Re: Re: AAT Questions...

Pat Dooley (
5 Jul 1995 03:31:35 -0400

>From: (J. Moore)
>Date: Tue, 4 Jul 95 12:09:00 -0500
>Message-ID: <>
>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
>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.

I apologise for implying that gorillas might wade bipedally. I have enough
difficulty wading through your posts. The fact remains that the other
I named do wade bipedally. I've even seen them do it on TV.

>Pa> If an ape was forced by a
>Pa> changing environment to forage in shallow water, then it is
>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*

The advantage of wading bipedally over wading quadrupedally is that
you can do more wading and less swimmimg; something primates are
generally averse to. Of course, you may have observed chimpanzees
swimming and diving.
>Pa> At that point, the AA would have moved from its usual quadrupedal
>Pa> to a more bipedal gait. It would be able to extend its feeding range,
>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).

There you go again, misrepresenting a position. All apes can walk on
two legs to some extent. The proto aquatic ape could certainly have
walked on two legs without the support of water, just as Macaques,
Bonobos and Proboscis monkeys do today. The support provided by
the water may have made it easier for them to maintain that unnatural

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

Your arrogance and ignorance know no bounds. The diving women of Japan
and South Korea work up to 4 hours a day in open ocean without benefit
of shark nets or guns. Some Indonesian cultures spend up to 4 hours per
day in the water without worrying about sharks. Aboriginal women in
the Northern Territory wade neck deep in water collecting various
delicacies such as a rather placid though largish snake species
without worrying about crocodiles. Tens
of thousands of tourists go snorkling on the Great Barrier Reef off the
coast of Queensland without worrying about sharks and they don't
have shark nets there, either.

And where did you get the stupid idea that guns provided any defense
against sharks? JAWS?

Pray tell, what sort of sharks and crocodiles infested the ancient salty
waters of the Afar sea.
>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
>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*?!

If crocodiles were such a prevalent predator of trainee marine
mammals, as you suggest, then nothing would have made the transition
from land to water. No Otariidae, no Pinipeds, no Phocids, no Cetacea, no
Sirenia, no nothing.

And if they are such effective predators as you claim, the mere act of
drinking would have wiped out complete species. A whole panoply of
warm blooded highly efficient predators roam Africa, but that doesn't mean
their prey go extinct or stop evolving.

Your crocodile argument remains bogus.

>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.

One of the reasons why I suggested that humans could not have
evolved bipedalism on the savannah was because of the efficiency of
predators. You promptly responded by saying they didn't evolve on the
Whether or not you realised it, you used exactly the same argument as the
one you're crying nuts about now.

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

The ancestor of the whale was a shoreline scavenger of moderate size. As
a low slung quadruped, its water speed could not have been great. The
fossils of this ancient creature were found in the remains of an ancient
sea that
covered northern Pakistan (i.e. warm enough for crocodiles).

But, since you have been so intemperate as to call me nuts, you might care
to atone by listing the land based ancestors of each and every aquatic
mammal that
would not qualify, due to its large size and/or incredible swimming speed,
potential crocodile fodder.
>JM > 2. Why don't humans have really small ears (or no external ears)
>JM > virtually all aquatic mammals?
>Pa> The size of external ears in aquatic mammals depends on how aquatic
>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
>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".
Besides not giving any credence to the principle of non-disadvantageous
intermediates, you seem to have no interest in the principle of convergent
evolution, either.

You will no doubt recall that the AAT has never proposed a 100% aquatic
phase. Your range of 4-8 hours per day seem an adequate figure for the
sake of argument. So, the AA has to spend a lot of time on land, and
the ability to determine the direction from which a sound is coming seems
not to be a sound idea, so to speak. Our lugs are quite effective in
us stereo hearing.

>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
>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
>Pa> is with the crown of the head forward. The arms usually point forward
>Pa> the start of stroke and finish at the side of the body at the end of
>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.
The hair pattern that most took Sir Alister Hardy's fancy was the one
the back, not the crown of the head. By the way, freestyle swimmers do
keep their heads in the same relative position to the spine as they would
a standing position. This has the advantage of positioning the nostrils so
they stop water being forced up the nasal passages. Yet another reason why
chimps and gorillas make poor aquanauts; those outward facing nostrils.

>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
>Pa> pointing forward.
>Pa> If one is diving a lot, one will find that one can hold one's breath
>Pa> three minutes or more. One could thus keep the crown pointed forward
>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
>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

We are getting a little silly aren't we? It seems that your only response
to any argument is to cry crocodile.

>Pa> > D. The reduction of hair and its orientation has been said to be
>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.
Crying crocodile again.

>Pa> > E. The reduction of hair and its orientation has been said to be
>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
>Pa> > as fast as the *fastest Olmpic swimmers*. Why were we able to
>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
>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
>Pa> a shark; (sharks are not noted for their wading or running). A
>Pa> ape has no such escape route when confronted by a land based
>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.

Sorry. I must have missed your point. Spent too much time swimming in the
open sea in Australia, I suppose, without shark nets or guns to protect
me. Just
like millions of other people around the world. Saw a dolphin once. Swam
a few sting rays. Never saw a shark. Not once.

>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!

I quote Hardy:

<<Man no doubt first saw the possibilities of using stones lying ready at
hand on the beach, to crack open the enshelled packages of food....
>From the use of such natural stones it was but a step to split flints into
more efficient tools and then into instruments for the chase. Having done
this, and learnt how to make fires, perhaps with dried seaweed on the
sea shore, man now erect and a fast runner was equipped for the conquest
of the continents....While he became a great hunter, we know from the
middens of mesolithic Man that shell fish for long remained a favortite

So, as I read it, Hardy has man progressing from using stones to crack
shell fish to stone tools for hunting. He segues into the savannah hunter
scenario popular at that time. Sounds reasonable for the time. An outside
observer of some current or recent human cultures might conclude that
humans are still partially aquatic, given their diet and the time they
in the water.

Humans have been killing and butchering every large mammal, terrestrial
or aquatic, that they could get their weapons into, for the past million
years or so. Dugongs would have been the easiest of prey for the post
aquatic ape.

>Pa> Whether or not the AAT is true, it is highly likely that early
>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.

True tool making means actually working the stones to create an edge.
Are you claiming wild chimpanzees do this; and that they retain the
of this labour for reuse over an extended periuod.

>Pa> >5. If we are said, as the AAT does, not to have evolved on land
>Pa> > some of our adaptations, such as our method of thermoregulation,
>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",
>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
>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?

The animals that have evolved such salt excretion mechanisms are
100% aquatic with no access to fresh water. A creature that spends a
significant time on land would have access to fresh water. The fact that
there are signs of a salt excretion mechanism in humans but not apes
is significant.

>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"
>Pa> > erectus*, KNM-WT-15000) was from eating fish, rather than
>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
>Pa> > suggests, why did we lose the adaptation?
>Pa> I think Morgan was wrong in her analysis. Many human cultures survive
>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,
>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.

This from the person who thinks evolution will proceed quite happily so
as the disadvantageous adaptations aren't critical.

Pat Dooley