Re: Aquatic ape theory

Osmo Ronkanen (ronkanen@cc.Helsinki.FI)
10 Oct 1995 21:01:56 +0200

In article <>,
H. M. Hubey <> wrote:
>ronkanen@cc.Helsinki.FI (Osmo Ronkanen) writes:
>>What my point is that whether a human being has hair is hardly
>>irrelevant for the survival. That means it is either beneficial or
>>harmful. If the hair is beneficial, then I see no reason why human
>>beings should not have developed the hair back in the millions of years
>>since the aquatic life. That strongly implies that the lack oaf hair is
>>beneficial in the land life. If it is beneficial one needs no aquatic
>The point is that your argument makes hair and aquatic life equivalent
>because you say that since I said A => H' (Aquatic => No_Hair), that
>it must also be true that A' => H (Non_aquatic => Hair). There's
>no reason why the second should be true if the first is true.

As I said, my intent was not to prove that there was no aquatic ape. My
intent was to show that the AAT cannot be used to justify the fact that
people do not gave hair.

>If the fur makes heat conduction difficult then if the hair was
>lost as a side effect of increasing heat conduction, then it
>doesn't follow that hair would have to return since by that time
>perhaps they were in a position to cover themselves to decrease
>heat conduction in the cold.

Cover by what? By Animal furs? That requires stone tools to handle the
fur and probably even hunting. We are then talking at Homo Habilis or
even Homo Erectus. That is millions of years past the AA.

>Or perhaps they could have slept
>out in the cold (not too cold obviously) and that their
>metabolism would have been higher than if they used blankets.

Higher metabolism means higher food consumption and thus meat eating.

>>Maybe the hairlessness developed because of increased energy need
>>because of increased brain size, increased activity because of
>>hunting, increased intake of energy because of meat eating and
>>lowered surface/mass ration because increase in size humans needed
>>better method of regulating body temperature.
>WEll for large animals like elephants and rhinos the argument is
>that since they have greater mass for their surface area, they'd
>have to be naked since otherwise they could not expel heat fast
>enough and would die of overheating. Meanwhile the same argument
>is used to explain why the elephants seek water in hot weather
>since it helps them cool down. Well, let's look backwards. If they
>were using the same trick (i.e. dunking in water) a long time
>ago, then they wouldn't have to lose their hair or it could
>be exactly because they spent so much time in the water that
>they started to lose their fur. So then it's a roundabout way
>of saying that it was their aquatic lifestyle, after all, that
>made them lose their fur.

But why did the fur not "grow" back? Had it been beneficial that should
have happened, had it not been beneficial, one does not need the AAT.

>>>>The fact is that we cannot ignore the most recent 5 or so million years
>>>>in evolution when one considers something as fundamental as body hair.
>I don't know when it happened. It could have been happening all
>along and I'm not sure one way or the other when it would have
>started or when it should have ended or how long it would take
>to lose most of it.
>That doesn't mean that I don't believe some kind of an aquatic
>stage was involved in the loss of fur and causing the changes
>in the skeleton.

Yes, you may believe in it. People believe in many things. Just if you
want to present is as a scientific theory, you should have some proof.