Re: The Aquatic Adaptation of the Human Ear

H. M. Hubey (
13 Oct 1995 00:38:22 -0400

David Froehlich <> writes:

>intermediate aquatic phase necessary (since there is absolutely no fossil
>evidence, even ask Hubey). The arguement evolves from a functional
>premise that bipedality is an extremely difficult locomotor style to

The Cambridge Ency of HUman evolution has a nice little chapter
on the environment of EAst AFrica and there are lakes, forests,
rivers, etc. I don't think that the environmental evidence can
say that it happened in the river, lake, forest, mountain or plain.
The environment seems to have had everything. If chimps spend 90%
of their time walking although their feet say that they are
climbers who's to say what our illustrious ancestors did those
days just by looking at the immediate spot where they were found.
Maybe they were aquatic apes and also spent time walking :-)
Maybe they spent 90% of their time on the ground but they were
past climbers who were training to be olympic swimmers :-)..

>attain (an arguement that I do not agree with). The best scientific test
>of this would be to examine the differences in locomotor ability in all

IF chimps feet say that they are climbers and spend 90% of their
time on the ground isn't this the kind of data that should be used?

The problem is this. If you want to measure if something is an X,
you first have to define not_X clearly. You then have to try
to measure the distance of something both from X and from not_X.
YOu can't simply try to measure the distance from X without
knowing the distance from not_X.

When you say climbing-ape and ignore walking-ape you've already
taken a gigantic step toward biasing the result.

Besides, the other things that you are trying to determine from this
data don't even have to be linear function of Xness. Suppose we
let the chimps foot be X (i.e. climbing-foot) and let not_X be
a human foot (i.e. bipedal foot). Then the amount of walking,
or spending time on the ground, or even quadrupedal plus
bipedal walking time does not range from 0 to 1 as a function
of Xness. i.e.

y(1) =/= 1
y(0) =/= 0

if y(x) is defined above as related to walking, even if we
do assume it to be linear. So finding Lucy's foot to be the
way it is doesn't mean that she was climbing trees. If she were
she might have stayed looking like a chimp. In other words, there
has to be an explicit time-lag in the mental equations that we use
for out imaginations. For example, we keep reading that we humans
haven't yet had time to adjust to abundance of rich foods. TEh
grasping toe would not have fallen off as soon as they came down
the trees, and whether they hung around the water or ran around
hiding in the tall grass, the foot obviously would have taken
some time to change. The most significant thing I can see is
that Lucy had longer legs. I attribute that to water. I also
attribute the size growth, and the bipedal/erect stance to
water. Because, as I've already explained in detail, there
was both a positive and a negative feedback loop pushing for
this change in water.


Regards, Mark