re: Chris Brochu (was: Re: AAT)

maarten fornerod (
Tue, 19 Sep 1995 06:56:12 +0200 (MET DST)

In a previous posting Chris Brochu wrote:

> This is positively my last post on this subject. I have more important
> and relevant issues to worry about.

Still I would like to make a small correction:

> (Anoth kind of "evidence" discussed on the subject -the "diving
> reflex." If you refer to the fact that we dive by bending our abdomen,
> that's because we're mammals.

The diving reflex is to my opinion one of the strongest arguments
for the aquatic ape idea (AAI), but has nothing to do with body posture
while diving. If I may quote Alister Hardy, the grand-father of the AAT:

"It has been found experimentally that man has the remarkable adaptation
which is found only among mammals and birds that dive under water. It is
called the diving reflex and now solves the puzzle of how sponge and
pearl divers can remain below so long. It only happens if a man's *face*
is submerged; it won't occur if he wears a mask. If he dives under water
and his face exposed, there is an immediate reaction cutting down blood
supply to most of the body, but leaving a good supply to both brain and
the muscles of the heart. This reaction is typical of whales, seals,
pinguins,and even diving ducks: I cannot believe that it could have been
evolved by natural selection unless man had taken to diving under water
some considerable period of his past history."

Despite his believe, Hardy goes on to propose a way of falsifying his
theory (proving that AAT-ism is *not* a religion):

"The only remaining test to be made is to persuade some physiologist to
do simple experiments with all the known apes. They merely have to be put
in a bath of water with their faces submerged for a short time whilst
an electro-cardiograph records the changes in the circulation of their
blood." (From Zenith vol. 15 p. 4-6, [1977], quoted from The Aquatic Ape
by Elaine Morgan).

I'm not aware of any research on diving reflexes in apes, but I think
it's a good way to test the AA Model. Since the hypothesis is
predominantly based on physiological and comparative anatomical evidence, it
will take this type of data to disprove it (for instance also: apes or
monkeys with hymen).

Maarten Fornerod.

For the distribution of opinion on the AAT among anthropologists: see

"Thus, the scenario of our possible amphibian past is based on a great
deal of probability..."
-Bjorn Kurten.