The Aquatic Ape's "Mad Minute"

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Bob Keeter

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May 5, 2004, 7:57:56 PM5/5/04
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In basic journalism you learn that there are "5 w's"; Who, What, When,
Where, & Why. Lets play a little game of journalistic reporting with the
Aquatic Ape Hypothesis.

Who: Some as yet undiscovered ancient ancestor of all modern humans

What: Lived in and around open bodies of water (or swamps) with a lifestyle
sufficiently "aquatic" to favor the evolutionary development of
characteristics and features significantly different from our nearest
cousins (chimps) targeted specifically towards adaptation to the aquatic
environment.

(I'll take the W's out of order, for a reason that will soon become clear.)

Where: Somewhere in equatorial Africa

When: This is a toughie. If hominid obligate bipedalism is supposedly a
product of the aquatic phase, it must have occurred at some point prior to
the first obligate bipedal human ancestors. Even if we throw out
Sahelanthropus for lack of HARD evidence (like the long leg bones and
relatively short arm bones of the Apiths that would render quadrupedalism
extremely difficult if not impossible) that would still push the aquatic
phase quite a ways back in history. The problem there is that all of the
features evolved for the aquatic existence, that were not mutually
advantageous for the bipedal aquatic and bipedal land-dwelling existence,
would be just as actively and aggressively "de-volved" as they had evolved
in the first place! So. . . if you go back too far, we would not have so
much as a trace of any adaptation that was not also advantageous in the
terrestrial environment. (Oh yeah, if whatever supposedly aquatic
adaptation is also evolutionarily advantageous in the terrestrial
environment, there is no need to hypothesize an aquatic phase for its
evolution, which sort of rocks the whole apple cart, doesnt it? 8-) )

Why: On one side I think that this might be a serious question, on the
other, the evidence is that species tend to difuse into just about any
viable ecology, so . . . . . at least the OPPORTUNITIES to difuse into
either a more watery or a much dryer environment than the primal human
ancestors can almost be assumed to be equal possibilities. Possibilities
are good for "working hypotheses", but cant be called real science. so. . .
. . lets just dump the "why" entirely!

So, lets go back to where there is some fat to be chewed, to a question for
the entire AAH community! WHEN would you say that your evolutionarily
significant aquatic phase occurred for ancestoral hominids? How far back to
you put it to allow it to be the genesis of human style bipedalism, without
putting it so far back that any uniquely aquatic impacts on our current
physiology would have simply disappeared? Or is bipedalism simply a non
sequitur with respect to the aquatic ape concept.

Think timeline! 8-) Need a timeline that makes sense when viewed from both
ends and from the middle

And yes, Pauline, this IS a trick question! A question designed to make you
think some very uncomfortable thoughts (other than just that I should quit
typing such herasy of course)! 8-) And Algis, if all of the adaptations of
the aquatic ape concept WERE truely unique adaptations to that watery
environment, why have they not disappeared? AND of course, for both, if
these "aquatic characteristics" were actually mutually advantageous in both
environments, why do we need to hypothesize a "different from the known"
environment to explain their existence?

I know, I know! I was really feeling debative this evening! 8-))

Lets see who is willing to risk a logical rebuttal, reasonable retort, or
constructive response! (Obviously, from the description of the desired
response, excluding the M&M&P troika who simply make noise in that
proverbial empty forest, IMMHO of course!!).

OBTW, (MAD MINUTE: concentrated fire of all weapons for a brief period of
time at maximum rate.)

Regards
bk


Pauline M Ross

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May 6, 2004, 2:15:15 AM5/6/04
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On Wed, 05 May 2004 23:57:56 GMT, "Bob Keeter" <rke...@earthlink.net>
wrote:

>So, lets go back to where there is some fat to be chewed, to a question for
>the entire AAH community! WHEN would you say that your evolutionarily
>significant aquatic phase occurred for ancestoral hominids? How far back to
>you put it to allow it to be the genesis of human style bipedalism, without
>putting it so far back that any uniquely aquatic impacts on our current
>physiology would have simply disappeared? Or is bipedalism simply a non
>sequitur with respect to the aquatic ape concept.

Bob, you've asked this question before and I'm sure I've given you an
answer before.

I would say, the 'aquatic phase' lasted from (possibly) the advent of
the ape clade (say 18 Mya), but certainly before bipedalism (say > 6
Mya), through to the start of agriculture (5-10 kya).

--
Pauline Ross

Nick Maclaren

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May 6, 2004, 4:00:54 AM5/6/04
to

In article <8cfmc.6479$a47....@newsread3.news.atl.earthlink.net>,

"Bob Keeter" <rke...@earthlink.net> writes:
|> In basic journalism you learn that there are "5 w's"; Who, What, When,
|> Where, & Why. Lets play a little game of journalistic reporting with the
|> Aquatic Ape Hypothesis.
|>
|> Who: Some as yet undiscovered ancient ancestor of all modern humans
|>
|> What: Lived in and around open bodies of water (or swamps) with a lifestyle
|> sufficiently "aquatic" to favor the evolutionary development of
|> characteristics and features significantly different from our nearest
|> cousins (chimps) targeted specifically towards adaptation to the aquatic
|> environment.
|>
|> Where: Somewhere in equatorial Africa
|>
|> When: This is a toughie. If hominid obligate bipedalism is supposedly a
|> product of the aquatic phase, ...
|>
|> Why: On one side I think that this might be a serious question, ... so. . .

|> . . lets just dump the "why" entirely!

As the saner readers of this group will realise, I do not buy into
any umbrella theory, but feel that there are at least some aspects
of the AAT that make sense. Which does not prove they are right!
Here are a few points:

The when and why (and I am happy to include that) that make most
sense to me are the actual development of fully effective bipedalism,
starting from a chimpanzee-like posture and movement. It is, as far
as I know, the only hypothesis that fits all known facts and does
not require a previous development, with the need to explain why
THAT happened. But there is no good evidence for it, either.

I don't swallow the arguments for subcutaneous fat, hairlessness,
etc. etc., and think that Gould has it right that most are probably
secondary consequences of neoteny, which itself is explained by
the previous development of tool use, communication and childhood
learning.

I have no idea where or when those (mental) skills developed, and
could believe even the savanna, though an aquatic involvement is
equally likely. The fact that most of the savanna arguments are
completely bogus doesn't show that the WHOLE hypothesis is false.
Current belief is that those skills are much later than bipedalism
but, as I understand, there is little good evidence for that.

So I would say that the aquatic phase (assuming it occurred) was
very early, and was the key to separating us from the other African
great apes. I would speculate a small population being trapped in
an area where there was not enough prey to support populations of
the major group-hunting predators, and which was relatively
inaccessible from where they occurred (i.e. the savanna).

There may have been other phases, later, just as there may have been
savanna phases, gallery forest phases, seasonal living phases and
so on. I have no opinion on that.

But that is just a layman's hypothesis :-)


Regards,
Nick Maclaren.

Marc Verhaegen

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May 6, 2004, 7:35:03 AM5/6/04
to
"Bob Keeter" <rke...@earthlink.net> wrote in message
news:8cfmc.6479$a47....@newsread3.news.atl.earthlink.net...

> In basic journalism you learn that there are "5 w's"; Who, What, When,
Where, & Why. Lets play a little game of journalistic reporting with the
Aquatic Ape Hypothesis.

Why not. Childs have to amuse themselves.

> Who: Some as yet undiscovered ancient ancestor of all modern humans

1) Undiscovered?? Man, a lot of Homo fossils come from coasts. Didn't you
even know this basic fact?? Inform a little bit before saying something.
2) One must be simple-minded if one believed that any fossil was an ancestor
of any living creature.

> What: Lived in and around open bodies of water (or swamps) with a
lifestyle sufficiently "aquatic" to favor the evolutionary development of
characteristics and features significantly different from our nearest
cousins (chimps) targeted specifically towards adaptation to the aquatic
environment.

Obvious, no? You don't believe that reduction of olfactory sense was a
savanna adaptation, do you?? You don't believe that flat feet are a savanna
adaptation, do you?? Etc. Etc. Etc.

> Where: Somewhere in equatorial Africa

?? Why do you believe that?? Do you have a good reason to believe this??

> When: This is a toughie. If hominid obligate bipedalism is supposedly a
product of the aquatic phase

??
Man, do you suppose this?? Nobody does, don't you know?
(Hence irrelevant blabla snipped.)

> Why: On one side I think that this might be a serious question, on the
other, the evidence is that species tend to difuse into just about any
viable ecology, so . . . . . at least the OPPORTUNITIES to difuse into
either a more watery or a much dryer environment than the primal human
ancestors can almost be assumed to be equal possibilities. Possibilities
are good for "working hypotheses", but cant be called real science. so. . .
. . lets just dump the "why" entirely!

??
Since we know that by c 1.8 Ma Homo had spread to Algeria, Kenya, Georgia,
Java, along the coasts (how else??), why wouldn't they have eaten shellfish,
crayfish, turtle & bired eggs, stranded sea mammals, coconuts etc. etc.??
Why IYHO?

Enough said??

Open your eyes, man.

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


Aardvark J. Bandersnatch, MP

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May 6, 2004, 11:10:03 AM5/6/04
to

"Bob Keeter" <rke...@earthlink.net> wrote in message
news:8cfmc.6479$a47....@newsread3.news.atl.earthlink.net...
> In basic journalism you learn that there are "5 w's"; Who, What, When,
> Where, & Why. Lets play a little game of journalistic reporting with the
> Aquatic Ape Hypothesis.

snippage

>
> And yes, Pauline, this IS a trick question! A question designed to make
you
> think some very uncomfortable thoughts (other than just that I should quit
> typing such herasy of course)! 8-) And Algis, if all of the adaptations
of
> the aquatic ape concept WERE truely unique adaptations to that watery
> environment, why have they not disappeared? AND of course, for both, if
> these "aquatic characteristics" were actually mutually advantageous in
both
> environments, why do we need to hypothesize a "different from the known"
> environment to explain their existence?

Can you say "Strawman"? I thought you could.


Jim McGinn

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May 6, 2004, 11:26:15 AM5/6/04
to
nm...@cus.cam.ac.uk (Nick Maclaren) wrote

> As the saner readers of this group will realise, I do not buy into
> any umbrella theory,

You've bought into Langdon's silly notion that there's something
objectionable to umbrella theories and that AAT is such.

but feel that there are at least some aspects
> of the AAT that make sense. Which does not prove they are right!
> Here are a few points:
>
> The when and why (and I am happy to include that) that make most
> sense to me are the actual development of fully effective bipedalism,
> starting from a chimpanzee-like posture and movement. It is, as far
> as I know, the only hypothesis that fits all known facts and does
> not require a previous development,

Huh? What are you talking about?

with the need to explain why
> THAT happened. But there is no good evidence for it, either.
>
> I don't swallow the arguments for subcutaneous fat, hairlessness,
> etc. etc., and think that Gould has it right that most are probably
> secondary consequences of neoteny,

Neoteny is a consequence, not a cause.

which itself is explained by
> the previous development of tool use, communication and childhood
> learning.

?

>
> I have no idea where or when those (mental) skills developed, and
> could believe even the savanna, though an aquatic involvement is
> equally likely.

I've always thought it strange that anybody would bother to speculate
about habitat without linking it to a hypothesis.

The fact that most of the savanna arguments are
> completely bogus doesn't show that the WHOLE hypothesis is false.
> Current belief is that those skills are much later than bipedalism
> but, as I understand, there is little good evidence for that.

How is it not obvious that it must involve a shift in lifestyle? How
is it not obvious that this shift in lifestyle involves communalism.

>
> So I would say that the aquatic phase (assuming it occurred) was
> very early, and was the key to separating us from the other African
> great apes. I would speculate a small population being trapped in
> an area where there was not enough prey to support populations of
> the major group-hunting predators, and which was relatively
> inaccessible from where they occurred (i.e. the savanna).

About the silliest thing of all is this notion that evolution happens
in phases. Another silly notion is that small populations can
introduce trends that overtake large populations. This is tail
wagging the dog nonsense.

>
> There may have been other phases, later, just as there may have been
> savanna phases, gallery forest phases, seasonal living phases and
> so on. I have no opinion on that.
>
> But that is just a layman's hypothesis :-)

Jim

Nick Maclaren

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May 6, 2004, 2:31:05 PM5/6/04
to
In article <ac6a5059.0405...@posting.google.com>,

Jim McGinn <jimm...@yahoo.com> wrote:
>
>You've bought into Langdon's silly notion that there's something
>objectionable to umbrella theories and that AAT is such.

No, I have bought into the notion that they are extremely implausible
in THIS case. Once upon a time, long before most of the users of
the Internet were born, it was unclear whether all of our unusual
characteristics developed 'together'. A vast amount of fossil
evidence now shows that to be not so.

I don't buy into an umbrella theory stretching over 3-5 million years
unless the results show a continuing adaptation to the conditions
hypothesised. I have not seen any umbrella hypothesis that meets
the requirement.

>> The when and why (and I am happy to include that) that make most
>> sense to me are the actual development of fully effective bipedalism,
>> starting from a chimpanzee-like posture and movement. It is, as far
>> as I know, the only hypothesis that fits all known facts and does
>> not require a previous development,
>
>Huh? What are you talking about?

What I said. I have posted details before, and don't intend to
repeat them in this thread.

>Neoteny is a consequence, not a cause.

Not entirely. A neotenous mutation with some selective advantage
may well introduce other neotenous characteristics as side-effects.
If those have no selective DISADVANTAGE, they may well become
dominant.

> which itself is explained by
>> the previous development of tool use, communication and childhood
>> learning.
>
>?

See Gould and many others.

>> I have no idea where or when those (mental) skills developed, and
>> could believe even the savanna, though an aquatic involvement is
>> equally likely.
>
>I've always thought it strange that anybody would bother to speculate
>about habitat without linking it to a hypothesis.

I could produce a hypothesis easily enough. In fact, I could probably
produce several for each environment, plus others. My point is that
it is POSSIBLE that a particular environment was instrumental in
developing those mental skills, but there is no obvious reason to
select that class of hypotheses above any others.

> The fact that most of the savanna arguments are
>> completely bogus doesn't show that the WHOLE hypothesis is false.
>> Current belief is that those skills are much later than bipedalism
>> but, as I understand, there is little good evidence for that.
>
>How is it not obvious that it must involve a shift in lifestyle? How
>is it not obvious that this shift in lifestyle involves communalism.

What does that have to do with the date when the development occurred?

>About the silliest thing of all is this notion that evolution happens
>in phases. Another silly notion is that small populations can
>introduce trends that overtake large populations. This is tail
>wagging the dog nonsense.

Hmm. On the first point, all fossil evidence for most taxa indicates
that major shifts do, indeed, occur in phases. There is considerable
disagreement about why.

On the second, you are no geneticist, are you?


Regards,
Nick Maclaren.

Bob Keeter

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May 6, 2004, 6:36:18 PM5/6/04
to

"Aardvark J. Bandersnatch, MP" <som...@micrsfot.com> wrote in message
news:fzsmc.41003$Ik.2678164@attbi_s53...

Of course I can!

. . . . . .and the Lion needed courage! The Tin Man needed a heart, and the
Strawman
only needed a brain! 8-)))) Where the heck do you think I got the seed of
my idea for the
"avian ape hypothesis"! ;-)

Seriously, a "strawman" is usually proposed as essentially an unsupported
concept, sort
of tossed out to "sink or swim". That means that a "strawman" is a
fair-game target for
criticism (else why call it a strawman)? If a fact or a question can "pull
apart" a true
strawman, the author should thank whoever presents the unsolvable dilemma,
since
it would keep the author from looking foolish for presenting a strawman for
more than
it deserved.

Now if a concept is presented as a strawman and then honored, and defended,
as if it
were devine dogma, would you not see a problem?

Can you say "hypocracy" and "intellectual honesty"? Come on, give it a
shot! ;-)

Regards
bk


Bob Keeter

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May 6, 2004, 6:44:54 PM5/6/04
to

"Pauline M Ross" <pmr...@ross-software.co.uk> wrote in message
news:5flj90h475tq01vq4...@4ax.com...

ACTUALLY, I have asked it before, its one of my favorites! Your answer
does give a slightly different angle to the discussion though. You would
seem
to be implying that all of modern humanity sprang from a small group of
aquatic
ancestors only 5-10kya? That would mean that either the whole line from
Sahelanthropus (or one of his contemporaries) up through the apiths, HH, HE
HN HS and HSS were ALL aquatic? I know that 18mya is a bit old for
Sahelanthropus, but if he turns out to be obligate bipedal like the apiths
and
all of homo, you do have to reach further back. . . . . .

