Re: AAT Questions...

J. Moore (
Tue, 4 Jul 95 12:09:00 -0500

JM> >This means that merely walking along tidal flats, or river or lake
JM> >shores, or even wading into knee-deep or even deeper water, no matter
JM> >how common, *is not* an AAT scenario. The AAT requires that a
JM> >majority of our locomotion take place in water that supports us,
JM> >which means water that is more than waist-deep, and probably
JM> >considerably deeper. Water up to your rear, for instance, does
JM> >not support you. Even water up to your waist doesn't provide this
JM> >supposedly required support.

Pa> You are misrepresenting the argument.

According to the AAT, these primates could not have stood and walked
bipedally unless supported by water (in spite of the fact that all apes
and monkeys can do so now).

Pa> Many modern primate
Pa> species have been observed to wade bipedally (macaques, bonobos,
Pa> proboscis monkeys, even gorillas, apparently).

My god, Pat, you can't read at all, can you? I've posted several times
on gorillas, and all their locomotion in water has been typical gorilla
locomotion, as they do on dry ground. You are also (again) equating
"wading" with "always bipedal", which is foolish when you first do it,
but when you persist in such a confused equation after it's been pointed
out to you, it's just stupid. Do you *want* people to thing you're
stupid? If not, read and learn.

Pa> If an ape was forced by a
Pa> changing environment to forage in shallow water, then it is reasonable
Pa> to suppose that they might have done it bipedally.

No, it is "reasonable to suppose" that they would do it the way they
*actually* do it, with their typical mix of locomotor modes (ie., mostly
quadrapedal and sitting with some bipedalism, just as they do on dry
land). (You know, after the Dark Ages, people did come up with the
radical idea of actually observing the world around them. Well, *some*

Pa> At that point, the AA would have moved from its usual quadrupedal gait
Pa> to a more bipedal gait. It would be able to extend its feeding range, to
Pa> gain an evolutionary advantage, and had the support of the water to
Pa> overcome some of the stresses associated with the change in posture.

According to the AAT, your above thesis wouldn't work, because,
according to the AAT, these primates could not have stood and walked
bipedally unless supported by water (in spite of the fact that all apes
and monkeys can do so now).

Pa> >1. We know that our close relatives, chimpanzees, survive in spite of
Pa> > large terrestrial predators in open savannah woodland (and in fact
Pa> > apparently do so more ably than their forest cousins), and we have
Pa> > observations of them in the wild that show us how they do so. How
Pa> > did the postulated aquatic transitional population deal with common
Pa> > aquatic predators such as crocodiles and sharks?

Pa> Shark attacks on humans are very rare, despite the millions of people
Pa> who swim, dive and surf in the ocean. That is likely to have been the
Pa> case 5 mya.

They had shark nets and guns? I don't think so, Pat. What about
crocodiles? Oh yes, you said:

Pa> It is also possible that the ancestral aquatic apes were isolated on
Pa> islands
Pa> when the Sea of Afar was initially formed; thus crocodiles may not have
Pa> been anywhere near their environment.

So your sole thought on the subject is that maybe they just weren't
around there... That, maybe the most ubiquitous large predator in
Africa, which is found in interior rivers and lakes as well as in
coastal areas, on the beaches and in the oceans off Africa, on offshore
islands over 20 miles from the mainland, well over 100 miles off the
coast of Africa on Madagascar, not to mention having been known to exist
even in lakes and waterholes in the interior of Mauritania, southeastern
Algeria, and northeastern Chad in the Sahara Desert, *just didn't happen
to be around that one area out of all of Africa*?!

Pat, if someone like Leakey, Johanson, Henry, Tanner, Zihlman, Potts,
Pilbeam, or White used the argument that our ancestors didn't need to
worry about land-based predators because these predators "may not have
been anywhere near their environment", I'd tell them they were nuts, and
to come up with a real argument. I'll accord you the same treatment I'd
give them: Pat, you're nuts; come up with a real argument.

Pa> But the shark/crocodile argument is bogus anyway. Under that scenario,
Pa> no mammal could have made the transition from land to sea, yet we know
Pa> many species did - their descendants bear testimony to their success in
Pa> evading sharks and crocodiles and parasites and stone fish and so on...

Name one that's around the size of the common ancestor
(australopithecine/chimpanzee sized), swims as fast as we can (I'll
give them the [unlikely] speed of the fastest Olympic swimmers:
5.1048 mph), spends 4-8 hours a day up in 3-4 feet of water, and
which reproduces as slowly as do chimps and humans who gather/hunt today.
Please, I asked you before, but you've not complied: name one.

