AAT:A method to falsify

Phillip Bigelow (n8010095@cc.wwu.edu)
4 Oct 1995 15:38:42 -0700

Although most of the threads regarding AAT center around
anecdotal evidence, or arguing whether a trait is
"aquatic", I have noticed that few of my compatriots have attempted to
falsify the theory at it's root.
The question to ask is: "Is it even physiologically possible for a small,
hairless hominid to be a ubiquitous-wader/occassional-swimmer, and not have
problems with hypothermia?"
A year or so ago, I posted a summary of body masses for all
hairless-water-bound mammals (ie., the hippo and the entire group Cetacea),
and found that the hairless-aquatic group was STRONGLY weighted numerically
toward animals that were 250 pounds. The Bell-shaped curve also tapered off
slowly toward higher-mass animals, but it tapered off SHARPLY toward
low-mass animals.
I recall that the smallest cetaceans were slightly less-massive than a
chimpanzee, but these cetaceans have very low surface-area/volume ratios.
Chimpanzees, humans and the purported "aquatic ape", if it were Lucy-size or
smaller, would have much greater surface-area/volume ratios.
A good test for some future researcher would be
to predict how small a hairless hominid can get, and not
be limited by thermodynamics.
If even a FAT hairless primate of Lucy's mass could not be habitually a
wader/swimmer without suffering from hypothermic effects (even in warm
water), then the whole theory is essentially demolished.
I predict the key to dismantling the theory will be surface-are/volume
ratios, heat-retention, and metabolism.