But lets think about this a bit more. Given this "range" that you have
offered,
would you mind defining the nature of your "aquatic phase" in terms that a
dilitante such as myself might understand. At least IMHO, perhaps the most
"aquatic" of modern hominids would be the Polynesians. A major portion of
their livelihood is associated with the ocean, and has been for literally
1000's
of years. Do you see your "aquatic ancestor" as being more or less
"connected"
to the water, from an evolutionary standpoint, than a Polynesian?

Regards
bk


Jim McGinn

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May 6, 2004, 8:11:05 PM5/6/04
to
nm...@cus.cam.ac.uk (Nick Maclaren) wrote

> >You've bought into Langdon's silly notion that there's something
> >objectionable to umbrella theories and that AAT is such.
>
> No, I have bought into the notion that they are extremely implausible
> in THIS case. Once upon a time, long before most of the users of
> the Internet were born, it was unclear whether all of our unusual
> characteristics developed 'together'. A vast amount of fossil
> evidence now shows that to be not so.
>
> I don't buy into an umbrella theory stretching over 3-5 million years
> unless the results show a continuing adaptation to the conditions
> hypothesised. I have not seen any umbrella hypothesis that meets
> the requirement.

This is a really slippery argument since nobody
knows what the other means when they use the term
umbrella. Langdon, like all anthropologists, uses
it as an excuse for ignoring standard concepts of
evolutionary biology.

>
> >> The when and why (and I am happy to include that) that make most
> >> sense to me are the actual development of fully effective bipedalism,
> >> starting from a chimpanzee-like posture and movement. It is, as far
> >> as I know, the only hypothesis that fits all known facts and does
> >> not require a previous development,
> >
> >Huh? What are you talking about?
>
> What I said. I have posted details before, and don't intend to
> repeat them in this thread.

Keep it vague, then nobody can dispute it.

>
> >Neoteny is a consequence, not a cause.
>
> Not entirely. A neotenous mutation with some selective advantage
> may well introduce other neotenous characteristics as side-effects.
> If those have no selective DISADVANTAGE, they may well become
> dominant.

Cart before the horse wishful thinking.

>
> > which itself is explained by
> >> the previous development of tool use, communication and childhood
> >> learning.
> >
> >?
>
> See Gould and many others.

Gould was clueless.

>
> >> I have no idea where or when those (mental) skills developed, and
> >> could believe even the savanna, though an aquatic involvement is
> >> equally likely.
> >
> >I've always thought it strange that anybody would bother to speculate
> >about habitat without linking it to a hypothesis.
>
> I could produce a hypothesis easily enough. In fact, I could probably
> produce several for each environment, plus others. My point is that
> it is POSSIBLE that a particular environment was instrumental in
> developing those mental skills, but there is no obvious reason to
> select that class of hypotheses above any others.

It's obvious to me that your thinking lacks
grounding in evolutionary principles.

>
> > The fact that most of the savanna arguments are
> >> completely bogus doesn't show that the WHOLE hypothesis is false.
> >> Current belief is that those skills are much later than bipedalism
> >> but, as I understand, there is little good evidence for that.
> >
> >How is it not obvious that it must involve a shift in lifestyle? How
> >is it not obvious that this shift in lifestyle involves communalism.
>
> What does that have to do with the date when the development occurred?

You lost me.

>
> >About the silliest thing of all is this notion that evolution happens
> >in phases. Another silly notion is that small populations can
> >introduce trends that overtake large populations. This is tail
> >wagging the dog nonsense.
>
> Hmm. On the first point, all fossil evidence for most taxa indicates
> that major shifts do, indeed, occur in phases.

No. It occurs during periods of climatic change.

There is considerable
> disagreement about why.
>
> On the second, you are no geneticist, are you?

You are making the classic mistake (like Crowley
recently) of extrapolating from a concept called
the founder effect. The founder effect DOES NOT
allow for this silly notion that that small

populations can introduce trends that overtake

large populations. It only tells us what happens
in small populations.

Jim

Jim McGinn

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May 7, 2004, 2:41:02 AM5/7/04
to
"Bob Keeter" <rke...@earthlink.net> wrote

> . . . if all of the adaptations of the aquatic ape

> concept WERE truely unique adaptations to that
> watery environment, why have they not disappeared?
> AND of course, for both, if these "aquatic
> characteristics" were actually mutually advantageous
> in both environments, why do we need to hypothesize
> a "different from the known" environment to explain
> their existence?

These are killer questions, Bob! These are the kind
of common sense questions that should have been
foremost on the minds of anybody considering an
aquatic hypothesis. But you won't get a response from
Algis, Pauline, or Marc on any of this. And this is
because their understanding of NS has little if
anything to do with common sense.

Jim

Jim McGinn

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May 7, 2004, 3:02:36 AM5/7/04
to
"Bob Keeter" <rke...@earthlink.net> wrote

> That means that a "strawman" is a fair-game target
> for criticism (else why call it a strawman)? If a
> fact or a question can "pull apart" a true
> strawman, the author should thank whoever presents
> the unsolvable dilemma, since it would keep the
> author from looking foolish for presenting a
> strawman for more than it deserved.

Maybe I'm missing your meaning here Bob, but a
"strawman," is a rhetorical tactic in which a person
misrepresents their opponents thinking with a weaker
version thereof and then proceeds to tear it down,
thus creating the illusion that their opponents
position is much weaker than it really is. (But on
second reading I think you already understand this
and are saying something altogether different.)

(One of the tactics of the conventional theorists in
this NG--and in PA in general--is to keep their own
thinking/hypothesis so vague that any attempt at all
to by their opponents to represent their
thinking/hypothesis--no matter how much they might
genuinely wish to avoid it--results in the strawman
accusation.)

Jim

Bob Keeter

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May 7, 2004, 9:40:21 AM5/7/04
to

"Aardvark J. Bandersnatch, MP" <som...@micrsfot.com> wrote in message
news:mFBmc.32521$Ia6.5441355@attbi_s03...
Snippage. . . ..

> > Seriously, a "strawman" is usually proposed as essentially an
unsupported
> > concept, sort of tossed out to "sink or swim". That means that a
"strawman"
> > is a fair-game target for criticism (else why call it a strawman)? If a
fact or
> > a question can "pull apart" a true strawman, the author should thank
whoever
> > presents the unsolvable dilemma, since it would keep the author from
looking
> > foolish for presenting a strawman for more than it deserved.
>

> WRONG. Try again.
>

8-) OK, what would you call a "strawman"? Let me guess, its a revelation
from
on high delivered to a disciple of the true science, needing no proof,
evidence or
logic other than his personal decree! 8-) And of course, anyone who would
take
issue with a "strawman" proposal is an obvious heretic worthy of a hot stake
or a
cold chop! 8-0

> >
> > Now if a concept is presented as a strawman and then honored, and
> > defended, as if it were devine dogma, would you not see a problem?
> >
> > Can you say "hypocracy" and "intellectual honesty"? Come on, give it a
> > shot! ;-)
>

> PS-- your spelling suxrox.

Ah, yes. Spelling is it! 8-) Injuneers aint gotta be literat! But then
again
I dont have any trouble spelling my own name! But then I guess thats a
symptom of something other than simply not having the spell checker turned
on! 8-))

regards
bk


Pauline M Ross

unread,
May 7, 2004, 10:35:09 AM5/7/04
to
On Thu, 06 May 2004 22:44:54 GMT, "Bob Keeter" <rke...@earthlink.net>
wrote:

>You would seem to be implying that all of modern humanity sprang from a small group of
>aquatic ancestors only 5-10kya?

Why a small group? I would say that *all* modern humans are/were
'aquatic' (see definition below).

> That would mean that either the whole line from
>Sahelanthropus (or one of his contemporaries) up through the apiths, HH, HE
>HN HS and HSS were ALL aquatic? I know that 18mya is a bit old for
>Sahelanthropus, but if he turns out to be obligate bipedal like the apiths
>and all of homo, you do have to reach further back. . . . . .

Yep, that's it, more or less. Not that there weren't some hominids who
may have been less (or not at all) 'aquatic' (see definition below),
but our ancestors were consistently 'aquatic'.


>
>But lets think about this a bit more. Given this "range" that you have
>offered, would you mind defining the nature of your "aquatic phase" in terms that a
>dilitante such as myself might understand. At least IMHO, perhaps the most
>"aquatic" of modern hominids would be the Polynesians. A major portion of
>their livelihood is associated with the ocean, and has been for literally
>1000's of years. Do you see your "aquatic ancestor" as being more or less
>"connected" to the water, from an evolutionary standpoint, than a Polynesian?

OK, let's define 'aquatic' first: when I use the word 'aquatic' in the
context of human evolution, I mean that water was an inescapable part
of our ancestors' lives, and not just for drinking. Either there was
so much of it about that they had to wade and/or swim just to get
about, or that they got a substantial part of their food by physically
getting in the water. But naturally they also continued to move about
on land and use terrestrial resources.

Now this is less 'aquatic' than a dolphin (they were never in water
all the time) and less 'aquatic' than an otter or a seal (they were
never totally dependent on aquatic resources). Nevertheless, they were
sufficiently 'aquatic' for a long enough time to account for the
peculiarities we see in modern humans. In my opinion, anyway.

As to the Polynesians, I would say that the ancestral condition was
more 'aquatic' than that, since all modern humans are so adept with
tools that we never need to get in the water at all now - if we want
fish, we get out the boat, nets and hooks, or we can hunt land mammals
instead. The whole history of Homo has been the steady development of
tools which protect us from physical contact with our environment
(including water), so we have become somewhat less 'aquatic' with
time, but still sufficiently 'aquatic' that modern humans dispersed
all round the world by coastal routes and boats.

So no 'aquatic phase' as such, just a very long history of close
association with water, ending only very recently.

--
Pauline Ross

Aardvark J. Bandersnatch, MP

unread,
May 7, 2004, 2:55:59 PM5/7/04
to

"Jim McGinn" <jimm...@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:ac6a5059.04050...@posting.google.com...

> "Bob Keeter" <rke...@earthlink.net> wrote
>
> > That means that a "strawman" is a fair-game target
> > for criticism (else why call it a strawman)? If a
> > fact or a question can "pull apart" a true
> > strawman, the author should thank whoever presents
> > the unsolvable dilemma, since it would keep the
> > author from looking foolish for presenting a
> > strawman for more than it deserved.
>
> Maybe I'm missing your meaning here Bob, but a
> "strawman," is a rhetorical tactic in which a person
> misrepresents their opponents thinking with a weaker
> version thereof and then proceeds to tear it down,
> thus creating the illusion that their opponents
> position is much weaker than it really is. (But on
> second reading I think you already understand this
> and are saying something altogether different.)

BINGO!

Here, have a gold star.


Bob Keeter

unread,
May 7, 2004, 10:15:30 PM5/7/04
to

"Pauline M Ross" <pmr...@ross-software.co.uk> wrote in message
news:9n1n909g37jnp3glq...@4ax.com...

> On Thu, 06 May 2004 22:44:54 GMT, "Bob Keeter" <rke...@earthlink.net>
> wrote:
>
> >You would seem to be implying that all of modern humanity sprang from a
small group of
> >aquatic ancestors only 5-10kya?
>
> Why a small group? I would say that *all* modern humans are/were
> 'aquatic' (see definition below).
>
> > That would mean that either the whole line from
> >Sahelanthropus (or one of his contemporaries) up through the apiths, HH,
HE
> >HN HS and HSS were ALL aquatic? I know that 18mya is a bit old for
> >Sahelanthropus, but if he turns out to be obligate bipedal like the
apiths
> >and all of homo, you do have to reach further back. . . . . .
>
> Yep, that's it, more or less. Not that there weren't some hominids who
> may have been less (or not at all) 'aquatic' (see definition below),
> but our ancestors were consistently 'aquatic'.

Who knows! I may have trotted out one of the good Mr. Bandersnatch's
"strawmen" and didnt even know it! Well, Duh! 8-)

Snippage. . .

> OK, let's define 'aquatic' first: when I use the word 'aquatic' in the
> context of human evolution, I mean that water was an inescapable part
> of our ancestors' lives, and not just for drinking. Either there was
> so much of it about that they had to wade and/or swim just to get
> about, or that they got a substantial part of their food by physically
> getting in the water. But naturally they also continued to move about
> on land and use terrestrial resources.

So, all along since pre-Sahelanthropus days, we were tied to
open/flowing/standing bodies of water, but as you say, they would
continue to move about on land and also feed on terrestrial sources
right? Now that feels a LOT like what I would call a semi-aquatic
species, and there are plenty of precidents for said lifestyle among
mammals! At one end of the continuum, you might find an Alaskan
brown bear. The bear depends on the salmon runs for a major portion
of the stored fat that will get it through the winter, however for probably
90-95% of the time, its out on try land (eating or hybernating). Couldnt
survive without the salmon runs, but only has spawing salmon for a very
few weeks out of the year. On the other extreme is the N. American
beaver. It spends probably 70-75% of its time in the water but its food
is almost entirely found on the land (except for a little touch of algae
during the spring).

So lets take this WHOLE spectrum of semi-aquatic mammalian
species and lets look at how many of the "aquatic ape" characteristics
they share!

Some rhetorical questions!

Are any obligate bipeds?
Are any even semi-hairless?
Do any have significant layers of SC fat for insulation OR bouyancy?

Given your own answers, is there any justification to include a hominid
in this category?

> Now this is less 'aquatic' than a dolphin (they were never in water
> all the time) and less 'aquatic' than an otter or a seal (they were
> never totally dependent on aquatic resources). Nevertheless, they were
> sufficiently 'aquatic' for a long enough time to account for the
> peculiarities we see in modern humans. In my opinion, anyway.

So, less aquatic than cetaceans (i'll toss in sirenians if you dont mind),
and
even less aquatic than a seal or an otter. Hmmmmm. So we have narrowed
the degree of aquaticism to the otter on one end and perhaps my brown bear
on the other?

Same rhetorical questions. . . . . . . 8-)

> As to the Polynesians, I would say that the ancestral condition was
> more 'aquatic' than that, since all modern humans are so adept with
> tools that we never need to get in the water at all now - if we want
> fish, we get out the boat, nets and hooks, or we can hunt land mammals
> instead. The whole history of Homo has been the steady development of
> tools which protect us from physical contact with our environment
> (including water), so we have become somewhat less 'aquatic' with
> time, but still sufficiently 'aquatic' that modern humans dispersed
> all round the world by coastal routes and boats.
>
> So no 'aquatic phase' as such, just a very long history of close
> association with water, ending only very recently.

So, the "aquatic period" ended with the advent of tools?"

Yep, I like those rhetorical questions! I think that perhaps putting you
in the position to have to think through this little proposition of yours is
my best "debating tactic"! After all, I cant convince you that the aquatic
ape theory is hogwash, you must do that for me! ;-)

Regards
bk


Pauline M Ross

unread,
May 8, 2004, 3:35:11 AM5/8/04
to
On Sat, 08 May 2004 02:15:30 GMT, "Bob Keeter" <rke...@earthlink.net>
wrote:

[Snip discussion of beavers and bears]


>So lets take this WHOLE spectrum of semi-aquatic mammalian
>species and lets look at how many of the "aquatic ape" characteristics
>they share!

[Snip]


>Are any obligate bipeds?
>Are any even semi-hairless?
>Do any have significant layers of SC fat for insulation OR bouyancy?

And are any of them tropical? Arboreal? Primates? Hominid-sized? To
get from A to B, you first have to start at A.

>>[Pauline]The whole history of Homo has been the steady development of


>> tools which protect us from physical contact with our environment
>> (including water), so we have become somewhat less 'aquatic' with
>> time, but still sufficiently 'aquatic' that modern humans dispersed
>> all round the world by coastal routes and boats.
>> So no 'aquatic phase' as such, just a very long history of close
>> association with water, ending only very recently.
>
>So, the "aquatic period" ended with the advent of tools?"

The advent of tools was (at least) 2.5 Mya, possibly substantially
earlier. I date the end of the 'aquatic period' to the start of
agriculturalism (say 10 kya). Bit different. But it isn't a
black-and-white thing; the more sophisticated the tools became, the
more our ancestors were capable of breaking away from the water (but
the most successful groups were always those who stayed close to it -
until recently).


