Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Aquatic Apes? Not Us

Dr. Darren Naish takes on the Aquatic Ape Theory

The AAT has been swimming around the edges of the anthropological pool for a few decades now. It got a little publicity boost with the Animal Planet show on mermaids last month.  It has its die-hard adherents, but, as Naish, explains here, it's basically crud.  Humans are terribly maladapted for water, and the few arguments made from physiology are wrong, misused, or coincidental; they don't make up any coherent pattern of features you'd find in a swimming, diving ape.  (The argument, for example, for hairlessness as an aquatic adaptation must seem pretty silly to seals: hairlessness occurs only in the completely waterborne mammals, like whales, not in the semi-aquatic ones.)  Anyway, I'll let Darren take this the rest of the way, but the AAT, while fun to think about, isn't valid science. It really never was.

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