Algis Kuliukas Hypothesis Of Hominid Evolution

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Ross Macfarlane

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May 5, 2003, 4:24:39 AM5/5/03
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Algis,

I would like to understand better your particular hypothesis /
scenario of human evolution. Can you tell me if I have understood it
correctly?

Your scenario begins with an "aquarboreal" phase where the chimp /
homo LCA (? – how long ago?) becomes a bipedal wader. As far as
I can tell, you don't think this hominid would have been hairless like
modern humans (?) What other important adaptations do you think would
have evolved at this time?

Later (you have said 2.6MYA – based on?), 2 hominids have
evolved, 1 a fresh-water dweller & the other a coastal diver (how &
why did these evolve?) The latter at least of these may have been
hairless, but presumably they were closely related subspecies, as they
were able to interbreed & produce a fertile hybrid human precursor.
How am I doing?

Then presumably the hybrid ape further evolved into a form more like
modern humans, but some of your posts suggest you still see early Homo
as semi-aquatic. Is this so, & if so what types of aquatic
adaptations, both morphological & behavioural, did they exhibit, & how
long did they persist?

Final question - when did the hominids become savannah-adapted?

Out of interest…

Ross Macfarlane

Algis Kuliukas

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May 6, 2003, 7:56:33 AM5/6/03
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rmac...@alphalink.com.au (Ross Macfarlane) wrote in message news:<18fa6145.03050...@posting.google.com>...

> Algis,
>
> I would like to understand better your particular hypothesis /
> scenario of human evolution. Can you tell me if I have understood it
> correctly?

I suspect you are trying to take the mick, but ok, seeing you ask...

> Your scenario begins with an "aquarboreal" phase where the chimp /
> homo LCA (? &#8211; how long ago?) becomes a bipedal wader. As far as
> I can tell, you don't think this hominid would have been hairless like
> modern humans (?) What other important adaptations do you think would
> have evolved at this time?

That's about right, Ross. I agree with Marc Verhaegen that the LCA of
Gorilla/Pan/Homo was probably an 'aquarboreal' ape. I go along with
the accepted dates for this at around 7-5mya and I think it probably
lived around NE Africa on the Tethys coastline which was rapidly
changing around that time with many flood/dessication cycles going on.

I think it was rather orang-like but waded when necessary through
swamps/mangroves and other forest weetlands habitats. It didn't have
any particularly human-like specialisations for bipedalism but as a
wading ape it didn't really need any of those.

I think it is a logical starting point for Gorilla - which then got
larger and more terrestrial and less argoreal; Pan - which got much
more terrestrial and slightly less arboreal; and Homo - which got much
less arboreal, more terrestrial and slightly more aquatic. Most other
models of the LCA seem to assume it was like a chimp - as did I before
Orrorin was discovered making me realise Marc's ideas on this were
much more likely to be correct than I had thought previously.

> Later (you have said 2.6MYA &#8211; based on?), 2 hominids have
> evolved, 1 a fresh-water dweller & the other a coastal diver (how &
> why did these evolve?) The latter at least of these may have been
> hairless, but presumably they were closely related subspecies, as they
> were able to interbreed & produce a fertile hybrid human precursor.
> How am I doing?

I use 2.6my merely as a kind of cut off between pre-Homo
aquarboreality and Homo-like water-side adaptation. (Basically
assuming the first true Homo were different, not arboreal but
water-side living hominids)

My model needs at least two types of hominids, yes. You shouldn't be
surprised about that. Most authorities now see that there was a
significant radiation of hominids after the adoption of bipedalism.
Bipedalism, once emerged, would seem to have given certain advantages.
I see bipedal origins being tied up with wading but once a threshold
was crossed making bipedalism the favoured mode of locomotion on land,
it would clearly give lots of non-aquatic advantages too.

I think there was therefore a widespread radiation of bipedal hominids
giving rise to the many paleospecies we see in the fossil record.
Some of these - I call them river apes - inhabited gallery forests and
became adpated to fresh-water habibats. Perhaps these were the gracile
a'piths which seem to be associated with gallery forest habitats. As
Africa dried and forests shrank these would, paradoxically become more
dependent on water and probably lost body hair to enhance sweat
cooling.
Others found themselves marooned in Danakil before that region became
flooded. This group (I wouldn't call them a species because, as you
anticipate, I think they are likely to have interbred with the river
apes) became more terrestrial because of the lack of land predators on
their island habitat and became more aquatic too having to get much of
their food from foraging todail waters and eventually diving along the
shorelines. The model would argue that these were more salt-water
tolerant and 'marine' too. I accept that there is, as yet, no fossil
evidence whatsoever for these hominids but then who has gone to
Danakil to look for them? The evolution of these hominids off the
African mainland would explain how Homo has avoided the baboon marker
implying an Asian origin for Homo sapiens.

Yes, nakedness, I think evolved later but who knows. There's nothing
in my model that needs it to have evolved earlier or later.

And, yes, after about 3my of separation the model postulates that the
two groups came back together and interbred. So, you are doing vey
well, Ross.

> Then presumably the hybrid ape further evolved into a form more like
> modern humans, but some of your posts suggest you still see early Homo
> as semi-aquatic. Is this so, & if so what types of aquatic
> adaptations, both morphological & behavioural, did they exhibit, & how
> long did they persist?

Yes, I think the hybridisation caused the Homo sapiens speciation and
did so recently and very rapidly, including the change from 48 to 46
chromosomes and thus rapid genetic isolation. I guess this happenned
between 500kya and 300kya. This was a true hybrid, mixing the
different aquatic traits of the parental groups and generating this
rather odd quasi-semi-aquatic hominid we see in ourselves.

I think it is likely that as a hybrid the novo species was adapted to
a hybrid zone - possibly an estuarine habitat to begin with.
Hybridisation is known to produce many differnt genetic combinations
and so the model would postulate that this gave the perceived
phenomenon of rapid evolution that seems to have occured late in the
human story. Brain growth and the rapid evolution of language is seen
to have occured at this time. Hybridisation is one solution to the
Gould-Dawkins dilemma - the question of Saltatory leaps in evolution.

Homo sapiens thus quickly evolved as the speaking - and thus
intelligent in the modern sense - cultural animal he is today and
therefore was able to easily out-compete parental homo species and, as
genetic isolation was built in from the start, almost no genetic
mixing was able to take place. Therefore this part of the model
consists of an extreme (pure) form of the Out of Africa II
(replacement) model.

They continued to live in predominently water-side niches but their
population expanded rapidly. As they did so they expanded along rivers
and coastlines into every conceivable nook and cranny on the planet -
mountain regions, polar regions - yes, even dry savannahs and deserts
- always replacing previous hominids as they went.

> Final question - when did the hominids become savannah-adapted?

Never.

Algis Kuliukas

Jim McGinn

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May 6, 2003, 2:04:56 PM5/6/03
to
al...@RiverApes.com (Algis Kuliukas) wrote

Pure pseudo-science. Your ignorance of the nature of speciation has
provided you to false confidence to dimwittedly employ hybridization
as a causal process that can, supposedly, explain human bevavioral
(culture) diversity.

>
> I think it is likely that as a hybrid the novo species was adapted to
> a hybrid zone - possibly an estuarine habitat to begin with.
> Hybridisation is known to produce many differnt genetic combinations
> and so the model would postulate that this gave the perceived
> phenomenon of rapid evolution that seems to have occured late in the
> human story. Brain growth and the rapid evolution of language is seen
> to have occured at this time. Hybridisation is one solution to the
> Gould-Dawkins dilemma - the question of Saltatory leaps in evolution.

It's not a dilemma, you idiot. Saltatory leaps are explained
perfectly well by shifts in climate. Shifts in climate dictate shifts
in the biota and its species.

>
> Homo sapiens thus quickly evolved as the speaking - and thus
> intelligent in the modern sense - cultural animal he is today

So, for you intelligence, language, and culture are forgone
conclusions. This exemplifies how simpleminded you truly are. It's
like you're retarded. The whole goal of any examination into human
origins is to explain the origins of behaviors like intelligence,
language, and culture which are so prominent in our species and
relatively nonexistent in other species (and nonexistent on this
planet until an extremely recent 8 to 10 mya). How stupid do you have
to be to offer an explanation for hominid evolution and then just
gloss over the part that should be the focus of your explanation. And
it's no excuse that the savanna dipwads make the same omission.

Let's remember folks. We're supposed to be explaining HUMAN
evolution. Not nonexistent swimming monkey evolution. Not some
animal that magically begins using tools millions--on some treelesss
savanna that didn't even exist at this time--years before it has the
intellectual capacity to even begin to use tools.

Humans are psychologically complex, communicative, highly conscious.
These are the traits that need to be explained. It's so funny how you
idiots spend all this time discussing traits like hairlessness. Use
your brain for a change. Once we have an animal that is
psychologically complex, communicative, highly conscious, and that has
intellectual capacity then it is very easy to explain hairlessness by
way of the fact that this animal would be wearing clothes and sitting
around campfires. Duh.

Marc Verhaegen

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May 6, 2003, 2:43:00 PM5/6/03
to
"Algis Kuliukas" <al...@RiverApes.com> wrote in message
news:77a70442.03050...@posting.google.com...

> That's about right, Ross. I agree with Marc Verhaegen that the LCA of
Gorilla/Pan/Homo was probably an 'aquarboreal' ape. I go along with the
accepted dates for this at around 7-5mya and I think it probably lived
around NE Africa on the Tethys coastline which was rapidly changing around
that time with many flood/dessication cycles going on. I think it was
rather orang-like but waded when necessary through swamps/mangroves and
other forest weetlands habitats. It didn't have any particularly human-like
specialisations for bipedalism but as a wading ape it didn't really need any
of those.

I agree of course, but with some nuances: the hominid LCA ca.8 Ma probably
had shorter arms than living orangs, had more humanlike feet, was more
bipedal than orangs, IMO omnivorous & durophagous (thick enamel, tool use:
coco & other nuts...), wading & suspensory (& possibly surface swimming?) in
coastal forests.

> I think it is a logical starting point for Gorilla - which then got larger

and more terrestrial and less arboreal; Pan - which got much more


terrestrial and slightly less arboreal; and Homo - which got much less
arboreal, more terrestrial and slightly more aquatic. Most other models of
the LCA seem to assume it was like a chimp - as did I before Orrorin was
discovered making me realise Marc's ideas on this were much more likely to
be correct than I had thought previously.

:-)

> I use 2.6my merely as a kind of cut off between pre-Homo aquarboreality
and Homo-like water-side adaptation. (Basically assuming the first true Homo
were different, not arboreal but water-side living hominids)

Yes, Homo (less climbing, more wading-swimming-diving) seems to be the
product of the Ice Ages, cf. our Continental Shelf hypothesis: MV & Stephen
Munro 2002 "The continental shelf hypothesis" Nutrition &Health 16:25-27
.....

> Yes, nakedness, I think evolved later but who knows. There's nothing in my
model that needs it to have evolved earlier or later.

Yes, we have no fossilized hominids furs.
......

> > Final question - when did the hominids become savannah-adapted?

> Never. Algis Kuliukas

:-) Obvious, no?

Marc


Algis Kuliukas

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May 6, 2003, 7:09:33 PM5/6/03
to
jimm...@yahoo.com (Jim McGinn) wrote in message news:<ac6a5059.03050...@posting.google.com>...

I employed hybridisation as a mechansism of speciation that provides
rapid genetic isolation through karyotpic change. I think the evidence
is consistent with that. Human evolution does appear to have 'shifted
gear' with the advent of Homo sapiens and I think that is consistent
with the hybridization idea too.

I don't claim that it explains human cultural diversity. That, I
think, is the result of rapid mimetic evolution which has occurred
ever since modern humans first became established around 250kya.

> > I think it is likely that as a hybrid the novo species was adapted to
> > a hybrid zone - possibly an estuarine habitat to begin with.
> > Hybridisation is known to produce many differnt genetic combinations
> > and so the model would postulate that this gave the perceived
> > phenomenon of rapid evolution that seems to have occured late in the
> > human story. Brain growth and the rapid evolution of language is seen
> > to have occured at this time. Hybridisation is one solution to the
> > Gould-Dawkins dilemma - the question of Saltatory leaps in evolution.
>
> It's not a dilemma, you idiot. Saltatory leaps are explained
> perfectly well by shifts in climate. Shifts in climate dictate shifts
> in the biota and its species.

I said 'one solution' not 'the only solution'. Of course climatic
change could also play a part. They are not mutually exclusive. On the
contrary. I start with the observation that humans have a different
karyotype to other hominids and the molecular data indicates a rather
recent speciation. I find the hybridisation model seems to be able to
neatly explain that. So how, where, when could such a hybridisation
have taken place?

Of course both could be related - ie a climatic change (or
specifically the start of the dessication of the Danakil sea) could
have resulted in both the two groups being drawn together and
simultaneously have cause a new habitat to have formed into which the
new species would have had an ideal opportunity to exploit.



> > Homo sapiens thus quickly evolved as the speaking - and thus
> > intelligent in the modern sense - cultural animal he is today
>
> So, for you intelligence, language, and culture are forgone
> conclusions. This exemplifies how simpleminded you truly are. It's
> like you're retarded.

It's so pleasant to deal with you, Jim. Thank you for being so kind.
I don't think they're forgone conclusions actually. I think human
so-called intelligence is very much related to language as it culture.
Apes are intelligent and they have culture, they do not have language.
That is the real difficulty that needs explaining.

I avoided discussing it (language evolution) in my model because I
simply don't have a very good idea as to how it evolved. If pushed,
I'd chose the ideas of Chris Knight et al (language evolving through
social cohesion and mutual trust) but I don't really understand it.
But then, of course, unlike you I am not a World Class Evolutionary
Theorist. By the way Chris Knight is a supporter of the AAH and his
model of language oririgns is entirely consistent with it.

I know the 'aquatic hybrid ape hypothesis' as I call it is very
limited. It merely tries to come up with a kind of 'aquatic' model
that is consistent with the data and answers some of the standard
criticism of it. I did this to try to make the AAH make sense to me if
you or anyone can see flaws I'm very keenand willing to change it.
Anyone who claims their model has all the answers is probably deluding
themslves I certainly make no such claim.

> The whole goal of any examination into human
> origins is to explain the origins of behaviors like intelligence,
> language, and culture which are so prominent in our species and
> relatively nonexistent in other species (and nonexistent on this
> planet until an extremely recent 8 to 10 mya). How stupid do you have
> to be to offer an explanation for hominid evolution and then just
> gloss over the part that should be the focus of your explanation. And
> it's no excuse that the savanna dipwads make the same omission.
>
> Let's remember folks. We're supposed to be explaining HUMAN
> evolution. Not nonexistent swimming monkey evolution. Not some
> animal that magically begins using tools millions--on some treelesss
> savanna that didn't even exist at this time--years before it has the
> intellectual capacity to even begin to use tools.

The evolution of human 'culture' and language appear to be relatively
recent things that happenned only after our speciation about
250-300kya. Therefore I make no excuse for focusing on the physical.
If we can't explain the physical foundation of hominids the any
cultural explanations are on very shaky ground.
Swimming monkeys (I'd prefer ape) do exist - they're quite common on
this planet. You and I both are part of that species.

> Humans are psychologically complex, communicative, highly conscious.
> These are the traits that need to be explained. It's so funny how you
> idiots spend all this time discussing traits like hairlessness. Use
> your brain for a change. Once we have an animal that is
> psychologically complex, communicative, highly conscious, and that has
> intellectual capacity then it is very easy to explain hairlessness by
> way of the fact that this animal would be wearing clothes and sitting
> around campfires. Duh.

Yes, Jim. We're all idiots except you.

Algis Kuliukas

Jim McGinn

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May 7, 2003, 1:46:52 PM5/7/03
to
al...@RiverApes.com (Algis Kuliukas) wrote

> > > Yes, I think the hybridisation caused the Homo sapiens speciation

Let me get this straight, you think, "the hybridisation
caused the Homo sapiens speciation." What, exactly, does
this phrase mean. I don't think you even know what you're
saying. Hybridization is part of any process of
speciation. But you have the cart before the horse to
suggest that it is (or could be) causative.

> > > and
> > > did so recently and very rapidly, including the change from 48 to 46
> > > chromosomes and thus rapid genetic isolation.

You're just parroting back population biology terminology.
You have no more basis for theorizing "rapid genetic
isolation" for hominids than you do for kumquats. Who do
you think you're kidding.

I guess this happenned
> > > between 500kya and 300kya. This was a true hybrid,

That's good, don't you just hate those false hybrids.

mixing the
> > > different aquatic traits of the parental groups

Hopefully they're water soluble.

and generating this
> > > rather odd quasi-semi-aquatic hominid we see in ourselves.

I seem to have misplaced my odd quasi-semi-aquatic hominid.
Might you have a spare?

> >
> > Pure pseudo-science. Your ignorance of the nature of speciation has
> > provided you to false confidence to dimwittedly employ hybridization
> > as a causal process that can, supposedly, explain human bevavioral
> > (culture) diversity.
>
> I employed hybridisation as a mechansism of speciation that provides
> rapid genetic isolation through karyotpic change.

What in the world are you talking about. Have you
independently created a new science?

I don't know what "karyotpic change" is. But from what I can
gather it's a pretty safe bet that you've completely
miscomprehended it.