>
>Yep, I like those rhetorical questions! I think that perhaps putting you
>in the position to have to think through this little proposition of yours is
>my best "debating tactic"! After all, I cant convince you that the aquatic
>ape theory is hogwash, you must do that for me! ;-)

I'm still waiting for that hogwash-proving piece of evidence :-)

--
Pauline Ross

Marc Verhaegen

unread,
May 8, 2004, 6:43:24 AM5/8/04
to
"Pauline M Ross" <pmr...@ross-software.co.uk> wrote in message
news:tr2p909tumuchf1a9...@4ax.com...

Sigh. Keeter is producing his usual biases.

On semi-aquatics, he asks:

> >Are any obligate bipeds?

1) ?? I hope Keeter doesn't use this against AAT?? (You never know the
prejudices of these people...)
2) Kangaroos are obligate bipeds. Yes, kangaroos could be called
savanna-dwellers... No doubt this proves humans descend from
savanna-dwellers... :-D
3) IMO human bipedalism results from having dwelt in flooded forests
(wading-suspensory) followed by coastal swimming-wading-walking.
4) Penguins walk on land vertically like humans (straight bodies).

> >Are any even semi-hairless?

Keeter apparently doesn't realise that tropical coastal mammals smaller than
babirusas & humans don't lose the fur. What is he trying to say? That humans
can't have had coastal ancestors??

> >Do any have significant layers of SC fat for insulation OR bouyancy?

Keeter seems to believe that SC fat must have been for buoyancy?? Doesn't he
know that our coastal ancestors had to find shellfish not at the surface,
but at the bottom?? I don't know what he is arguing.

(It's "buoyancy" AFAIK. Keeter should at least try to spell his own language
correctly (not difficult: the man could use a dictionary, as I have to do so
often: I already have the handicap of having to write a foreign language).)


> >>[Pauline]The whole history of Homo has been the steady development of
tools which protect us from physical contact with our environment (including
water), so we have become somewhat less 'aquatic' with time, but still
sufficiently 'aquatic' that modern humans dispersed all round the world by
coastal routes and boats. So no 'aquatic phase' as such, just a very long
history of close association with water, ending only very recently.

> >So, the "aquatic period" ended with the advent of tools?"

?? Why does he believes that?? It's difficult to follow the curious
reasonings of these people.

> The advent of tools was (at least) 2.5 Mya, possibly substantially
earlier.

Yes, not unlikely. Since orangs use & make tools, this could even predate
the hominid-pongid LCA c 15 Mya or so.

> I date the end of the 'aquatic period' to the start of agriculturalism
(say 10 kya).

Yes. And even then: rice grows in shallow water.

> Bit different. But it isn't a black-and-white thing; the more
sophisticated the tools became, the more our ancestors were capable of
breaking away from the water (but the most successful groups were always
those who stayed close to it - until recently).

Well-said, Pauline.
Rest of Keeter's blabla snipped.

Bob Keeter

unread,
May 8, 2004, 9:35:15 AM5/8/04
to

"Pauline M Ross" <pmr...@ross-software.co.uk> wrote in message
news:tr2p909tumuchf1a9...@4ax.com...

> On Sat, 08 May 2004 02:15:30 GMT, "Bob Keeter" <rke...@earthlink.net>
> wrote:
>
> [Snip discussion of beavers and bears]
> >So lets take this WHOLE spectrum of semi-aquatic mammalian
> >species and lets look at how many of the "aquatic ape" characteristics
> >they share!
> [Snip]
> >Are any obligate bipeds?
> >Are any even semi-hairless?
> >Do any have significant layers of SC fat for insulation OR bouyancy?
>
> And are any of them tropical? Arboreal? Primates? Hominid-sized? To
> get from A to B, you first have to start at A.
>

I swear, I did not hold up a cue card! 8-)

So yo say that there are no arboreal, hominid-sized, semi-aquatic
species in the primate line? 8-) You have GOT to admit that is
at least ONE way to read your statement! You could claim a
bad interpretation, I could claim a Freudian slip! 8-) Enough
with the word games though. . . . . . ..

Lets start from the right and move to the left!

Hominid sized: YES! Matter of fact!

We have the giant river otter of the South American river
basins (orinoco and amazon). I believe that it qualifies as both roughly
hominid (apith) sized, and tropical! In length, the otter is quite a bit
"longer, leaner and more streamlined" and the apith is a bit more solidly
built.

http://www.seaworld.org/AnimalBytes/giantriverotter.htm
Males weigh 26-34 kg, females weigh 22-26 kg
Head & body length = 864 - 1,400 mm
Tail length = 330 - 1,000 mm

so, counting the very substancial tail up to 2.4 meters

and

http://www.modernhumanorigins.com/anamensis.html
"Specimens from other sites such as Sibilot Hill also may be anamensis, but
there is much debate on the validity of the anamensis species, since the
samples are very close in morphology to afarensis. One factor that seems to
separate anamensis and afarensis is the mean body weight of the male
specimens. The mean of Hadar afarensis specimens is 44.6 kg, but the body
weight estimates for the tibia (KP 29285) is approximately 55 kg, and
approximately 58 kg for the humerus (KP 271). These weights were estimated
using McHenry's predictive regression equations. "

And if I remember correctly A. africanus and A. afarensis are both right at
1.5m in height for the males (more like 1-1.25 for the females), correct me
if Im wrong, but with a body length (less tail) of .864 to 1.4 meters, Id
say that the river otter is a fair match. Again though, the otter is
required to swim for its dinner (and survival) so. . . . . longer, leaner,
more streamlined and as furry as a little teddy bear! 8-)
www.wwfguianas.org/ feat_spec_giant_otter.htm

By the way, if you go to Google and search the images for "giant river
otter" you can find several nice pictures of these sleekly furred, tropical,
semi-aquatic mammals sitting in trees! They are NOT great climbers by any
means, but. . .
in trees = arboreal (to some degree or less). If we used the same standard
of "time spent" in an environment that Algis used for his aquatic bonobos, I
think that a single picture of a giant river otter sitting on a tilted tree
bole is more than adequate for "arboreal" dont you?

Snipapge. . . . . . .


> >So, the "aquatic period" ended with the advent of tools?"
>
> The advent of tools was (at least) 2.5 Mya, possibly substantially
> earlier. I date the end of the 'aquatic period' to the start of
> agriculturalism (say 10 kya). Bit different. But it isn't a
> black-and-white thing; the more sophisticated the tools became, the
> more our ancestors were capable of breaking away from the water (but
> the most successful groups were always those who stayed close to it -
> until recently).

Just so that there is no mistake, I also believe that the advent of tools
was a VERY important point in human evolution (and apparently for
basically the same reason, i.e. it marked the start of technological
evolution being a significant (principal?) factor in human evolution vs.
a purely biological evolution. I suspect that the ONLY difference
in our points of view is the starting point for this technologically driven
hominid evolution. See, perhaps more agreement than either might
have thought! 8-)

Im even of the mind to suggest that the big technological "jump" that
emancipated early hominids from the need to be close to (drinking)
water was the water skin or canteen. Chimps use tools (at least sticks
and twigs and nut-cracking rocks) but they dont have any way to
carry water. If you could give a chimp a canteen and train him to
use it, exactly what would he be missing in terms of evolutionary
and technological adaptations to move out into the true grasslands?

Remember, the ones that live in the deep forest dont need canteens
or even rivers and streams because of their diet and the readily available
sources in a rain forest. The ones that live outside of a rain forest need
to stay
reasonably close to a drinking water supply, even though that water
source does not really supply a great deal of their food. Give them a
canteen
and where are the "limits"?

> >
> >Yep, I like those rhetorical questions! I think that perhaps putting you
> >in the position to have to think through this little proposition of yours
is
> >my best "debating tactic"! After all, I cant convince you that the
aquatic
> >ape theory is hogwash, you must do that for me! ;-)
>
> I'm still waiting for that hogwash-proving piece of evidence :-)
>

Oh, I dont think that either of us will know its arrived until YOU
say so! Best I can do is to keep gnawing away at those linchpins
of the quivering/rock-solid (depending on point of view) AAH
and offering up difficult questions! 8-)

. . . . . even ill educated termites can bring down tall buildings if
they are diligent enough in their gnawing! Not of course that I
would say AAH is exactly a "tall building"! Sorta low lying and
short of structural support. . . . . . ;-)

Regards
bk


Algis Kuliukas

unread,
May 8, 2004, 11:44:12 AM5/8/04
to
"Bob Keeter" <rke...@earthlink.net> wrote in message news:<8cfmc.6479$a47....@newsread3.news.atl.earthlink.net>...
> In basic journalism you learn that there are "5 w's"; Who, What, When,
> Where, & Why. Lets play a little game of journalistic reporting with the
> Aquatic Ape Hypothesis.

[..]

> So, lets go back to where there is some fat to be chewed, to a question for
> the entire AAH community! WHEN would you say that your evolutionarily
> significant aquatic phase occurred for ancestoral hominids? How far back to
> you put it to allow it to be the genesis of human style bipedalism, without
> putting it so far back that any uniquely aquatic impacts on our current
> physiology would have simply disappeared? Or is bipedalism simply a non
> sequitur with respect to the aquatic ape concept.
>
> Think timeline! 8-) Need a timeline that makes sense when viewed from both
> ends and from the middle

In my opinion there was no single distinct 'aquatic phase' as such.
This is the one part of the original Hardy/Morgan hypothesis (ie a
post Pan-Homo LCA, pre Homo real aquatic phase) that Langdon did do a
good job of refuting - if only to point out that a'piths are hardly
indicative of being more aquatic than humans are which they should
have been if a real phase had happenned around 6mya.

I currently think human evolution was probably an extremely complex
mosaic of short, localised phases when our ancestors were generally
exposed to more aquatic pressures and then phases when they were
exposed to greater terrestriality. I think Potts' (1998) case for the
variable selection hypothesis is actually very close to the mark, when
he proposes that it wasn't so much the generally accepted shift
towards aridity which shaped humans but an increase in the frequency
of change cycles from wet to dry and then back again which was a
driver in itself. The point he misses, though, in my opinion is that
in periods of aridity the forests and dependent fauna would certainly
retreat back to gallery forest refugia and in periods of wetness
they'd be more exposed to flooding and drowning. It's the instability
of the habitat, specifically from the point of view of water, which
forced them ever closer to water when it was dry and required them to
move through it better when it was wet. As a consequence our ancestors
would have been exposed, in small cyclic steps, ever towards greater
aquaticism - but never quite getting there. This series of
aridity-flood cycles probably started way back in the Miocene, could
well have been due to the major waves of hominids moving out of Africa
and almost certainly ended only very recently (< 50ky) causing the
final, most recent migrations of the OoA II exodus.

Potts, Richard (1998). Environmental Hypotheses of Hominin Evolution.
Yearbook of Physical Anthropology Vol:41 Pages:93-136

I think the timescale was a complex mosaic and so was the geography -
some hominids living in being lake-side, some riverside, some coastal
and some island-based - and also, probably, it wasn't just on one
lineage. I think the likelihood is that there was a fair degree of
introgression (hybridisation) in hominid evolution, meaning that
whilst one population might have been going through a 'more aquatic'
phase, another may have been simultaneously going trough a
particularly terrestrial one. One might expect that the hybrids of
such groups would leave a perplexing mix of traits that look odd to us
today, to say the least, and do not easily fit easily next to simple
mammalian analalogues.

Only an opinion. Only thinking aloud - but we're allowed to do that
here, aren't we?

Algis Kuliukas

Bob Keeter

unread,
May 8, 2004, 6:19:24 PM5/8/04
to

"Algis Kuliukas" <al...@RiverApes.com> wrote in message
news:77a70442.04050...@posting.google.com...

So would you say that whatever "aquatic adapations" that are present
were done by the time of the apiths? If so, you have a bit of a problem I
think. Lets just say, hypothetically of course, that the notional
adaptations
were inspired by a pre-Apith period of more intensive "aquaticism". Since
the advent of the Apiths though, we have have been just about stable in
terms of major body "adaptations". The movement towards bigger brains
than our ape ancestors was well on the way; bipedalism was an extablished
fact, knuckle walking was a thing of the past, and climbing was apparently
if not a dying art, at least less important than with earlier primates. Now
lets roll in "aquatic adaptations". The curved fingers that seem to betray
a very recent, or even current arboreal present for the apiths, disappear in
future evolution! Its not so much that curved finger bones are all that
disadvantageous for future uses of the hands as much as there simply isnt
the need for them (and perhaps there is a different kind of "loading" that
influences the bone growth during life without any genetic influence).

Anyway you look at it though, those curved finger bones of an
arborealist simply disappear. Yet you would have us believe that
adaptations that are totally anthithetical to an upright, terrestrial
existence would persist right through the Apiths into modern humans?

Hmmmmm.. How is it that the tree climbing adaptations disappeared
yet the aquatic persisted (even though some of the subtle ones like the
curvature of the filanges were "dont cares" with no reason to see
as a disadvantage to a species no longer tied to the trees?)?

Again, I have to ask, if the hypothetical adaptations for the aquatic
environment were RETAINED in the modern, non-aquatic phase,
does that not imply at least SOME advantage to those adaptations
in the current environments? Now we will do one of those
"If A, then B" exercises. . . . . If the adaptations were favorable enough
in the terrestrial existence to have been retained, what is to say that they
did not develop in the terrestrial environment as well? 8-)

> I currently think human evolution was probably an extremely complex
> mosaic of short, localised phases when our ancestors were generally
> exposed to more aquatic pressures and then phases when they were
> exposed to greater terrestriality. I think Potts' (1998) case for the
> variable selection hypothesis is actually very close to the mark, when
> he proposes that it wasn't so much the generally accepted shift
> towards aridity which shaped humans but an increase in the frequency
> of change cycles from wet to dry and then back again which was a
> driver in itself. The point he misses, though, in my opinion is that
> in periods of aridity the forests and dependent fauna would certainly
> retreat back to gallery forest refugia and in periods of wetness
> they'd be more exposed to flooding and drowning. It's the instability
> of the habitat, specifically from the point of view of water, which
> forced them ever closer to water when it was dry and required them to
> move through it better when it was wet. As a consequence our ancestors
> would have been exposed, in small cyclic steps, ever towards greater
> aquaticism - but never quite getting there. This series of
> aridity-flood cycles probably started way back in the Miocene, could
> well have been due to the major waves of hominids moving out of Africa
> and almost certainly ended only very recently (< 50ky) causing the
> final, most recent migrations of the OoA II exodus.

Personally, Im thinking that Potts didnt miss much at all! The ONE
characteristic
of hominids that I firmly believe sets us appart from all other terrestrial
species is our adaptability! We are the ONLY primate with a range
from the deep tropic rain forest to the frozen tundra (and we and our
ancestors had occupied much if not all of that range well before the
development of even Neolythic technologies!) But that does not get us
upright and hairless striding across the grassy veld now does it! 8-)

Actually, I think that a quick look at modern climatic instabilities give
us a very good clue. Large parts of Africa seem to swing between
open forest, scrubland, grassland and even desert with major impacts on
human habitation. Look at the petroglyphs of the Atlas mountains and
the pre-desertification inhabitants of the Sahara, or in more recent times
the droughts that have ravished the Sahel. In the past there would have
been no relief columns and water trucks, just a very rapid and totally
uncaring "selection" for those species that could survive in a dry climate.
Now that small handfull that managed (through whatever trick or skill),
would need to retain the ability to exist in a wetter environment when
the monsoons retained (not nearly so hard as that first transition), but
thats my $0.02 and I havent seen a lot to convince me otherwise,
how about you? 8-)


Snippage. . . .

> I think the timescale was a complex mosaic and so was the geography -
> some hominids living in being lake-side, some riverside, some coastal
> and some island-based - and also, probably, it wasn't just on one
> lineage. I think the likelihood is that there was a fair degree of
> introgression (hybridisation) in hominid evolution, meaning that
> whilst one population might have been going through a 'more aquatic'
> phase, another may have been simultaneously going trough a
> particularly terrestrial one. One might expect that the hybrids of
> such groups would leave a perplexing mix of traits that look odd to us
> today, to say the least, and do not easily fit easily next to simple
> mammalian analalogues.

