Re: AAT Theory

chris brochu (
5 Oct 1995 14:00:34 GMT

In article <450jm9$> Thomas Clarke, writes:
>More literary/scientist style clashing.
>I really do not understand the aquaphobia of the professionals.
>If Morgan's literary style so anathema to them, that they must eschew
>any possibility that water played a role in hominid evolution in
>order to avoid all possible reference to Morgan's literary works?

I vigorously disagree. The difference is not literary, but procedural.

Ultimately, it comes down to this - scientists look for patterns, and
then derive processes that might explain them. AAS proponents are doing
the reverse - they have selected a preferred process, and then try to
shoehorn the pattern to fit it. It has nothing to do with literary style.

As I wrote earlier, the pattern we see suggests a lineage of terrestrial
quadrupedal primates evolving into a lineage of terrestrial bipedal
primates. There is no implication of an aquatic phase, regardless of the
degree. So far, all "evidence" I've seen to support the AAS falls short.

AAS supporters, conversely, have given us a moving target:

"Hominid fossils are found in aqueous deposits!"

So what - most fossils are, and this need not imply living in water.

"OK, so the fossil record is irrelevant. But look - we show a diving
reflex, just like whales!"

Yes - and rabbits, goats, and many other mammals.

"Fine, then. But we're hairless, just like swimming mammals, right?"

Well, sort of, but within our size range, swimming mammals tend to be
furry, and not all hairless mammals are aquatic.

"OK, so maybe not good evidence. But on land, we would have been easy
prey for cats!"

Perhaps, but in the water, we would have been even easier prey for

"If so, then we must have lived on beaches!"

Crocodiles occur on beaches.

"Stuck-up academic!"

Another characteristic is how much closer to land we get as the AAS
progresses. As far as I can tell, it's gone from "swimming ape" to
"wading ape" to "ape that sometimes wades out into the water and jumps
out at the earliest sign of danger."

The problem is not writing style, except for cases in which some people -
on both sides of the issue - have not been clear on what they were
saying. I'm as guilty as the rest in this regard.
Scientists don't try to prove things - they try to disprove them. AAS
supporters keep trying to prove the AAS, when they should be listing ways
to potentially falsify it. Furthermore, when claims are effectively
falsified, they scream about elitism in academia.


ps - regarding American crocodiles - they rarely occur on beaches in
Florida, but if you look at the rest of their range, which includes most
of the Caribbean down to northern Venezuela - they do elsewhere.
Thorbjarnarson had a monograph in the Bulletin of the Florida Museum of
Natural History on C. acutus on the island of Hispaniola a few years back
- I'll try to get the reference later.