I think the evidence
> is consistent with that.

Consistent with what?

Human evolution does appear to have 'shifted
> gear' with the advent of Homo sapiens and I think that is consistent
> with the hybridization idea too.

I think you have no idea how idiotic you look to be
employing hybridization as a source of innovation. It's
like you're just creating you're own universe filled with
new and exciting biological mechanisms.

>
> I don't claim that it explains human cultural diversity. That, I
> think, is the result of rapid mimetic evolution

Rapid mimetic evolution? What is this and why didn't
all of the other species experience this "rapid mimetic
evolution." (I read the book in which Dawkins coined the
phrase meme. I cringed when I got to this part of the book.
Meme is just a fancy word for idea. So what you are actually
saying here is that our hominid ancestors got ideas and
these ideas drove their evolution. This is pseudo-scientific
BS.) You have a very creative understanding of how to apply
science.

which has occurred
> ever since modern humans first became established around 250kya.

Yeah, this must have been when they had their Rapid Mimetic
Evolution kick-off party.

>
> > > I think it is likely that as a hybrid the novo species was adapted to
> > > a hybrid zone - possibly an estuarine habitat to begin with.
> > > Hybridisation is known to produce many differnt genetic combinations
> > > and so the model would postulate that this gave the perceived
> > > phenomenon of rapid evolution that seems to have occured late in the
> > > human story. Brain growth and the rapid evolution of language is seen
> > > to have occured at this time. Hybridisation is one solution to the
> > > Gould-Dawkins dilemma - the question of Saltatory leaps in evolution.
> >
> > It's not a dilemma, you idiot. Saltatory leaps are explained
> > perfectly well by shifts in climate. Shifts in climate dictate shifts
> > in the biota and its species.
>
> I said 'one solution' not 'the only solution'.

You don't even use the terminology correctly and you're
calling it a solution. This is the usual nonsense.

Of course climatic
> change could also play a part. They are not mutually exclusive.

What are not mutually exclusive. (You haven't provided an
alternative explanation for the observed phenomenon, punctuated
evolution. All you're doing here, Algis, is throwing out big
words and deluding yourself into believing you know what you
are talking about.)

On the
> contrary. I start with the observation that humans have a different
> karyotype to other hominids

How is this relevant?

and the molecular data indicates a rather
> recent speciation.

What molecular data? Please be specific.
I'm aware of no such data.


I find the hybridisation model

> Oh! Now it's a "model." Well, well.

seems to be able to
> neatly explain that. So how, where, when could such a hybridisation
> have taken place?

Do you have a point here somewhere. You pulled hybridization
out of your ass and now you're asking me where it took place?
What are you talking about?

>
> Of course both could be related - ie a climatic change (or
> specifically the start of the dessication of the Danakil sea) could
> have resulted in both the two groups being drawn together and
> simultaneously have cause a new habitat to have formed into which the
> new species would have had an ideal opportunity to exploit.

?

>
> > > Homo sapiens thus quickly evolved as the speaking - and thus
> > > intelligent in the modern sense - cultural animal he is today
> >
> > So, for you intelligence, language, and culture are forgone
> > conclusions. This exemplifies how simpleminded you truly are. It's
> > like you're retarded.
>
> It's so pleasant to deal with you, Jim.

Why thank you, Algis.

> Thank you for being so kind.

Don't mention it.

> I don't think they're forgone conclusions actually. I think human
> so-called intelligence is very much related to language as it culture.
> Apes are intelligent

Apes are intelligent?

> and they have culture,

Apes have culture?

they do not have language.
> That is the real difficulty that needs explaining.

Yes, how come these highly intelligent and cultured apes aren't more chatty?

(Algis, BTW, apes are not intelligent. And their cultural
abilities are extremely limited by any measure. You can't even
get these simple facts straight in your head.)

>
> I avoided discussing it (language evolution) in my model because I
> simply don't have a very good idea as to how it evolved.

That never stopped you before.

(Language and intelligence could not have evolved separately.
There are completely complimentary and useless [or almost
useless] without each other.)

If pushed,
> I'd chose the ideas of Chris Knight et al (language evolving through
> social cohesion and mutual trust)

That's like saying wind is the result of air pressure and
vice versa. My point being that Chris Knight must be an
idiot (or you've misinterpreted him). Obviously language
evolved in the context of a social setting (It's useless
otherwise!).

but I don't really understand it.
> But then, of course, unlike you I am not a World Class Evolutionary
> Theorist.

No need to point out the obvious.

> By the way Chris Knight is a supporter of the AAH

Why am I not surprised.

> and his
> model of language oririgns is entirely consistent with it.

Is it? AAH is whackoism (same as SAT) and it's only your
ignorance that prevents you from realizing this.

>
> I know the 'aquatic hybrid ape hypothesis' as I call it is very
> limited. It merely tries to come up with a kind of 'aquatic' model
> that is consistent with the data and answers some of the standard
> criticism of it. I did this to try to make the AAH make sense to me

Let me get this straight. You read AAH. It didn't make
sense to you. So you decided you would try to make it make
sense. (I'm getting a good sense of your approach to science.)

> if you or anyone can see flaws I'm very keenand willing to change it.

You've done nothing but present a silly notion that
is immediately dismissable. It's not a model. It's
little more than a trivial notion that does little more
than advertise the ignorance of those who would be silly
enought to propose it.

> Anyone who claims their model has all the answers is probably deluding
> themslves I certainly make no such claim.

That's encouraging.

>
> > The whole goal of any examination into human
> > origins is to explain the origins of behaviors like intelligence,
> > language, and culture which are so prominent in our species and
> > relatively nonexistent in other species (and nonexistent on this
> > planet until an extremely recent 8 to 10 mya). How stupid do you have
> > to be to offer an explanation for hominid evolution and then just
> > gloss over the part that should be the focus of your explanation. And
> > it's no excuse that the savanna dipwads make the same omission.
> >
> > Let's remember folks. We're supposed to be explaining HUMAN
> > evolution. Not nonexistent swimming monkey evolution. Not some
> > animal that magically begins using tools millions--on some treelesss
> > savanna that didn't even exist at this time--years before it has the
> > intellectual capacity to even begin to use tools.
>
> The evolution of human 'culture' and language appear to be relatively
> recent things that happenned only after our speciation about
> 250-300kya.

How, exactly, do they "appear," as such.

(Fact: They do not appear one way or another. You just
interpret the data in a manner that fits your sensibilities.)

> Therefore I make no excuse for focusing on the physical.
> If we can't explain the physical foundation of hominids

And this supposedly involves them spending time wading in
waste deep water. This is what you call a model. And you
expect people to take this seriously.

> the any
> cultural explanations are on very shaky ground.

Uh, what does the phrase, "explanations are on very shaky
ground," mean? And what was the thought process that brought
you to this sweeping conclusion? I think what you are saying
is that culture is hard to model therefore we should just
ignore it and focus on bipedalism which is relatively easy
to model. Another words, you propose that we should let the
evidence lead us by the nose.

> Swimming monkeys (I'd prefer ape) do exist - they're quite common on
> this planet. You and I both are part of that species.

Isn't that special. :)

>
> > Humans are psychologically complex, communicative, highly conscious.
> > These are the traits that need to be explained. It's so funny how you
> > idiots spend all this time discussing traits like hairlessness. Use
> > your brain for a change. Once we have an animal that is
> > psychologically complex, communicative, highly conscious, and that has
> > intellectual capacity then it is very easy to explain hairlessness by
> > way of the fact that this animal would be wearing clothes and sitting
> > around campfires. Duh.
>
> Yes, Jim. We're all idiots except you.

It would seem. But don't lose hope. You may never get
smart but maybe someday I will get stupid.

Jim

Ross Macfarlane

unread,
May 8, 2003, 5:56:31 AM5/8/03
to
al...@RiverApes.com (Algis Kuliukas) wrote in message news:<77a70442.03050...@posting.google.com>...

> >
> > I would like to understand better your particular hypothesis /
> > scenario of human evolution. Can you tell me if I have understood it
> > correctly?
>
> I suspect you are trying to take the mick, but ok, seeing you ask...

No, I wasn't. I was trying to correct one of the problems with arguing
against your hypothesis of hominid evolution, which is trying to
understand what it is. What it is, as you've confirmed for me, is not
1 hypothesis, but several.

The result of not understanding this is that, in the same thread, 1
debate will develop arguing about whether any medium-sized
semi-aquatic mammals are hairless, & another debating whether or not
there is a selective advantage for hairlessness in water. If the
answer to the former question is no, then the answer to the latter
question would be moot, because it would imply that wading hominids
would probably not evolve hairlessness. However, your hypothesis is
(or seems to be) that the hairlessness probably evolved in a separate
event.

It's important for us to understand the lack of unity in the
hypothesis, because you (& Marc, & Pauline) tend to introduce
fragments of evidence piecemeal into the debate, & it if it isn't
clear which aquatic evolutionary event the evidence you proffer
relates to, it becomes difficult to understand your overall position.

So - bipedalism evolved as a response to wading in 1 evolutionary
event, & hairlessness / swimming / diving evolved in another putative
event. It takes a hybridisation to bring these 2 together, with
subsequent refining of the latter suite of characteristics in Homo. As
best as I can tell...

Hardy envisaged the aquatic ape theory as a sweeping scenario which
would capture & explain all the odd features of human morphology in 1
fell swoop. This was at a time over 40 years ago when the number of
hominid fossils & level of data surrounding them was small enough to
possibly sustain such a view.

You'll not be surprised that I view your hypothesis as firstly an
acceptance that this vision of a single over-arching aquatic
explanation has failed, and secondly as a construct developed in
response to a desire to maintain an aquatic ape hypothesis after
Hardy's vision has failed.

Crucial to the specifics of your particular hypothesis is the supposed
hybridisation event. To my knowledge, there is no paleontological
precedent, nor any theory of genetics or speciation amongst
multicellular organisms, which could accomodate an event as unlikely
as you describe.

Algis, it's my suspicion that your hypothesis began as an attempt to
create a hybrid between contradictory lines of evidence, and you
somehow twisted this philosophical construct, in your mind, into an
actual hybridisation event. My view on this is simply: if you have to
invent a unique & unprecedented biological occurence to sustain your
worldview, your worldview, in my opinion, simply can't be sustained.


>
> > Final question - when did the hominids become savannah-adapted?
>
> Never.
>
> Algis Kuliukas

Yes well... I had hoped you could display more objectivity than that,
but I'm afraid that response just sums up the direction of this whole
debate. It's going nowhere.

Algis, you may have better manners than Marc, but your hypothesis of
hominid evolution is no better, & the chances of you being ever able
to recognise it are no better either. So for now, I'm giving up on
exercises in futility...

Ross Macfarlane

Algis Kuliukas

unread,
May 8, 2003, 10:16:02 AM5/8/03
to
rmac...@alphalink.com.au (Ross Macfarlane) wrote in message news:<18fa6145.03050...@posting.google.com>...
> al...@RiverApes.com (Algis Kuliukas) wrote in message news:<77a70442.03050...@posting.google.com>...
> > >
> > > I would like to understand better your particular hypothesis /
> > > scenario of human evolution. Can you tell me if I have understood it
> > > correctly?
> >
> > I suspect you are trying to take the mick, but ok, seeing you ask...
>
> No, I wasn't. I was trying to correct one of the problems with arguing
> against your hypothesis of hominid evolution, which is trying to
> understand what it is. What it is, as you've confirmed for me, is not
> 1 hypothesis, but several.

Fair enough.

> The result of not understanding this is that, in the same thread, 1
> debate will develop arguing about whether any medium-sized
> semi-aquatic mammals are hairless, & another debating whether or not
> there is a selective advantage for hairlessness in water. If the
> answer to the former question is no, then the answer to the latter
> question would be moot, because it would imply that wading hominids
> would probably not evolve hairlessness. However, your hypothesis is
> (or seems to be) that the hairlessness probably evolved in a separate
> event.

Yes, that's right. The hypothesis is that moving through water was a
big factor in our evolution. Wading does not really require hair loss
to improve locomotor efficiency whereas swimming and diving do. As the
earliest bipeds lived at least 6mya and we know nothing about the
possible swimming abilities of any hominid apart from the fact that we
are, today, the strongest of all the primates it is logical to
seperate them, I think.

> It's important for us to understand the lack of unity in the
> hypothesis, because you (& Marc, & Pauline) tend to introduce
> fragments of evidence piecemeal into the debate, & it if it isn't
> clear which aquatic evolutionary event the evidence you proffer
> relates to, it becomes difficult to understand your overall position.

It is rather naive, I think, to expect any such "unity." Is there any
unity in the non-aquatic theories? Having said that I'd argue that
there is still probably more agreement within those that support the
AAH than those who do not. For example we have about dozen different
non-aquatic ideas on the origin of bipedality whereas all the
different proponents of aome form of AAH agree that wading was
probably the major factor.

I cannot speak for the others but for me it is pretty clear that
humans are physically different from other apes in ways that can be
explained some kind of adaptation to movement through water. That is
the starting point upon which a detailed model has to be built and, of
course, argued over. But that fundemental point is one you steadfastly
refuse to accept, even as a possibility. It seems to me that
aquasceptics have dug themselves into such a staunchly ant-AAH trench
that they cannot now even admit the most absurdly mild of
possibilities - in your case, even that our ancestors lived closer to
water than ape ancestors did. This is, in a way, understandable. You
clearly realise that admitting anything, on this slippery slope, would
be tantamount to an admission that the AAH was actually right all
along. Because if we lived by water more than chimps then, logically,
we must have moved through it more too. If we moved through it more,
then - through the laws of natural selection - clearly we'd have
become more adapted to it too. All you'd be left with then is pathetic
arguments about the 'degree' of aquaticism - claiming that these
aquatic pressures would have been so slight as to have made no
difference at all - an impossible position to hold.



> So - bipedalism evolved as a response to wading in 1 evolutionary
> event, & hairlessness / swimming / diving evolved in another putative
> event. It takes a hybridisation to bring these 2 together, with
> subsequent refining of the latter suite of characteristics in Homo. As
> best as I can tell...

No it doesn't need the hybridisation event. AFAIK I'm in a minority of
one on that idea. The basic model is simple enough: Wading led to
bipedalism and from the radiation that followed several hominids lived
contemporaneously. Any number of those could have possibly started
evolving in a Homo-like direction through swimming and diving. And
according to some AAH models (e.g. Elaine's own ideas I think) these
water-side living hominids could then have moved away from the water
to become purely terrestrial. My own varient is that two such aquatic
hominids interbred causing the Homo sapiens speciation and that the
water-side living never really stopped. I'd argue that human ancestors
were less aquatic than some of the other models but that it went on
for longer - in fact never really stopped.

> Hardy envisaged the aquatic ape theory as a sweeping scenario which
> would capture & explain all the odd features of human morphology in 1
> fell swoop. This was at a time over 40 years ago when the number of
> hominid fossils & level of data surrounding them was small enough to
> possibly sustain such a view.

Did he? Did he tell you that or did you read it somewhere? I was
speaking with his son just before I left England and that is not the
impression he gave me. Still, you know best.

Hardy had made an observation (sc fat in aquatic mammals) and made the
analogy with humans after reading about sc fat in humans. He realised
that the theory was controversial so kept it 'in the dark' for thirty
years before going public with it. He was, I feel, a rather more
modest than you portray him to be.

Remember he only posed the question "Was Man more aquatic int he
past?" More aquatic, note. The press knee-jerk reaction was to laugh
at the idea and assume he was talking about dolphins and mermaids.
Unfortunately, it seems that most PAs are still stuck in that
knee-jerk first impression even today.

All he was trying to do was to stimulate a debate and to encourage
scientists to test the theory. The response was appauling. Almost
nothing was done and the only words that were said were ridicule.



> You'll not be surprised that I view your hypothesis as firstly an
> acceptance that this vision of a single over-arching aquatic
> explanation has failed, and secondly as a construct developed in
> response to a desire to maintain an aquatic ape hypothesis after
> Hardy's vision has failed.

It's not that it failed. Hardy never had a model as such. He made no
predictions, had the barest timescale and offered no evidence other
than human anatomy analogies with aquatics. He was merely asking a
question so how could it have failed? The failure, if there was one,
must lie with the paleoanthropologists of the 1960s who simply ignored
it completely rather than having an ounce of proper scientific
curiosity about the idea.

Like Elaine Morgan, when I heard about the idea, I first thought 'yes,
there's something in this obviously' and then, when I realised that
the textbooks didn't even mention it as a possibility - 'so, what's
wrong with it?'

Because I had the benefit of Elaine's books and the chance to read the
debates on this forum I could see both sides of the argument. I could
see the strengths - like we are dependent on water, we can swim better
than apes and infants do seem relatively comfortable in water; and the
weaknesses - we're not really much like true aquatics, semi-aquatic
mammals are not really like us and although we are mainly fresh water
adapted we do have odd traits that indicate a marine link too. I made
it my goal to come up with a version of the AAH that kind of fitted in
the middle somewhere and made sense to both sides. (Optimistic, I
know! :-))

> Crucial to the specifics of your particular hypothesis is the supposed
> hybridisation event. To my knowledge, there is no paleontological
> precedent, nor any theory of genetics or speciation amongst
> multicellular organisms, which could accomodate an event as unlikely
> as you describe.