Unless of course, that all of the "traits" have some explaination that
so far eludes us (or perhaps only eludes some of us! Exactly which "some"
is
yet to be seen of course! ;-) )

> Only an opinion. Only thinking aloud - but we're allowed to do that
> here, aren't we?

Hey, thinking outloud, so long as its thinking and not just some of the
name calling and childish tantrums that certain elements tend to bring
to these happy folds is more than welcome. As for those malcontent,
malevolent little people that have to play ego games, silence is golden!
8-)

Regards
bk


Algis Kuliukas

unread,
May 9, 2004, 6:16:17 AM5/9/04
to
"Bob Keeter" <rke...@earthlink.net> wrote in message news:<M1dnc.9667$8S1....@newsread2.news.atl.earthlink.net>...

I think you must have misread what I wrote, Bob. If you read the above
para and the rest below you'll see that I don't think anything of the
sort. If anything more aquatic pressre happenned after the A'piths in
my opinion.

Pauline M Ross

unread,
May 9, 2004, 11:07:49 AM5/9/04
to
On Sat, 08 May 2004 13:35:15 GMT, "Bob Keeter" <rke...@earthlink.net>
wrote:

>>[Pauline] And are any of them tropical? Arboreal? Primates? Hominid-sized? To


>> get from A to B, you first have to start at A.

>[Bob]So yo say that there are no arboreal, hominid-sized, semi-aquatic


>species in the primate line? 8-) You have GOT to admit that is
>at least ONE way to read your statement!

No, sorry, don't see that at all :-(

>Hominid sized: YES! Matter of fact!
>We have the giant river otter of the South American river
>basins (orinoco and amazon). I believe that it qualifies as both roughly
>hominid (apith) sized, and tropical! In length, the otter is quite a bit
>"longer, leaner and more streamlined" and the apith is a bit more solidly
>built.

OK, nice example. I'll come back to the giant otter and his cousins in
a minute. Let's take the general points first.

>> >[Bob]So lets take this WHOLE spectrum of semi-aquatic mammalian


>> >species and lets look at how many of the "aquatic ape" characteristics
>> >they share!
>> [Snip]
>> >Are any obligate bipeds?

No. If you are saying that a semi-aquatic lifestyle per se does not
result in bipedalism, I would agree with you. Water *alone* will not
do it.

The problem is that bipedalism is vanishingly rare in the entire
history of our planet - only dinosaurs, birds and a rather small
number of hopping, leaping things. So there are very few points of
comparison, which are either very different from us or are extinct.

But (as I was *trying* to point out up above!) it depends where you
start from - most terrestrial species (and virtually all mammals) are
solidly quadrupedal, and that's not a good starting point for
bipedalism, whether water is involved or not. Being arboreal (and
therefore being used to an upright body) is a much better starting
point. Even so, most arboreals are quadrupedal on the ground, and even
those which wade bipedally are still mostly quadrupedal on dry land.
So even though water can get an ape walking bipedally, it will take
more than that to convert him to *obligate* bipedalism.

>> >Are any even semi-hairless?

Hippos, of course, and the largest pinnipeds. But the hairless thing
is a whole can of worms. The full-time aquatics are all hairless (so
hairlessness clearly has some connection with aquaticism), but most
semi-aquatics are not, and then you get some terrestrial species
(elephants, rhinos, pigs) which are hairless but not aquatic (we can
ignore the burrowers, which I think we can agree have no relevance for
human evolution).

Of the semi-aquatics, the vast majority are polar or sub-polar (of the
pinnipeds, for instance, I believe only 3 species are found in warm
waters). Generally, they are carnivores who spend most of their time
out of water resting. This means that their fur is still useful.

As for your otters, there are some 13 different species, and most are
subpolar and quite small. However, there are several tropical species,
and the giant otter is certainly hominid-sized.

As I say, the reasons for mammals to lose their fur are complex, and
there seem to be correlations with aquaticism, body size, local
temperature and lifestyle, but there isn't an easy answer.

>> >Do any have significant layers of SC fat for insulation OR bouyancy?

Yes, the pinnipeds (and possibly some otters, but I haven't been able
to nail that down definitively). Actually, I can't think of any
species with permanent fat which is *not* aquatic.

I'm not trying to say that we *must* have been 'aquatic' because we
have no fur or subcutaneous fat or whatever; only that these things
*may* be connected with water and therefore that that should be
considered as one of options.

>Just so that there is no mistake, I also believe that the advent of tools
>was a VERY important point in human evolution

[Snip]


>Im even of the mind to suggest that the big technological "jump" that
>emancipated early hominids from the need to be close to (drinking)
>water was the water skin or canteen.

I have this image in my mind of your hominids striding out bipedally
with their water skins, and the males with their clubs, and the
females with their infants, and perhaps carrying a few stone tools as
well - my goodness, they had their hands full ;-)

>. . . . . even ill educated termites can bring down tall buildings if
>they are diligent enough in their gnawing! Not of course that I
>would say AAH is exactly a "tall building"! Sorta low lying and
>short of structural support. . . . . . ;-)

Another great image! Gnaw away, termite :-)

--
Pauline Ross

Bob Keeter

unread,
May 9, 2004, 7:50:12 PM5/9/04
to

"Algis Kuliukas" <al...@RiverApes.com> wrote in message
news:77a70442.0405...@posting.google.com...

Snip. . .


> > > In my opinion there was no single distinct 'aquatic phase' as such.
> > > This is the one part of the original Hardy/Morgan hypothesis (ie a
> > > post Pan-Homo LCA, pre Homo real aquatic phase) that Langdon did do a
> > > good job of refuting - if only to point out that a'piths are hardly
> > > indicative of being more aquatic than humans are which they should
> > > have been if a real phase had happenned around 6mya.
>
> > So would you say that whatever "aquatic adapations" that are present
> > were done by the time of the apiths? If so, you have a bit of a
problem I
> > think.
>
> I think you must have misread what I wrote, Bob. If you read the above
> para and the rest below you'll see that I don't think anything of the
> sort. If anything more aquatic pressre happenned after the A'piths in
> my opinion.

Hey, this is good! we now have at least one "limit" in there for your
particular concept of the AA! If most of the "aquatic pressures" were
after the time of the apith, that would mean that bipedalism would
necessarily be "off the table" as a characteristic primarily driven by
aquatic factors, wouldnt it?

Among the various "aquatic adaptations", obligate bipedalism is the
feature that requires the most "moving around" of skeletal structure
and therefore would be the most tediously evolved of the lot,
at least IMHO. We can demonstrate from the archeological
evidence that the human physique can "move around" quite a bit
within limits (Equadorean highlanders being one of the prime
examples) quite quickly from an evolutionary standpoint. These
adaptations though did not change the basic structure of a human
being, they just did things like reduce arm and leg length, increase
lung capacity, increase hemoglobin levels in the blood, etc (all
adaptations for high altitude almost certainly occuring since
the initial influx of HS into the Americans! Obligate bipedalism
changed the way the bones go together, I would propose a
MUCH longer and MUCH more involved process that would
have left significant indications in the fossil material between
the Apiths and today (unless of course the Apiths are accepted
to already be obligate, or nearly-obligate bipeds!)

Regards
bk


Bob Keeter

unread,
May 9, 2004, 8:17:43 PM5/9/04
to

"Pauline M Ross" <pmr...@ross-software.co.uk> wrote in message
news:a5es909t1spd4sglt...@4ax.com...

Thank you ma'am!

> The problem is that bipedalism is vanishingly rare in the entire
> history of our planet - only dinosaurs, birds and a rather small
> number of hopping, leaping things. So there are very few points of
> comparison, which are either very different from us or are extinct.
>

I would say that the hopping, leaping things are different enough to
also exclude, making your statement even more emphatically true!

> But (as I was *trying* to point out up above!) it depends where you
> start from - most terrestrial species (and virtually all mammals) are
> solidly quadrupedal, and that's not a good starting point for
> bipedalism, whether water is involved or not. Being arboreal (and
> therefore being used to an upright body) is a much better starting
> point. Even so, most arboreals are quadrupedal on the ground, and even
> those which wade bipedally are still mostly quadrupedal on dry land.
> So even though water can get an ape walking bipedally, it will take
> more than that to convert him to *obligate* bipedalism.

We have some significant points of agreement I think. but its not
terribly interesting for me to tell you that you are a genius and for
you to return the favor! ;-)

So you say rather conclusively that "water can get an ape walking
bipedally". Does that mean that an ape can not and will not
wade other than bipedally? Most apes are sometimes bipedal
sometimes quadrupedal, both on land and in the water, would
you not agree? Most apes are not "aquatic", at least not if that
is one of the "separators" between us and the rest of them, right?
If a non-aquatic still wades (bipedally or quadrupedally) how do
we define "aquatic"?


> >> >Are any even semi-hairless?
>
> Hippos, of course, and the largest pinnipeds. But the hairless thing
> is a whole can of worms. The full-time aquatics are all hairless (so
> hairlessness clearly has some connection with aquaticism), but most
> semi-aquatics are not, and then you get some terrestrial species
> (elephants, rhinos, pigs) which are hairless but not aquatic (we can
> ignore the burrowers, which I think we can agree have no relevance for
> human evolution).

Yep! We have very big terrestrial and hairless, we have completely
aquatic and hairless, we have very big and semi-aquatic (verging on
fully aquatic, like the walruses) andd we have burrowing and hairless.

None works as an example! We agree!!! Except, for one small point.

What "semiaquatic" that is less than one order of magnitude heavier
than any hominid is hairless? Hippos are heavy enough to be considered
in the same breath as elephants and rhinos, relatively hairless
terrestrials!
Giant otters and many seals are the right general size and are definitely
aquatic to one degree or another, but all are furry critters.

Is there a semi-aquatic, less than 1500 lbs, that does not have DENSE
fur?

> Of the semi-aquatics, the vast majority are polar or sub-polar (of the
> pinnipeds, for instance, I believe only 3 species are found in warm
> waters). Generally, they are carnivores who spend most of their time
> out of water resting. This means that their fur is still useful.
>

Woops! Are you REALLY saying that fur seals spend most of their time out
of the water?

> As for your otters, there are some 13 different species, and most are
> subpolar and quite small. However, there are several tropical species,
> and the giant otter is certainly hominid-sized.
>
> As I say, the reasons for mammals to lose their fur are complex, and
> there seem to be correlations with aquaticism, body size, local
> temperature and lifestyle, but there isn't an easy answer.
>

OK, one of the "tricks" of formal logic is to take a difficult question and
try
to disprove the converse of the question. Ive tried that a little bit
abstractly
elsewhere in this tread. What if we took an alternate, opposite hypothesis.

In this case, lets propose that hairlessness is NOT a characterisic of
semi-aquatic
mammals with less than 1500 lbs of body mass. Now, if you can provide one
example, you have conclusively disproven that statement! (since the question
of
the aquaticism of homo is the real question, that particular "example" is of
course
off base unless you wish to open up to charges of circular logic.)

I'll warn you, if you find an example, I will drop the weight to 500lbs and
ask again!
The real point of course is that there are no 100 lb hairless semi-aquatics
in mammalia!

Very easily disprovable, although virtually impossible to prove! Go for it!
or of course, if you choose to concede that point, thats OK too! ;-)

> >> >Do any have significant layers of SC fat for insulation OR bouyancy?
>
> Yes, the pinnipeds (and possibly some otters, but I haven't been able
> to nail that down definitively). Actually, I can't think of any
> species with permanent fat which is *not* aquatic.

Would you add "fully aquatic", or "completely aquatic"?

One real example, albeit not "permanent" would be the Kodiak brown
bears that put on a huge layer of fat snacking on the salmon runs, but the
purpose of that fat is patently obvious (i.e. food storage for the winter
hybernation). Anything that interferes with the acquisition of this yearly
nutritional storehouse could easily kill the giant bears! So. . . we have
an
example of a semi-permanent fat layer for nutritional purposes. . . . Hmmmm

> I'm not trying to say that we *must* have been 'aquatic' because we
> have no fur or subcutaneous fat or whatever; only that these things
> *may* be connected with water and therefore that that should be
> considered as one of options.

Pauline, being considered is one thing, being accepted and embraced
is another entirely! You consider them. Do you honestly think that our
current nearly hairless condition was driven by a need to cut aquatic
friction? Do you honestly believe that SC fat in humans was driven by
a need for floation and aquatic insulation rather than as a store of
high quality nutrition for the early infant development? If so, say
so. If not, dont waffle around trying to protect AAH arguements. Its
very unbecoming.

> >Just so that there is no mistake, I also believe that the advent of tools
> >was a VERY important point in human evolution
> [Snip]
> >Im even of the mind to suggest that the big technological "jump" that
> >emancipated early hominids from the need to be close to (drinking)
> >water was the water skin or canteen.
>
> I have this image in my mind of your hominids striding out bipedally
> with their water skins, and the males with their clubs, and the
> females with their infants, and perhaps carrying a few stone tools as
> well - my goodness, they had their hands full ;-)
>

Yep. Certainly doesnt leave much room for quadrupedal locomotion
now does it! ;-)

> >. . . . . even ill educated termites can bring down tall buildings if
> >they are diligent enough in their gnawing! Not of course that I
> >would say AAH is exactly a "tall building"! Sorta low lying and
> >short of structural support. . . . . . ;-)
>
> Another great image! Gnaw away, termite :-)

And downright tasty with a little tabasco! ;-)))

Regards
bk

(Tabasco sauce even made C-Rations palatable! If of course you liked
tabasco sauce in LARGE quantities! ;-) )


Pauline M Ross

unread,
May 10, 2004, 2:41:29 AM5/10/04
to
On Mon, 10 May 2004 00:17:43 GMT, "Bob Keeter" <rke...@earthlink.net>
wrote:

>So you say rather conclusively that "water can get an ape walking


>bipedally". Does that mean that an ape can not and will not
>wade other than bipedally? Most apes are sometimes bipedal
>sometimes quadrupedal, both on land and in the water, would
>you not agree? Most apes are not "aquatic", at least not if that
>is one of the "separators" between us and the rest of them, right?
>If a non-aquatic still wades (bipedally or quadrupedally) how do
>we define "aquatic"?

Bob, you like to play with words, can you try to remember the words
'more' and 'less'? No one here is talking about 'aquatic' hominids,
but only about 'more aquatic' than modern apes.

>Is there a semi-aquatic, less than 1500 lbs, that does not have DENSE
>fur?

Yes, the pigmy hippo, 395-605 lbs. It's more complicated than than
just size!

>Woops! Are you REALLY saying that fur seals spend most of their time out
>of the water?

Yes, most seals spend most of their time hauled out.

>> [Pauline]Actually, I can't think of any


>> species with permanent fat which is *not* aquatic.
>
>Would you add "fully aquatic", or "completely aquatic"?
>One real example, albeit not "permanent" would be the Kodiak brown
>bears that put on a huge layer of fat snacking on the salmon runs,

There are lots of examples of terrestrial mammals which put on
seasonal fat. I don't see much evidence that humans do (or did) that,
do you?
>
>>[Pauline] I'm not trying to say that we *must* have been 'aquatic' because we


>> have no fur or subcutaneous fat or whatever; only that these things
>> *may* be connected with water and therefore that that should be
>> considered as one of options.
>
>Pauline, being considered is one thing, being accepted and embraced
>is another entirely! You consider them. Do you honestly think that our
>current nearly hairless condition was driven by a need to cut aquatic
>friction? Do you honestly believe that SC fat in humans was driven by
>a need for floation and aquatic insulation rather than as a store of
>high quality nutrition for the early infant development? If so, say
>so. If not, dont waffle around trying to protect AAH arguements. Its
>very unbecoming.

All I'm trying to do is be precise in what I say. I am *not* saying
"We were aquatic because we have X and Y...", because I don't think we
have enough evidence to say that definitively.

My views are exactly as I spelled out to you in my long post a while
back: that currently the possible reasons why humans are thought have
feature X are A, B, C, D,... and in my considered opinion one of them
is more plausible than the others.

When you repeat the exercise for a number of features, and the most
plausible reason for each is some degree of aquaticism, then some kind
of 'aquatic' history become inescapable.

I honestly don't care whether you or anyone else agrees with this, and
I have never disputed that there are difficulties with an 'aquatic'
model, but, to repeat, in my view the aquatic reasons for
hairlessness, subcutaneous fat, bipedalism, etc are *more plausible*
than anything else currently proposed and are therefore worthy of
consideration, along with terrestrial models.