JM > 2. Why don't humans have really small ears (or no external ears) like
JM > virtually all aquatic mammals?

Pa> The size of external ears in aquatic mammals depends on how aquatic they
Pa> are. Sea lions have residual external ears, as do otters. The AAT
Pa> suggests that early hominids became partially adapted to an aquatic
Pa> lifestyle; probably not much more than can be seen in some human
Pa> cultures today. The time span for the aquatic phase was not long enough
Pa> for such features as external ears to disappear.

I do not use the non-evolutionary view that's inherent in the AAT: that
all animals in an environment should resemble other distantly-related
animals in that environment rather than their close relatives. But the
AAT supporters continually do so, so that's why I'm asking you: The AAT
says that a land-based transition didn't happen because we didn't evolve
with the same features as such distantly-related animals as camels and
the wild ass. It also says we evolved, extremely rapidly, the same
features as such distantly-related animals as seals, whales, dugongs,
etc. (not to mention crocodiles and birds). Given that *your* theory,
not mine, says we *must* evolve such unlikely features very rapidly, I
don't see why you then claim the "time span for the aquatic phase was
not long enough for such features as external ears to disappear".

JM> >3. The AAT says our pattern of hair orientation is due to water flow
JM> > while
JM> > swimming. This requires that a great deal of time be spent swimming
JM> > with the crown of our heads forward and our arms along our sides,
JM> > pointing toward our feet.

Pa> The flow patterns are seen in residual body hair, not just the head.
Pa> >
Pa> > A. How did we swim in this position?
Pa> >
Pa> Modern humans generally find they the most efficient way to swim or dive
Pa> is with the crown of the head forward. The arms usually point forward at
Pa> the start of stroke and finish at the side of the body at the end of a
Pa> stroke.

This position, the "freestyle" stroke, does not keep the arms pointed
down along the sides, therefore it cannot be the swimming stroke
allegedly used for several million years to get our hair pointing the
way it does. Further, you'll notice that even freestyle swimmers most
often have the *tops* of their heads forward, not the *crown*, which is
toward the back of the head.

Pa> > B. How did we breathe while swimming in this position?

Pa> Generally, one raises one's head out of the water and takes a breath.
Pa> The smarter swimmers turn their heads sideways while keeping the crown
Pa> pointing forward.

Pa> If one is diving a lot, one will find that one can hold one's breath for
Pa> three minutes or more. One could thus keep the crown pointed forward for
Pa> much of the time while one was submerged.

Pa> > C. Why didn't we look where we were going?
Pa> >
Pa> Modern humans can swim in straight lines while keeping their crowns
Pa> pointed forward. A rather more aquatic ancestor, while not familiar with
Pa> geometry, could likely stay headed in the intended direction, perhaps
Pa> even sneaking a glance while taking a breath.

So you think that for several million years, hominids simply didn't look
where they were headed...not even to see if they were swimming toward a

Pa> > D. The reduction of hair and its orientation has been said to be an
Pa> > adaptation for speed in the water; how did we swim *fast* in this
Pa> > position?

Pa> Do you know a faster way to swim than modern freestlye?

The position described by examination of our body hair orientation is
*not* "modern freestyle", or anything like it. At any rate, even modern
freestyle swum by Olympic athletes is not fast enough to keep out of the
jaws of aquatic predators.

Pa> > E. The reduction of hair and its orientation has been said to be an
Pa> > adaptation for speed in the water to escape sharks (Hardy 1977,
Pa> > reprinted 1982); the large land-based predators run approximately
Pa> > 3-4 times as fast as humans, but sharks swim approximately 3-6 times
Pa> > as fast as the *fastest Olmpic swimmers*. Why were we able to swim
Pa> > away from sharks but not run away from land-based predators?

Pa> I haven't seen that claim about swimming faster to escape sharks before.
Pa> Certainly, Morgan has never made it and I couldn't find it in her
Pa> reprints of Hardy's original talks and articles.

You really *don't* like to read, do you...look again, it's there,
written by Hardy.

Pa> However, you do miss a vital point when you compare sharks with land-
Pa> based predator. The aquatic ape only has to get to the shallows to evade
Pa> a shark; (sharks are not noted for their wading or running). A bipedal
Pa> ape has no such escape route when confronted by a land based predator,
Pa> such as leopard, except, perhaps, to dash into the water and dive.