The hybridisation event is an explanation of the chromosome number
change and, simultaneously, our speciation. It also, for me, answers a
few contradictions about the AAH - like the fresh water/salt water
ones.

Speciation through hybridization is possible and there are a number of
workers who specialise in studying it. See Loren Reiseberg and Alan
Templeton for just two. It's not a popular theory but, as we AAH-ers
know only too well, that does not necessarily make it wrong.

> Algis, it's my suspicion that your hypothesis began as an attempt to
> create a hybrid between contradictory lines of evidence, and you
> somehow twisted this philosophical construct, in your mind, into an
> actual hybridisation event.

No. The other way round really. I started out thinking that the AAH
was right to some degree but that because it wasn't accepted I needed
to learn and understand the objections to it. I found that many of the
objections were very weak - based upon the straw man headline that
Hardy was claiming we evolved from mermaids or something. When I found
out that our chomosome numbers were different from all the other apes
I, seperately, started reading up on the theories that accounted for
that and found Templeton's hybridiation idea the most convincing.
Having incorporated hybridization into the model it dawned on me that
a hybridisation of ideas is what we really need here. All the
brilliant minds that have been working on these problems over the
years cannot be wrong. I found that it is possible to look at two
different views about human evolution and find some common thread or
find that if you only change one slight assumption things can come
together - so 'a hybrid of models about a hybrid of hominids' came to
mind.

My model is probably rubbish, I know that. But it's the best I have
been able to come up with so far and I am committed to changing it
whenever convincing new evidence comes up.

> My view on this is simply: if you have to
> invent a unique & unprecedented biological occurence to sustain your
> worldview, your worldview, in my opinion, simply can't be sustained.

The hybridisation event is not necessary in the AAH but I have yet to
read a more convincing model for chromosome number change. And, Ross,
we do have different numbers of chromosomes than the other great apes.
The AAH makes more sense to me with hybridisation in the model, that's
all I can say at the moment.

> > > Final question - when did the hominids become savannah-adapted?
> >
> > Never.
>

> Yes well... I had hoped you could display more objectivity than that,
> but I'm afraid that response just sums up the direction of this whole
> debate. It's going nowhere.

There are aquasceptics that would dismiss the savannah adaptation idea
as strongly as I do.



> Algis, you may have better manners than Marc, but your hypothesis of
> hominid evolution is no better, & the chances of you being ever able
> to recognise it are no better either. So for now, I'm giving up on
> exercises in futility...

You're entitled to your opinion, of course. In return may I just say
that for a moment I thought you were an objective-minded poster to
this forum but you've rather disappointed me with your rigid
aquascepticism. You are, I think, about as objective as Clarke and
Love although I would grant that you do argue more convincingly than
they do.

Algis Kuliukas

Abazagaroth

unread,
May 8, 2003, 3:19:29 PM5/8/03
to
al...@RiverApes.com (Algis Kuliukas) wrote in message news:<77a70442.03050...@posting.google.com>...
> rmac...@alphalink.com.au (Ross Macfarlane) wrote in message news:<18fa6145.03050...@posting.google.com>...
> > No, I wasn't. I was trying to correct one of the problems with arguing
> > against your hypothesis of hominid evolution, which is trying to
> > understand what it is. What it is, as you've confirmed for me, is not
> > 1 hypothesis, but several.
>
> Fair enough.

Hypotheses built on hypotheses built on more hypotheses lend little to
credibility, and only end up appealing to those credulous to the idea
in the first place (and only incite the flames of those incredulous to
the idea to begin with).

This was the point of Langdon's JHE paper 6 years ago. These aquatic
theories are theories of everything and nothing. They try to explain
everything, and whenever any part is shown to be incorrect, equivocal,
or even just unlikely, there is the cry that this doesn't matter,
because its only a "minor" part of the theory in the first place.

This is why people get so frustrated with Marc, as he has this down
pat. Whenever someone points out a single problem, he turns the
problem back out onto the overarching theory in an attempt to minimize
the importance of the original point, and then claim "no one has
presented 1 argument against" his scenario (because in his mind the
original point is no longer an "argument against" since he has
deflected it back onto the overarching theory which is still
supporting by all the other pieces of "evidence"). It doesn't matter
if some, many, most, or even all of the points in support of the
theory have been discredited or shown to be equivocal, since he
refuses to stop using this - at best - illogical and naive method or -
at worst - intellectually dishonest method.

It is perfectly fine to have an umbrella theory. You're welcome to it.
However, it is only as strong as its weakest point. It could still be
correct, almost anything is possible, but you can't dismiss everything
else while latching onto one point, and then use that single point as
the bar of credulity of the theory.

In addition, by recognizing your ideas as multiple hypotheses, you
should be recognizing that the same is true of *every* larger idea in
reconstructing human origins. Just like it is unfair to brand all
aquatic based ideas based on one point of data or on the evaluation of
one particular brand of aquaticism, the same is true for then
"savanna" straw man that most of the aquatic crowd likes to attack.

Think about the AAT list. Think about how many times I pointed out
that there is no "savanna theory", that the concept being attacked
there was just a straw man (both in the interpretation of what savanna
meant and in the idea there is some larger "theory" tied to it that is
widely accepted), and that there was no "standard PA" that kept being
attacked there. Paleoanthropology is a specialized subfield of
physical anthropology, and the fact that a myriad of intro phys anth
classes regurgitate the same stuff from 20-50 years ago because both
the professors teaching those classes and those that wrote the intro
books are not paleoanthropologists does not mean there is any
"standard PA". Might as well do your academic research from an
encylcopedia britanica if that is the definition of "standard". Now,
what happened when I pointed this out? Aside from Marc posting some
link to a news blurb written by a reporter (which only served to prove
the point of the inappropriate straw man interpretation of the
supposed "rival" savanna theory), several times you and Pauline and
maybe one or two others responded that they understood, or that was
interesting, that they didn't realize that, whatever. Then two days
later all would revert to using the same snipes against "savanna
theory" and "standard PA" that you claimed as inappropriate from the
"aquasceptics" that sniped at the various AAT/AAH strawmen.

> > The result of not understanding this is that, in the same thread, 1
> > debate will develop arguing about whether any medium-sized
> > semi-aquatic mammals are hairless, & another debating whether or not
> > there is a selective advantage for hairlessness in water. If the
> > answer to the former question is no, then the answer to the latter
> > question would be moot, because it would imply that wading hominids
> > would probably not evolve hairlessness. However, your hypothesis is
> > (or seems to be) that the hairlessness probably evolved in a separate
> > event.
>
> Yes, that's right. The hypothesis is that moving through water was a
> big factor in our evolution. Wading does not really require hair loss
> to improve locomotor efficiency whereas swimming and diving do. As the
> earliest bipeds lived at least 6mya and we know nothing about the
> possible swimming abilities of any hominid apart from the fact that we
> are, today, the strongest of all the primates it is logical to
> seperate them, I think.

Get rid of "require". There is no requiring of hair loss, for any
reason. Evolution does not proceed from what is "most adaptive" (i.e.
it doesn't follow a predefined course assuming several preceeding
factors) all the time, and its only an assumption that it does so much
of the time. Selection is not random, but that doesn't mean you can
set up some premises and follow from them using opinions of what is
going to be more or less adaptive, particularly if you only have one
side of the equation. Adaptive explainations are set up to explain how
and/or why something happened. That means you have s starting point
and an end point and are trying to explain the transition.

You can certainly set up a hypothetical starting point and then
attempt to show how it could logically follow along a course fitting
the idea to get to the modern condition, but that doesn't give
anything in the original idea's favor other than logical consistency
for that point. It does not make the original point more parsimonious,
and certainly doesn't lend it any support in a way that could be
construed as evidence. Its still speculation relying on credulity of
the reader for convincing rather than the strength of the theory and
the evidence on its own.

In addition, you say:

"As the earliest bipeds lived at least 6mya and we know nothing about
the possible swimming abilities of any hominid apart from the fact
that we are, today, the strongest of all the primates it is logical to
seperate them, I think"

This is not logical. It is again speculation that you are relying on
credulity for support. Much better to say that in your theory the two
aren't required to be together. You cannot say with any strength of
evidence if they were or weren't coincidental.

> > It's important for us to understand the lack of unity in the
> > hypothesis, because you (& Marc, & Pauline) tend to introduce
> > fragments of evidence piecemeal into the debate, & it if it isn't
> > clear which aquatic evolutionary event the evidence you proffer
> > relates to, it becomes difficult to understand your overall position.
>
> It is rather naive, I think, to expect any such "unity." Is there any
> unity in the non-aquatic theories? Having said that I'd argue that
> there is still probably more agreement within those that support the
> AAH than those who do not. For example we have about dozen different
> non-aquatic ideas on the origin of bipedality whereas all the
> different proponents of aome form of AAH agree that wading was
> probably the major factor.

It is not naive to expect such unity. It is the basis of having a
"theory". And you are correct, the "non-aquatic" theories that you and
Pauline refer to (and Marc dismisses) have little unity. However, this
is *because they are not theories*. They are straw men, and to claim
that your straw men don't have X so neither do you is to argue against
your own claims. You looked at the theories of bipedalism. You know
damn well that there is one of those "non-aquatic" theory that even by
your own reckoning was equivocal to your idea. It also happens to be
the same one that seems logically consistent and reasonable to me (and
I went to great lengths on the AAT list to use that speculative idea
(note, I did not call it a "theory" as I don't pretend to have
examined it close enough to try and build a theory) as a comparison to
another fringe idea to show equivolency of speculation and the
uselessness of credulity as the basis of evidence).

Acting as if multiple opinions invalidates all other ideas is as
closeminded as me stating that the multiple opinions in the AAT/AAH
crowd invalidates yours, right?

> I cannot speak for the others but for me it is pretty clear that
> humans are physically different from other apes in ways that can be
> explained some kind of adaptation to movement through water. That is
> the starting point upon which a detailed model has to be built and, of
> course, argued over. But that fundemental point is one you steadfastly
> refuse to accept, even as a possibility. It seems to me that
> aquasceptics have dug themselves into such a staunchly ant-AAH trench
> that they cannot now even admit the most absurdly mild of
> possibilities - in your case, even that our ancestors lived closer to
> water than ape ancestors did. This is, in a way, understandable. You
> clearly realise that admitting anything, on this slippery slope, would
> be tantamount to an admission that the AAH was actually right all
> along. Because if we lived by water more than chimps then, logically,
> we must have moved through it more too. If we moved through it more,
> then - through the laws of natural selection - clearly we'd have
> become more adapted to it too. All you'd be left with then is pathetic
> arguments about the 'degree' of aquaticism - claiming that these
> aquatic pressures would have been so slight as to have made no
> difference at all - an impossible position to hold.

Straw men again, Algis? I would have to label myself an "aquaskeptic".
Have you ever seen me refuse to admit possibilities? Or more
specifically, refuse to admit particular pieces of data? I have no
problem with human ancestors living near water, exploiting water
resources, or even that some pieces of evidence could be used to claim
a semi-aquatic past. What I *do* have a problem with is the misuse of
evidence as independent points of data when other points of data
contradict, discredit, or even at the most basic level make the data
equivocal. I *do* have a problem with the idea of human ancestors as
having physiologically adapated to extensive time in the water because
I simply do not see any logical consistency and credibility of
evidence to see physical adaptation to living in a water environment.
What I *do* have a problem with is the leap of logic from using water
resources, and their importance in the evolution of the human clade,
to the claim of physical adaptation to the water. What I *do* have a
problem with is the intellectual dishonesty of Marc, and his reuse of
information shown to be unreliable, incorrect, or equivocal, and its
use as the roseta stone of evolutionary biology. What I *do* have a
problem with is the intellectual dishonesty of Marc, and is explicit
refusal to admit he has been told something before, and to go out of
his way to force others to redo the same refutation/discrediting of
some particular point, such that people eventually tire of having to
redo the same typing over and over and over because every single time
he makes X claim and the same points are brought up again and again,
he claims to know nothing about them. What I *do* have a problem with
is you and Pauline continually referring to a straw man of "savanna
theory" so that you can dismiss it out of hand and sit back and bask
in the supposed self-evidence of the aquatic idea based on relative
credulity, even after that point has been brought to your attention
*multiple times*. I also have a problem with you and Pauline both
refusing to ever make a peep on any thread (either here or in AAT
group) that contradicts Marc, no matter how far off the deepend he is
on a particular issue, no matter how much he *lies* about something
and has the evidence that has has throw right back in his face, and
then every time someone posts some inane anectdote, you chime in with
"interesting! that sure seems to support aat! what do you think,
marc?".

Yes, I realize both of you haven't spent much time in AAT group in the
past year posting anyway, but when you both were posting daily on many
or even most topics, you scrupulously avoided contradicting Marc, even
when he was being obviously intellectually dishonest.

You state:

"You clearly realise that admitting anything, on this slippery slope,
would be tantamount to an admission that the AAH was actually right
all along."

Now, can you really claim you are being intellectually honest? Do you
really intend to state that if someone says, "Yes, a reduction in hair
could produce a minor and *insignificant* reduction in drag when in
the water." That they are admitting that AAH is "actually right all
along"?

> > So - bipedalism evolved as a response to wading in 1 evolutionary
> > event, & hairlessness / swimming / diving evolved in another putative
> > event. It takes a hybridisation to bring these 2 together, with
> > subsequent refining of the latter suite of characteristics in Homo. As
> > best as I can tell...
>
> No it doesn't need the hybridisation event. AFAIK I'm in a minority of
> one on that idea. The basic model is simple enough: Wading led to
> bipedalism and from the radiation that followed several hominids lived
> contemporaneously. Any number of those could have possibly started
> evolving in a Homo-like direction through swimming and diving. And
> according to some AAH models (e.g. Elaine's own ideas I think) these
> water-side living hominids could then have moved away from the water
> to become purely terrestrial. My own varient is that two such aquatic
> hominids interbred causing the Homo sapiens speciation and that the
> water-side living never really stopped. I'd argue that human ancestors
> were less aquatic than some of the other models but that it went on
> for longer - in fact never really stopped.

It is a just-so story, Algis. Maybe its correct, it could be after
all. But it is a just-so story (you set up the premise and devise a
manner that it could have proceeded from that premise to the known
present), not one based on physical evidence. Now, there are lots of
just-so ideas in paleoanthropology (how could there not be with so
little evidence?), but that doesn't make your's any better than those.

What is the unequivocal evidence supporting adaptation to a water
environment?Exploiting the environment is not good enough, we
obviously do and did do that. Positing a hypothesis and show how it
could happen is not good enough, there are hundreds of those. Showing
evidence that is equivocal with other ideas is not good enough, if the
evidence works as well with another idea(s), why pick yours over
those?

I have no problem with creating a hypothesis like you have done. I do
have a problem with you supporting it completely with just-so stories,
equivocal evidence, and appeals to credulity and then expecting for
people to support it as self-evident. Its perfectly fine to create a
hypothesis that you believe is correct, or more correct than others.
It is not perfectly fine to be so dismissive of anything or anyone
that doesn't agree, and those that do not see it as credulous just
because you do, nor to act as if someone that won't agree with you is
close-minded. Don't get me wrong, its just as obvious that many of the
people you argue with here have the same fault at times or even all
the time for some of them, but that doesn't excuse you doing the same.

> > Hardy envisaged the aquatic ape theory as a sweeping scenario which
> > would capture & explain all the odd features of human morphology in 1
> > fell swoop. This was at a time over 40 years ago when the number of
> > hominid fossils & level of data surrounding them was small enough to
> > possibly sustain such a view.
>
> Did he? Did he tell you that or did you read it somewhere? I was
> speaking with his son just before I left England and that is not the
> impression he gave me. Still, you know best.

Does it really matter what hardy believed? This is for both of you.
Just let it go. Ideas presented in a non-professional magazine by a
non-specialist 40 years ago aren't so important in an of themselves
they should be used to detract from an idea someone else has that is
similar or even inspired by the original.

> Hardy had made an observation (sc fat in aquatic mammals) and made the
> analogy with humans after reading about sc fat in humans. He realised
> that the theory was controversial so kept it 'in the dark' for thirty
> years before going public with it. He was, I feel, a rather more
> modest than you portray him to be.

He also believe in ESP, didn't he? =P Just another reason to keep him
out of this entirely. He's dead, he didn't spend his life creating or
defending an aah/aat theory, so why not keep it to those that have?

> Remember he only posed the question "Was Man more aquatic int he
> past?" More aquatic, note. The press knee-jerk reaction was to laugh
> at the idea and assume he was talking about dolphins and mermaids.
> Unfortunately, it seems that most PAs are still stuck in that
> knee-jerk first impression even today.

No, they aren't. Most are incredulous because they have been fed on
other ideas they whole career, and when they see the contradictions
and level of evidence being used by the most vocal aat/aah adherents
they lump them together with the ufo people. It isn't a knee-jerk
reaction, its a delayed reaction informed by the fallacies that some
aah/aat adherents refuse to abandon.

When it gets boiled down to aat/aah being an idea of exploitation of
marine or riverine resources, you get a better response. When it comes
to claiming a physical adaptation to those resources or manner of
living, there is more skepticism, but people listen. When you fall
back on the same tired stuff mentioned before, dismiss honest
incredulity, or depend on just-so stories to support the position,
then they run screaming for the hills.

