May 12 2013
The Daily Mail
The following article begins: ‘When we think of our early human ancestors, we typically picture them roaming as hunter-gatherers across wide African grasslands or arid dusty plains’.
Errr we fucking typically don’t.
At least I don’t. In fact the idea that we descended from Apes is as ridiculous as the idea that there is a weirdy fuckin’ beardy fella in the sky, waiting to heap vengeance on us if we don’t follow his rules.
Now these so called fucking experts are pushing their latest myth that we descended from aquatic apes… No stop laughing, its true.
No doubt next week they will announce that they have found evidence of water wings use to teach the little monkeys how to swim.
The funniest thing of all, is that sane, otherwise intelligent people will buy into this old bollocks hook line and sinker.
Because an expert said it. You really couldn’t make this shit up.
Beam me the fuck up Scotty.
Is man descended from the king of the swimmers? Forget about swinging in trees. Experts now say our earliest ancestors were apes who loved to monkey around in the water
By JOHN NAISH
PUBLISHED: 23:24, 9 May 2013 | UPDATED: 08:02, 10 May 2013
When we think of our early human ancestors, we typically picture them roaming as hunter-gatherers across wide African grasslands or arid dusty plains.
But according to a highly controversial scientific theory being debated in London this week, we should abandon this conventional scene and instead imagine our ancestors up to their necks in water, splashing after fish and clams, their primitive lives spent entirely amid wetlands, lakes and rivers.
So says the ‘aquatic ape’ theory which puts forward the idea that our distant ancestors spent a million years swimming and paddling in water. It argues that this perpetually damp experience shaped us into the hugely successful species that we are today.
The theory also claims to explain many of our most puzzling human quirks — such as why we have evolved as naked primates who walk on two legs rather than four; why we are prone to obesity; and why we have unusually big brains and noses.
This idea, that our forebears evolved during a prolonged period of aquatic living, has resurfaced this week after years of being drowned out by scornful academic laughter.
It was first proposed in England by the eminent zoologist Sir Alister Hardy in 1960. He suggested that around seven million years ago our ancestors lived in an area of Ethiopia that became flooded. To survive they foraged for food in shallow waters. After about a million years the flood waters receded.
Sir Alister’s theory argues that the experience altered our ancestors’ physiques irrevocably, leaving them better suited for dry-land domination than any of our primate peers such as gorillas and chimps.
Sir Alister sat on his controversial idea for years, fearing that this outlandish theory would blight his career. He was right. Opponents wrote him off as a crackpot.
Since then his theory of human evolution has for the most part languished, expounded by only a few supporters brave enough to withstand a critical barrage from eminent experts who say the theory is as unscientific as it is fantastical.
The mainstream belief is that humans evolved on solid ground on the African savannah.
But the aquatic ape idea is this week being seriously discussed at a scientific conference in London and has attracted the interest of a promising champion: Sir David Attenborough, who is said to be attending both days of the conference.
Sir David has given proponents of the theory encouragement by saying: ‘It is an extremely interesting idea and it helps explain many puzzling features of the human anatomy.’
If the scientific community can ever be persuaded that there is proof to support the theory of the aquatic ape, it may explain not only why we love to loll by the pool on holiday, it could also unravel some of the most intractable mysteries about our bodies, such as why our brains are relatively large compared with other mammals and why our bodies are comparatively hairless.
It has often been noted that the brains of humans are larger than those of other primates relative to our size.
The aquatic ape theory argues that a diet sourced from the ocean rather than the land would have provided the omega-3 oils that our brains would have needed to out-grow those of other mammals — giving us a crucial edge over our primate cousins.
Omega-3 is a key ingredient for growing a large brain, according to Professor Michael Crawford, from Imperial College London — and it is found plentifully in fish.
‘For our brains to grow to the size we have now, our ancestors must have had to eat a lot of fish,’ says Professor Crawford, who is the director of the college’s Institute of Brain Chemistry and Human Nutrition.
