Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Aquatic Ape Speculation

Read all about the speculation concerning our aquatic ancestry in an impressively researched article by laelaps [Scuttling the Aquatic Ape Hypothesis]. This is a typical adaptationist just-so story. Even people who should know better, like Daniel Dennett, have fallen for it.


  1. Thanks for the link, Larry. I had heard that Dennett had favored the AAH, although I wasn't sure. That's something else I'll have to look into when I get the chance and I'll update what I wrote accordingly.

  2. Hi all,
    There are now some recent publications on the Littoral Theory (commonly known as AAT) that Pleistocene Homo populations colonised different continents & islands (even Flores >19 km oversea >800 ka) along the coasts & from there inland along the rivers, where they collected aquatic & waterside foods, including shellfish, seaweeds, ungulates drowned or caught in mud or shallow water, stranded whales, cattails, cane etc., eg,
    - M Vaneechoutte, A Kuliukas & M Verhaegen eds 2011 ebook Bentham Sci Publ (with contributions of prof.Tobias, Elaine Morgan, myself etc.) “Was Man More Aquatic in the Past? Fifty Years after Alister Hardy: Waterside Hypotheses of Human Evolution”
    - M Verhaegen & S Munro 2011 HOMO, J compar hum Biol 62:237-247 “Pachyosteosclerosis suggests archaic Homo frequently collected sessile littoral foods”
    For more info, please google “econiche homo”, “aquarboreal”, “pachyosteosclerosis”, or send me an email.

  3. Hum.Evol.28:237-266, 2013 "The aquatic ape evolves: common misconceptions and unproven assumptions about the so-called Aquatic Ape Hypothesis":
    Many scientific as well as popular publications on the so-called aquatic ape theory or aquatic ape hypothesis give incorrect impressions of how, when and where our semi-aquatic ancestors could have evolved. This paper provides arguments from diverse biological subdisciplines for the following three hypotheses, which are based on what is known from other animals: the comparative evidence.
    (1) The aquarboreal theory of Mio-Pliocene hominoids suggests that our Miocene and Pliocene more apelike ancestors and relatives, including the australopiths, led an aquarboreal life, living in wet forests such as flooded, mangrove or swamp forests and later in more open wetlands, and fed on hard-shelled and other plant and animal foods at the water surface and the waterside as well as in the trees.
    (2) The littoral theory of Pleistocene Homo (AAH sensu stricto) suggests that early-Pleistocene archaic Homo populations dispersed along the coasts, where they reduced climbing adaptations, but frequently dived and used stone and other tools for feeding on shallow-water and water-side foods including shellfish.
    (3) The wading hypothesis of early Homo sapiens suggests that, later in the Pleistocene, Homo populations gradually ventured inland along the rivers, reduced diving skills, and frequently waded with very long and stretched legs and fully upright body to spot prey in very shallow water and used complex tools to collect different sorts of aquatic and waterside foods.
    m_verhaegen at