Re: Aquatic ape theory

Tom Clarke (
15 Oct 1995 21:49:01 -0400

ronkanen@cc.Helsinki.FI (Osmo Ronkanen) writes:

>In article <>,
>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

If I may jump in, I understand your point, but here is why I think
it does not eliminate the near for an aquatic interlude (or in general
isolation in a very special environment).

The hominid package: bipedalism and nakedness works. The Australopithecines
survived for millions of years with brains not much bigger than apes.
All the various reasons relating to heat rejection, carrying, tool use,
enabled the hominids to occupy the diurnal ominvore niche (I forget
who suggested that, thanks).

The problem is to get from hairy quadrapedalism to naked bipelism.
The route for the change must be positively adaptive at every step.
Hairy bipedalism has heat rejection problems. Naked quadrapedalism
has heat input problems and cold night problems.
How could these two changes happen in a "coordinated" fashion to
result in the successful hominid package?

I think the answer is that a group of Miocene apes was isolated in
an environment that favored both hairlessness and bipedalism and
also favored hairlessness alone and bipedalism alone.

The only such environment I can think of is the seashore.
I am open to suggestions, though.

Tom Clarke

>My intention was not to prove that aquatic ape theory is wrong. My point
>is to show that one does not need it to explain the hairlessness. Maybe
>there are other hard proof, like fossil records, to support the theory.

>I know that we have evolutionary relics like appendixes but that those
>relics hardly are in something as significant as body hair.

>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.

>>>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.


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