Talk:Aquatic ape hypothesis

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A bad argument[edit]

Swimming: humans really aren't that good at swimming. Dogs and cats do about as well.

I am aware of that. But why then are all the other great apes unable to swim? They share most other primitive reflexes with humans with the exception of the ability to swim. Allegedly humans as newborn babies are able to swim and dive, but then lose this ability and have to learn it anew.-- (talk) 21:18, 8 November 2010 (UTC)

I can't remember where I read it, but I recently read that the "apes can't swim" meme - although widespread - is incorrect.BobSpring is sprung! 22:19, 8 November 2010 (UTC)
Yup, I think it was more "don't like getting wet". Of course there's numerous counterexamples - how many times have you seen the Japanese monkes frolicking in warm springs? 22:25, 8 November 2010 (UTC) SusanG Toast
see here Gorillas are apparently too dense (heavy). 22:29, 8 November 2010 (UTC) SusanG Toast
"Allegedly humans as newborn babies are able to swim and dive, but then lose this ability and have to learn it anew" Also, allegedly, human babies know all the answers to the Universe and everything in it, but have it beaten out of them. Oh, if only we had the magick of the newborn babies to guide us! Are you fricking nuts? Try throwing a newborn baby in a lake and see how fast you get arrested for murder... Dogs, on the other hand, don;t have to be taught how to swim. Cats, swim, wha???? ħumanUser talk:Human 02:03, 9 November 2010 (UTC)
Dogs and cats don't have to wait years to be able to run or communicate with their parents either, that's because they are different animals with different evolutionary histories, and they develop differently as they grow. Human babies show more understanding of how to move in water than they do on land, this alone makes the theory worthy of further investigation.

Why are you all making fun of me? My question was serious. I know that several sorts of monkeys - but definitely not apes - are able to swim.

Most cats don't like swimming - but some breeds do.

Does the theory float/rock anybody's boat? — Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs

BoN comment[edit]

Unfortunately, this is a very biased view IMO. Of course the term "aquatic ape" is an unfortunate misnomer, it's not about apes or australopiths (only about Homo), and it's not about having been aquatic (a better term is "littoral"), but – however one wants to name it – the Hardy–Morgan theory is beyond doubt: it's obvious that Pleistocene Homo populations dispersed along coasts & rivers: how else could they have reached Flores? and why else are all archaic Homo fossils found next to edible shellfish (work of J.Joordens, of S.Munro, and others), from the Cape to Eritrea to Boxgrove to Dmanisi to Mojokerto, from at least 1.8 Ma until 125 ka? The only "problem" IMO is that anti-AAT people attack their own idea of what they believe AAT is (eg, dolphin-like ancestors). Their "critiques" are nearly invariably irrelevant, misunderstanding, misrepresenting, always obsolete, not essential (attacking a possible sub-hypotheses), irrealistic and/or illogical ("crocodiles killed aquatic apes"). IMO we have to discern 2 theories: - the littoral theory of Homo (AAT s.s.): Pleistocene diaspora of human ancestors along coasts & rivers, beach-combing, wading & diving for waterside & aquatic foods, - the aquarboreal theory of apes: Mio-Pliocene hominoid adaptations (eg, vertical branch-hanging & wading) in flooded forests (mangrove, gallery, swamp forests). For up-to-date insights, - google "econiche Homo", - google "aquarboreal", - read the forthcoming ebook "Was Man More Aquatic in the Past? Fifty Years after Alister Hardy: Waterside Hypotheses of Human Evolution" M.Vaneechoutte, A.Kuliukas & M.Verhaegen eds 2011 Bentham Sci.Publ., with contributions of Elaine Morgan, Phillip Tobias, Michel Odent, Anna Gislén & others, - or see our recent paper "Pachyosteosclerosis suggests archaic Homo frequently collected sessile littoral foods" in HOMO J.compar.hum.Biol.62:237-247, 2011. Marc Verhaegen — Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs

I think your points are really good, but i don't think they really address the "aquatic ape" in all it's psuedoscientific glory. I can't imagine a single scholar doubting your points, but going after shellfish, even primitive hunting would not result in the kinds of adaptations that are suggested in this more elaborate idea. As I learned the AAT (already being taught when I was in College) are things like giving birth underwater; spending most of our time in water; hair growing in spirals (which would help a whale or a seal, but not a human that sometimes goes into the water to fish). Just saying....Pink mowse.pngGodotThe Peyote God awaits 18:11, 29 September 2011 (UTC)

