Re: AAT Theory

J. Moore (
Wed, 20 Sep 95 10:12:00 -0500

Tk> In article <> J. Moore,
Tk> writes:

JM> >I'm surprised to see you no longer on the AAT side, Troy -- why
JM> >else would you be aching to provide the anti-AAT case of the polar
JM> >bear. But you're right when you say that the case of the polar
JM> >bear is indeed a grave challenge to the AAT. The challenge, of
JM> >course, results from the fact that the polar bear seems not to have
JM> >any of the changes the AAT insists are a natural and necessary
JM> >consequence of aquatic life. No predominate bipedalism

Tk> Bipedalism a consequence of aquatic life? Mumm.. I don't remember saying
Tk> ever saying that one. I don't think that has ever even been implied by
Tk> AAT proponents.

The actual quote, which you edited, was "bipedalism or 'pelvis
straightening'", which is indeed said to be the consequence of
aquatic life by AATers.

Tk> AAT only claims that the transition to bipedalism could have been made
Tk> easier by an aquatic environment.

And that it's virtually impossible to have evolved on land, in
spite of the observed fact that many primates habitually include
bipedalism in their locomotor repertoire.

Tk> BTW, the polar bear is about as bipedal as many primates.

I am not aware that they walk bipedally, only that they
occassionally stand up. Please give the references which support
your claim that wild polar bears regularly walk bipedally as do
many, indeed most, primates.

JM> >straightening", the pattern of fat deposits is the same as
JM> >terrestrial bears, no hairlessness, no descended larnyx, no
JM> >ventral-ventral sex.

Tk> Ventral-ventral sex is also not a "consequence of aquatic life".

I agree; that's what the facts say. Unfortunately for the AAT.

JM> >Yes, we can all agree with you that the "polar bear challenge" is
JM> >a difficult problem for the proponents of the AAT, and one which
JM> >they haven't addressed. I commend you for bringing it up; now
JM> >are you going to address it?

Tk> Not sure what you mean by that Jim.

Guess you mean you're not going to address the problems that face
the AAT, such as the challenge of the polar bear. Not surprising.

JM> >Do give us the references which support this completely unsupported
JM> >claim of yours. And do explain why the AAT is supposed to be
JM> >given this special preferential "no refs required" status.

Tk> References to support streamlining?? Gee.. OK.. Just pick up any book
Tk> that has a picture of an ape or chimp and a picture of a human being and
Tk> tell me which one you think is more streamlined. I would think that
Tk> there are thousands of books that fall into this category.

Let's see: humans have big heads and broad shoulders, long legs
(which create drag -- that's why aquatic mammals have short limbs);
guess apes would be more streamlined (gibbons especially). Now
where's your reference to the contrary?

JM> > Fat pattern the same as terrestrial bears, etc.

Tk> Speaking of references ... Jim, do you have one for this claim?

You demanding refs; that's as rich as Morgan doing so!

The reference is:
1992 "Allometry of the distribution of adipose tissue in Carnivora",
by Caroline M. Pond (Ph.D., Department of Biology, The Open
University, Milton Keynes) and Malcolm A. Ramsay (Department of
Biology, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon). *Canadian Journal
of Zoology* 70:342-347.

Now tell me why AATers are supposed to be able to make any sort of
claim they want without a hint of support, while all others are
supposed to provide them with references for all statements? Why
is the AAT, alone amongst theories of hominid divergence, supposed
to be given this preferential treatment?

Then you were going to post...
JM> >information about incidents where land predators had killed
JM> >hundreds of well-armed humans during a single night. The
JM> >predators you mentioned were lions, cheetahs, leopards, tigers,
JM> >hyenas and hunting dogs.

Tk> Jim.. there are plenty of stories of land based predators killing armed
Tk> individuals. I don't know about "hundreds during a single night" but I
Tk> am not sure what difference it makes.

It's just that you claimed you "could post equally as lengthy diatribes
about lions, cheetahs, leopards, tigers, hyenas or hunting dogs, and the
ancestors of each" and that "each one of these savanna creatures could
feature equally as gruesome antidotes" as that of crocodiles
killing hundreds (well, okay, it was a couple thousand) well-armed
humans in a single night. I was really looking forward to your
backing up this wild claim of yours and then you slunk away without
posting a single one.

Tk> You would trying to paint the
Tk> crocodile as some kind of extraordinary predator when in fact
Tk> there are plenty of land based predators that are
Tk> equally as efficient at killing prey, if not more efficient.

Name one that, like crocodiles, doesn't respond to bluff and
threat. Name one that, like crocodiles, grabs an animal and
doesn't let go, even when being "repeatedly stabbed with spears
or knives, beaten with sticks, pelted with stones, or had sticks
rammed down their gullets in order to prise the human victims
from their jaws...but to no avail".

Please... name one.

JM> >Well, if you were, perhaps you'd just explain how your purported
JM> >aquatic ancestors survived while standing around in chest-deep
JM> >crocodile-infested waters 4-8 hours a day. You never got around
JM> >to that, either.

Tk> They probably controlled the local crocodile population by eating their
Tk> eggs. I have posted this idea before.

And I have already explained to you why this is quite unbelieveable:

JM> You are suggesting that these transitional hominids did something that
JM> no animal, including the extremely numerous humans, has managed to do.

JM> Given that crocodiles travel for miles, and that they do suffer
JM> enormous losses of eggs and young and yet thrive anyway...

and that

JM> The only period of effective control of crocodile populations was with
JM> modern weaponry, and was largely restrcited to the 1950s and 1960s. It
JM> wasn't done with the method you suggest.

Tk> The also probably did not live in "infested" waters. Simple

This is indeed the simplest explanation, and the one I agree with:
since crocodiles are, and have been for millions of years, the
most ubiquitous large predator throughout most of Africa, and
certainly in all the areas, and habitats, that the AAT has at
various times postulated for their transitional population,
infesting all the fresh and salt waters of eastern Africa (even in
waterholes in the desert of Chad!), there were no "non-infested"
waters available for these purported aquatic hominids. If, as you
now suggest, they didn't live in such waters, they didn't live in
any eastern African waters.

Tk> Jim, just because there is an aquatic predator in Africa at the same
Tk> time the AAT is supposed to have happened does not discount the entire
Tk> theory. I think this is a weak argument. There
Tk> are predators everywhere.
Tk> Troy Kelley

As I've mentioned, it is certain that some of our ancestors got eaten.
You can count on it. But we also see that chimps in open savannah
woodland environments have managed to survive and therefore so could we.
We do not see such an animal surviving in crocodile habitat.

All theories of human evolution must deal with the issue of how
the transitional hominids dealt with predators. The theories of
land-based transition do so, and I have posted the (well-referenced)
information showing that they could have dealt with land-based
predators, and that there is in fact an animal model which shows
that this anti-predator behavior worked for an animal with attributes
like early hominids (similar size, physical abilities, swimming
speed [I'll give them the [unlikely] speed of the fastest Olympic
swimmers: 5.1048 mph], spends 4-8 hours a day up in 3-4 feet of
water, and which reproduces as slowly as do chimps and humans who
gather/hunt today). The AAT has consistently side-stepped this
critical issue: Why is the AAT, alone amongst theories of hominid
divergence, supposed to be given this preferential treatment?

Jim Moore (

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