There are a lot of problems with academia, and one of those is the
resistance to new ideas. So even when someone has a "Great Idea" there
is resistance. But when someone refuses to critically examine their
own position, or the position of those that lend them some support
just to maintain that support, then you reap what you sew in terms of
credibility.

> All he was trying to do was to stimulate a debate and to encourage
> scientists to test the theory. The response was appauling. Almost
> nothing was done and the only words that were said were ridicule.

How exactly is the "theory" tested? If it was testable there would be
a lot less problems with the various AAH/AAT scenarios. How do we test
your scenario, Algis? Is there a way? Is there any piece of evidence
we might find that will vindicate your scenario? Or are we forced to
deal with just-so stories based on credulity and the fact that you can
wiggle the hypothesis around so that we are left with only equivocal
evidence regarding it?

> > You'll not be surprised that I view your hypothesis as firstly an
> > acceptance that this vision of a single over-arching aquatic
> > explanation has failed, and secondly as a construct developed in
> > response to a desire to maintain an aquatic ape hypothesis after
> > Hardy's vision has failed.
>
> It's not that it failed. Hardy never had a model as such. He made no
> predictions, had the barest timescale and offered no evidence other
> than human anatomy analogies with aquatics. He was merely asking a
> question so how could it have failed? The failure, if there was one,
> must lie with the paleoanthropologists of the 1960s who simply ignored
> it completely rather than having an ounce of proper scientific
> curiosity about the idea.

Now this is ridiculous. If the aquatic ideas are so important and
convincing, the failure was in the adherents to provide real evidence
in support of it, and to argue with what evidence they do have
honestly. Do you realize that many people working in physical
anthropology haven't even heard of aat type hypotheses? That's right.
Ask many, and they don't know what they hell you are talking about.
Hell, whenever someone even tries to give the benefit of the doubt
they get run off by the bullshit. Please explain why someone can spout
off an idea in an non-academic setting, an opinion piece, and it is
now the responsibility of those in the field to waste their time and
resources in investigating it?

The idea is not so self-evident that it has drawn people interested in
working on it academically. Most that have even had the thought of
doing so get so disgusted by some particular supporters and the
standard of evidence that they go on to other things. That is the
failure of the idea. That is the failure of those that support it (or,
more importantly, those that have supported it for decades), not the
failure of paleoanthropologists.

> Like Elaine Morgan, when I heard about the idea, I first thought 'yes,
> there's something in this obviously' and then, when I realised that
> the textbooks didn't even mention it as a possibility - 'so, what's
> wrong with it?'
>
> Because I had the benefit of Elaine's books and the chance to read the
> debates on this forum I could see both sides of the argument. I could
> see the strengths - like we are dependent on water, we can swim better
> than apes and infants do seem relatively comfortable in water; and the
> weaknesses - we're not really much like true aquatics, semi-aquatic
> mammals are not really like us and although we are mainly fresh water
> adapted we do have odd traits that indicate a marine link too. I made
> it my goal to come up with a version of the AAH that kind of fitted in
> the middle somewhere and made sense to both sides. (Optimistic, I
> know! :-))

Why not try and do real science by investigating specific problems and
searching for the best answer the evidence supports rather than
starting with a general theory and trying to build into that theory?

> > Crucial to the specifics of your particular hypothesis is the supposed
> > hybridisation event. To my knowledge, there is no paleontological
> > precedent, nor any theory of genetics or speciation amongst
> > multicellular organisms, which could accomodate an event as unlikely
> > as you describe.
>
> The hybridisation event is an explanation of the chromosome number
> change and, simultaneously, our speciation. It also, for me, answers a
> few contradictions about the AAH - like the fresh water/salt water
> ones.

Hybridisation of populations does not explain the differences in
chomosome number in humans and the great apes. The fusion in the human
clade is an interesting question, but your scenario can't explain it.

Your hybridization event and everything that could be construed to
support it is speculation. You're entitled to your speculations, but I
would suggest you don't marry another broad speculation into the
already broad one of AAT/AAH.

> > My view on this is simply: if you have to
> > invent a unique & unprecedented biological occurence to sustain your
> > worldview, your worldview, in my opinion, simply can't be sustained.
>
> The hybridisation event is not necessary in the AAH but I have yet to
> read a more convincing model for chromosome number change. And, Ross,
> we do have different numbers of chromosomes than the other great apes.
> The AAH makes more sense to me with hybridisation in the model, that's
> all I can say at the moment.

The chromosome change was a fusion of two chromosomes into one.
Hybridisation of populations (gene flow) does not explain this in any
way shape or form. The event occurred and spread among a population.
No if and or buts about it Hell, a hybridisation of two populations
(one with the original 48 and one with 46) just gives another chance
for selection and/or genetic drift to grind the 46 chromosome types
out of the population, making it more difficult for the change to
spread species wide if it has to open up the potential breeding
population and drop the frequency of those with 46.

> > > > Final question - when did the hominids become savannah-adapted?
> > >
> > > Never.
> >
> > Yes well... I had hoped you could display more objectivity than that,
> > but I'm afraid that response just sums up the direction of this whole
> > debate. It's going nowhere.
>
> There are aquasceptics that would dismiss the savannah adaptation idea
> as strongly as I do.

Keep away from the strawman of savanna if you want others to stay away
from the strawman of dolphins and mermaids.

> > Algis, you may have better manners than Marc, but your hypothesis of
> > hominid evolution is no better, & the chances of you being ever able
> > to recognise it are no better either. So for now, I'm giving up on
> > exercises in futility...
>
> You're entitled to your opinion, of course. In return may I just say
> that for a moment I thought you were an objective-minded poster to
> this forum but you've rather disappointed me with your rigid
> aquascepticism. You are, I think, about as objective as Clarke and
> Love although I would grant that you do argue more convincingly than
> they do.
>
> Algis Kuliukas

Objective people are skeptical by nature, otherwise they would latch
on to the first thing that strikes their fancy and subjectively judge
everything else from that position
*cough*likemanyaatsupporters*cough*. Maintaining objectivity means you
maintain skepticism of *everything* and it is up to those that claim
to support one subjective interpretation to convince them.

He asked you questions, and didn't like your answers, and addressed
them, didn't dismiss him. That makes him (at least in this exchange)
objective.

CDK

Marc Verhaegen

unread,
May 8, 2003, 7:14:08 PM5/8/03
to
"Abazagaroth" <dkr...@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:fc59222d.03050...@posting.google.com...

seems to be terribly frustrated by his inability to find 1 argument against
our scenario:

In 1960 Alister Hardy ("Was Man more aquatic in the past?" New Scientist)
described how a sea-side lifestyle - wading, swimming, collecting edible
shells, turtles, crabs, coconuts, seaweeds etc. - could explain many
typically human features that are absent in our nearest relatives the
chimps, and that cannot be explained by savanna scenarios: very large
brain, greater breathing control, well-developed vocality, very dextrous
hands, stone tool use, reduction of climbing skills, reduction of fur,
thicker subcutaneous fat tissues, very long legs, more linear body build,
high needs of iodine, sodium & poly-unsaturated fatty acids etc.
Hardy was only wrong at the time in thinking this seaside phase happened
more than 10 Ma. Early Pleistocene Homo fossils or tools have been found in
Israel, Algeria, E.Africa, Georgia, Java. When sea levels dropped during the
Ice Ages, H.ergaster-erectus followed the Mediterranean & Indian Ocean
coasts. Although most Pleistocene coasts are some 100 m below the present
sea level (IOW the fossil & archeological record often shows the inland Homo
populations that entered the continents along the rivers) Homo remains have
frequently been found amid shells, corals, barnacles etc., in European,
African & Asian coasts, throughout the Pleistocene (eg, Mojokerto, Terra
Amata, Table Bay, Eritrea), and even on islands that could only be reached
oversea (Flores 0.8 Ma).

Marc Verhaegen
http://www.onelist.com/community/AAT
http://allserv.rug.ac.be/~mvaneech/Verhaegen.html


Charles

unread,
May 8, 2003, 8:55:53 PM5/8/03
to Ross Macfarlane

Ross Macfarlane wrote:
snip to hybrid stuff>>

> Algis, it's my suspicion that your hypothesis began as an attempt to
> create a hybrid between contradictory lines of evidence, and you
> somehow twisted this philosophical construct, in your mind, into an
> actual hybridisation event. My view on this is simply: if you have to
> invent a unique & unprecedented biological occurence to sustain your
> worldview, your worldview, in my opinion, simply can't be sustained.
> >

but hominids apparently have experienced a hybridization with Tre2. This is a repost that I put out there the day
it was published in Science News:

Search only in sci.anthropology.paleo Search all groups Search the Web

Groups search result 1 for hybrid charles group:sci.anthropology.paleo
group:sci.anthropology.paleo

Search Result 1
From: Charles (lm...@mindspring.com)
Subject: Tre2 as a hybrid
This is the only article in this thread
View: Original Format
Newsgroups: sci.anthropology.paleo
Date: 2003-02-25 14:33:45 PST


"Analysis of genetic data from a variety of mammals show that this gene,
called Tre2, occurs only in apes and people...," "...Tre2 represents a
hybrid, or so-called chimeric version, of two genes that fused together,
Paulding and his coworkers assert...." "... The DNA sequence of roughly
half of Tre2 closely corresponds to an evolutionarily ancient gene still
possessed by many species of mammals...." "Fusion of the two genes must
have occurred after the arrival of a common ancestor of apes and humans,
between 21 million and 33 million years ago, the scientists theorize."
"[affects only the testes; may implicate] Tre2 in sperm function, it
will support the possibility that the gene's emergence created
reproductive barriers between ancient creatures that did and did not
have it."

From Science News, Vol. 163, No. 8, Feb. 22, 2003, p. 115.
"_Evolution's DNA Fusion: Hybrid gene forms clue to human, ape origins_
A gene of mixed evolutionary pedigree may have transformed mammalian
reproduction, leading to the evolution of apes and humans.

References: Paulding, C.A., M. Ruvolo, and D.A. Haber. In press. The
Tre2 (USP6) oncogene is a hominoid-specific gene. Proceedings of the
National
Academy of Sciences. Abstract available at
http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0437015100.

Sources:

Pascal Gagneux
University of California, San Diego
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
9500 Gilman Drive
MC 0332
La Jolla, CA 92093-0332

Daniel A. Haber
Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center
Harvard Medical School
Charlestown, MA 02129

Charles A. Paulding
Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center
Harvard Medical School
Charlestown, MA 02129

Maryellen Ruvolo
Department of Anthropology
Harvard University
Cambridge, MA 02138


Abazagaroth

unread,
May 9, 2003, 1:19:08 AM5/9/03
to
"Marc Verhaegen" <fa20...@skynet.be> wrote in message news:<3ebae4d5$0$26707$ba62...@reader1.news.skynet.be>...

/yawn

You are intellectually dishonest and a liar, and as I told you before,
I will no longer bother trying to discuss anything with you.

Ross Macfarlane

unread,
May 9, 2003, 3:27:58 AM5/9/03
to
Charles <lmnoN...@mindspring.com> wrote in message news:<3EBAFC99...@mindspring.com>...

> Ross Macfarlane wrote:
> snip to hybrid stuff>>
>
> > Algis, it's my suspicion that your hypothesis began as an attempt to
> > create a hybrid between contradictory lines of evidence, and you
> > somehow twisted this philosophical construct, in your mind, into an
> > actual hybridisation event. My view on this is simply: if you have to
> > invent a unique & unprecedented biological occurence to sustain your
> > worldview, your worldview, in my opinion, simply can't be sustained.
> > >
>
> but hominids apparently have experienced a hybridization with Tre2. This is a repost that I put out there the day
> it was published in Science News:
>
> "Analysis of genetic data from a variety of mammals show that this gene,
> called Tre2, occurs only in apes and people...," "...Tre2 represents a
> hybrid, or so-called chimeric version, of two genes that fused together,
> Paulding and his coworkers assert...." "... The DNA sequence of roughly
> half of Tre2 closely corresponds to an evolutionarily ancient gene still
> possessed by many species of mammals...." "Fusion of the two genes must
> have occurred after the arrival of a common ancestor of apes and humans,
> between 21 million and 33 million years ago, the scientists theorize."
> "[affects only the testes; may implicate] Tre2 in sperm function, it
> will support the possibility that the gene's emergence created
> reproductive barriers between ancient creatures that did and did not
> have it."
>
> From Science News, Vol. 163, No. 8, Feb. 22, 2003, p. 115.
> "_Evolution's DNA Fusion: Hybrid gene forms clue to human, ape origins_
> A gene of mixed evolutionary pedigree may have transformed mammalian
> reproduction, leading to the evolution of apes and humans.
>
> References: Paulding, C.A., M. Ruvolo, and D.A. Haber. In press. The
> Tre2 (USP6) oncogene is a hominoid-specific gene. Proceedings of the
> National

Look, I'm not an expert on genetics but I don't think the fusion of 2
chromosomes is the same as the fusion of 2 species, or 2 subspecies
with apparently very different niches. Nor is there any evidence to
link this with supposed aquatic evolutionary phases.

Ross Macfarlane

Jim McGinn

unread,
May 9, 2003, 3:32:18 AM5/9/03
to
dkr...@yahoo.com (Abazagaroth) wrote

> Think about the AAT list. Think about how many times I pointed out
> that there is no "savanna theory", that the concept being attacked
> there was just a straw man (both in the interpretation of what savanna
> meant and in the idea there is some larger "theory" tied to it that is
> widely accepted), and that there was no "standard PA" that kept being
> attacked there. Paleoanthropology is a specialized subfield of
> physical anthropology, and the fact that a myriad of intro phys anth
> classes regurgitate the same stuff from 20-50 years ago because both
> the professors teaching those classes and those that wrote the intro
> books are not paleoanthropologists does not mean there is any
> "standard PA".

Well, I don't know. It's one thing to say that the AAT dimwits
have created a false representation (strawman) of their
opposition's position. It's quite another, however, to suggest
that standard PA does not, like the AAT dimwits, also suffer
from an inability to see beyond their beliefs. AAT dimwits
think water answers everything, conventional dimwits think some
kind of tool-using/making hunter-gathering ape answers everything.
Different dimwits, same problem: the inability to see beyond
their beliefs.

<snip>

Ross Macfarlane

unread,
May 9, 2003, 3:37:40 AM5/9/03
to
dkr...@yahoo.com (Abazagaroth) wrote in message news:<fc59222d.03050...@posting.google.com>...
...

> > Remember he only posed the question "Was Man more aquatic int he
> > past?" More aquatic, note. The press knee-jerk reaction was to laugh
> > at the idea and assume he was talking about dolphins and mermaids.
> > Unfortunately, it seems that most PAs are still stuck in that
> > knee-jerk first impression even today.
>
> No, they aren't. Most are incredulous because they have been fed on
> other ideas they whole career, and when they see the contradictions
> and level of evidence being used by the most vocal aat/aah adherents
> they lump them together with the ufo people. It isn't a knee-jerk
> reaction, its a delayed reaction informed by the fallacies that some
> aah/aat adherents refuse to abandon.
>
> When it gets boiled down to aat/aah being an idea of exploitation of
> marine or riverine resources, you get a better response. When it comes
> to claiming a physical adaptation to those resources or manner of
> living, there is more skepticism, but people listen. When you fall
> back on the same tired stuff mentioned before, dismiss honest
> incredulity, or depend on just-so stories to support the position,
> then they run screaming for the hills.
>
Mate, that's such an accurate description of my experience with AAH
it's scary. As described in an earlier post to Algis,I first appeared
on SAP I came prepared to believe, but after 1 day of seeing what
passed for an aquatic ape theory, & the quality of its supporters, I
was permanently cured.

>
> Objective people are skeptical by nature, otherwise they would latch
> on to the first thing that strikes their fancy and subjectively judge
> everything else from that position
> *cough*likemanyaatsupporters*cough*. Maintaining objectivity means you
> maintain skepticism of *everything* and it is up to those that claim
> to support one subjective interpretation to convince them.
>
> He asked you questions, and didn't like your answers, and addressed
> them, didn't dismiss him. That makes him (at least in this exchange)
> objective.
>
> CDK

Thank you sir. Very civil of you (at least in this exchange :-)...

Ross Macfarlane

Pauline M Ross

unread,
May 9, 2003, 7:23:26 AM5/9/03
to
On 8 May 2003 12:19:29 -0700, dkr...@yahoo.com (Abazagaroth) wrote:

[... an awful lot of stuff...]

Goodness, what a diatribe. Do you feel better now?

There's too much arm-waving in there for me to attempt to quote and
respond, so I have snipped everything, but I will attempt to answer
the two major criticisms you accuse me of.

1) The 'savanna theory' is a strawman.

I'm quite happy to accept that there is not and never was a grand
overarching Savanna Theory. But the 'savanna as major influence on
human evolution' is *not* a strawman. It has influenced
paleoanthropology, root and branch, for decades and it *still does*.

Of course there have been adjustments over the years, notably
bipedalism has been pushed back into the trees and the definition of
'savanna' has expanded, but the original idea of a hot, dry
environment still informs a great deal of PA thinking. I have quoted
one professional lamenting that researchers are still fixated on a
Serengeti-type environment, and public-consumption human evolution
still peddles that line - witness the recent BBC series 'Walking With
Cavemen', which showed our ancestors trailing prey across what can
only be described as desert, and that included the likes of Chris
Stringer and Leslie Aiello in the credits.

