Re: AAT Theory

H. M. Hubey (
8 Sep 1995 21:24:32 -0400 (J. Moore) writes:

>HMH> Not. Einstein said something like "No amount of experimentation can
>HMH> prove me right but a single experiment can prove me wrong."
>HMH> I asked you once "What is proof?"

>What do you think it is? I'm not here to argue semantics with a
>games-player. On the off chance that you only appear to be one,
>but actually are not, we continue...

I certainly don't consider it a game. It's very important
since you keep asking for "proof". Something like 2+2=4
is capable of being proven. But the things you're asking
for are more like whodunits; much evidence exists which can
be weaved into a coherent "story/theory", which makes people
believe that it's true based on some general thoughts on
what a "theory" is supposed to be etc..

>Shouldn't it be up to AATers to suggest them? They're the ones
>who say that an aquatic past caused massive changes to our
>skeletal structure, but only in ways that look exactly like what
>we'd see from a land-based transition. But ah yes, they feel the
>fossil record is irrelevant.

I guess they are saying that the present state of humans is
best explicable with the AAT, or at least that it's better
explicable with AAT than without. A simple way to look at it
is to find a group of animals which apparently seem to
"like" the water, say elephants, rhinos, pigs... and then
see if they share any features with humans that other animals

For example, what do you think about the diving reflex?

>Perhaps if you want to argue about a subject, you might want to
>get some minimal grounding in that subject first. The reason we
>would naturally expect to find many many many fossils of
>shore-dwelling waders and swimmers is that they would be in the
>ideal habitat to become fossils.

So? Were today's shores always shores? Were places which were
"shores" at one time today shores? And how do we decide what
or which except, again, on the basis of more indirect evidence?

>Yes indeed, as do many other land mammals, but Morgan views living
>"around inland rivers and lakes" as greatly unusual behavior which
>requires throwing out all current paleoanthropological theory.

I guess she agrees with the founder of AAT that humanoids went
beyond just living around the shore; maybe like rhinos,or
polar bears, or sea otters. How much change probably depends on
the time (i.e. the level of development or evolution of the
animal in question). If the shift to the sea had occurred
around the time when the animals were still barely developing
appendiges, they might have never developed fully (like legs)
and instead become flippers (like whales, and porpoises). If the
animals had already evolved a great deal then maybe only small
changes would have taken place (polar bears, otters, beavers,
rhinos) and might not be visible in the fossil record since
it doesn't make its way into the bone structure.

>HMH> >Now, just off the top of my head, for instance, if we found
>HMH> >fossils of the common ancestor we share with African apes, and it
>HMH> >turned out to be as bipedal as australopithecines, that would be
>HMH> >extremely strong evidence against the AAT. The AAT says that

>HMH> No it doesn't.

>It doesn't? It doesn't say that predominately bipedal hominids could
>not have evolved on land? Morgan spends two chapters of *The Scars
>of Evolution* on this subject.

All they have to do is to move the date for AAT backwards. Then
one might explain that the apes retrogressed because of taking
to the trees and that the humanoid line kept evolving along
the same direction. So, in fact, one can claim that the initial
impetus for bipedalism still came from water-dwelling. That would
make AAT even stronger :-) ...

It's easy to make mistakes and also to change them :-)..
Lord Kelvin calculated the age of the earth (using what was
known about conduction and convection) to be about 5,000
years old. He was off by a factor of about a million! But then
nothing was known about radiation at the time. We only remember
Kelvin's "great" contributions!

>to have evolved in an aquatic environment*. That, in fact, *is* the
>theory. You apparently are quite unaware of the content of the
>very thing you're defending.

See above. The hair loss could have come later, and the
highly evolved bipedalism of humans today could have continued
via the water or even on land since by that time, one assumes,
the advantages of bipedalism would have continued to accrue
to landdwellers but perhaps not those who'd taken to trees.

>And I'm sure that's exactly what AATers would try to do. But a
>central tenet of the AAT is that land-based divergence *cannot*
>have happened, and that bipedalism had to have happened as part

It doesn't make any difference. Everyone tries to patch up
something that has some explanatory value when faced with
seemingly contradictory evidence. AAT people are not alone
in this.

>Perhaps I'd be more likely to believe you if I'd seen some evidence of
>your having tried to acquaint yourself with the subject before you
>started posting.

Keep reading :-)..

PS. Don't mistake memorization of Latin words and latin names
for dates to be knowledge. And don't think that no other
science went through its heuristic stage, and that only
anthropology or paleontology has these special problems and that
no one can comprehend these special problems.


Regards, Mark