Diving apes[edit]

Diving reflex: terrestrial mammals show this too; there has been insufficient study of other apes to use this as evidence that humans are special in this regard. - Japanese macaque in Jigokudani (famous "hot spa macaque) have been now observed to dive under water, and in the last 10 years, hold thier breath up to 30 seconds. This trait, like the trait of jumping into the spa in teh first place, is being passed down to the children, and the new generation born the last 3 years, are able to hold their breaths up to 1 minute. I don't know how it fits in, but other animals clearly dive.Pink mowse.pngGodotThe Peyote God awaits 18:15, 29 September 2011 (UTC)

Predators, hippos etc[edit]

Having heard a talk on this subject recently, my first thought was about predators. Humans are useless at evading large marine predators such as sharks and crocodiles, which is a major objection. Both of these can come into fairly shallow water, i.e. what would be up to our waists. And another thing - one of the biggest killers of humans in Africa is the hippo - they kill more people than sharks and crocs combined. Not for food, but this never gets mentioned in critiques of this theory.

I don't think this hypothesis is completely invalid, but its proponents have often been the problem - lack of scientific training in this area, plus the eccentric element. I think Elaine Morgan's claim that anthropologists have been gender-biased in their ideas holds some water as well. (Sorry, bad joke)

A list of current aquatic apes would be useful. Some humans are pretty much aquatic just now of course. -Albannach (talk) 08:42, 11 April 2014 (UTC)

Unarmed humans are not particularly good at fighting off land-based lions, bears or wolves either.--Bob"I think you'll find it's more complicated than that." 11:50, 11 April

2014 (UTC)

Humans have been armed for tens of thousands of years, longer probably, so that's not the issue. However, I think we are much better able to anticipate an attack from any of those beasts than a shark, for example. While the land based predators can be deterred in some cases by rocks, large sticks, (later fire) or even withdrawing to some kind of cranny, none of these options are available to defend against marine predators.-Albannach (talk) 13:39, 13 April 2014 (UTC) ps I have probs with my editing browser btw just now.
I still don't think that the fact that "there are dangerous animals in the sea" is a particularly good argument. And where do hippos kill most people? On land or in the water? Presumably not in the sea anyway. :-) --Bob"I think you'll find it's more complicated than that." 14:37, 13 April 2014 (UTC)
Hippos kill mostly in and around rivers (which are an aquatic environment) and more occasionally in estuaries. They are surprisingly fast on land. I still do think we are much better equipped to deal with predators on land (although in open country, with no tools, we would be in big trouble.) Our main weapons would be our hands and what we can carry in them. We can use them underwater but less well.-Albannach (talk) 13:24, 30 June 2021 (UTC)

I think it's quite plausible that our ancestors went through a stage in evolution when they fairly regularly spent an hour or a few hours a day in water. There is food in water, there are protein rich fish and shellfish, also some aquatic plants are edible. Some lowland gorillas spend a few hours a day wading looking for food. Primates are adaptable and and, if there are useful resources in water humans and other apes learn to use those resources.

I don't think it's likely that our ancestors were more aquatic than some lowland gorillas. Even in the tropics spending more than a few hours in water means hypothermia. The aquatic ape theory implies that our ancestors became more aquatic than any known primate, then lost that adaptation and became typical land based primates again. That's possible but Occam's razor favours the simpler answer and the simpler answer is that we never stopped being land based. Unless clear evidence of a thoroughly aquatic ape that looks like a human ancestor is ever found we should assume it's unlikely. Proxima Centauri (talk) 15:27, 13 April 2014 (UTC)

Objections section and sarcasm[edit]

In the objections section of the page it is full of sarcastic remarks and off colour asides that have nothing to do with science. For example saying that humans fat distribution is because "we're quite well fed compared with wild dumb beasts" and saying early humans were "disgusting skanks" removes any hint of professionalism or objectivity from the article. Also it's dismissal of nose shape with "Speech was rather important in human development, oddly enough." had nothing to do with any scientific objections. This whole section comes across as completely out of context with the rest of the article. — Unsigned, by: Saexon / talk / contribs 2014-05-27T09:54:29‎