So let's not pretend that the 'savanna' business is history. A lot of
PAs know that it is dead, but a lot don't, and you admit yourself that
it is still taught, so it is hardly likely to disappear anytime soon,
is it?

As for talking about 'standard PA' or 'conventional PA', how else
would you collectively describe professionals who generally follow the
current thinking in their field (with individual variations, of
course)? It's not intended as an insult, just shorthand for use in an
informal forum, and nobody supposes that there is a 'Standard PA
Theory' any more than there is a 'Savanna Theory', or a single
'Aquatic Ape Theory' for that matter.

Recently I've switched to using Algis's 'aquasceptic' as my preferred
term for 'the others' - seems more descriptive.

2) Other AATers should intervene in Marc's discussions

You said: "...you scrupulously avoided contradicting Marc, even
when he was being obviously intellectually dishonest." You also used
the word "lies". Well now, I don't think he lies at all, I think he
believes what he says. And where I spot him saying something which I
think is totally wrong, I *do* intervene.

But mostly, you know, Marc's threads are either interminably long or
ad hominem. The ad hominem I ignore, and life's just too short to read
every word of the long stuff, especially when a lot of it is
repetition. So I just don't see a lot of what is being said. And I'm
not sure why it should be my job to supervise Marc anyway.

But I do disagree violently with Marc's approach - I think all the ad
hominem stuff is counter-productive and brings the whole AAH into
disrepute (and your post basically confirms that). And I've told him
what I think many times, but I don't suppose he's going to change now,
do you? Which makes me wonder why some of the regulars here continue
to go round and round with him ... very strange.

--
Pauline Ross

Richard Wagler

unread,
May 9, 2003, 12:26:59 PM5/9/03
to

Pauline M Ross wrote:

> On 8 May 2003 12:19:29 -0700, dkr...@yahoo.com (Abazagaroth) wrote:
>
> [... an awful lot of stuff...]
>
> Goodness, what a diatribe. Do you feel better now?
>
> There's too much arm-waving in there for me to attempt to quote and
> respond, so I have snipped everything, but I will attempt to answer
> the two major criticisms you accuse me of.
>
> 1) The 'savanna theory' is a strawman.
>
> I'm quite happy to accept that there is not and never was a grand
> overarching Savanna Theory. But the 'savanna as major influence on
> human evolution' is *not* a strawman. It has influenced
> paleoanthropology, root and branch, for decades and it *still does*.

And why shouldn't it? A huge mass of evidence says early
hominids lived in svannah environments (propoerly defined).
The whole problem is that Morgan et al have taken the Dartian
position as some kind of orthodoxy and with the changes in
the picture that research beginning 40 years ago mandated
have tried to use this to promote the ridiculous idea that early
hominids never lived in savannah environments of any description
whatsoever. Dart was a perpetual outsider not a main pillar
of some orthodoxy. Read what PAs were actually saying and
forget 'popular' representations. The standard AAT critique of
PA is absolute junk - a classic definition of a strawman.

>
>
> Of course there have been adjustments over the years, notably
> bipedalism has been pushed back into the trees and the definition of
> 'savanna' has expanded,

has it?

> but the original idea of a hot, dry
> environment still informs a great deal of PA thinking. I have quoted
> one professional lamenting that researchers are still fixated on a
> Serengeti-type environment,

I read that article too. Not a bad piece. Too bad you only
take out of it what you want. Still there were very dry areas
in Pliocene Africa - Kanapoi comes to mind - and hominid
fossils have been found there. In any event the scavenging
studies done in dry savannahs kind of confirm the point that
a living was avaiable to any hominid who might have been
in these sorts of places were they of a mind to scavenge.


> and public-consumption human evolution
> still peddles that line - witness the recent BBC series 'Walking With
> Cavemen', which showed our ancestors trailing prey across what can
> only be described as desert,

If you remember these were erectus. The Acheulian archaeological
record shows that these folks inhabited arid areas along with
nearly everyplace else. The scenes involving a'piths were not
like this.

> and that included the likes of Chris
> Stringer and Leslie Aiello in the credits.

So? What falsehood do you think was prmulgated
by this program?

>
>
> So let's not pretend that the 'savanna' business is history. A lot of
> PAs know that it is dead, but a lot don't, and you admit yourself that
> it is still taught, so it is hardly likely to disappear anytime soon,
> is it?

Define 'savannah theory'

>
>
> As for talking about 'standard PA' or 'conventional PA', how else
> would you collectively describe professionals who generally follow the
> current thinking in their field (with individual variations, of
> course)? It's not intended as an insult, just shorthand for use in an
> informal forum, and nobody supposes that there is a 'Standard PA
> Theory' any more than there is a 'Savanna Theory', or a single
> 'Aquatic Ape Theory' for that matter.
>
> Recently I've switched to using Algis's 'aquasceptic' as my preferred
> term for 'the others' - seems more descriptive.
>
> 2) Other AATers should intervene in Marc's discussions
>
> You said: "...you scrupulously avoided contradicting Marc, even
> when he was being obviously intellectually dishonest." You also used
> the word "lies". Well now, I don't think he lies at all, I think he
> believes what he says. And where I spot him saying something which I
> think is totally wrong, I *do* intervene.

Where? Do you, for example, simply accept Marc's assertion
that proboscis monkeys are the most bipedal of monkeys
even though he is completely unable to back this up? Have
you ever checked any of Marc's references? Or do you
simply accept his assurance that they are relevant and say what he
says they do? I have cheecked some of his references and
you should not accept any of them at face value.

>
>
> But mostly, you know, Marc's threads are either interminably long or
> ad hominem. The ad hominem I ignore, and life's just too short to read
> every word of the long stuff, especially when a lot of it is
> repetition. So I just don't see a lot of what is being said. And I'm
> not sure why it should be my job to supervise Marc anyway.

Because he is doing an enormous amount of damage to
the project you are supporting. Attempting to get a hearing
in academic circles for aquatic hypotheses. For us dry apers
if Marc didn't exist we'd have to invent him. The man is a
godsend.

>
>
> But I do disagree violently with Marc's approach - I think all the ad
> hominem stuff is counter-productive and brings the whole AAH into
> disrepute (and your post basically confirms that). And I've told him
> what I think many times, but I don't suppose he's going to change now,
> do you? Which makes me wonder why some of the regulars here continue
> to go round and round with him ... very strange.

Moth to a flame......the sublime awfulness of his cracked
logic and surreal non sequiturs is, at times, too much to resist....


Rick Wagler


Jim McGinn

unread,
May 9, 2003, 2:16:46 PM5/9/03
to
Pauline M Ross <pmr...@ross-software.co.uk> wrote

> There's too much arm-waving in there for me to attempt to quote and
> respond, so I have snipped everything, but I will attempt to answer
> the two major criticisms you accuse me of.
>
> 1) The 'savanna theory' is a strawman.
>
> I'm quite happy to accept that there is not and never was a grand
> overarching Savanna Theory. But the 'savanna as major influence on
> human evolution' is *not* a strawman. It has influenced
> paleoanthropology, root and branch, for decades and it *still does*.

Yep.


>
> Of course there have been adjustments over the years, notably
> bipedalism has been pushed back into the trees and the definition of
> 'savanna' has expanded, but the original idea of a hot, dry
> environment still informs a great deal of PA thinking. I have quoted
> one professional lamenting that researchers are still fixated on a
> Serengeti-type environment, and public-consumption human evolution
> still peddles that line - witness the recent BBC series 'Walking With
> Cavemen', which showed our ancestors trailing prey across what can
> only be described as desert, and that included the likes of Chris
> Stringer and Leslie Aiello in the credits.

Yes, they only consider evidence that fits their hunter-gatherer
model--talk about intellectual dishonesty.

By focussing on Marc it takes attention off the fact that they really
have no hypothesis at all.

Jim

Jim McGinn

unread,
May 9, 2003, 2:21:05 PM5/9/03
to
rmac...@alphalink.com.au (Ross Macfarlane) wrote

> > When it gets boiled down to aat/aah being an idea of exploitation of
> > marine or riverine resources, you get a better response. When it comes
> > to claiming a physical adaptation to those resources or manner of
> > living, there is more skepticism, but people listen. When you fall
> > back on the same tired stuff mentioned before, dismiss honest
> > incredulity, or depend on just-so stories to support the position,
> > then they run screaming for the hills.
> >
> Mate, that's such an accurate description of my experience with AAH
> it's scary.

It's also an accurate description of my experience
with conventional thinking.

Jim

Pauline M Ross

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May 9, 2003, 3:00:52 PM5/9/03
to
On Fri, 09 May 2003 10:26:59 -0600, Richard Wagler <taxi...@shaw.ca>
wrote:

>>[Pauline] I'm quite happy to accept that there is not and never was a grand


>> overarching Savanna Theory. But the 'savanna as major influence on
>> human evolution' is *not* a strawman. It has influenced
>> paleoanthropology, root and branch, for decades and it *still does*.
>

>[Rick] And why shouldn't it? A huge mass of evidence says early


>hominids lived in svannah environments (propoerly defined).

Would you define savannah for me, Rick? It's difficult to discuss a
concept without knowing what you mean by it.

>The whole problem is that Morgan et al have taken the Dartian

>position as some kind of orthodoxy [...] The standard AAT critique of


>PA is absolute junk - a classic definition of a strawman.

Now you're doing exactly what David was complaining of :-) What
exactly is the "standard AAT critique of PA"?

>>[Pauline] Of course there have been adjustments over the years, notably


>> bipedalism has been pushed back into the trees and the definition of
>> 'savanna' has expanded,
>

>[Rick] has it?

Well, it seems to me that it has. I've quoted my preferred definition
before (tropical grassland, scattered trees, dry season - from a very
reputable source), but various people have defined it to include
extensive trees and a lot of water.
>
>>[Pauline] but the original idea of a hot, dry


>> environment still informs a great deal of PA thinking. I have quoted
>> one professional lamenting that researchers are still fixated on a
>> Serengeti-type environment,
>

>[Rick] I read that article too. Not a bad piece. Too bad you only


>take out of it what you want.

Well, I take out of it lots of things, but Tappen's comments about the
Serengeti are the only ones I have had occasion to quote to date.

>Still there were very dry areas
>in Pliocene Africa - Kanapoi comes to mind - and hominid
>fossils have been found there. In any event the scavenging
>studies done in dry savannahs kind of confirm the point that
>a living was avaiable to any hominid who might have been
>in these sorts of places were they of a mind to scavenge.

Well, Tappen's findings and quotes from other studies kind of indicate
that it would have been more a supplement than a living (although more
likely in dry areas). But her study was fairly limited.
>
>>[Pauline] and public-consumption human evolution


>> still peddles that line - witness the recent BBC series 'Walking With
>> Cavemen', which showed our ancestors trailing prey across what can
>> only be described as desert,
>

>[Rick] If you remember these were erectus.

Ergaster, actually.

> The Acheulian archaeological
>record shows that these folks inhabited arid areas along with
>nearly everyplace else. The scenes involving a'piths were not
>like this.

No, the a'piths were shown in grassland with scattered acacia trees,
or in denser woodland along rivers. Most of the rest were in dry, open
areas, in some cases verging on desert. The Asian erectus were in a
wetter environment, and the Neandethals were in snow, of course.
>
>>[Pauline] and that included the likes of Chris


>> Stringer and Leslie Aiello in the credits.
>

>[Rick] So? What falsehood do you think was prmulgated
>by this program?

We are not adapted for and did not evolve in dry, near-desert
conditions. In my opinion. Bipedalism in particular did not evolve in
a dry, open habitat, and it is misleading to suggest that it did.

I have to say, though, that the book accompanying the series (by John
Lynch and Louise Barrett) is much more balanced.

>Define 'savannah theory'

Pass.

>>[Pauline] And where I spot him saying something which I


>> think is totally wrong, I *do* intervene.
>

>[Rick] Where? Do you, for example, simply accept Marc's assertion


>that proboscis monkeys are the most bipedal of monkeys
>even though he is completely unable to back this up? Have
>you ever checked any of Marc's references? Or do you
>simply accept his assurance that they are relevant and say what he
>says they do? I have cheecked some of his references and
>you should not accept any of them at face value.

Well, I don't accept anything *anyone* says here at face value. Almost
all the regulars on sap have an axe to grind, so everyone is quoting
selectively, and pointing out evidence that supports their case, and
not mentioning anything that doesn't.

And I don't regard that as intellectual dishonesty *if* whenever
anyone finds apparently contradictory evidence, they mull it over and
research it and work out for themselves what it actually means. I do
that, and I know Algis does, and Mario, and I expect Marc does too,
but nobody sees it so you assume we are all just working on blind
faith. Not so.

As to the proboscis monkeys, I have no idea whether Marc is right, and
no immediate way to find out. Since I don't have an informed comment
to make, I say nothing. OK?

--
Pauline Ross

Algis Kuliukas

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May 9, 2003, 4:00:59 PM5/9/03
to
dkr...@yahoo.com (Abazagaroth) wrote in message news:<fc59222d.03050...@posting.google.com>...
> al...@RiverApes.com (Algis Kuliukas) wrote in message news:<77a70442.03050...@posting.google.com>...

First of all thanks for your time in posting this. I appreciate your
feedback.

> Hypotheses built on hypotheses built on more hypotheses lend little to
> credibility, and only end up appealing to those credulous to the idea
> in the first place (and only incite the flames of those incredulous to
> the idea to begin with).

> This was the point of Langdon's JHE paper 6 years ago. These aquatic
> theories are theories of everything and nothing. They try to explain
> everything, and whenever any part is shown to be incorrect, equivocal,
> or even just unlikely, there is the cry that this doesn't matter,
> because its only a "minor" part of the theory in the first place.

I agree that 'these aquatic theories' have been rather disparate:
Hardy made no real predictions; Morgan that the aquatic 'phase'
happenned about 6mya since the split with Pan, Verhaegen that all apes
were quasi-aquatic and then Homo became more so; Crawford etc that
hominids simply lived by water and became dependent on aquatic food
chain. That was one of my goals in trying to bring them together into
a single model.

Aren't all hypotheses about human evolution built upon hypothesis and
so ad infinitum? And will you accept that there is also some factual
basis to the AAH too? For example: Apes are better at moving through
trees than humans, we are better at moving through water than them. Is
it not logical that if that were true, and I trust you wouldn't argue
against it, that there should be some evolutionary explanation for
that? And that such an explanation is likely to be, merely, (surprise,
surprise) that our ancestors lived by water more than their's did?

> This is why people get so frustrated with Marc, as he has this down
> pat. Whenever someone points out a single problem, he turns the
> problem back out onto the overarching theory in an attempt to minimize
> the importance of the original point, and then claim "no one has
> presented 1 argument against" his scenario (because in his mind the
> original point is no longer an "argument against" since he has
> deflected it back onto the overarching theory which is still
> supporting by all the other pieces of "evidence"). It doesn't matter
> if some, many, most, or even all of the points in support of the
> theory have been discredited or shown to be equivocal, since he
> refuses to stop using this - at best - illogical and naive method or -
> at worst - intellectually dishonest method.

I have shared your frustration with some of his tactics from time to
time. I am reluctant to criticise more than that because I respect his
enthusiasm. One thing I find very distasteful is the level of
arrogance and downright nastiness that this debate seems to generate.
It's not as if anyone *knows* what happenned. I know Marc is a guilty
of this as anyone but he must feel, sometimes, he is fighting off the
whole world on his own. I've had the pleasure of meeing Marc and found
him to be a charming, very intelligent and amazingly well-read man who
is honestly trying to push our understanding further. Sometimes he
gets too passionate but any enthusiastic person is guilty of that from
time to time.

> It is perfectly fine to have an umbrella theory. You're welcome to it.
> However, it is only as strong as its weakest point. It could still be
> correct, almost anything is possible, but you can't dismiss everything
> else while latching onto one point, and then use that single point as
> the bar of credulity of the theory.

> In addition, by recognizing your ideas as multiple hypotheses, you
> should be recognizing that the same is true of *every* larger idea in
> reconstructing human origins. Just like it is unfair to brand all
> aquatic based ideas based on one point of data or on the evaluation of
> one particular brand of aquaticism, the same is true for then
> "savanna" straw man that most of the aquatic crowd likes to attack.

Fine. I agree we need to stop using straw men arguments. As you say
later - that applies equally to 'we can't survive in arid savannah'
arguments as it does those 'humans lack traits of true aquatics'.

I think it's possible to find points of agreement and overlap between
savannah and AAH. Sweat cooling is a perfect example. I think it is
undeniably an advantage for any hominid on the savanna to be able to
keep cooler through sweating but it only makes sense if they could
also replenish the water lost regularly and reliably.



> Think about the AAT list. Think about how many times I pointed out
> that there is no "savanna theory", that the concept being attacked
> there was just a straw man (both in the interpretation of what savanna
> meant and in the idea there is some larger "theory" tied to it that is
> widely accepted), and that there was no "standard PA" that kept being
> attacked there. Paleoanthropology is a specialized subfield of
> physical anthropology, and the fact that a myriad of intro phys anth
> classes regurgitate the same stuff from 20-50 years ago because both
> the professors teaching those classes and those that wrote the intro
> books are not paleoanthropologists does not mean there is any
> "standard PA". Might as well do your academic research from an
> encylcopedia britanica if that is the definition of "standard".

