Re: The Shifting AAT

Thomas Clarke (
19 Oct 1995 14:19:51 GMT

In article <463ae6$> chris brochu <> writes:
>In article <> J. Moore,
> writes:
>> Is there any reason not to believe that this
>>Ja> is at least possible? If you want to be pedantic anyone who has a bath
>>Ja> regularly is a semi-aquatic ape!

>From a philosophical standpoint, virtually anything is possible. Suppose
>I were to claim that Benjamin Disraeli had a portrait of Queen Victoria
>tattooed to his rear end. You must concede - it's possible! And,
>furthermore, You Can't Prove I'm Wrong, either.

Ah, but does the tatto explain anything about Disraeli's behavior
as PM under Victoria? If it did the analogy to the AAT would be better.
As it stands, it's not a very good analogy.

>What we want are hypotheses that could, in principle, be proved wrong if
>the right kinds of evidence came to light. So far, AAS has very few such
>claims, and those that existed have been falsified. In short, it is
>possible that an undiscovered aquatic phase existed, but how would we
>know if we were wrong?

How many times am I going to have to point out that all you have
to do is find a non-aquatic fossil squence to disprove the AAT/H/S.

You really are confusing the messenger with the message. The message
is that water may have played a role in the evolution of hominids.
Taking this as a hypothesis, Elaine Morgan, ran with it, finding
all sorts of things that the water hypothesis might explain.
That she may have been overenthusiastic in making her case, does
not detract from truth or falsity of whether water played a role
in hominid evolution.

Of course in a trivial sense water played a role - almost all mammals
frequent water holes. The critical question is whether the Miocone
apes evolving into hominids habitually entered the water to get food.
If a sequence of fossils were found that was never associated with
a large body of water, then the AAT/H/S would be disproved, for I
can't see any evolutionary significance in an ape occassionally
falling into a small water hole.

Tom Clarke