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Thread: Strange hypothesis of human evolution: Aquatic ape

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    Senior Member Euro Pod MermanOliver's Avatar
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    Strange hypothesis of human evolution: Aquatic ape

    Hi all,

    I came across a strange yet quite interesting hypothesis about the evolution of the human being. It is called the "aquatic ape" hypothesis and it seems it gains some momentum recently. It is a two-part audio series on BBC, the link is here:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/topi...ape_hypothesis

    In short, it boils down that humans seem to have had at least a stage living close to the shore, collecting food in the water. As indicator they give that humans walk on two legs (which is much easier and convenient in shallow water), have subcutaneous fat (a natural insulation), are able of holding our breath for quite some time (enabling us to dive), have so few hair and that strange and have that big nose with the nostrils pointing down which is comparitively bad ad smelling, but good at channeling water away from the nostrils when swimming.

    At least it would explain why humans are so drawn to water, and why, at least compared to other apes, humans do quite well in and especially under water.

    Yes, it is a very, very controversial hypothesis, and I thought a moment about writing this post at all, but maybe, just maybe, there is some truth to it. I am no anthropologist, but the arguments seem quite convincing. Plus, I don't think BBC would present such a controversial idea if they weren't at least a little convinced it contains at least some grain of truth.

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    Senior Member Pod of Oceania Merleece's Avatar
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    You might be interested in the history of this theory by reading about Elaine Morgan here with particular attention to her part in the Aquatic Ape hypothesis https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elaine_Morgan I remember reading her writings in the early 80's when I was just a tadpole, I thought it was kind of cool but it was not taken very seriously then.

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    Senior Member Pod of Oceania Merleece's Avatar
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    Some other papers referenced here too. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/scien...eory-67868308/ - comments are mostly interesting.

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    Senior Member Euro Pod Echidna's Avatar
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    There are quite a few distinctions between humans and other apes that point indeed to a semi-aquatic evolutionary stage.
    Hairlessness, subcutaneous fat, salinic tears are all traits of aquatic mammals which few land animals share.

    I read that theory several decades ago, and one of the arguments they had was:
    "just go to any body of water during a warm day and observe. What are most people doing?
    Are they sitting in the trees, shaking down fruit, or are they walking on the shore, sifting through sand, wading, splashing and swimming?"
    (Not exactly a scientific argument, but hilarious nontheless.)

    There is also the interesting fact that of all animals, dolphins have the brain (and probably DNA structure) which closest resembles the human one.
    Which is a relatively new discovery.
    Funnily enough, there is also an ancient Greek legend that dolphins are magically transformed humans.
    That's, like, 3000 years ahead of official science, ha.

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