Of course. Who could disagree with that?

> Now,
> what happened when I pointed this out? Aside from Marc posting some
> link to a news blurb written by a reporter (which only served to prove
> the point of the inappropriate straw man interpretation of the
> supposed "rival" savanna theory), several times you and Pauline and
> maybe one or two others responded that they understood, or that was
> interesting, that they didn't realize that, whatever. Then two days
> later all would revert to using the same snipes against "savanna
> theory" and "standard PA" that you claimed as inappropriate from the
> "aquasceptics" that sniped at the various AAT/AAH strawmen.

Point taken. I suppose I am guilty of this from time to time. All I
can say is that it's a product of frustration. You might have seen
some of the threads I've been involved in lately where every single
point is countered and not a single smidgen of a millimetre is ever
given. I've bent over backwards to try to find some middle ground but
there's never a yeilding.

Take the Sharp & Costill paper. I perhaps over-stated it at first by
claiming that it was good evidence for why apes might have lost their
body hair. Jason responded by saying as much so I retracted that and,
instead, argued that it was at least evidence in favour of humans
losing body hair to help their swimming. (I mean if it not possible to
even say that shaved men swimming 4% more efficiently is a piece of
evidence in favour of the AAH, what data could ever be used?) But no,
I couldn't have that either. Pauline came to my defence by arguing
that PAs often use far wider extrapolations that I did, but no, that
point had to be rejected too. It's this smug, self-righteousness that
gets my goat.

You have to admit that when it comes to the AAH, there seems to be
very few PAs prepared to defend any argument in favour of it and when
any of them (like Tobias) so much as hint of doing so they are
attacked. So, in an aquatic sense, there does seem to be a "standard
(i.e. anti AAH) PA."

> > Yes, that's right. The hypothesis is that moving through water was a
> > big factor in our evolution. Wading does not really require hair loss
> > to improve locomotor efficiency whereas swimming and diving do. As the
> > earliest bipeds lived at least 6mya and we know nothing about the
> > possible swimming abilities of any hominid apart from the fact that we
> > are, today, the strongest of all the primates it is logical to
> > seperate them, I think.
>
> Get rid of "require". There is no requiring of hair loss, for any
> reason.

Ok. Let me restate it as this: Wading does not really require hair
loss
to improve locomotor efficiency whereas there is data to indicate that
it may help swimming.

Sorry, I think you're just being pedantic and picky. Of course it's
speculation but do you seriously contest any of those points? I might
have said that 'the two aren't required together' - and have on
several ocassions before - but I was tired and this is only the sap
forum.

Here again, it's this patronising, ex cathedra tone coming through all
the time. Can't we just get to the issues and forget the pretence?

> > It is rather naive, I think, to expect any such "unity." Is there any
> > unity in the non-aquatic theories? Having said that I'd argue that
> > there is still probably more agreement within those that support the
> > AAH than those who do not. For example we have about dozen different
> > non-aquatic ideas on the origin of bipedality whereas all the
> > different proponents of aome form of AAH agree that wading was
> > probably the major factor.
>
> It is not naive to expect such unity. It is the basis of having a
> "theory". And you are correct, the "non-aquatic" theories that you and
> Pauline refer to (and Marc dismisses) have little unity. However, this
> is *because they are not theories*.

I always use 'H' not 'T'. Does that help?

> They are straw men, and to claim
> that your straw men don't have X so neither do you is to argue against
> your own claims. You looked at the theories of bipedalism. You know
> damn well that there is one of those "non-aquatic" theory that even by
> your own reckoning was equivocal to your idea. It also happens to be
> the same one that seems logically consistent and reasonable to me (and
> I went to great lengths on the AAT list to use that speculative idea
> (note, I did not call it a "theory" as I don't pretend to have
> examined it close enough to try and build a theory) as a comparison to
> another fringe idea to show equivolency of speculation and the
> uselessness of credulity as the basis of evidence).

Sorry, I don't get your drift.

> Acting as if multiple opinions invalidates all other ideas is as
> closeminded as me stating that the multiple opinions in the AAT/AAH
> crowd invalidates yours, right?

Not 'invalidates'. It's just that after 150 years you'd think there'd
be more of a concensus by now. The lack of such agreement implies to
me that something simple has been overlooked - something like wading
through water - you know, the one thing that gets apes to move
bipedally with any degree of certainty for as long as the condition is
maintained.



> > I cannot speak for the others but for me it is pretty clear that
> > humans are physically different from other apes in ways that can be
> > explained some kind of adaptation to movement through water. That is
> > the starting point upon which a detailed model has to be built and, of
> > course, argued over. But that fundemental point is one you steadfastly
> > refuse to accept, even as a possibility. It seems to me that
> > aquasceptics have dug themselves into such a staunchly ant-AAH trench
> > that they cannot now even admit the most absurdly mild of
> > possibilities - in your case, even that our ancestors lived closer to
> > water than ape ancestors did. This is, in a way, understandable. You
> > clearly realise that admitting anything, on this slippery slope, would
> > be tantamount to an admission that the AAH was actually right all
> > along. Because if we lived by water more than chimps then, logically,
> > we must have moved through it more too. If we moved through it more,
> > then - through the laws of natural selection - clearly we'd have
> > become more adapted to it too. All you'd be left with then is pathetic
> > arguments about the 'degree' of aquaticism - claiming that these
> > aquatic pressures would have been so slight as to have made no
> > difference at all - an impossible position to hold.
>
> Straw men again, Algis? I would have to label myself an "aquaskeptic".
> Have you ever seen me refuse to admit possibilities?

No, but then I've not had the pleasure of debating with you very often
(if ever) before.

> Or more specifically, refuse to admit particular pieces of data?

So what do you say about the Sharp & Costill data? What about the
bonobo wading data? Can you accept that they are bits of data in
favour of the AAH? That would be encouraging.

> I have no
> problem with human ancestors living near water, exploiting water
> resources, or even that some pieces of evidence could be used to claim
> a semi-aquatic past.

I get the feeling there's a big BUT coming here...

> What I *do* have a problem with is the misuse of
> evidence as independent points of data when other points of data
> contradict, discredit, or even at the most basic level make the data
> equivocal.

So do I.

> I *do* have a problem with the idea of human ancestors as
> having physiologically adapated to extensive time in the water because
> I simply do not see any logical consistency and credibility of
> evidence to see physical adaptation to living in a water environment.

My view is water-side not water-living. It seems to me that we are
clearly better adapted to moving (wading, swimming, diving) through
water than apes are. It's logical that that was the result of natural
selection.

> What I *do* have a problem with is the leap of logic from using water
> resources, and their importance in the evolution of the human clade,
> to the claim of physical adaptation to the water.

> What I *do* have a
> problem with is the intellectual dishonesty of Marc, and his reuse of
> information shown to be unreliable, incorrect, or equivocal, and its
> use as the roseta stone of evolutionary biology. What I *do* have a
> problem with is the intellectual dishonesty of Marc, and is explicit
> refusal to admit he has been told something before, and to go out of
> his way to force others to redo the same refutation/discrediting of
> some particular point, such that people eventually tire of having to
> redo the same typing over and over and over because every single time
> he makes X claim and the same points are brought up again and again,
> he claims to know nothing about them.

> What I *do* have a problem with
> is you and Pauline continually referring to a straw man of "savanna
> theory" so that you can dismiss it out of hand and sit back and bask
> in the supposed self-evidence of the aquatic idea based on relative
> credulity, even after that point has been brought to your attention
> *multiple times*.

I don't remember going on about savannah much lately. Ok. I'll make a
real effort to avoid doing so in future.

> I also have a problem with you and Pauline both
> refusing to ever make a peep on any thread (either here or in AAT
> group) that contradicts Marc, no matter how far off the deepend he is
> on a particular issue, no matter how much he *lies* about something
> and has the evidence that has has throw right back in his face, and
> then every time someone posts some inane anectdote, you chime in with
> "interesting! that sure seems to support aat! what do you think,
> marc?".

Mmm, are you sure you've got the right person here?



> Yes, I realize both of you haven't spent much time in AAT group in the
> past year posting anyway, but when you both were posting daily on many
> or even most topics, you scrupulously avoided contradicting Marc, even
> when he was being obviously intellectually dishonest.

I've had a few run-ins with Marc and incurred his wrath once or twice.
Time's too short. I agree with him more than I agree with some of the
folks here. It's more fun and challenging to argue with people who
disagree.



> You state:
>
> "You clearly realise that admitting anything, on this slippery slope,
> would be tantamount to an admission that the AAH was actually right
> all along."
>
> Now, can you really claim you are being intellectually honest? Do you
> really intend to state that if someone says, "Yes, a reduction in hair
> could produce a minor and *insignificant* reduction in drag when in
> the water." That they are admitting that AAH is "actually right all
> along"?

Ok, when you put it like that, it's just daft. I do think that our
dependence on water for sweat cooling indicates our ancestors lived
closer to reliable water sources than apes' did. And if true, it is
likely they'd have moved through the water more too and it follows
logically from that that they'd have evolved better wading, swimming
and diving traits.

Anyone that understands evolution would have to admit that even mild
pressure can have dramatic effects over millions of years and so (the
point I was trying to make) if that person was determined to keep
dismissing the AAH out of hand they'd have to be careful not to admit
that our ancestors lived too close to water at all. It's a slippery
slope towards admitting the AAH - that's all.



> It is a just-so story, Algis.

Of course it is. I know that. But aren't they all?

> Maybe its correct, it could be after
> all. But it is a just-so story (you set up the premise and devise a
> manner that it could have proceeded from that premise to the known
> present), not one based on physical evidence. Now, there are lots of
> just-so ideas in paleoanthropology (how could there not be with so
> little evidence?), but that doesn't make your's any better than those.

We could argue about that. But it's getting late...

> What is the unequivocal evidence supporting adaptation to a water
> environment?Exploiting the environment is not good enough, we
> obviously do and did do that.

We move through water better than the nearest in our clade. That's
unequivocal.

> Positing a hypothesis and show how it
> could happen is not good enough, there are hundreds of those. Showing
> evidence that is equivocal with other ideas is not good enough, if the
> evidence works as well with another idea(s), why pick yours over
> those?

How many of the models you know explain why we are better swimmers
than chimps?



> I have no problem with creating a hypothesis like you have done. I do
> have a problem with you supporting it completely with just-so stories,
> equivocal evidence, and appeals to credulity and then expecting for
> people to support it as self-evident. Its perfectly fine to create a
> hypothesis that you believe is correct, or more correct than others.
> It is not perfectly fine to be so dismissive of anything or anyone
> that doesn't agree, and those that do not see it as credulous just
> because you do, nor to act as if someone that won't agree with you is
> close-minded. Don't get me wrong, its just as obvious that many of the
> people you argue with here have the same fault at times or even all
> the time for some of them, but that doesn't excuse you doing the same.

I hope you don't think I'm dismissive of people that don't agree with
me. I don't think I've done that.



> Does it really matter what hardy believed? This is for both of you.
> Just let it go. Ideas presented in a non-professional magazine by a
> non-specialist 40 years ago aren't so important in an of themselves
> they should be used to detract from an idea someone else has that is
> similar or even inspired by the original.

You're probably right.



> > Hardy had made an observation (sc fat in aquatic mammals) and made the
> > analogy with humans after reading about sc fat in humans. He realised
> > that the theory was controversial so kept it 'in the dark' for thirty
> > years before going public with it. He was, I feel, a rather more
> > modest than you portray him to be.
>
> He also believe in ESP, didn't he? =P Just another reason to keep him
> out of this entirely. He's dead, he didn't spend his life creating or
> defending an aah/aat theory, so why not keep it to those that have?

Yep, I think so. He spent most of his later life trying to find some
marriage (I won't use the word hybrid) between science and religion.
Fair point. Elaine Morgan really deserves most of the credit, just for
keeping the idea alive.



> > Remember he only posed the question "Was Man more aquatic int he
> > past?" More aquatic, note. The press knee-jerk reaction was to laugh
> > at the idea and assume he was talking about dolphins and mermaids.
> > Unfortunately, it seems that most PAs are still stuck in that
> > knee-jerk first impression even today.
>
> No, they aren't. Most are incredulous because they have been fed on
> other ideas they whole career, and when they see the contradictions
> and level of evidence being used by the most vocal aat/aah adherents
> they lump them together with the ufo people. It isn't a knee-jerk
> reaction, its a delayed reaction informed by the fallacies that some
> aah/aat adherents refuse to abandon.

I do think that if the AAH is going to get any serious recognition it
will need people to go through the ranks as 'trained PAs' who use
proper scientific methods and peer-reviewed work. There's no doubt
that it has suffered from the perception by PAs of the proponents of
the theory. I do think it's a bit unfair to expect non-specialists to
have the highest standards though and, although there are valid
criticism you can make about their methods I hardly think the PA world
has been a shining example of openness and objectivity here. It often
seems more like a religuous clique. So, fault on both sides.

> When it gets boiled down to aat/aah being an idea of exploitation of
> marine or riverine resources, you get a better response. When it comes
> to claiming a physical adaptation to those resources or manner of
> living, there is more skepticism, but people listen. When you fall
> back on the same tired stuff mentioned before, dismiss honest
> incredulity, or depend on just-so stories to support the position,
> then they run screaming for the hills.

There's a great need for more data, that's all. Very few studies have
been done to yield that data so, surprise, surprise, people are
skeptical.



> There are a lot of problems with academia, and one of those is the
> resistance to new ideas. So even when someone has a "Great Idea" there
> is resistance. But when someone refuses to critically examine their
> own position, or the position of those that lend them some support
> just to maintain that support, then you reap what you sew in terms of
> credibility.

Fair enough.

> > All he was trying to do was to stimulate a debate and to encourage
> > scientists to test the theory. The response was appauling. Almost
> > nothing was done and the only words that were said were ridicule.
>
> How exactly is the "theory" tested? If it was testable there would be
> a lot less problems with the various AAH/AAT scenarios. How do we test
> your scenario, Algis? Is there a way? Is there any piece of evidence
> we might find that will vindicate your scenario?

I can make a number of predictions which the model would expect. The
model could easily be refuted or modified if they proved false.

For example: I'd expect bipedal wading to be more efficient than
quadrupedal wading. More body hair shaved off giving greater drag
reduction. I'd expect some early bipeds (e.g. A'piths but not the
earliest)to have a form of locomotion - that could be tested against
the fossil record - that reduced drag whilst wading. I'd expect fossil
hominids to be found on Danakil.

> Or are we forced to
> deal with just-so stories based on credulity and the fact that you can
> wiggle the hypothesis around so that we are left with only equivocal
> evidence regarding it?

Just like most of the other models then, really.



> > It's not that it failed. Hardy never had a model as such. He made no
> > predictions, had the barest timescale and offered no evidence other
> > than human anatomy analogies with aquatics. He was merely asking a
> > question so how could it have failed? The failure, if there was one,
> > must lie with the paleoanthropologists of the 1960s who simply ignored
> > it completely rather than having an ounce of proper scientific
> > curiosity about the idea.
>
> Now this is ridiculous. If the aquatic ideas are so important and
> convincing, the failure was in the adherents to provide real evidence
> in support of it, and to argue with what evidence they do have
> honestly.

I think there was a lack of imagination at that crucial time in 1960
when Hardy was told to 'never do that again' by Le Gros Clark. If one
of the top PAs had seriously considered it then and come up with a
modest, plausible version, it would be mainstream today. I really
believe that.

> Do you realize that many people working in physical
> anthropology haven't even heard of aat type hypotheses? That's right.
> Ask many, and they don't know what they hell you are talking about.

I believe you. It's not taught, it's not even in the textbooks as a
possibility - so how could they know about it?

> Hell, whenever someone even tries to give the benefit of the doubt
> they get run off by the bullshit. Please explain why someone can spout
> off an idea in an non-academic setting, an opinion piece, and it is
> now the responsibility of those in the field to waste their time and
> resources in investigating it?

As I said, immediately after Hardy (FRS, remember) 'came out' there
was an opportunity for someone to take it seriously and come up with a
modest version. They didn't. Instead they just sneered. It's not that
ridiculous an idea and there are significant bits of data which
support it in on way or another.



> The idea is not so self-evident that it has drawn people interested in
> working on it academically. Most that have even had the thought of
> doing so get so disgusted by some particular supporters and the
> standard of evidence that they go on to other things. That is the
> failure of the idea. That is the failure of those that support it (or,
> more importantly, those that have supported it for decades), not the
> failure of paleoanthropologists.

PA is riddled with academic inculturation. That's why you get the
students from institution A arguing for A's positon generations after
professor A first published and institution B's students arguing the
opposite. The fact that institutions A-Z are all anti-AAH is therefore
no surprise.

> Why not try and do real science by investigating specific problems and
> searching for the best answer the evidence supports rather than
> starting with a general theory and trying to build into that theory?

Yep. Specific problem: origin of bipedalism. Specific hypothesis:
Wading.



> Hybridisation of populations does not explain the differences in
> chomosome number in humans and the great apes. The fusion in the human
> clade is an interesting question, but your scenario can't explain it.

I'm not a geneticist and so don't understand it very well but Max
King's book listed a number of models which included hybridisation and
pointed me in the direction of Michael Arnold and Alan Templeton. I've
been going through Templeton's recommended reading list and although
most of it is over my head it seems that hybridisation as a model for
speciation and chromosome number change is a possibility. So you might
be wrong to say my scenario can't explain it.