--
Pauline Ross

Algis Kuliukas

unread,
May 10, 2004, 4:37:01 AM5/10/04
to
"Bob Keeter" <rke...@earthlink.net> wrote in message news:<Usznc.4329$KE6....@newsread3.news.atl.earthlink.net>...

> "Algis Kuliukas" <al...@RiverApes.com> wrote in message
> news:77a70442.0405...@posting.google.com...
>
> Snip. . .
> > > > In my opinion there was no single distinct 'aquatic phase' as such.
> > > > This is the one part of the original Hardy/Morgan hypothesis (ie a
> > > > post Pan-Homo LCA, pre Homo real aquatic phase) that Langdon did do a
> > > > good job of refuting - if only to point out that a'piths are hardly
> > > > indicative of being more aquatic than humans are which they should
> > > > have been if a real phase had happenned around 6mya.
>
> > > So would you say that whatever "aquatic adapations" that are present
> > > were done by the time of the apiths? If so, you have a bit of a
> problem I
> > > think.
> >
> > I think you must have misread what I wrote, Bob. If you read the above
> > para and the rest below you'll see that I don't think anything of the
> > sort. If anything more aquatic pressre happenned after the A'piths in
> > my opinion.
>
> Hey, this is good! we now have at least one "limit" in there for your
> particular concept of the AA! If most of the "aquatic pressures" were
> after the time of the apith, that would mean that bipedalism would
> necessarily be "off the table" as a characteristic primarily driven by
> aquatic factors, wouldnt it?

Trying to have a discussion with you is like trying to pin down a wet
piece of soap. First you completely misunderstand my point (I won't
say deliberately), then you twist my attempted clarification to better
your argument. Have you been taking lessons off Jim Moore?

I said 'if anything *more* aquatic pressure happenned after the
a'piths', not that *all* the pressure happenned after them.
Bipedalism before and, probably, swimming and diving later.

Algis Kuliukas

Jim McGinn

unread,
May 10, 2004, 6:56:03 AM5/10/04
to
"Marc Verhaegen" <fa20...@skynet.be> wrote


> 4) Penguins walk on land vertically like humans (straight bodies).

Penguins are birds, you idiot, so this is a lousy example of how
aquaticism cause bipedalism.


> > I date the end of the 'aquatic period' to the start of agriculturalism
> (say 10 kya).
>
> Yes. And even then: rice grows in shallow water.

You've outdone yourself with this piece of nonsense.

Bob Keeter

unread,
May 10, 2004, 9:02:07 PM5/10/04
to

"Pauline M Ross" <pmr...@ross-software.co.uk> wrote in message
news:rc7u90porlapo68i1...@4ax.com...

> On Mon, 10 May 2004 00:17:43 GMT, "Bob Keeter" <rke...@earthlink.net>
> wrote:
>
> >So you say rather conclusively that "water can get an ape walking
> >bipedally". Does that mean that an ape can not and will not
> >wade other than bipedally? Most apes are sometimes bipedal
> >sometimes quadrupedal, both on land and in the water, would
> >you not agree? Most apes are not "aquatic", at least not if that
> >is one of the "separators" between us and the rest of them, right?
> >If a non-aquatic still wades (bipedally or quadrupedally) how do
> >we define "aquatic"?
>
> Bob, you like to play with words, can you try to remember the words
> 'more' and 'less'? No one here is talking about 'aquatic' hominids,
> but only about 'more aquatic' than modern apes.
>

Words are the stock and trade of a discussion group. I tried pictures
to overcome a logjam over the meaning of words and you got after
me for that. Now I revert to words, and you take me to task again.

Im running out of options for communications. Do you know International
Morse Code by any chance? 8-) Seriously, Im begining to wonder if the
medium is simply a distraction and its the message that you have to attack
by virtue of the phrasing, terminology, or even medium used.

If that is happening, its really not a very scientifically oriented
approach.

I understand fully that the "aquatic ape, ala verhaugen, porpoising through
the waves" is not quite the piece of cake for thinking people, and, even
though I dont agree with your ideas, I have no trouble including you and
Algis and thinking people. If I didnt fully embrace that concept would I
waste my time with these discussions or just add you both to the noise
filter? I think that there is perhaps something to be gained in both
directions, and the only medium that seems to work at all is words.

Sorry of those words offended, but then again, I would offer the
initial train of reason and inference for your critique. Show me
where the "If A, then B" falls apart?

> >Is there a semi-aquatic, less than 1500 lbs, that does not have DENSE
> >fur?
>
> Yes, the pigmy hippo, 395-605 lbs. It's more complicated than than
> just size!

Hate to say that I smelt that one coming, but if you have ever stood
by the hippo pool at a zoo, you know what I mean. The pigmy hippo
does fill that "one order of magnitude" case, not by a lot (cant say that
ANYONE would ever mistake a 500 lb hippo for a 65 lb apith, but. . . .
I sat the limit, I take the hit! 8-(

However, I would have to question the circumstances for the pigmy hippo.
Is that the ancestoral form, a co-equal form, or a degenerative form (like
the pigmy mammoths that can be found where they developed from the
"full sized" versions under some very special conditions.) Still, a "hit"
is a
"hit" and I am forced to accept the fact that there exists (in the
mathematical
sense) an example of a <1500lb, relatively naked semi-aquatic mammal.

Ah well. loosing one battle is not grounds for conceeding the war! ;-)

> >Woops! Are you REALLY saying that fur seals spend most of their time out
> >of the water?
>
> Yes, most seals spend most of their time hauled out.
>

Citation?

I would offer up:

http://www.pinnipeds.org/species/guadfur.htm
Referring to the Guadalupe Fur Seal. . .
"About 7-8 days after the birth of her pup the mother mates and then leaves
to feed at sea. This begins a cycle, lasting about 8-9 months, where she
will spend an average of 9-13 days at sea before returning to land to nurse
her pup for an average of 5-6 days."

http://www.amonline.net.au/factsheets/fur_seal.htm (australian fur seal)
"Australian Fur Seals come ashore each year and form breeding colonies. The
adult males come ashore first and establish territories. Females congregate
within these areas and are defended by the resident male often with
considerable aggression towards the females and other males. Females spend
most of the gestation period at sea, coming ashore just before the birth of
a single pup between October and December. "

http://brainmuseum.org/Specimens/pinnipedia/northfurseal/ (northern fur
seal)
"C. ursinus spends most of its life at sea, coming ashore primarily to
breed. This accounts for 60-70 days per year and occur on a few tiny islands
found within the vast oceanic range of the Northern Fur Seal."

At least for C. ursinus, this would mean at least 280 or more days per year
at sea.

> >> [Pauline]Actually, I can't think of any
> >> species with permanent fat which is *not* aquatic.
> >
> >Would you add "fully aquatic", or "completely aquatic"?
> >One real example, albeit not "permanent" would be the Kodiak brown
> >bears that put on a huge layer of fat snacking on the salmon runs,
>
> There are lots of examples of terrestrial mammals which put on
> seasonal fat. I don't see much evidence that humans do (or did) that,
> do you?

Not really, that was only an example of mammals, and specifically
one that does exploit aquatic resources for a very important part
of its life, that use fat as a nutritional storehouse. Thats all. The
fat does NOT have to be there for insulation or floatation EVEN
in an aquatic-connected / water-side creature.

> >
> >>[Pauline] I'm not trying to say that we *must* have been 'aquatic'
because we
> >> have no fur or subcutaneous fat or whatever; only that these things
> >> *may* be connected with water and therefore that that should be
> >> considered as one of options.
> >
> >Pauline, being considered is one thing, being accepted and embraced
> >is another entirely! You consider them. Do you honestly think that our
> >current nearly hairless condition was driven by a need to cut aquatic
> >friction? Do you honestly believe that SC fat in humans was driven by
> >a need for floation and aquatic insulation rather than as a store of
> >high quality nutrition for the early infant development? If so, say
> >so. If not, dont waffle around trying to protect AAH arguements. Its
> >very unbecoming.
>
> All I'm trying to do is be precise in what I say. I am *not* saying
> "We were aquatic because we have X and Y...", because I don't think we
> have enough evidence to say that definitively.
>

Good!

> My views are exactly as I spelled out to you in my long post a while
> back: that currently the possible reasons why humans are thought have
> feature X are A, B, C, D,... and in my considered opinion one of them
> is more plausible than the others.

And that opinion is subject to change based on other evidence and trains
of thought? Hopefully anyway?

> When you repeat the exercise for a number of features, and the most
> plausible reason for each is some degree of aquaticism, then some kind
> of 'aquatic' history become inescapable.
>

So long as that is your OPINION and you feel no compulsion to try to
peddle that as "obvious facts" and the underlying reason for the vast
anti-AAH conspiracy, have at it! Now if you feel the urge to call everyone
who happens to disagree with you an idiot, Id recommend about 20 deep
breaths into a grocery bag to get the blood chemistry back in business! ;-)

> I honestly don't care whether you or anyone else agrees with this, and
> I have never disputed that there are difficulties with an 'aquatic'
> model, but, to repeat, in my view the aquatic reasons for
> hairlessness, subcutaneous fat, bipedalism, etc are *more plausible*
> than anything else currently proposed and are therefore worthy of
> consideration, along with terrestrial models.

No problem. Worthy of consideration means that EVERYONE gets
to pick and choose, and even to disagree, right? 8-) It even means
that I still have the right (and privelege) to try to find that one
arguement
or one piece of evidence or one set of circumstances that would make
you (and algis!) slap your foreheads and expound something along the
lines of "Geez, how could I not have seen this. . . . ." ;-))

Regards
bk


Bob Keeter

unread,
May 10, 2004, 9:06:19 PM5/10/04
to

"Algis Kuliukas" <al...@RiverApes.com> wrote in message
news:77a70442.0405...@posting.google.com...

Snippage. . . . . .

> > > I think you must have misread what I wrote, Bob. If you read the above
> > > para and the rest below you'll see that I don't think anything of the
> > > sort. If anything more aquatic pressre happenned after the A'piths in
> > > my opinion.
> >
> > Hey, this is good! we now have at least one "limit" in there for your
> > particular concept of the AA! If most of the "aquatic pressures" were
> > after the time of the apith, that would mean that bipedalism would
> > necessarily be "off the table" as a characteristic primarily driven by
> > aquatic factors, wouldnt it?
>
> Trying to have a discussion with you is like trying to pin down a wet
> piece of soap. First you completely misunderstand my point (I won't
> say deliberately), then you twist my attempted clarification to better
> your argument. Have you been taking lessons off Jim Moore?
>

I will freely admit to playing just a bit with your responses. My
apologies for not including enough smiley faces to betray my fun.

> I said 'if anything *more* aquatic pressure happenned after the
> a'piths', not that *all* the pressure happenned after them.
> Bipedalism before and, probably, swimming and diving later.
>

At risk of being taken wrongly, if swimming was an adaptive trait
that occured AFTER the apiths, that would seem to suggest that
it also occured after the Pan/Homo divergence, right? That would
mean that chimps should not be able to swim, right? How do you
handle the example of the reluctant but swimming chimp that has
been cited several times here?

Regards
bk


Marc Verhaegen

unread,
May 11, 2004, 1:26:24 AM5/11/04
to

"Bob Keeter" <rke...@earthlink.net> wrote an incredible example of
black-white thinking in message
news:fGVnc.5483$KE6....@newsread3.news.atl.earthlink.net...

Pauline M Ross

unread,
May 11, 2004, 3:49:12 AM5/11/04
to
On Tue, 11 May 2004 01:02:07 GMT, "Bob Keeter" <rke...@earthlink.net>
wrote:

>>[Pauline] Bob, you like to play with words, can you try to remember the words


>> 'more' and 'less'? No one here is talking about 'aquatic' hominids,
>> but only about 'more aquatic' than modern apes.
>>
>Words are the stock and trade of a discussion group. I tried pictures
>to overcome a logjam over the meaning of words and you got after
>me for that. Now I revert to words, and you take me to task again.
>Im running out of options for communications. Do you know International
>Morse Code by any chance? 8-)

Sorry! No really, I didn't mean to sound quite so tetchy :-( I did
(and do) object to the idea of trying to attach images of modern
landscapes to Apith habitat because a) the landscape is likely to have
changed quite a bit in 3 My, and b) the 'Apith habitat' was actually a
range of different habitats. One Apith fossil might have been in
closed woodland with edaphic grasses, another in open
woodland/bushland with a river, and so on. Trying to summarise all
that in an image (or even a series of images) is bound to be
misleading, I think. We all know what Reed means by 'closed woodland'
or 'bushland' or 'gallery forest', so let's leave it at that.

As to the words, you're right, we can't do without them here, so let
me have another go at the questions you asked:

>> >So you say rather conclusively that "water can get an ape walking
>> >bipedally". Does that mean that an ape can not and will not
>> >wade other than bipedally?

Modern apes have been observed wading bipedally and quadrupedally. I
suppose it depends on how deep the water is - in shallow water, they
could do either, in deeper water they have to wade bipedally (or swim,
but we know how unusual that is!).

>>> Most apes are sometimes bipedal
>> >sometimes quadrupedal, both on land and in the water, would
>> >you not agree?

Yes. On land they mostly move quadrupedally, but they may stand or
(occasionally) move bipedally. In water, they mostly move bipedally
(but they don't often go into water).

>>> Most apes are not "aquatic", at least not if that
>> >is one of the "separators" between us and the rest of them, right?
>> >If a non-aquatic still wades (bipedally or quadrupedally) how do
>> >we define "aquatic"?

It's not an either/or thing, Bob. You can't divide the world into
aquatic and non-aquatic (well, you could, but it isn't very
meaningful). There is a spectrum - from totally non-aquatic at one end
(never goes into water) to totally aquatic at the other (never leaves
the water), but most mammals fall somewhere in between. Modern chimps
are towards the non-aquatic end, modern humans further towards the
aquatic end. So the issue is 'more aquatic', not 'aquatic'.

>> >[Bob]Woops! Are you REALLY saying that fur seals spend most of their time out
>> >of the water?
>>
>>[Pauline] Yes, most seals spend most of their time hauled out.


>>
>Citation? I would offer up:

[Snip several quotes showing that fur seals spend most of their time
at sea]

OK, OK, I'll give you the fur seals :-) I can't even justify my
'most' without trawling through umpteen different seal species, which
I can't be bothered doing right now! Let me rephrase: all seals spend
a sizeable proportion of their time ashore, some spend most of their
time ashore. Better? The point remains: the fur is useful when they
are on land, and is therefore retained.

>[the Kodiak bear] was only an example of mammals, and specifically


>one that does exploit aquatic resources for a very important part
>of its life, that use fat as a nutritional storehouse. Thats all. The
>fat does NOT have to be there for insulation or floatation EVEN
>in an aquatic-connected / water-side creature.

Agreed. In terrestrial (or largely terrestrial) the usual reason for
fat is a seasonal accumulation as an energy store. But I repeat, I
don't see any sign of seasonal energy needs in humans.

>> [Pauline] My views are exactly as I spelled out to you in my long post a while


>> back: that currently the possible reasons why humans are thought have
>> feature X are A, B, C, D,... and in my considered opinion one of them
>> is more plausible than the others.
>
>And that opinion is subject to change based on other evidence and trains
>of thought? Hopefully anyway?

Absolutely. That is why I'm here, in fact. It niggles at the back of
my mind that so many professional PAs dismiss the AAH, I keep thinking
that they can't all be wrong, surely. There must be something I'm
missing. But in several years of hanging around here, I haven't yet
seen the killer piece of evidence.

But if you want to convince me, the best way is to provide more
plausible explanations for human bipedalism, hairlessness,
subcutaneous fat and all the other paraphernalia. Wheeling out fur
seals, giant otters or Kodiak bears isn't going to do it, nor is
agonising over the meaning of 'aquatic'. I already know that there are
difficulties with the aquatic model, but nevertheless it is still (in
my opinion) more plausible than any of the alternatives.

So go to it, termite - convince me that you have a more plausible
explanation for (say) hairlessness :-)

--
Pauline Ross

Jim McGinn

unread,
May 11, 2004, 2:54:45 PM5/11/04
to
Pauline M Ross <pmr...@ross-software.co.uk> wrote

> I already know that there are


> difficulties with the aquatic model,

Statements like this always crack me up. Pauline, you
haven't presented a model of any sort whatsoever. You've
done nothing but make vague allusions to the supposition
that hominids lived close to water. How is this,
supposedly, a model?