This stupid idea has been dealt with before. I can only call it stupid
because I've posted many times now information regarding both aqautic
and land-based predators which refutes it, and you haven't managed to
read and comprehend it.

Pa> >4. Hardy and others say we learned to make sharpened stone tools,
Pa> > knives, and even spears while in this supposed aquatic phase of
Pa> > the transition, and to hunt and butcher large animals: why did we
Pa> > quit doing these extremely useful things for 4-6 million years
Pa> > after supposedly learning to do so in the water?

Pa> Hardy was writing when anthropologists thought that the man-ape split
Pa> had occurred considerably earlier than is now believed. The fossil
Pa> record that is now available to us was not available back in 1960.
Pa> certainly, Modern proponents of the AAT make no such claims.

It's mentioned in *The Aquatic Ape: Fact or Fiction?* (1991) (along
with the idea that the aquatic phase was when we got used to cooked
food!). Morgan also mentioned it in *The Aquatic Ape* (1982). I'm
always surprised that you apparently don't read, or perhaps just don't
comprehend, the non- AAT writings on human evolution, but I'm downright
flabbergasted that you apparently don't even read (or perhaps just don't
comprehend) the AAT writings!

Pa> Whether or not the AAT is true, it is highly likely that early hominids
Pa> used
Pa> stones as tools, for such purposes as cracking open bones for marrow
Pa> long before true tool making emerged.

This is another false dichotomy: "true tool-making" as opposed to say,
the types of tool-making seen used by chimpanzees.

Pa> >5. If we are said, as the AAT does, not to have evolved on land because
Pa> > some of our adaptations, such as our method of thermoregulation, are
Pa> > different from the methods used by other distantly-related-to-us
Pa> > mammals in that habitat, such as "the wild ass and the camel", and
Pa> > instead supposedly evolved in water and therefore adapted for the
Pa> > same reasons as aquatic animals, why didn't we adapt by using the
Pa> same
Pa> > sort of salt excretion system as marine mammals: extremely large
Pa> and/or
Pa> > extremely convoluted kidneys, as in cetaceans and pinnipeds?

Pa> As you suggest, an AA would need a salt excretion system. The AAT
Pa> suggests that the eccrine glands were adapted for that purpose, along
Pa> with salt tears ( no other ape sheds salt tears, either). When the
Pa> aquatic phase ended - perhaps 4 mya when the Sea of Afar became too
Pa> salty to support a semi-aquatic ape - said ape was forced back to land.

But the AAT continually says that all animals in an environment will
evolve the same adaptations (or at least the AAT supporters say that
when it fits their purposes), so that's why I want you to tell me why
they didn't do it. Tell me: if it's a fatal flaw to a hypothesis for a
land-based transition that some of our adaptations, such as our method
of thermoregulation, are different from the methods used by other
distantly-related-to-us mammals in that habitat, such as "the wild ass
and the camel", why isn't it a fatal flaw for the AAT that we didn't
use our partially pre-adapted kidneys for salt-excretion, as most
marine mammals do?

Why do you insist the AAT be accorded special privileges in its
arguments (this is called, in evolutionary circles, "special pleading")?

Pa> >6. If the apparent vitamin A poisoning seen in the "Turkana Boy" (*Homo
Pa> > erectus*, KNM-WT-15000) was from eating fish, rather than carnivore
Pa> > liver, and was, as Morgan suggests, because we had been doing so
Pa> > since the transition from apes, why hadn't we either:
Pa> > A) developed a resistance to such toxic reactions to a food which
Pa> > supposedly had been eaten regularly for approximately 4-6 million
Pa> > years before that time?
Pa> > B) learned how to avoid toxic poisoning from a supposedly common
Pa> > food?
Pa> > C) if we had such a resistance and had kept those habits, as Morgan
Pa> > suggests, why did we lose the adaptation?

Pa> I think Morgan was wrong in her analysis. Many human cultures survive on
Pa> a diet of fish, a rather unusual food source for primates.
Pa> It's a bit hard to figure out what point you are trying to make, though.
Pa> Pat Dooley (

Although my points are listed extremely clearly, I am not in the least
surprised that you found it "a bit hard to figure out", given the
constantly mounting evidence of your lack of reading and comprehension
of even the sources of the theory you espouse.

Jim Moore (

* Q-Blue 2.0 *