> Your hybridization event and everything that could be construed to
> support it is speculation. You're entitled to your speculations, but I
> would suggest you don't marry another broad speculation into the
> already broad one of AAT/AAH.

Personal incredulity and unpopularity are not a factor for me here. A
watered down AAH makes sense to me and so does a hybridisation event
for the Homo sapiens speciation. I've not read anything to contradict
them yet although, it's true, there's not much solid data in favour
yet either.

> The chromosome change was a fusion of two chromosomes into one.

Yes, but how? How likely was that to happen once? How vanishingly less
likely that it might happen twice in the same place at the same time
so that the F1's can interbreed and begin the new 46-chromosome
species? Remember how lethal even minor chromosomal mutations are. How
likely is it to have srvived in aheterozygous form?

> Hybridisation of populations (gene flow) does not explain this in any
> way shape or form.

I think it might.

> The event occurred and spread among a population.

How? Considering problems above.

> No if and or buts about it Hell, a hybridisation of two populations
> (one with the original 48 and one with 46) just gives another chance
> for selection and/or genetic drift to grind the 46 chromosome types
> out of the population, making it more difficult for the change to
> spread species wide if it has to open up the potential breeding
> population and drop the frequency of those with 46.

That would be right if I was postulating a 48-46 hybrid but I'm not.
I postulate a hybridisation of two populations of 48 and the
hybridisation itself giving rise to the chromosome fusion. That way
you'd have a much greater chance of a number of 46 chromosome
individuals around at the same time. Enough to form a small group of
nascent Homo sapiens which were instantly genetically isolated from
teir parental 'species'.



> Keep away from the strawman of savanna if you want others to stay away
> from the strawman of dolphins and mermaids.

I'll do it if you do.



> Objective people are skeptical by nature, otherwise they would latch
> on to the first thing that strikes their fancy and subjectively judge
> everything else from that position
> *cough*likemanyaatsupporters*cough*. Maintaining objectivity means you
> maintain skepticism of *everything* and it is up to those that claim
> to support one subjective interpretation to convince them.

> He asked you questions, and didn't like your answers, and addressed
> them, didn't dismiss him. That makes him (at least in this exchange)
> objective.

What about being sceptical about other people's scepticism? That must
make me super-objective, right?

Algis Kuliukas

Jason Eshleman

unread,
May 9, 2003, 4:43:19 PM5/9/03
to
In article <77a70442.03050...@posting.google.com>,

Algis Kuliukas <al...@RiverApes.com> wrote:
>dkr...@yahoo.com (Abazagaroth) wrote in message news:<fc59222d.03050...@posting.google.com>...
>> al...@RiverApes.com (Algis Kuliukas) wrote in message news:<77a70442.03050...@posting.google.com>...

>> This is why people get so frustrated with Marc, as he has this down


>> pat. Whenever someone points out a single problem, he turns the
>> problem back out onto the overarching theory in an attempt to minimize
>> the importance of the original point, and then claim "no one has
>> presented 1 argument against" his scenario (because in his mind the
>> original point is no longer an "argument against" since he has
>> deflected it back onto the overarching theory which is still
>> supporting by all the other pieces of "evidence"). It doesn't matter
>> if some, many, most, or even all of the points in support of the
>> theory have been discredited or shown to be equivocal, since he
>> refuses to stop using this - at best - illogical and naive method or -
>> at worst - intellectually dishonest method.
>
>I have shared your frustration with some of his tactics from time to
>time. I am reluctant to criticise more than that because I respect his
>enthusiasm. One thing I find very distasteful is the level of
>arrogance and downright nastiness that this debate seems to generate.
>It's not as if anyone *knows* what happenned. I know Marc is a guilty
>of this as anyone but he must feel, sometimes, he is fighting off the
>whole world on his own. I've had the pleasure of meeing Marc and found
>him to be a charming, very intelligent and amazingly well-read man who
>is honestly trying to push our understanding further. Sometimes he
>gets too passionate but any enthusiastic person is guilty of that from
>time to time.

Many of Marc's tactics just identify him as a delusional whose delusions
make him act like a real asshole. A bigger problem though is his extreme
libery with factual information, a consistent pattern of misrepresenting
facts. Perhaps he is charming in person (I wouldn't know--despite his
repeated referencing of talk abstracts from the AAPAs, he doesn't actually
appear to attend these meetings) but I suspect that he still takes logical
liberties (eg the completely unsubstantiated claim that "Proboscis are the
most bipedal monkey; that there was "probably" a lot of water at Laetoli;
eg, saying that stratocladistics support his phlogenies, when he's in
fact not done any such analysis in his publicationss; the claim that seals
are abundant thermoregulatory sweaters [based, if you actually follow the
trail, back to a single severed seal flipper that produced beads of liquid
under a lightbulb]). It's these unscientific statements that at this
point I can only conclude mark him as intentionally ignorant or completely
psychotic, that are his real problems.

There's no reasonable defense for the stuff he pretends is science.
Standing in line with what he's doing, not on a social standpoint, but on
the aforemention scientific issues, makes you look really really bad.

Charles

unread,
May 9, 2003, 5:15:50 PM5/9/03
to Ross Macfarlane

Ross Macfarlane wrote:

much to clark's surprise... I agree.
wr
c


Marc Verhaegen

unread,
May 9, 2003, 6:13:11 PM5/9/03
to

"Pauline M Ross" <pmr...@ross-software.co.uk> wrote in message
news:n10nbvg915qtqhouv...@4ax.com...

> But I do disagree violently with Marc's approach - I think all the ad
hominem stuff is counter-productive and brings the whole AAH into disrepute
(and your post basically confirms that). And I've told him what I think many
times, but I don't suppose he's going to change now, do you? Which makes me
wonder why some of the regulars here continue to go round and round with him
... very strange. -- Pauline Ross

:-D

Marc


Marc Verhaegen

unread,
May 9, 2003, 6:15:54 PM5/9/03
to

"Richard Wagler" <taxi...@shaw.ca> wrote in message
news:3EBBD6D3...@shaw.ca...

> I read that article too. Not a bad piece. Too bad you only take out of it
what you want. Still there were very dry areas in Pliocene Africa - Kanapoi
comes to mind - and hominid fossils have been found there.

Kanapoi KNM-KP 29281 A.anamensis: Fish, aquatic reptiles, kudus and monkeys
are prevalent. 'A wide gallery forest would have almost certainly been
present on the large river that brought in the sediments' (Leakey et al.,
1995).


Marc Verhaegen

unread,
May 9, 2003, 6:38:44 PM5/9/03
to

"Jason Eshleman" <j...@vidi.ucdavis.edu> wrote in message
news:b9h3t7$job$1...@woodrow.ucdavis.edu...

> liberties (eg the completely unsubstantiated claim that "Proboscis are the
most bipedal monkey

If you knew anything on primatology you would have indicated all the more
bipedal monkeys.

> ; that there was "probably" a lot of water at Laetoli;

This is what I published on Laetoli:
- " Garusi-Laetoli L.H. A. anamensis or afarensis: Teeth and mandible
fragments, the hardest skeletal parts which are frequently left over by
carnivores (Morden, 1988), come from wind-blown and air-fall tuffs (Leakey
et al., 1976). Cercopithecine and colobine monkeys are present (Protsch,
1981; Leakey et al., 1976)."
- "The list shows that some very early hominids, more than later
australopithecines, have been found near lacustrine molluscs (Lukeino and
Tabarin ca. 6.5 and 5 Myr BP). Ardipithecus ramidus, supposedly another
early hominid, must have lived in a wooded habitat, amid predominantly
colobine monkeys (Aramis ca. 4.5 Myr BP). Pliocene australopithecines ca.
4-3 Myr BP apparently frequently dwelt in warm and humid, more or less
closed environments (gallery forest or wooded habitat in Kanapoi, Chad,
Hadar, Makapansgat, but inconclusive for Garusi-Laetoli). Pleistocene robust
australopithecines since 2.5 Myr BP probably lived in generally dryer and
more open landscapes (grassland in Kromdraai and Konso), but their remains
lay in riverbanks, lagoons, marshes, lake-margins, near papyrus (Olduvai)
and reed (Kromdraai, Olduvai, Chesowanja). Although 'all nine Konso A.
boisei specimens were recovered among the predominantly dry grassland fauna
of KGA 10' (Suwa et al., 1997), this does not mean that they lived in a
savanna milieu, since 'nearby subsites were also moist and wooded' (Delson,
1997). Fragmentary fossils like those of Laetoli and Konso are often the
remains of carnivore meals (Morden, 1988). Leopards, which preyed upon
australopithecines, prefer to feed in dry circumstances and therefore drag
away their prey, sometimes several hundred meters (Brain, 1981)."
http://allserv.rug.ac.be/~mvaneech/Fil/Verhaegen_Human_Evolution.html


> eg, saying that stratocladistics support his phlogenies

Lying as usual? Where did I say that??

>, when he's in fact not done any such analysis in his publicationss

My analyses suggest the large E.African apiths belong to Gorilla (esp.
boisei), and the S.African africanus-robustus belong to Pan.

(AFAIK, my analyses are the only ones that use orangs as outgroups, and
chimp & gorillas as ingroups, cf.D.Curnoe 2003 "Problems with the use of
cladistic analysis in palaeoanthropology" Homo 53:225-234: "...The genetic
proximity of humans, chimps & gorillas has important implications for
cladistic analyses. It is argued that chimps & gorillas should be treated as
ingroup taxa , an alternative outgroup such as orangs should be used, or an
(hypothetical) ancestral body plan developed. Making chimps & gorillas
ingroup taxa would considerably enhance the biological utility of
anthropological cladograms. ...")

> ; the claim that seals are abundant thermoregulatory sweaters

Only idiots like you doubt this.

> [based, if you actually follow the trail, back to a single severed seal
flipper that produced beads of liquid under a lightbulb

Lying again? What is this nonsense based upon?


Jim McGinn

unread,
May 9, 2003, 7:35:21 PM5/9/03
to
Richard Wagler <taxi...@shaw.ca> wrote

> And why shouldn't it? A huge mass of evidence says early

> hominids lived in savannah environments (propoerly defined).

No. It was not treeless savanna. It was treed lacustrine (lakeside
or stream side, etc.) locations. Where you been. This is kind of old
news now.


> The whole problem is that Morgan et al have taken the Dartian
> position as some kind of orthodoxy and with the changes in
> the picture that research beginning 40 years ago mandated
> have tried to use this to promote the ridiculous idea that early
> hominids never lived in savannah environments of any description
> whatsoever. Dart was a perpetual outsider not a main pillar
> of some orthodoxy. Read what PAs were actually saying and
> forget 'popular' representations. The standard AAT critique of
> PA is absolute junk - a classic definition of a strawman.

Oh, so it's all Morgan et al that is at fault here. It's not those
that continue to maintain the notion of our ancestors travelling in
band over treeless habitat in hunting, gathering, scavenging groups.
This is comical.

>
> >
> >
> > Of course there have been adjustments over the years, notably
> > bipedalism has been pushed back into the trees and the definition of
> > 'savanna' has expanded,
>
> has it?

Most definitely. Get used to it.

>
> > but the original idea of a hot, dry
> > environment still informs a great deal of PA thinking. I have quoted
> > one professional lamenting that researchers are still fixated on a
> > Serengeti-type environment,
>
> I read that article too. Not a bad piece. Too bad you only
> take out of it what you want. Still there were very dry areas
> in Pliocene Africa - Kanapoi comes to mind - and hominid
> fossils have been found there.

It wasn't dry then.

In any event the scavenging
> studies done in dry savannahs kind of confirm the point that
> a living was avaiable to any hominid who might have been
> in these sorts of places were they of a mind to scavenge.

Typical savanna idiocy. It should be obvious to you that if an animal
with the relatively non-encephalized brain of chimps were to shift
lifestyles to that of a scavenger their evolution would more likely
parallel that of hyena (or some other scavenger) than it would the
cultured, communicative, and cooperative animal that us humans turned
out to be.

Jim

Algis Kuliukas

unread,
May 9, 2003, 10:01:53 PM5/9/03
to
j...@vidi.ucdavis.edu (Jason Eshleman) wrote in message news:<b9h3t7$job$1...@woodrow.ucdavis.edu>...

> There's no reasonable defense for the stuff he pretends is science.
> Standing in line with what he's doing, not on a social standpoint, but on
> the aforemention scientific issues, makes you look really really bad.

What's this 'stand in line' argument? Sounds like a recipe for a
witch-hunt to me - 'Are you with him, or with us?'

I agree with Marc that human (and probably early hominoid) evolution
was influenced by water. I agree with Marc that the earliest bipeds
were probably 'aquarboreal' waders. I agree with Marc that moving
through water remained a significant pressure throughout our
evolution. I've always been very impressed with his knowledge and his
ability to cite references to back up his arguments (although
sometimes tedious, sometimes repetitive and sometimes, apparently, in
error) is actually to be applauded. Very few others bother to give as
many references as he does. In particular, Marc impresses me because
he was predicting a MRCA of Pan/Gorilla/Homo that was already a wading
ape when almost everyone else (me included) had something akin to a
chimp in mind. I moved much closer to Marc's line (accepting the
aquarborbeal model) upon the discovery of Orrorin in Dec 2000.

I agree with many (probably most) of his ideas but that doesn't mean
I'm standing 'in line' with him on everything.

I disagree with Marc about other things: Mainly his tactics (witness
his reply to your posting - calling you an idiot again. I really think
that is counterproductive in the biggest way possible. I know that you
are not an idiot, Jason.) I also disagree with some of his uses of
comparative data. Overstretching the case can also be very
counter-productive.
I disagree with parts of his model too: In my opinion it stresses too
much coastal/marine and not enough riverside/fresh-water. I think he
downplays the imortance of fossil data - thus lessening the importance
of the African hominoidae hypodigm and overplays the idea that much of
this evolution happenned on coastlines - where all the fossils are
conveniently covered by the seas.
We've had other run-ins too about minor points of my model. I didn't
like the experience. Like you, he can come across as being very
self-righteous and arrogant when you're arguing against him.

So who else am I 'in line' with? How about you?

I agree with you about Darwinian natural selection, presumably about
the Out of Africa theory and about the importance of the scientific
method. Does that mean you are standing in line with me? How does that
feel to you?

I wished that you and Marc would see that you are not actually all
that far apart yourselves. Why don't you both start trying to see
common ground instead of finding fault with eachother like a pair of
adolescent boys high on testosterone?

Algis Kuliukas

Bob Keeter

unread,
May 9, 2003, 11:15:48 PM5/9/03
to

"Algis Kuliukas" <al...@RiverApes.com> wrote in message
news:77a70442.03050...@posting.google.com...
> j...@vidi.ucdavis.edu (Jason Eshleman) wrote in message
news:<b9h3t7$job$1...@woodrow.ucdavis.edu>...
>

Snippage. . . .

> I agree with many (probably most) of his ideas but that doesn't mean
> I'm standing 'in line' with him on everything.
>

Good!

> I disagree with Marc about other things: Mainly his tactics (witness
> his reply to your posting - calling you an idiot again. I really think
> that is counterproductive in the biggest way possible. I know that you
> are not an idiot, Jason.) I also disagree with some of his uses of
> comparative data. Overstretching the case can also be very
> counter-productive.

Hmmm. . . . . . Wasnt that about what got "snipped" when I said it?

> I disagree with parts of his model too: In my opinion it stresses too
> much coastal/marine and not enough riverside/fresh-water. I think he
> downplays the imortance of fossil data - thus lessening the importance
> of the African hominoidae hypodigm and overplays the idea that much of
> this evolution happenned on coastlines - where all the fossils are
> conveniently covered by the seas.

Good. Straight up logic rather than hystrionics!

> We've had other run-ins too about minor points of my model. I didn't
> like the experience. Like you, he can come across as being very
> self-righteous and arrogant when you're arguing against him.
>

Not exactly the kind of image you want at the "spokesman" for the AAH? Dont
blame you at all. Seem to have one of those over in the SAH world as well!
For some unknown reason, I tend to get even more upset with him that I do
with Marc! (actually not all that unusual at all if you think about it a
bit!).

> So who else am I 'in line' with? How about you?
>
> I agree with you about Darwinian natural selection, presumably about
> the Out of Africa theory and about the importance of the scientific
> method. Does that mean you are standing in line with me? How does that
> feel to you?
>
> I wished that you and Marc would see that you are not actually all
> that far apart yourselves. Why don't you both start trying to see
> common ground instead of finding fault with eachother like a pair of
> adolescent boys high on testosterone?
>

Well, the trick is that one side or the other has to make the "break" from
the mold (and then the other has to follow. Would you not say that Marc has
been given several different opportunities to "step up" and match certain
initiatives that have been offered? Guess he just does not want to play.
Either that or he is just plain deathly afraid that he will have to back off
of some of the "revelations".

Oh well. we all have our burdens to carry, right?

Regards
bk


Algis Kuliukas

unread,
May 10, 2003, 2:01:16 AM5/10/03
to
Pauline M Ross <pmr...@ross-software.co.uk> wrote in message news:<n10nbvg915qtqhouv...@4ax.com>...


Well said, Pauline. I agree 100%.