> but nevertheless it is still (in
> my opinion) more plausible than any of the alternatives.

You're living in a complete dreamworld.

Jim

Bob Keeter

unread,
May 11, 2004, 9:47:44 PM5/11/04
to

"Pauline M Ross" <pmr...@ross-software.co.uk> wrote in message
news:tov0a0p69tgeose7j...@4ax.com...

Snip


> >Words are the stock and trade of a discussion group. I tried pictures
> >to overcome a logjam over the meaning of words and you got after
> >me for that. Now I revert to words, and you take me to task again.
> >Im running out of options for communications. Do you know International
> >Morse Code by any chance? 8-)
>
> Sorry! No really, I didn't mean to sound quite so tetchy :-(

Not a problem.

> I did
> (and do) object to the idea of trying to attach images of modern
> landscapes to Apith habitat because a) the landscape is likely to have
> changed quite a bit in 3 My, and b) the 'Apith habitat' was actually a
> range of different habitats. One Apith fossil might have been in
> closed woodland with edaphic grasses, another in open
> woodland/bushland with a river, and so on. Trying to summarise all
> that in an image (or even a series of images) is bound to be
> misleading, I think. We all know what Reed means by 'closed woodland'
> or 'bushland' or 'gallery forest', so let's leave it at that.

What DID she mean. The only real definition that I saw that
described her meaning was the pictures, not of the Apith sites,
but of modern sites that she used as the basis of her analysis. Her
concept was that by matching the bone assembleages in relative
proportions of species, that she could tie the modern observable
habitat to the ancient, unobservable habitat. Try as I may, I dont
think that I can really do much better than her statistical analysis,
although I would have used different techniques. So, Im forced
to believe that when she matches two assembleges of "open woodland"
bone sets, there is a high likelyhood (given the correlations provided)
that those two bone sets came from "open woodland" whether ancient
or modern. Then I look at a picture of the sites she used for the
"modern equivalents" and I think, when I hear words "open woodland",
REGARDLESS of the period, it means this picture or something very
similar. It does not involve twisting around meanings of words
or playing any kind of "lets pretend". I see a picture with the "label"
open woodland in the authors paper, and I believe that this is
what SHE believes open woodland to look like.

Is this wrong? Do you know better what the author's idea of
open woodland is than she does? Im sorry, but thats starting
to get a bit over the edge dont you think?

> As to the words, you're right, we can't do without them here, so let
> me have another go at the questions you asked:

Also take a go at the one above. The pictures of the places that the
author apparently thinks to be "open woodland" or for that matter the
other ecologies, dont agree with your interpretations of the words
in the article. (or at least they are "difficult" enough that you would
prefer some other pictures). Who should we (or you) believe, the
possibly mis-construed meanings of the words and sentences, or
the author's flat statement that the "benchmark" for a "closed
woodland" is W. Lunga National Park in Zambia or an "open
woodland" is the Sudan Savanna, in Nigeria?

That, Paulene is one of those questions that YOU have to answer
for YOURSELF, I really dont need to see it in print, although I
dont think it will be hard to discern in the response.

> >> >So you say rather conclusively that "water can get an ape walking
> >> >bipedally". Does that mean that an ape can not and will not
> >> >wade other than bipedally?
>
> Modern apes have been observed wading bipedally and quadrupedally. I
> suppose it depends on how deep the water is - in shallow water, they
> could do either, in deeper water they have to wade bipedally (or swim,
> but we know how unusual that is!).

8-) Unusual is a good term!

http://village.infoweb.ne.jp/~yukimaki/snow_monkey.jpg
http://www.africatours.ch/uganda/kl_chimp_in_water_ngamba.jpg
http://arts.anu.edu.au/grovco/pics/gorilla%20in%20water.jpg

> >>> Most apes are sometimes bipedal
> >> >sometimes quadrupedal, both on land and in the water, would
> >> >you not agree?
>
> Yes. On land they mostly move quadrupedally, but they may stand or
> (occasionally) move bipedally. In water, they mostly move bipedally
> (but they don't often go into water).

But its only in the deep water where there would be any "need" to go
bipedally? Hmmmm. . . .

> >>> Most apes are not "aquatic", at least not if that
> >> >is one of the "separators" between us and the rest of them, right?
> >> >If a non-aquatic still wades (bipedally or quadrupedally) how do
> >> >we define "aquatic"?
>
> It's not an either/or thing, Bob. You can't divide the world into
> aquatic and non-aquatic (well, you could, but it isn't very
> meaningful). There is a spectrum - from totally non-aquatic at one end
> (never goes into water) to totally aquatic at the other (never leaves
> the water), but most mammals fall somewhere in between. Modern chimps
> are towards the non-aquatic end, modern humans further towards the
> aquatic end. So the issue is 'more aquatic', not 'aquatic'.
>
> >> >[Bob]Woops! Are you REALLY saying that fur seals spend most of their
time out
> >> >of the water?
> >>
> >>[Pauline] Yes, most seals spend most of their time hauled out.
> >>
> >Citation? I would offer up:
> [Snip several quotes showing that fur seals spend most of their time
> at sea]
>
> OK, OK, I'll give you the fur seals :-) I can't even justify my
> 'most' without trawling through umpteen different seal species, which
> I can't be bothered doing right now! Let me rephrase: all seals spend
> a sizeable proportion of their time ashore, some spend most of their
> time ashore. Better? The point remains: the fur is useful when they
> are on land, and is therefore retained.

Yep. Totally OK. Outstanding in fact, since it sets up the
next question.

. . . . . . . . . . . . Is your concept of an aquatic ape IN the water
so much that a pelt would be a disadvantage from an evolutionary
standpoint and therefore be "lost" through the process of natural
selection? Just remember, we already know from hard examples
that 70 days out of 360 days of existence on the land (even if
in VERY close proximity to the water), is enough of an exposure
to the terrestrial environment to retain fur OR that 290 days of
swimming free in the ocean (home of orcas, great whites and even
leopard seals), is not enough of an aquatic exposure to FORCE
the loss of hair! 8-)

Do you really, honestly think, from a scientific perspective, that
hairlessness in humans can be assumed to bear any significance
with respect to a hypothetical aquatic past for hominids?

> >[the Kodiak bear] was only an example of mammals, and specifically
> >one that does exploit aquatic resources for a very important part
> >of its life, that use fat as a nutritional storehouse. Thats all. The
> >fat does NOT have to be there for insulation or floatation EVEN
> >in an aquatic-connected / water-side creature.
>
> Agreed. In terrestrial (or largely terrestrial) the usual reason for
> fat is a seasonal accumulation as an energy store. But I repeat, I
> don't see any sign of seasonal energy needs in humans.

Nope. Not saying that its seasonal at all (although I think that some
women, particularly who live H/G lifestyles in some very unforgiving
regions (for example the San) who have a condition called steatopygia.

http://www.andaman.org/book/chapter5/text5.htm

Might even be interesting that some of the very earliest female figurines
seem to show proportions very much like the modern humans with
steatopygia. Could it be that humans (along with many mammalian
inhabitants of hostile environments) have an inate capability to "pack
on the fat" when the eating is good to tide one over when things get
hard? I daresay that the environment of post-glacial Europe might
have been very trying, particularly on human females who might have
had to support two appetites. Could it be that the "Venuses" represent
females that were able to actually support nursing children through the
"hard times" and therefore revered in stone? Hmmmm. . . lots of
side questions there I think! Our real question is the purpose of
body fat in humans. . . . isnt it! 8-)

> >> [Pauline] My views are exactly as I spelled out to you in my long post
a while
> >> back: that currently the possible reasons why humans are thought have
> >> feature X are A, B, C, D,... and in my considered opinion one of them
> >> is more plausible than the others.
> >
> >And that opinion is subject to change based on other evidence and trains
> >of thought? Hopefully anyway?
>
> Absolutely. That is why I'm here, in fact. It niggles at the back of
> my mind that so many professional PAs dismiss the AAH, I keep thinking
> that they can't all be wrong, surely. There must be something I'm
> missing. But in several years of hanging around here, I haven't yet
> seen the killer piece of evidence.

I doubt that you will find that "killer", but that does not stop me, a
flagrant amateur from looking for it either! 8-)

> But if you want to convince me, the best way is to provide more
> plausible explanations for human bipedalism, hairlessness,
> subcutaneous fat and all the other paraphernalia. Wheeling out fur
> seals, giant otters or Kodiak bears isn't going to do it, nor is
> agonising over the meaning of 'aquatic'. I already know that there are
> difficulties with the aquatic model, but nevertheless it is still (in
> my opinion) more plausible than any of the alternatives.

ANd it may always stay that way. And you may not even be able
to justify it to yourself, but you may continue to believe whatever
you want. 8-) Otherwise there might be some real problems in
all of the worlds' great religions I think!

> So go to it, termite - convince me that you have a more plausible
> explanation for (say) hairlessness :-)
>

At least from the crunchy stuff twixt the teeth, I would say that perhaps
I offered one or two crumbly floor joists just above! 8-)

Regards
bk


Pauline M Ross

unread,
May 12, 2004, 3:45:06 AM5/12/04
to
On Wed, 12 May 2004 01:47:44 GMT, "Bob Keeter" <rke...@earthlink.net>
wrote:

>>[Pauline]We all know what Reed means by 'closed woodland'


>> or 'bushland' or 'gallery forest', so let's leave it at that.
>
>What DID she mean. The only real definition that I saw that
>described her meaning was the pictures, not of the Apith sites,
>but of modern sites that she used as the basis of her analysis.

Exactly. She defines 8 habitats (she describes them as examples) and
draws scale diagrams of them so that no one can be in any doubt as to
what she means.

[Snip]


> Then I look at a picture of the sites she used for the
>"modern equivalents" and I think, when I hear words "open woodland",
>REGARDLESS of the period, it means this picture or something very
>similar. It does not involve twisting around meanings of words
>or playing any kind of "lets pretend". I see a picture with the "label"
>open woodland in the authors paper, and I believe that this is
>what SHE believes open woodland to look like.

Of course it is. Who ever said any different? What are you accusing me
of? Where have I twisted her words or played 'let's pretend'? I have
always been happy to go along with what's in the paper (words *and*
pictures). I only object to trying to tie Reed's definitions/drawings
to photographs, which adds nothing and may not be as precise as what
is in the paper. We *know* what she means, because she tells us. What
more do you need?

[Snip]


>Also take a go at the one above. The pictures of the places that the
>author apparently thinks to be "open woodland" or for that matter the
>other ecologies, dont agree with your interpretations of the words
>in the article. (or at least they are "difficult" enough that you would
>prefer some other pictures).

What? Where did you get that idea from?

> Who should we (or you) believe, the
>possibly mis-construed meanings of the words and sentences, or
>the author's flat statement that the "benchmark" for a "closed
>woodland" is W. Lunga National Park in Zambia or an "open
>woodland" is the Sudan Savanna, in Nigeria?

Bob, she doesn't say that West Lunga is the 'benchmark' for anything.
It is one of the places mentioned in Figure 2, p 292, showing
percentages of arboreal locomotion (and she describes it as "closed
woodland/bushland"), and it gets another mention in Table 1, p 294, of
modern African habitat localities (described as "closed
woodland/bushland transition"). It's one of the places in her
analysis, that's all.

Look, I don't know what you think I have been saying, with regard to
these pictures of yours, but let me spell this out once and for all. I
do not have any problem with Reed's paper, or her descriptions of the
various habitats, or her placement of the various fossils in those
habitats. None whatsoever.

My only objection is to *you* trying to match those habitats to some
arbitrary collection of pictures from tourist websites, which (at
best) adds nothing to Reed's descriptions and (at worst) *may*
actually be misleading. If you want to do this for your own interest,
fine, but I am happy to stick with what's in the paper.

>. . . . . . . . . . . . Is your concept of an aquatic ape IN the water
>so much that a pelt would be a disadvantage from an evolutionary
>standpoint and therefore be "lost" through the process of natural
>selection? Just remember, we already know from hard examples
>that 70 days out of 360 days of existence on the land (even if
>in VERY close proximity to the water), is enough of an exposure
>to the terrestrial environment to retain fur OR that 290 days of
>swimming free in the ocean (home of orcas, great whites and even
>leopard seals), is not enough of an aquatic exposure to FORCE
>the loss of hair! 8-)

You are still working on the assumption that I think that aquaticism
and hairlessness are directly correlated. I don't. I think it possible
that hairlessness is related to aquaticism *and* body size *and* local
climate *and* lifestyle (and possibly other factors, who knows) by
some complicated formula that I can't guess at. But I do think that
hairlessness in humans is more likely to be due to one or more of
these known factors, rather than being a special one-off case that
only applies to us (like being part of a unique sweat-cooling
mechanism which no other species seems to have discovered the benefits
of).

>Nope. Not saying that [human fat is] seasonal at all (although I think that some


>women, particularly who live H/G lifestyles in some very unforgiving
>regions (for example the San) who have a condition called steatopygia.

Yes, it's not hard to see that as a variation on standard female body
fat, which happens to have shifted to the buttocks to minimise the
inconvenience of fat in a hot climate. Which makes one wonder how we
could have acquired fat in a hot climate in the first place, doesn't
it?

> Our real question is the purpose of
>body fat in humans. . . . isnt it! 8-)

Indeed.

--
Pauline Ross

Marc Verhaegen

unread,
May 12, 2004, 6:50:47 AM5/12/04
to
"Pauline M Ross" <pmr...@ross-software.co.uk> wrote in message
news:rqi3a0dbbqfl6v5ef...@4ax.com...

> > Our real question is the purpose of body fat in humans. . . . isnt it!
8-)

> Indeed. -- Pauline Ross

We must discern between questions of (1) comparative anatomy & of (2)
functional purpose.

(2) SC fat can have a lot of possible functions (energy depot, thermic
insulation in water, on land, mechanical insulation in water, on land,
estrogen depot, hindrance to diving, shaping body contours, influncing
equilibrium (eg, in bipeds), etc.), it's difficult to know which of these
possible functions must have played a role in human evolution. Moreover,
functions change during evolution.

(1) What we do know is that medium-sized mammals with a lot of fat
frequently if not always spend a lot of time in water. Why would this be
different for humans or their ancestors?? IOW, if somebody claims that human
ancestors were not waterside sometime after the Homo/Pan split, he has to
give good arguments. So, I haven't seen any.

Jim McGinn

unread,
May 12, 2004, 12:34:22 PM5/12/04
to
Pauline M Ross <pmr...@ross-software.co.uk> wrote

> My only objection is to *you* trying to match those habitats to some
> arbitrary collection of pictures from tourist websites, which (at
> best) adds nothing to Reed's descriptions and (at worst) *may*
> actually be misleading. If you want to do this for your own interest,
> fine, but I am happy to stick with what's in the paper.

Science never suffers from being too explicit, Pauline.
We all know the real source of your objection to the
pictures from the tourist website. They didn't confirm
the details of your aquatic fantasies. One wonders why
you even bother to pretend to be objective.

Jim

Paul Crowley

unread,
May 12, 2004, 5:10:09 PM5/12/04
to
"Marc Verhaegen" <fa20...@skynet.be> wrote in message
news:40a2011c$0$9757$a0ce...@news.skynet.be...

> > > Our real question is the purpose of body fat in humans. . . . isnt it!

> We must discern between questions of (1) comparative anatomy & of (2)


> functional purpose.
>
> (2) SC fat can have a lot of possible functions (energy depot, thermic
> insulation in water, on land, mechanical insulation in water, on land,
> estrogen depot, hindrance to diving, shaping body contours, influncing
> equilibrium (eg, in bipeds), etc.), it's difficult to know which of these
> possible functions must have played a role in human evolution. Moreover,
> functions change during evolution.

Changes of function during evolution are
vanishingly rare -- especially when a taxon
adopts an extremely unusual feature (such
as a high degree of fat in a medium-sized
terrestrial animal).

> (1) What we do know is that medium-sized mammals with a lot of fat
> frequently if not always spend a lot of time in water. Why would this be
> different for humans or their ancestors??

Err . . . (a) because they needed the fat for one
of the OTHER 'lot of possible functions' you
list above . . . OR for one that you have
overlooked. . . ?
(b) because the current population of hominids
spends almost no time immersed in water . .?
(c) because no good reason can be specified
why the ancestors of the current population
would have spent any amount of time in water
at any time within the past few hundred (or even
few million) years . . ?
(d) because fat is an exceedingly expensive
feature . . . which would have been discarded
the instant the current species (or any of its
populations) ceased to have an imperative
need for it . . .?

