Re: What did AAT Supposedly eat?

Bryce Harrington (
9 Jan 1995 19:22:28 -0800

In article <> (Phillip Bigelow) writes:
> (Michael Allen) writes:
>>I would like to know what the AAT supposedly subsisted on.
>>Also, by the theory, why did the AAT move to the savannah?
> Hypothesizing what "AAT" ate is akin to building a hypothesis based on a
>pre-existing hypothesis.

This is definitely true, however it is an important question since
teeth give excellent evidence of eating behavior and are often the
best preserved part of the fossil. Next time you go to the sea shore
look at theplant and animal life present and ask what looks edible.
There are plenty of slow moving, easy to catch shell fish, small
tidepool fish, sea weed, sea bird eggs, sea turtles, etc.

There is definitely a potential niche here, as there is plenty of
food. One major difficulty that an ape would find to taking advantage
of this niche is the shells of the shell fish. Of course, by using
rocks to crush the shells, this problem would be solved and a huge
supply of food opened up. The bird eggs are protected by being on
high ledges. An ape that was just recently a tree climber would have
little difficulty accessing these eggs. Now, we cannot say that the
proto-humans *did* make use of this food; as Bignlow pointed out
this can only be a hypothesis based on a hypothesis. But these are
foods which an ape could easily gain access to.

>Regarding your question on why would an aquatic ape move to the savannah
>later in it's hypothesized existance: This is an extremely confusing aspect
>of the AAT.

It is easy to see how confusing the issue is when you realize the lack
of certainty by the non-AAH theorists on why proto-humans moved to the
savannah. The aquatic theory tends to focus more on the trip into the
sea than on the trip back. Of course, both are equally important and
both need to be considered.

There are many, many, many possible reasons why the ape may have returned
to land. I don't think anyone can say for sure one way or the other on
any of them. The simplest answer is that there was a change in weather
which forced the apes out of the water and into an older environment.

Personally, I think that the solution is that as the apes became
better and better adapted to the sea, they developed certain
advantages which allowed them to be successful in non-aquatic
environments. Specifically I think the stones and sticks the aquatic
apes used to get shell fish were able to be used in marrow scavanging
and scaring off predators. The reason the ape was able to succeed
after aquatic adaption and not before is because before they were not
able to gain an adaquate supply of food and were unable to defend
themselves against predators, while once the adaptions had taken place
the apes could try again with more success.

I don't think anyone is saying that no one can survive on the savannah,
as you claim we are, Phil. What is being said is that the adaptations
needed to turn a proto-bonobo into a proto-hominid are not consistant
with an ape adapting to a savannah lifestyle. And in any case, as
Morgan pointed out, there really isn't any need to move the AAH out
onto the savannah; the remains that have been found have all been found
near bodies of water.

Plus, just because a few fossils were found in semi-savannah locations
does _not_ mean that is where evolution was taking place. It is
possible that the hominids we descend from were still evolving in
some different location and the hominid remains found are off shoots
of this main branch. There just isn't enough evidence to say for