Re: More response to Elaine Morgan...

Nicholas Rosen (
Wed, 19 Jul 1995 16:59:57 EDT

In article <>,
Ralph L Holloway <> says:
> Dear Elaine,
> The problem for me is that you so overstress the differences as to
>almost make them of a quantum nature. I don't see chimpas and gorillas as
>furry. I see them having more hair than we do. Humans haven't lost their
>"fur" (please, hair), there is less of it, which incidentally varies
>widely among different human groups, and in which case, to be true to
>your logic, would involves various dregrees of an aquatic adaptation in
>different human groups...I don't see the

This relates a bit to something I suggested during a previous round
of debate on the AAH. Given that we seem to have some semi-aquatic
characteristics (and I know that not everyone will give even that),
the question is when did we acquire them? How do we test the AAH
against the AHH (aquatic human hypothesis). I referred to a book,
_Self-Made Man_ by Jonathan Kingdon. Kingdon dismisses the AAH in
one sentence, but claims that many of our more recent ancestors
were strandlopers, to use his word, on and near the shores of the
Indian Ocean. He claims to explain the distributions of various
racial groups on this basis; for example, he points to Negritos
in places like Melanesia, and argues that black Africans are in
fact the descendants of immigrants from across the Indian Ocean.

I suggested trying to compare the AAH and AHH by seeing whether
there are any human populations which have substantially less of
so-called aquatic adaptations than the norm. If, for example,
there are tribes of cold-adapted Siberians, who would be expected
to have relatively little strandloper ancestry, who do not have
webbing on their thumbs, that would be an argument for the AHH,
and tend to make the AAH redundant. One might also look for noses
that would be no good at keeping water out. If no groups with
these characteristics exist, then a small blow has been struck for
the AAH, since we have apparently all inherited aquatic characteristics
from a more remote ancestor.

Of course, I am aware that different human populations have
different amounts of body hair, fat, etc. These can be explained
partly by recent environmental adaptations, partly by genetic drift
and random chance.

Nicholas Rosen
Standard disclaimers apply.
Plus a non-standard disclaimer: I am not an anthropologist.