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Aquatic Ape Hypothesis (AAH)

The hypothesis that water has acted as an agent of selection in the evolution of humans more than it has in the evolution of our ape cousins. And that, as a result, many of the major physical differences between humans and the other apes are best explained as adaptations to moving (e.g. wading, swimming and/or diving) better through various aquatic media and from greater feeding on resources that might be procured from such habitats.
Algis Kuliukas

In 1960 a zoologist Alistair Hardy gave a lecture to the British Sub-Aqua Club, 'Was Man more aquatic in the past?' in which he suggested that man's evolution had an aquatic phase in which wading and swimming gave us our upright stance and comparative hairlessness. He argued that the layer of subcutaneous fat that we share with marine mammals and the fact that babies are born with sufficient fat to give them buoyancy in water is consistant with an aquatic past.

The hypothesis was followed up by Elaine Morgan who has written several books on the subject in which she has commented on the naivety of the alternative 'Savannah' hypothesis and its inconsistancy with human physiology. Until recently the hypothesis was virtually ignored by paleoanthropologists but the ideas are gradually gaining credence. In April 2005 the well known naturalist and broadcaster, David Attenborough, gave two talks on the radio based on one of Elaine Morgan's books - 'The Scars of Evolution'.

There are several web sites dedicated to the Aquatic Ape Hypothesis and some are listed below:

ELAINE MORGAN . . . www.geocities.com
MARC VERHAEGEN . . . allserv.ugent.be
ALGIS KULIUKAS . . . www.riverapes.com
DENIS MONTGOMERY . . . www.sondela.co.uk

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