Re: AAH update (was: Bipe

Alex Duncan (
19 Jul 1995 17:51:35 GMT

In article <> Elaine Morgan, writes:

>Jim Moore wrote at one point " I have seen Pond produce articles
>showing that human fat distribution and properties do not meet the
>requirements of the AAT, which Morgan has ignored."

You really don't need citations to know human fat distribution doesn't
meet the requirements of the AAT. Fat is distributed differently both
between the sexes, and between different populations. Most importantly
though, is the fact that fat is distributed unevenly over the body. In
males, of course, most fat is deposited in the region of the belly, while
in females most fat is distributed in the breasts, hips, buttocks and
upper thighs (is it a coincidence that these are areas of visual
stimulation for most males? -- I think not).

In most ocean going mammals fat is evenly and thickly distributed over
most of the body, as it has to be to prevent heat loss. In humans, there
is generally NO fat or very little fat over the areas that are most
susceptable to heat loss. These would be the head, and the distal
extremities (arms from the elbows down and legs from the knees down).
Anyone familiar with basic scaling knows that a long slender cylinder
(shin & forearm) has much more surface area relative to volume than a
short, fat cylinder (thigh & upper arm), and is thus subject to rapid
heat exchange with the outside environment. This being so, the "shins"
and forearms of aquatic humans would be regions of rapid heat loss, and
we might expect them to have thick layers of fat to prevent this.
Instead we see virtually no fat, and indeed, on the forearm at least,
many major veins exist immediatly beneath the thin ventral skin, where
they can dump heat extremely rapidly.
The head and neck would be even more of a problem. Up to 1/3 of
the body's blood supply goes to the head, and again, much of it returns
to the torso in veins immediately beneath the nearly fatless skin
(external jugular & the internal jugular in the space immediately behind
the gonial angle of the mandible, facial, communicating branch between
facial and anterior jugular, occipital, retromandibular).

Alex Duncan
Dept. of Anthropology
University of Texas at Austin
Austin, TX 78712-1086