H2O Preds. and AAT

Sean Stinson (sstinson@uoguelph.ca)
27 Sep 1995 17:21:05 GMT

Subject: Re: Aquatic ape theory
Newsgroups: sci.anthropology.paleo
References: <bryceDF8p2G.MHC@netcom.com> <44ad0t$eer@ccshst05.cs.uoguelph.ca> <44ajv5$9m@newsbf02.news.aol.com> <44ajv7$9n@newsbf02.news.aol.com> <44bjl3$amr@geraldo.cc.utexas.edu>
Distribution: world
chris brochu (gator@mail.utexas.edu) wrote:
X-Newsreader: TIN [version 1.2 PL2]

: I think we're arguing past each other. We both agree that lots of people
: live in close proximity to crocodylians. This is not the same thing as
: living in the water with crocodylians, which is closer to the AAH
: position.
Sean replied,
I think the real problem here is that you can't prove that
crocs could wipe out this hypothetical population of primate
ancestors, and I can't prove that they couldn't.
1) We don't know the distr'n of crocs at the time
2) We don't know the characteristics of the
supposed prey.
3) We don't know if there were other more available
prey to the crocs...etc

ie. there are alot of factors which could change the weight of
this argument vastly. I'm more inclined to say,...
"...let's ASSUME,... that a hypothetical population
of our primate ancestors WERE able to survive long enough in
this supposed aquatic environment to evolve,..."
...rather than simply say "nope couldn't happen
crocs would have killed them ALL." This isn't to say that crocs
were never a factor. It says "YES crocs were a factor BUT we are
unable to reliably determine HOW MUCH of a factor they were."

Now given that our primate ancestors could survive in
an aquatic environment long enough to evolve, what characteristics
might we find in that same population after re-evolving out of a
water environment back into a terrestrial environment. And might
that experience be part of our present success as a species, now?
We should observe a narrowing of the body structure to become
more "rocket like" as this is the best form for efficient travel in
H2O. Observed: YES. Longer phalanges for propulsion. Observed: YES
Better eyesight underwater. Observed: NO. Better hearing underwater.
Observed: NO. Loss of body hair to reduce drag. Observed: Yes.
These are just some.
Hearing and sight can be attributed to a rapid re-evolution once
we left our aquatic environment since few creatures can survive in
a terrestrial environment without this attribute. However it may
also be noted that compared to other terrestrial animals we have very
poor sight and hearing. This may suggest that we still haven't fully
re-evolved these traits.