> IOW, if somebody claims that human
> ancestors were not waterside

'Waterside' is a ridiculous description -- chosen
only because it is confusing and misleading.
The issue here is whether or not recent human
ancestors (within the last few Kyr) spent a lot
of time _immersed_ in water.

Clearly they did not.


Paul.


Marc Verhaegen

unread,
May 12, 2004, 5:35:37 PM5/12/04
to

"Paul Crowley" <slkwuoiut...@slkjlskjoioue.com> wrote in message
news:zswoc.7569$qP2....@news.indigo.ie...

> Changes of function during evolution are vanishingly rare

Are extremely frequent, you mean. Upper limbs to fly (birds), to swim
(whales), to run (dogs), to grasp (primates)...


Jim McGinn

unread,
May 12, 2004, 6:13:44 PM5/12/04
to
Pauline M Ross <pmr...@ross-software.co.uk> wrote

> Look, I don't know what you think I have been saying, with regard to


> these pictures of yours, but let me spell this out once and for all. I
> do not have any problem with Reed's paper, or her descriptions of the
> various habitats, or her placement of the various fossils in those
> habitats. None whatsoever.
>
> My only objection is to *you* trying to match those habitats to some
> arbitrary collection of pictures from tourist websites, which (at
> best) adds nothing to Reed's descriptions and (at worst) *may*
> actually be misleading. If you want to do this for your own interest,
> fine, but I am happy to stick with what's in the paper.

Why don't you stop whining and tell us what,
exactly, it is about the details of these
pictures that you find so troubling? It seems
to me that Bob is just trying to paint a fuller
picture of the habitat. It seems obvious to me
that your objections have more to do with the
fact that there's not as much water in those
pictures as there is in the pictures in your
head.

Dream on, Pauline.

Jim

Bob Keeter

unread,
May 12, 2004, 8:01:35 PM5/12/04
to

"Pauline M Ross" <pmr...@ross-software.co.uk> wrote in message
news:rqi3a0dbbqfl6v5ef...@4ax.com...
Snip

> >What DID she mean. The only real definition that I saw that
> >described her meaning was the pictures, not of the Apith sites,
> >but of modern sites that she used as the basis of her analysis.
>
> Exactly. She defines 8 habitats (she describes them as examples) and
> draws scale diagrams of them so that no one can be in any doubt as to
> what she means.

Snip.

> > Then I look at a picture of the sites she used for the
> >"modern equivalents" and I think, when I hear words "open woodland",
> >REGARDLESS of the period, it means this picture or something very
> >similar. It does not involve twisting around meanings of words
> >or playing any kind of "lets pretend". I see a picture with the "label"
> >open woodland in the authors paper, and I believe that this is
> >what SHE believes open woodland to look like.
>
> Of course it is. Who ever said any different? What are you accusing me
> of? Where have I twisted her words or played 'let's pretend'? I have
> always been happy to go along with what's in the paper (words *and*
> pictures). I only object to trying to tie Reed's definitions/drawings
> to photographs, which adds nothing and may not be as precise as what
> is in the paper. We *know* what she means, because she tells us. What
> more do you need?

Well, I think that perhaps there may be some accusations in there
somewhere, and perhaps not all mine! 8-)

However, an idea just occurs to me. I pulled the pictures I offered right
off the top of the pile that Google offered up. I would ask, as a favor,
and
perhaps to prevent this arguement turning into something ugly and
unnecessary,
that YOU provide some web references to pictures of the appropriate
locations
that show what you think some of those "controversial" environments really
do (and would have) looked like. Not the sketches (still dont know why
those were even included!), but rather the true pictures of the locales that
were used as the standards against which the fossil data could be compared.

Take "open woodland", "open woodland/brushland" and maybe "brushland",
and you can show me a picture of what those look like (using the authors
table to tie the words to the locations of course). I dont care who took
the
pictures, just so long as a reasonable person would be able to assume
that those pictures came from the areas mentioned. Pictures are pictures,
and even in this day of photo-altering software, I dont think that anyone
would take the time to do a good job on a picture of trees, hills and
plains!
;-)

You see, Im willing to let you define the words, so long as we both know
EXACTLY the picture that the words apply to. Im sort of paleolythic
I think. Rock paintings are SO much easier to understand than written
words! 8-)

> [Snip]
> >Also take a go at the one above. The pictures of the places that the
> >author apparently thinks to be "open woodland" or for that matter the
> >other ecologies, dont agree with your interpretations of the words
> >in the article. (or at least they are "difficult" enough that you would
> >prefer some other pictures).
>
> What? Where did you get that idea from?

You did get rather upset with me over the pictures that I turned up. . . . .
There must have been a reason.

> > Who should we (or you) believe, the
> >possibly mis-construed meanings of the words and sentences, or
> >the author's flat statement that the "benchmark" for a "closed
> >woodland" is W. Lunga National Park in Zambia or an "open
> >woodland" is the Sudan Savanna, in Nigeria?
>
> Bob, she doesn't say that West Lunga is the 'benchmark' for anything.
> It is one of the places mentioned in Figure 2, p 292, showing
> percentages of arboreal locomotion (and she describes it as "closed
> woodland/bushland"), and it gets another mention in Table 1, p 294, of
> modern African habitat localities (described as "closed
> woodland/bushland transition"). It's one of the places in her
> analysis, that's all.

Thats exactly and precisely right! West Lunga is a woodland/brushland,
and an example of a woodland/brushland, by her definition, is W. Lunga!
I have no problem with her definition, whatsoever. I just want to be able
to accurately visualize what a "woodland brushland" looks like. How far
between trees, how much grass, how much brush, maybe even how much
open water! A picture does a lot of that.

> Look, I don't know what you think I have been saying, with regard to
> these pictures of yours, but let me spell this out once and for all. I
> do not have any problem with Reed's paper, or her descriptions of the
> various habitats, or her placement of the various fossils in those
> habitats. None whatsoever.
>

OK. Well, Can you supply the pictures! I will accept your pictures
of W. Lunga and the others without question! Just show me what an
"Open Forest/Brushland transition" looks like, based on the author's
contention that said environment can be found in W. Lunga! Maybe even
do the same for a couple of others, so that I have no doubt what you
and the author is really meaning by that term! Right now, for all I know,
we are either diametrically opposite on our personal meanings of those
words, or in violent agreement! Show me the picture!

> My only objection is to *you* trying to match those habitats to some
> arbitrary collection of pictures from tourist websites, which (at
> best) adds nothing to Reed's descriptions and (at worst) *may*
> actually be misleading. If you want to do this for your own interest,
> fine, but I am happy to stick with what's in the paper.
>

Then mislead me. SHOW me the pictures!

> >. . . . . . . . . . . . Is your concept of an aquatic ape IN the water
> >so much that a pelt would be a disadvantage from an evolutionary
> >standpoint and therefore be "lost" through the process of natural
> >selection? Just remember, we already know from hard examples
> >that 70 days out of 360 days of existence on the land (even if
> >in VERY close proximity to the water), is enough of an exposure
> >to the terrestrial environment to retain fur OR that 290 days of
> >swimming free in the ocean (home of orcas, great whites and even
> >leopard seals), is not enough of an aquatic exposure to FORCE
> >the loss of hair! 8-)
>
> You are still working on the assumption that I think that aquaticism
> and hairlessness are directly correlated. I don't. I think it possible
> that hairlessness is related to aquaticism *and* body size *and* local
> climate *and* lifestyle (and possibly other factors, who knows) by
> some complicated formula that I can't guess at. But I do think that
> hairlessness in humans is more likely to be due to one or more of
> these known factors, rather than being a special one-off case that
> only applies to us (like being part of a unique sweat-cooling
> mechanism which no other species seems to have discovered the benefits
> of).

Er. . . . Why should hairlessness in humans be considered to be in the least
related to an aquatic connection, when even the very close, very intimate
and very compelling "association" between fur seals and the sea has not
forced hairlessness? I would toss in the example of the giant river otter,
the
Harbor Seal (found in permanent residence as far south as northern Mexico),
the Mediterranean and Hawaiian monk seals, and if I go to:

http://www.press.jhu.edu/books/walkers_mammals_of_the_world/tables/table.family.pinnipedia.phocidae.html

It would appear that there are some of those furry aquatic critters just
about
anywhere in the world, at just about all latitudes! Hmmmmmm.

> >Nope. Not saying that [human fat is] seasonal at all (although I think
that some
> >women, particularly who live H/G lifestyles in some very unforgiving
> >regions (for example the San) who have a condition called steatopygia.
>
> Yes, it's not hard to see that as a variation on standard female body
> fat, which happens to have shifted to the buttocks to minimise the
> inconvenience of fat in a hot climate. Which makes one wonder how we
> could have acquired fat in a hot climate in the first place, doesn't
> it?

AND how the most obvious "fat deposits" (steatopygia), seem to be most
obvious in that same climate. SERIOUSLY dont think that steatopygia is
any possible adaptation to an aquatic environment.

> > Our real question is the purpose of body fat in humans. . . . isnt it!
8-)
>
> Indeed.

So, we have multiple examples of completely, or primarily aquatic creatures
with significant fat deposits for insulation/floatation and we have at least
one
example of a hominid with fat accumulations totally impossible to explain by
too many trips to McDonalds for a "supersize". Do we use the cetacean model
to explain human body fat or do we use the human example, at least in
terms of hypothesizing the purpose, i.e food cacheing or floatation? Which
do YOU think is the best comparison to make?

Regards
bk


Paul Crowley

unread,
May 12, 2004, 9:51:15 PM5/12/04
to
"Marc Verhaegen" <fa20...@skynet.be> wrote in message
news:40a29843$0$9538$a0ce...@news.skynet.be...

>
> "Paul Crowley" <slkwuoiut...@slkjlskjoioue.com> wrote in message
> news:zswoc.7569$qP2....@news.indigo.ie...
>
> > Changes of function during evolution are vanishingly rare
>
> Are extremely frequent, you mean.

Nope, vanishingly rare -- we see them when
a great family or class evolves into a wholly
new element -- and then they mostly apply to
standard features, like limbs

> Upper limbs to fly (birds),

Sure, and how often do we get the evolution
of a taxa the sixe of birds?

> to swim (whales),

How often do we get the evolution of a taxa the
sixe of cetacea?

> to run (dogs),

How often do we get the evolution of a taxa the
sixe of terrestrial mammals?

> to grasp (primates)...

How often do we get the evolution of a taxa the
sixe of primates?

You've made my point. When you have to
go to evolutionary steps of this magnitude
to find a comparison which (you claim) might
support some minor aspect of a theory about
the evolution of HUMAN BODY FAT, then
you've lost the argument.

Of course, you lost it anyway when you
'forgot' to deal with the rest of my post.

Paul.

Pauline M Ross

unread,
May 13, 2004, 3:25:58 AM5/13/04
to
On Thu, 13 May 2004 00:01:35 GMT, "Bob Keeter" <rke...@earthlink.net>
wrote:

>However, an idea just occurs to me. I pulled the pictures I offered right


>off the top of the pile that Google offered up. I would ask, as a favor,
>and
>perhaps to prevent this arguement turning into something ugly and
>unnecessary,
>that YOU provide some web references to pictures of the appropriate
>locations
>that show what you think some of those "controversial" environments really
>do (and would have) looked like. Not the sketches (still dont know why
>those were even included!), but rather the true pictures of the locales that
>were used as the standards against which the fossil data could be compared.

Bob, you are completely missing the point. It's not about my pictures,
or your pictures, it's about *any* pictures. I object to the
*principle* of trying to match photographs of real places to Reed's
example habitats and then, by extension, to Apith habitat. Can you not
see how futile that is? Unless you have hopped in your time machine
with a camera and nipped back 3 My, the whole exercise is pointless.
And all the time we could be discussing Reed's actual paper.....

And what on earth is a controversial environment, anyway???


>
>You did get rather upset with me over the pictures that I turned up. . . . .
>There must have been a reason.

Actually, this line (and Jim's comments) give me a clue as to what is
going on here - you think I don't like your pictures because they
don't show much water :-) Actually, I have to confess, I haven't
looked at most of them (the links were broken, and I couldn't be
bothered making the effort to fix them all), but I don't particularly
care what they actually are. It's not relevant.

>Thats exactly and precisely right! West Lunga is a woodland/brushland,
>and an example of a woodland/brushland, by her definition, is W. Lunga!
>I have no problem with her definition, whatsoever. I just want to be able
>to accurately visualize what a "woodland brushland" looks like. How far
>between trees, how much grass, how much brush, maybe even how much
>open water! A picture does a lot of that.

And the sketches in the paper itself give you exactly that (except the
water, of course, which is shown by the proportion of aquatic
species). Do you really want to talk about the paper, Bob, or do you
find your pictures more interesting?

>Er. . . . Why should hairlessness in humans be considered to be in the least
>related to an aquatic connection, when even the very close, very intimate
>and very compelling "association" between fur seals and the sea has not
>forced hairlessness?

Because all the totally aquatic mammals are hairless, without
exception. So clearly there is a connection.

[Snip table of eared seal distribution]


>It would appear that there are some of those furry aquatic critters just
>about
>anywhere in the world, at just about all latitudes! Hmmmmmm.

Except warm waters like the West Indies, SE Asia, the Philippines,
etc. There are very few pinnipeds outside polar amd sub-polar regions.

>AND how the most obvious "fat deposits" (steatopygia), seem to be most
>obvious in that same climate. SERIOUSLY dont think that steatopygia is
>any possible adaptation to an aquatic environment.

No one proposes that it is. But *all* human females have a lot of fat,
the steatopygia is just an unusual way of positioning it, which is
generally believed to be a response to a continuing need for that fat
in a climate where carrying body fat is not normally advantageous. In
other words, human body fat (of any sort) is unlikely to have evolved
in a hot, dry climate.

>So, we have multiple examples of completely, or primarily aquatic creatures
>with significant fat deposits for insulation/floatation and we have at least
>one
>example of a hominid with fat accumulations totally impossible to explain by
>too many trips to McDonalds for a "supersize". Do we use the cetacean model
>to explain human body fat or do we use the human example, at least in
>terms of hypothesizing the purpose, i.e food cacheing or floatation? Which
>do YOU think is the best comparison to make?

Multiple examples versus one example? I'd start with the multiple
examples, wouldn't you?

Here's another way of looking at it: fat is used for insulation,
floatation and streamlining by aquatic mammals, and as a seasonal
energy store by terrestrial mammals. Modern humans are terrestrial, so
the energy store is where I'd look first. Only if that explanation is
unconvincing would I start looking for an aquatic explanation. But as
I've said before, the standard (energy-store) explanations are
deficient (in my opinion), so an aquatic explanation is worth 'keeping
on the table', so to speak.

--
Pauline Ross

firstjois

unread,
May 13, 2004, 9:06:58 AM5/13/04
to
Pauline M Ross wrote:
[snip]

>> No one proposes that it is. But *all* human females have a lot of
>> fat, the steatopygia is just an unusual way of positioning it, which
>> is generally believed to be a response to a continuing need for that
>> fat in a climate where carrying body fat is not normally
>> advantageous. In other words, human body fat (of any sort) is
>> unlikely to have evolved in a hot, dry climate.
>>

[snip]
>> Pauline Ross

Is that really true? I volunteer at a local elementary school and see a
lot of toothpicks between the ages of 5-10 years of age. Not *all* human
females have a lot of fat. We have dragged bedsprings all over this ground
before. Why do we have to do this over and over again? Is it sloppy
writing or do you actually not have children to look at where you live?

Is there any mammal incapable of storing extra food as fat?

Jois

Jim McGinn

unread,
May 13, 2004, 11:14:36 AM5/13/04
to
Pauline M Ross <pmr...@ross-software.co.uk> wrote

> I object to the


> *principle* of trying to match photographs of real places to Reed's
> example habitats and then, by extension, to Apith habitat.

> Actually, this line (and Jim's comments) give me a clue as to what is


> going on here - you think I don't like your pictures because they
> don't show much water :-)

Pauline, your evasiveness is plainly obvious. It's as
obvious as Jim Moore's or Mikey Brass's evasiveness
when I asked them to explain their multi-niche nonsense
(Mosaic theory). Real scientists don't fear
explicitness, they embrace it.