Algis Kuliukas

Algis Kuliukas

unread,
May 10, 2003, 2:05:09 AM5/10/03
to
rmac...@alphalink.com.au (Ross Macfarlane) wrote in message news:<18fa6145.0305...@posting.google.com>...

> > He asked you questions, and didn't like your answers, and addressed
> > them, didn't dismiss him. That makes him (at least in this exchange)
> > objective.
> >
> > CDK
>
> Thank you sir. Very civil of you (at least in this exchange :-)...
>
> Ross Macfarlane

That might make you feel better, Ross, but I know and you know that
you simply avoided about half of the points I made in that thread.

Algis Kuliukas

Pauline M Ross

unread,
May 10, 2003, 4:20:29 AM5/10/03
to
On Sat, 10 May 2003 00:15:54 +0200, "Marc Verhaegen"
<fa20...@skynet.be> wrote:

>Kanapoi KNM-KP 29281 A.anamensis: Fish, aquatic reptiles, kudus and monkeys
>are prevalent. 'A wide gallery forest would have almost certainly been
>present on the large river that brought in the sediments' (Leakey et al.,
>1995).

Now, Marc, don't distract us with paleoanthropology, when everyone
finds it much more fun to rant about how awful you are... ;-)

--
Pauline Ross

Gerrit Hanenburg

unread,
May 10, 2003, 7:12:07 AM5/10/03
to
"Marc Verhaegen" <fa20...@skynet.be> wrote:

Most of the Kanapoi hominid specimens were recovered in situ from
paleosols. These indicate relatively open and semi-arid conditions at
Kanapoi at the time. This is not compatible with extensive wetland
conditions.

Wynn, J.G. (2000). Paleosols, stable carbon isotopes, and
paleoenvironmental interpretation of Kanapoi, Northern Kenya. JHE 39:
411-432

Abstract:
This study uses the interpretation of paleosol features at Kanapoi,
Kenya (4·2-3·4 Ma) to reconstruct the ecosystem occupied by
Australopithecus anamensis. The paleosols at Kanapoi provide a unique
and fortuitous opportunity, in that the bulk of the hominid specimens
derive from paleosols, providing direct evidence of the environment
that the Kanapoi hominids occupied. Seven named types of paleosols
are recognized at Kanapoi, each representing a trace fossil of the
local ecosystem during soil formation. The hominid-bearing Dite
paleosols provide evidence that A. anamensis inhabited areas of
semi-arid, seasonal climate regimes with mean annual precipitation
ranging from about 350-600 mm. The in situ hominid collections from
Dite paleosols show that A. anamensis at least occasionally occupied
relatively open low tree-shrub savanna vegetation formed in well
drained settings, and may have preferred these conditions over other
poorly drained soils. The relatively open conditions of Dite paleosols
existed within a spatially variable ecosystem, characterized by a
mosaic of environments, ranging from forb-dominated edaphic grassland
to gallery woodland, providing a larger view of the mixed
ecosystem in which A. anamensis lived. Synthesis of paleoenvironmental
indicators of A. anamensis at Kanapoi and Allia Bay, Kenya
suggests that as early as 4Ma hominids thrived in varied ecosystems.

Gerrit

Pauline M Ross

unread,
May 10, 2003, 8:18:20 AM5/10/03
to
On Sat, 10 May 2003 13:12:07 +0200, Gerrit Hanenburg
<G.Han...@inter.nl.nomail.net.> wrote:

>>[Marc] Kanapoi KNM-KP 29281 A.anamensis: Fish, aquatic reptiles, kudus and monkeys


>>are prevalent. 'A wide gallery forest would have almost certainly been
>>present on the large river that brought in the sediments' (Leakey et al.,
>>1995).
>

>[Gerrit] Most of the Kanapoi hominid specimens were recovered in situ from


>paleosols. These indicate relatively open and semi-arid conditions at
>Kanapoi at the time. This is not compatible with extensive wetland
>conditions.

So that's open and semi-arid conditions, with a wide gallery forest
and a large river...??? Or are you saying that Leakey et al are wrong?

--
Pauline Ross

Bob Keeter

unread,
May 10, 2003, 9:02:22 AM5/10/03
to

"Pauline M Ross" <pmr...@ross-software.co.uk> wrote in message
news:3idpbv0gm2090nnfo...@4ax.com...

Actually, Pauline, you have pointed out the ULTIMATE defense against those
of us who say that Marc (and others on both sides of the discussions here)
simply pollute the scientific discussion of paleoanthropology with
egotisical ranting, insulting ad hominem, and juvenile temper tantrums;
thereby doing far more disservice to their views than anything! Counter
that with good solid (even if debatable!) science, and we would not have any
option other than to drop the accusations and engage in scientific
discussions (unless some of us chose, regretably, to descend into the same
little pathetic cycle of hateful rhetoric that gets Marc in so much
trouble)!

Real, honest science is the "Achilles heel" of the "Marc is a jerk and an
insult to science" hypothesis, and I freely and proudly admit to that
weakness! Lets see if he is strong enough, mature enough, confident enough
of his ideas, or whatever to exploit that weakness! Betcha on long odds!
8-)

Regards
bk

Bob Keeter

unread,
May 10, 2003, 9:07:37 AM5/10/03
to
Snippage

Gerrit,

Would not the above be very consistent with the monsoon-driven,
"Serengeti-style" savanna of today, even including the fish and reptiles?
You have the "wet season" with plenty of surface water to support fish and
reptiles. The rivers and streams dry up leaving an annual deposit of fish
and reptile bones ffrom those that "did not make it". And you still get
plenty of bones from the "dryland" types that inhabit the area year round.

Regards
bk


Gerrit Hanenburg

unread,
May 10, 2003, 10:33:52 AM5/10/03
to
Pauline M Ross <pmr...@ross-software.co.uk> wrote:

>>>[Marc] Kanapoi KNM-KP 29281 A.anamensis: Fish, aquatic reptiles, kudus and monkeys
>>>are prevalent. 'A wide gallery forest would have almost certainly been
>>>present on the large river that brought in the sediments' (Leakey et al.,
>>>1995).
>>
>>[Gerrit] Most of the Kanapoi hominid specimens were recovered in situ from
>>paleosols. These indicate relatively open and semi-arid conditions at
>>Kanapoi at the time. This is not compatible with extensive wetland
>>conditions.

>So that's open and semi-arid conditions, with a wide gallery forest
>and a large river...??? Or are you saying that Leakey et al are wrong?

No, once again I'm only pointing out the dishonesty of Verhaegen who
only presents part of the available information. Leakey et al. (1995:
571) wrote: "Dry, possibly open, wooded or bushland conditions are
indicated by the kanapoi mammalian macro- and microfauna, although a


wide gallery forest would have almost certainly been present on the

the large river that brought in the sediments." At the time of writing
the paleosol analysis wasn't available yet.
The presence of channels with forest zones is a normal feature of
savanna. You'll find it plenty in the modern Serengeti-Mara ecosystem.

Gerrit

Gerrit Hanenburg

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May 10, 2003, 10:42:29 AM5/10/03
to
"Bob Keeter" <rke...@earthlink.net> wrote:

>> Abstract:
>> This study uses the interpretation of paleosol features at Kanapoi,
>> Kenya (4·2-3·4 Ma) to reconstruct the ecosystem occupied by
>> Australopithecus anamensis. The paleosols at Kanapoi provide a unique
>> and fortuitous opportunity, in that the bulk of the hominid specimens
>> derive from paleosols, providing direct evidence of the environment
>> that the Kanapoi hominids occupied. Seven named types of paleosols
>> are recognized at Kanapoi, each representing a trace fossil of the
>> local ecosystem during soil formation. The hominid-bearing Dite
>> paleosols provide evidence that A. anamensis inhabited areas of
>> semi-arid, seasonal climate regimes with mean annual precipitation
>> ranging from about 350-600 mm. The in situ hominid collections from
>> Dite paleosols show that A. anamensis at least occasionally occupied
>> relatively open low tree-shrub savanna vegetation formed in well
>> drained settings, and may have preferred these conditions over other
>> poorly drained soils. The relatively open conditions of Dite paleosols
>> existed within a spatially variable ecosystem, characterized by a
>> mosaic of environments, ranging from forb-dominated edaphic grassland
>> to gallery woodland, providing a larger view of the mixed
>> ecosystem in which A. anamensis lived. Synthesis of paleoenvironmental
>> indicators of A. anamensis at Kanapoi and Allia Bay, Kenya
>> suggests that as early as 4Ma hominids thrived in varied ecosystems.

>Would not the above be very consistent with the monsoon-driven,


>"Serengeti-style" savanna of today, even including the fish and reptiles?

Affirmative.
(but noting that there's a rainfall gradient in the Serengeti today
from 500 mm in the dry southeastern plains to 1200 mm in the northwest
in Kenya. Kanapoi would have been at the dry end of the range).



>You have the "wet season" with plenty of surface water to support fish and
>reptiles. The rivers and streams dry up leaving an annual deposit of fish
>and reptile bones ffrom those that "did not make it". And you still get
>plenty of bones from the "dryland" types that inhabit the area year round.

There's a modern analog in the form of several large channel systems
in the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem (e.g. Mara R., Grumeti R., Orangi R.,
Mbalageti R.) with wet season floodplain zones that leave aquatic
debris in the dry season (in fact, the dry season is the most
productive period for traditional fishers in Africa because many fish
become stranded in shallow pools and channels where they can be caught
with little or no technology).

Gerrit

Marc Verhaegen

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May 10, 2003, 10:42:51 AM5/10/03
to

"Pauline M Ross" <pmr...@ross-software.co.uk> wrote in message
news:3idpbv0gm2090nnfo...@4ax.com...

> >Kanapoi KNM-KP 29281 A.anamensis: Fish, aquatic reptiles, kudus and
monkeys are prevalent. 'A wide gallery forest would have almost certainly
been present on the large river that brought in the sediments' (Leakey et
al., 1995).

> Now, Marc, don't distract us with paleoanthropology, when everyone finds
it much more fun to rant about how awful you are... ;-) -- Pauline Ross

I don't follow these guys. They talk about everything except the essence.

Marc


Marc Verhaegen

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May 10, 2003, 10:55:33 AM5/10/03
to

"Gerrit Hanenburg" <G.Han...@inter.nl.nomail.net.> wrote in message
news:jjmpbv4lih1o1kiv4...@4ax.com...

> >> I read that article too. Not a bad piece. Too bad you only take out of
it what you want. Still there were very dry areas in Pliocene Africa -
Kanapoi comes to mind - and hominid fossils have been found there.

> >Kanapoi KNM-KP 29281 A.anamensis: Fish, aquatic reptiles, kudus and
monkeys are prevalent. 'A wide gallery forest would have almost certainly
been present on the large river that brought in the sediments' (Leakey et
al., 1995).

> Most of the Kanapoi hominid specimens were recovered in situ from
paleosols. These indicate relatively open and semi-arid conditions at
Kanapoi at the time. This is not compatible with extensive wetland
conditions. Wynn, J.G. (2000). Paleosols, stable carbon isotopes, and
paleoenvironmental interpretation of Kanapoi, Northern Kenya. JHE 39:411-432
Abstract: This study uses the interpretation of paleosol features at
Kanapoi, Kenya (4·2-3·4 Ma) to reconstruct the ecosystem occupied by
Australopithecus anamensis. The paleosols at Kanapoi provide a unique and
fortuitous opportunity, in that the bulk of the hominid specimens derive
from paleosols, providing direct evidence of the environment that the
Kanapoi hominids occupied. Seven named types of paleosols are recognized at
Kanapoi, each representing a trace fossil of the local ecosystem during soil
formation. The hominid-bearing Dite paleosols provide evidence that

A.anamensis inhabited areas of semi-arid, seasonal climate regimes with mean


annual precipitation ranging from about 350-600 mm. The in situ hominid

collections from Dite paleosols show that A.anamensis at least occasionally


occupied relatively open low tree-shrub savanna vegetation formed in well
drained settings, and may have preferred these conditions over other poorly
drained soils. The relatively open conditions of Dite paleosols existed
within a spatially variable ecosystem, characterized by a mosaic of
environments, ranging from forb-dominated edaphic grassland to gallery
woodland, providing a larger view of the mixed ecosystem in which

A.anamensis lived. Synthesis of paleoenvironmental indicators of A.anamensis


at Kanapoi and Allia Bay, Kenya suggests that as early as 4Ma hominids
thrived in varied ecosystems.

Yes. "350-600 mm" & "well-drained" are not "very dry".


Marc Verhaegen

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May 10, 2003, 11:04:12 AM5/10/03
to

"Gerrit Hanenburg" <G.Han...@inter.nl.nomail.net.> wrote in message
news:ed3qbvoutqqf4flda...@4ax.com...

> >>>[Marc] Kanapoi KNM-KP 29281 A.anamensis: Fish, aquatic reptiles, kudus
and monkeys are prevalent. 'A wide gallery forest would have almost
certainly been present on the large river that brought in the sediments'

(Leakey et al.1995).

> >>[Gerrit] Most of the Kanapoi hominid specimens were recovered in situ
from paleosols. These indicate relatively open and semi-arid conditions at
Kanapoi at the time. This is not compatible with extensive wetland
conditions.

> >So that's open and semi-arid conditions, with a wide gallery forest and a
large river...??? Or are you saying that Leakey et al are wrong?

> No, once again I'm only pointing out the dishonesty of Verhaegen who only
presents part of the available information. Leakey et al. (1995:571) wrote:
"Dry, possibly open, wooded or bushland conditions are indicated by the
kanapoi mammalian macro- and microfauna, although a wide gallery forest
would have almost certainly been present on the the large river that brought
in the sediments." At the time of writing the paleosol analysis wasn't
available yet. The presence of channels with forest zones is a normal
feature of savanna. You'll find it plenty in the modern Serengeti-Mara
ecosystem.

For the Xth time, our view is based mostly on comparative data, and Kanapoi
in no way contradicts this. Dishonest are those who say Kanapoi suggests our
ideas are wrong.


Marc Verhaegen

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May 10, 2003, 11:45:08 AM5/10/03
to

"Algis Kuliukas" <al...@RiverApes.com> wrote in message
news:77a70442.03050...@posting.google.com...

(snipped :-))

> I disagree with parts of his model too: In my opinion it stresses too much
coastal/marine and not enough riverside/fresh-water.

Yes. This is a big problem in AAT thinking (eg, limited renal capacity - but
possibly due to reterrestrialisation). The dispersal of early Homo between
Algeria & Java in the beginning of the Pleistocene occurred no doubt along
the coasts, but this doesn't exclude a (later?) riverside evolution of our
ancestors. (Relative) arguments for the seaside once IMO are our behaviour
(hollidays, shells), durophagy & tool use, salty tears, sweat, rarity of
blue cones, the possibility of feeding exclusively on marine foods
http://www.netside.com/~lcoble/bible/water.html , loss of fur (cf. Mario's
ideas on salt & fur) etc.

> I think he downplays the importance of fossil data

I don't. I only dowplay the importance of fossils for our ancestors. Human
anatomy & physiology & behaviour say a lot about our ancestry. Fossils OTOH
only say something on the fossils, not directly on our ancestors. And since
IMO most or all apiths were closer relatives of chimps or gorillas than of
people, they're not very relevant for Homo evolution.

> - thus lessening the importance of the African hominoidae hypodigm and
overplays the idea that much of this evolution happenned on coastlines -
where all the fossils are conveniently covered by the seas

:-) Yes, but it's not my fault that sea levels changed a lot during the
Pleistocene.

> . We've had other run-ins too about minor points of my model. I didn't


like the experience. Like you, he can come across as being very
self-righteous and arrogant when you're arguing against him.

:-( I'm sorry, Algis, if that's your impression. IMO you don't have
convincing arguments for your hybridisation ideas, but I'm about the only
one here I believe who openly supports your ideas on partial sideways wading
in early hominids.

Marc

Jim McGinn

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May 10, 2003, 12:57:09 PM5/10/03
to
Gerrit Hanenburg <G.Han...@inter.nl.nomail.net.> wrote

The hominid-bearing Dite
> paleosols provide evidence that A. anamensis inhabited areas of
> semi-arid, seasonal climate regimes with mean annual precipitation
> ranging from about 350-600 mm.

It seems that all hominid fossils are associated with seasonal
dessication (a dry season).

Jim

Jim McGinn

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May 10, 2003, 2:15:02 PM5/10/03
to
"Marc Verhaegen" <fa20...@skynet.be> wrote

> Yes. "350-600 mm" & "well-drained" are not "very dry".

Yes, it ain't Gerrit's dry, treeless savanna but it
ain't no aquatic oasis either. Instead, it's well
watered part of the year and dry and dessicate for
the other part of the year.

Richard Wagler

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May 10, 2003, 5:45:44 PM5/10/03
to

Gerrit Hanenburg wrote:

Thanks, Gerrit. I was about to search out this article
and post it. How does it go.....biocenoses does not
equal thanatocenoses. Hope I haven't garbled the
spelling......

Rick Wagler

Richard Wagler

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May 10, 2003, 5:47:46 PM5/10/03
to

Pauline M Ross wrote:

Science marches on......Was Newton wrong because
Einstein reworked the whole business, Well, in a narrow
sense, he was, Bur science is not for narrow minds.

Rick Wagler


Richard Wagler

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May 10, 2003, 5:55:18 PM5/10/03