no comment to make on the performance
>of Japanese and Korean diving women. Perhaps that example upsets
>your claims about hypothermia killing off any prospect of a group
>of hominids being partially adapted to water. In that discussion
>you ignore two issues:

>1. Human subcutaneous fat functions similarly to the fat in
> aquatic mammals in preventing heat loss.

Which makes sense for any animal that has lost most of its body
hair. Since body hair and subcutaneous fat are intercorrelated
characteristics it is incorrect to use them independently in
discussions of evolutionary adaptation.

>2. No AAH proponent has claimed that the AA stayed in the
> water 100%. Like many current aquatic mammals, considerable
> time could have been spent ashore.

Ah, but you see, that's the problem. You include everything from
wallowing to fully aquatic in you list of animals showing aquatic
adaptations. It seems that if the animal looks at the water
cross-eyed it becomes aquatic. How can you argue convergence when
you are using whales and hippos in the same breath?

>Of course, I could have cited many more examples of human survival in
>extreme water conditions. Your claims are a little like the old saw about
>the aerodynamic proof that bumblebees can't fly.
>Pat D

There are groups of humans that have completely adapted to arid conditions.
Others have adapted to high altitudes, others to living in a tropical
rainforest. If you are reconstructing an ancestral state in Homo
sapiens then you have to use features common to all members of the

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