> Actually, I have to confess, I haven't
> looked at most of them (the links were broken, and I couldn't be
> bothered making the effort to fix them all), but I don't particularly
> care what they actually are. It's not relevant.

It is relevant, and you know it. It just that these
details contrast the vague aquatic notions in your
head and you're doing your best to protect these
notions.


> Here's another way of looking at it: fat is used for insulation,
> floatation and streamlining by aquatic mammals, and as a seasonal
> energy store by terrestrial mammals. Modern humans are terrestrial, so
> the energy store is where I'd look first.

Uh, okay.

Only if that explanation is
> unconvincing would I start looking for an aquatic explanation. But as
> I've said before, the standard (energy-store) explanations are
> deficient (in my opinion),

Where's the evidentiary support for your opinion,
Pauline? Why is it that you aquatic whako's seem
to think that the rest of us are under some kind
of obligation to dispute your silly and vaguely
defined aquatic notions with evidence but you
yourself can dismiss the thinking of others based
on nothing but your opinion.

Jim

Marc Verhaegen

unread,
May 13, 2004, 11:55:25 AM5/13/04
to

"Pauline M Ross" <pmr...@ross-software.co.uk> wrote in message
news:om66a05gsrhhl70mv...@4ax.com...

> ... steatopygia is just an unusual way of positioning it, which is


generally believed to be a response to a continuing need for that fat in a
climate where carrying body fat is not normally advantageous. In other
words, human body fat (of any sort) is unlikely to have evolved in a hot,
dry climate.

Localised fat depots are not unsual in camels, dromedaries, zebus,
fat-tailed lemurs, woolly mammoths... Must have something to do with
periodic shortness of food, eg, dry season? IIRC, in camels they vary from 0
to 8 % of body Wt. This fat is unlike the human SC fat (normally 15-20 % in
women).

--Marc

Mikey Brass

unread,
May 13, 2004, 11:59:04 AM5/13/04
to
jimm...@yahoo.com (Jim McGinn) wrote in
news:ac6a5059.04051...@posting.google.com:

> Pauline M Ross <pmr...@ross-software.co.uk> wrote
>
>> I object to the
>> *principle* of trying to match photographs of real places to Reed's
>> example habitats and then, by extension, to Apith habitat.
>
>> Actually, this line (and Jim's comments) give me a clue as to what is
>> going on here - you think I don't like your pictures because they
>> don't show much water :-)
>
> Pauline, your evasiveness is plainly obvious. It's as
> obvious as Jim Moore's or Mikey Brass's evasiveness
> when I asked them to explain their multi-niche nonsense
> (Mosaic theory).

Still having trouble understanding occupation of and adaptation to
multiple environments, eh.

> Real scientists don't fear
> explicitness, they embrace it.

Real scholars don't expect to be spoon-fed and follow up on the
references provided. Therefore I won't hold my breath for you to use your
library card.

--
===========
Mikey Brass
MA in Archaeology student
"The Antiquity of Man" http://www.antiquityofman.com
Book: "The Antiquity of Man: Artifactual, fossil and gene records
explored"

- "If we knew what we were doing, it wouldn't be called research, would
it?"
(Albert Einstein)

Pauline M Ross

unread,
May 13, 2004, 12:42:00 PM5/13/04
to
On 13 May 2004 08:14:36 -0700, jimm...@yahoo.com (Jim McGinn) wrote:

>Pauline, your evasiveness is plainly obvious. It's as
>obvious as Jim Moore's or Mikey Brass's evasiveness
>when I asked them to explain their multi-niche nonsense
>(Mosaic theory). Real scientists don't fear
>explicitness, they embrace it.

Have you read the paper under discussion? Here's the reference again:

Kaye E Reed, 'Early hominid evolution and ecological change through
the African Plio-Pleistocene', JHE (1997) 32, 289-322

If you (or anyone) can show me where in that paper there is any lack
of explicitness which would be addressed by actual photographs (Bob's
or any others), I would be interested in hearing about it.

In fact, if you (or anyone) cared to discuss the paper at all, that
would be an improvement. Apart from Mikey (who read the paper the same
day he found out about it, immediately spotted some discrepancies, and
added some interesting background information, with references), no
one seems remotely interested in talking about the *substance* of the
paper at all.

--
Pauline Ross

Mikey Brass

unread,
May 13, 2004, 3:01:58 PM5/13/04
to
Pauline M Ross <pmr...@ross-software.co.uk> wrote in
news:lh87a01ell57gi07e...@4ax.com:


> In fact, if you (or anyone) cared to discuss the paper at all, that
> would be an improvement. Apart from Mikey (who read the paper the same
> day he found out about it, immediately spotted some discrepancies, and
> added some interesting background information, with references),

I read it late on a Friday night, after having arrived back from part-time
work ending at 10pm. I needed a break from my other readings and this
appealed to me.

> no one seems remotely interested in talking about the *substance* of the
> paper at all.

Unfortunately I do not have the time to go into the paper in detail as I'd
otherwise have liked. I'm now stacked up with dissertation readings.

Bob Keeter

unread,
May 13, 2004, 7:52:23 PM5/13/04
to

"Pauline M Ross" <pmr...@ross-software.co.uk> wrote in message
news:om66a05gsrhhl70mv...@4ax.com...

SNippage. . . .

> Bob, you are completely missing the point. It's not about my pictures,
> or your pictures, it's about *any* pictures. I object to the
> *principle* of trying to match photographs of real places to Reed's
> example habitats and then, by extension, to Apith habitat. Can you not
> see how futile that is? Unless you have hopped in your time machine
> with a camera and nipped back 3 My, the whole exercise is pointless.
> And all the time we could be discussing Reed's actual paper.....

Well, in essence that is EXACTLY what Reed is attempting to do.
She is attempting to equate a modern environment, complete with
a nominal ecology of trees, grass, brush, water, rain and fauna
to an ancient environment, based on a series of bone collections.
In the modern biome, certain percentages of animals with certain
life styles show up. She looks at ancient collections, presumably
gathered in the same ways, and says that these percentages mean
that enviroment. Now, Im not going to say that the species are
the same (among the hominids we were talking apits, HE, paranthropus,
et al, and there is no need to presume anything other than similar
diversity over time for the gazelles, fish, birds, primates, etc when
compared over that range of time). At the same time, a given
"environment" should perhaps have the same general number of trees
per acre, the same nominal density of brush, the same abundance of
open water sources, the same proportions of open space to
closed forests, etc. Pictures define those. We dont have a good
photographic example of an "Open woodland/brushland transition"
from 3mya, but we have plenty from today. The analogies to
the bone collections and vegitation and water abundance and. . . .
all run together.


> And what on earth is a controversial environment, anyway???

Oh, Id say that a controversial environment is one where there is a
"gray scale" to be quibbled over. You and I both know exactly what
a swamp and a desert look like. We probably would prefer to see
a very different picture of an "open woodland" or a "treed savanna".
Those are the "controversial ones".

> >
> >You did get rather upset with me over the pictures that I turned up. . .
. .
> >There must have been a reason.
>
> Actually, this line (and Jim's comments) give me a clue as to what is
> going on here - you think I don't like your pictures because they
> don't show much water :-) Actually, I have to confess, I haven't
> looked at most of them (the links were broken, and I couldn't be
> bothered making the effort to fix them all), but I don't particularly
> care what they actually are. It's not relevant.

Its VERY relevant. Just as an example, if we define an open woodland
in terms of something pertinent to an apith it might be measured in terms
of the nominal distance to a tree from any point in the environment. If
our little furry cousin was never more than two or three running strides
from a nice climbable tree, he would be reasonably safe from the
big cats. On the other hand, if good safe climbing trees were spaced,
on an average, 200 meters apart, the cats might well be feasting! (unless
of course that scrawny little apith had a little help from such things
as sticks and/or stones and of course the brains to use them!)

I picked an easy parameter to visualize even without pictures, but Im
thinking that there are other factors that might only come to light when
that visual image is there. If I were to try to claim that the apiths had
NOTHING to fear in a given environment because climbing trees were
"plenty close", you would have every right to laugh if I did not back that
up with a distance. Distance between trees is not just a function of how
far an apith might be able to outsprint a lion, it also has to do with the
rainfall in an area, the oveall ecology of that area, in essence all
conveyed
in one way or another by a good picture. 8-)

Im pretty certain that you did not like the rather dry, dusty pictures that
came up showing what Reed had labeled an "open woodland/brushland".
There just plain would not be much room for swimming and wading, and
at a time before the nominally accepted invention of water carrying devices
(at least the ostrich egg canteens), this would mean a "dryland ape".
Hopefully, I can get you to show me that those environments designated
as "open woodland/brushland" by Reed (in our modern world) are
somehow more "amenable" to the AAH concepts. 8-)

> >Thats exactly and precisely right! West Lunga is a woodland/brushland,
> >and an example of a woodland/brushland, by her definition, is W. Lunga!
> >I have no problem with her definition, whatsoever. I just want to be
able
> >to accurately visualize what a "woodland brushland" looks like. How far
> >between trees, how much grass, how much brush, maybe even how much
> >open water! A picture does a lot of that.
>
> And the sketches in the paper itself give you exactly that (except the
> water, of course, which is shown by the proportion of aquatic
> species). Do you really want to talk about the paper, Bob, or do you
> find your pictures more interesting?
>

The paper itself is very interesting and I'm thinking more and more, a very
decent and insightful piece of analysis. If we cant at least agree on what
the paper says, at least as a common ground from which to extrapolate our
own hypotheses and conjectures, its just a replay of the blind men and the
elephant. That, Pauline, just does not appeal at all. That is just too
much
like Marc and Phillip standing off and calling each other fools because they
cant and never will agree on anything (except maybe for their dislike of me!
And that is something that, by the way, I treasure greatly! ;-0 ).

> >Er. . . . Why should hairlessness in humans be considered to be in the
least
> >related to an aquatic connection, when even the very close, very intimate
> >and very compelling "association" between fur seals and the sea has not
> >forced hairlessness?
>
> Because all the totally aquatic mammals are hairless, without
> exception. So clearly there is a connection.

Not unless you wish to put your aquatic primate in that same exact
"totally aquatic" clique. If you want to put him into the semi-aquatic
mammalian group, you have to attribute characterstics found in that
group. For example, if a modern animal has feathers, its a bird; because
all birds, and ONLY birds, have feathers. If ONLY completely aquatic
mammals are hairless, and man is hairless, humans must be aquatic, but
not by little bits! Formal logic AND observable physiologies both sort
of tilt the table a bit, wouldnt you say?

> [Snip table of eared seal distribution]
> >It would appear that there are some of those furry aquatic critters just
> >about
> >anywhere in the world, at just about all latitudes! Hmmmmmm.
>
> Except warm waters like the West Indies, SE Asia, the Philippines,
> etc. There are very few pinnipeds outside polar amd sub-polar regions.

Harbor seals live year round in the bays and coves of Baha California, the
Mediterranean, and the east coast of the US. California fur seals never see
even the sub-polar waters.

You dont have to believe me, look it up! I did and even provided the
pointers.

> >AND how the most obvious "fat deposits" (steatopygia), seem to be most
> >obvious in that same climate. SERIOUSLY dont think that steatopygia is
> >any possible adaptation to an aquatic environment.
>
> No one proposes that it is. But *all* human females have a lot of fat,
> the steatopygia is just an unusual way of positioning it, which is
> generally believed to be a response to a continuing need for that fat
> in a climate where carrying body fat is not normally advantageous. In
> other words, human body fat (of any sort) is unlikely to have evolved
> in a hot, dry climate.

Even though its most prominent display is in a hot dry climate? If we were
to
say that human body fat is a characteristic, just like "hairlessness" above,
could
we say that the environment where that characteristic is most enhanced, it
is most favored and therefore most likely to have been influenced and
selected for
in that environment? In one case, a fully aquatic environment seems to have
very
heavily favored the hairless since such a huge preponderance of hairless
mammals
inhabit that environment. If we look at the environment where human body
fat (for
whatever purpose) is most heavily favored from an evolutionary standpoint
(to eliminate
the local fast food joint), , it is. . . . . . . ???????? 8-) Fill in
the blank, please!


> >So, we have multiple examples of completely, or primarily aquatic
creatures
> >with significant fat deposits for insulation/floatation and we have at
least
> >one
> >example of a hominid with fat accumulations totally impossible to explain
by
> >too many trips to McDonalds for a "supersize". Do we use the cetacean
model
> >to explain human body fat or do we use the human example, at least in
> >terms of hypothesizing the purpose, i.e food cacheing or floatation?
Which
> >do YOU think is the best comparison to make?
>
> Multiple examples versus one example? I'd start with the multiple
> examples, wouldn't you?

Depends on the "closeness" of the comparison. If I have to reach across
multiple "least common ancestors" the comparison starts to loose its
clarity. Long skinny legs might be good indicators of rapid bursts of speed
in a cheetah, but compare them to the heavily muscled legs of a human
Olympic sprinter and there is very little similarity. Very similar
objectives but
totally different physiques to achieve the same goals! Now if you look
at big predatory cats, there is no doubt that a cheetah is much more
"built for speed" than an African lion. Same basic environment, VERY
different adaptation, and seriously, different selective "objectives".

> Here's another way of looking at it: fat is used for insulation,
> floatation and streamlining by aquatic mammals, and as a seasonal
> energy store by terrestrial mammals. Modern humans are terrestrial, so
> the energy store is where I'd look first. Only if that explanation is
> unconvincing would I start looking for an aquatic explanation. But as
> I've said before, the standard (energy-store) explanations are
> deficient (in my opinion), so an aquatic explanation is worth 'keeping
> on the table', so to speak.

At least here in the States, those who frequent fast food joints and
shy away from beaches and swimming pools would perhaps bring
that view into some serious question! 8-)

So long as its "on the table" and not nailed to the wall like some sort
of holy icon, termites can always get to it! ;-) Im almost begining
to hear some shades of "reasonable doubt". . . . better watch out
or you might find it far less palatable than you once did, so to speak
of course! ;-)

Regards
bk


Bob Keeter

unread,
May 13, 2004, 7:55:02 PM5/13/04
to

"Mikey Brass" <mi...@nospam.antiquityofman.com> wrote in message
news:Xns94E8CBCDDBEBBmi...@195.8.68.217...

> Pauline M Ross <pmr...@ross-software.co.uk> wrote in
> news:lh87a01ell57gi07e...@4ax.com:
>
> > In fact, if you (or anyone) cared to discuss the paper at all, that
> > would be an improvement. Apart from Mikey (who read the paper the same
> > day he found out about it, immediately spotted some discrepancies, and
> > added some interesting background information, with references),
>
> I read it late on a Friday night, after having arrived back from part-time
> work ending at 10pm. I needed a break from my other readings and this
> appealed to me.
>
> > no one seems remotely interested in talking about the *substance* of the
> > paper at all.
>
> Unfortunately I do not have the time to go into the paper in detail as I'd
> otherwise have liked. I'm now stacked up with dissertation readings.
>

When you get a chance, Id be very interested in your intepretations!

Good luck with the readings!

Regards
bk


Jim McGinn

unread,
May 14, 2004, 12:18:01 AM5/14/04
to
Mikey Brass <mi...@nospam.antiquityofman.com> wrote

> > Pauline, your evasiveness is plainly obvious. It's as
> > obvious as Jim Moore's or Mikey Brass's evasiveness
> > when I asked them to explain their multi-niche nonsense
> > (Mosaic theory).
>
> Still having trouble understanding occupation of and adaptation to
> multiple environments, eh.

I know that such is impossible. I also know that
only somebody who is greatly ignorant about
evolutionary biology would fall for such an
obviously nonsensical notion.

>
> > Real scientists don't fear
> > explicitness, they embrace it.
>
> Real scholars don't expect to be spoon-fed and follow up on the
> references provided.

Evasive twit. There's nothing in those references,
jackass, that supports your dimwitted notion, you
imbecile. You anthropologists are nothing but smoke
and mirrors. The really funny thing is that your
understanding of evolutionary biology is so
nonexistent that you don't even have a sense of how
little you know.

> Therefore I won't hold my breath for you to use your
> library card.

You anthropologists are all the same. None of you
has the remotest clue as to how to address the
issues of human evolution. The only thing you know
is politics, specifically political correctness.
So that's the only game you will ever play.

Jim

Jim McGinn

unread,
May 14, 2004, 12:33:45 AM5/14/04