‘Omega-3 boosts brain growth in mammals,’ he adds. ‘That is why a dolphin has a much bigger brain than a zebra, though they have roughly the same body sizes. The dolphin has a diet rich in fish.
‘The crucial point is that without a high omega-3 diet from seafood we could not have developed our big brains. We got smart from eating fish and living in water.’
NAKED AND FLABBY
Why aren’t we as hairy as our fellow primates? The aquatic ape theory says that we shed our fur because it loses its heat-retaining powers when immersed in water, rendering it surplus to the body’s requirements.
Instead, we replaced it with relatively high levels of body fat — as is true of other aquatic mammals such as hippos and whales. Humans are by far the fattest of all primates — and far more prone to obesity.
York University marine biologist Dr Callum Roberts says the ratio of subcutaneous fat to bodyweight in humans is ten times that of other primates. In fact, he adds, in body fat terms we are nearer to whales.
From an evolutionary point of view, human blubber would give us little advantage if we were land hunters. But it would be eminently useful for an aquatic ape that developed in the sea and around the shoreline.
Why do we still have hair on top of our heads? The aquatic ape theory has it that this hair would have protected the scalp — which would have often protruded above the water — from heat and cold.
Furthermore, according to Sir Alister’s original ideas, the way in which our hair falls is directly linked to efficient movement through water. He maintained that in water our hair naturally flows in a streamlined pattern.
In zoos all around the world, primates are contained in their enclosures by moats of water. Both chimps and gorillas hate water.
‘Apes sink like rocks,’ says Ohio State University chimpanzee specialist Professor Sally Boysen. ‘They don’t have much body fat to help flotation, and they have dense muscle and a heavy, robust skeletal system.’ If you were to drop an infant orangutan in water, it would sink to the bottom. A human baby, however, will close its larynx and automatically paddle its arms and legs. ‘It is the typical response of a baby dolphin in the sea,’ says Professor Crawford.
What’s more, our feet and hands may also show vestigial traces of our watery upbringing. Even today, around seven per cent of the world’s population of humans still have webbed toes and one in every 2,500 babies is born with pronounced webbing between their fingers.
The fact that our noses protrude rather than lying flat on our faces marks us out as significantly different from other primates. Again, this difference may have been created by a million years spent swimming in shallow waters foraging for food.
As Eva Horvath-Papp, a biology researcher at the University of Leicester, has observed: ‘Outward-facing nostrils would be a hindrance to being submerged in water for long periods of time. By forcing the nostrils to face the floor, it is possible for a human to bob their head under the water without water entering the airways — air trapped in the nose prevents any water entering.’
Our noses also seem shaped for swimming forwards at speed, pushing the water away and keeping it out of our nostrils.
Professor Rhys Evans, the organiser of this week’s London conference and an expert on head and neck physiology at the Royal Marsden Hospital, London, adds that our large sinuses are also beneficial to aquatic living.
He says the spaces in the skull between our noses, cheeks and foreheads can act as buoyancy aids that help to keep our heads above water. By contrast, the skulls of other primates lack such large air pockets.
Biologists have had difficulty explaining how humans learned to walk upright on two hind legs while our primate cousins continue to move mostly on all fours and only stand up or move on two legs with difficulty and then only for short periods.
The aquatic ape theory suggests that our ancestors were forced upright to wade through water. Their legs got stronger and a pelvis suitable to bipedalism developed. Buoyed by the water, they would have suffered no lower back pain or varicose veins.
On dry land, walking upright has some considerable disadvantages. Not only do we suffer slipped discs and problems with childbirth caused by the narrowing of hips — a consequence of the shift from walking on four legs to two — this posture also exposes vulnerable organs such as the stomach to attack.
Perhaps for the sake of our health, we might be better off heading back to the waters from where this theory suggests we came. Indeed, with the world’s sea levels inexorably rising, we might soon have no choice.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2322251/Is-man-descended-king-swimmers-Forget-swinging-trees-Experts-say-earliest-ancestors-apes-loved-monkey-water.html#ixzz2T4F1iK00
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