Re: Guide for anti-AATers

Phillip Bigelow (
8 Nov 1995 15:53:20 -0800

I wrote:
>> I submit that the AAT IS falsifiable, but on more fundamental grounds:
>> If physiologists can show that it is physiologically impossible for an
>> aquatic hominid to weigh less than 100 pounds, be hairless, have around 12 %
>> body fat, and still have their core temperature be in thermal equilibrium
>> with ambient water temperature, then the entire theory is falsified. At
>> best, the theory would have to be greatly revised, with the "hairless" part
>> abandoned.

Paul Crowley <> responded:
>You never answered my "anecdotal" point and this is the third
>time I've tried to get an answer from you.
> . . . . . . that hominid (and hominid females in
>particular) would frequently swim and dive for shellfish. On
>emerging from the water they would have to dry off. The more
>hair they had, the more they would suffer the chill factor
>arising from evaporation

I am not sure this is true. Wet fur actually behaves like a wet suit on a
SCUBA diver; it provides a layer of body-warmed water between the diver and
the surrounding water. It's along the same principle as a double pane of
glass on a window.
Likewise, when the SCUBA diver comes out of the water, he *still* feels
warm, because of the insulating nature of the trapped water in his suit.
The same principle seems to be at work with the polar bear. The
water-soaked fur acts like an insulating wet-suit when the bear is in the
water, and as an insulation from the hypothermic affects of wind-chill when
the bear is out of the water. Fur is actually a *benefit* for aquatic
mammals,because it allows the animal to dry off SLOWLY, and thus avoid the
the unpleasant wind-chill effects of being "blasted" dry by the air.

Paul continues:
> The selective advantage in less body
>hair would be substantial. Head hair would still have the
>advantage of insulation against the sun when keeping cool in
>the water during the heat of the day.

I see no "selective advantage" with less body hair, if the animal has a
high surface area/volume ratio, is less than 100 pounds, has 12 % body fat,
and is hairless. If you think that suffering from evaporative wind-chill
directly on naked skin is some type of "selective advantage", I'm afraid I
would have to disagree.