Quantcast

«

»

Apr 28 2013

Best response to the Aquatic Ape nonsense yet

Mockery is good. Behold the #spaceape hypothesis: humans clearly evolved in outer space!

#SPACEAPE

Basic Arguments of the Space Ape Theory:

1. we have evolved big brains relative to our bodies because we don’t need our bodies to move around in space.

2. we don’t have much body hair because what would be the point of a few more follicles worth in 2.73 Kelvin (-270 Celsius)?

3. sinuses, far from being evolutionary spandrels, are little miniature internal space helmets.

4. our outsize eyes clearly show our relation to other species in space.

It’s taking off on Twitter, too. Next time someone brings up the soggy monkey story, I’m just going to reply with “Space Ape!”

1,493 comments

Skip to comment form

  1. 501
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    You are a crank/loon if……

    You know you are the brightest one out there, but nobody appreciates your genius

    If the idea you promote doesn’t have any real third party evidence

    If you take criticism as personal insults instead of criticism of the idea

    If asked what it would take to show your idea is wrong, you can’t/won’t supply an answer

    You promote your idea by infesting and threadjacking other peoples blogs, and not by the normal scientific methods of publishing in scientific journals and talking about your ideas at professional meetings

  2. 502
    ChasCPeterson

    I note he distanced himself from Jim Moore’s gossip here a few days ago.

    I didn’t; I don;t even know what you mean anymore by “gossip”. I took issue with one specific assertion about animal physiology. With Williams I took issue with a number of such assertions. If you’d care to make a specific assertion about animal physiology, I’ll evaluate that for you, if you want.
    But you won’t. You’ll just keep saying the same general shit over and over and over.

  3. 503
    algiskuliukas

    Re 500… only because this blog format is so primitive I have to read 488 (mostly inane) posts to get to my own.

    My papers were both published in peer-reviewed journals actually, you slur merchant. It’s what you’re supposed to do, isn’t it? I know that writing a shitty masquerading, gossip-filled, attempted character assassination web site counts more to some people (isn’t that right, PZ?) but what the heck. I tried.

    Even if the LCA was already somehwhat bipedal, wading (in addition to vertical climbing, obviously) helps explain it’s origins in the ape lineage and lack of wading helps explain it’s demise in non-hominin lineages.

    Thanks for posting my critique of the vile tactics of you and your gang. Very honest of you. Maybe PZ will even read it and realise his support of Jim’s gang was not so wise.

    Algis Kuliukas

  4. 504
    algiskuliukas

    Well, excuse me, Chas, if I misinterpreted your post (443)…

    <blockquote.yeah, I’m done with this guy.

    … which followed another of my criticisms of anthro-slur-guy.

    So, I was wrong, was I? You back him to, do you?

    Have you read his web site, or is this just a touchy-feely thing? PZ likes him, so you feel you should too?

    One day, someone with a microgram of intellectual courage is going to answer my critique of the travesty which is “aquaticape.org” and explain how his crap has anything to do with science and rational thought.

    http://www.riverapes.com/AAH/Arguments/JimMoore/JMHome.htm

    Algis Kuliukas

  5. 505
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    You are a crank/loon if……

    You fail to consult with experts in the field, as they may refute your idea

    You think your opinion of the evidence means anything to those you are selling your idea to

    You think you must get the last word in for victory

    You don’t address solid evidence against your idea with third party scientific evidence, just your opinion of the evidence

    You avoid making any statements that you know can be refuted/falsified easily by people in the field

    You are a crank if you must sign your post even if your name is on the header. What an ego. We know who the fuck you are. Evidently you don’t.

  6. 506
    David Marjanović

    Re 500… only because this blog format is so primitive I have to read 488 (mostly inane) posts to get to my own.

    You have to read them all once, because otherwise you can’t know if you’d just repeat what 15 other people have already said.

    When you mouse over a comment, a permalink appears. You could bookmark it. Or you could remember the number of your latest comment…

    and lack of wading helps explain it’s demise in non-hominin lineages

    Like orang-utans and especially gibbons.

    Now I’ll catch up with the thread, and then I’ll read your critique. I’m not encouraged by the fact that there’s an ad-hominem argument (paraphrasing: he’s an amateur without credentials, so he must be wrong) in its second paragraph.

  7. 507
    David Marjanović

    I notice that the current de rigeur position is a bizarre combination of “no need to worry, we were ALWAYS bipedal” and “who knows, it could have been genetic drift acting on some vertical climbers but not others”.

    what

    Our ancestors haven’t “always” been bipedal, only since brachiation became their main mode of locomotion. No drift involved there.

  8. 508
    Amphiox

    why wading is so obviously a bad idea in terms of explaining hominin bipedal origins

    It is obviously a bad idea because the FOSSIL RECORD shows that 1) there is no such thing as a “hominin bipedal origin” because bipedality originated BEFORE hominins, 2) the FOSSIL RECORD already shows that bipedality originated in the trees, where ancestral primates have always been, making the postulation of an aquatic phase wholly unparsimonious and completely unnecessary.

  9. 509
    Amphiox

    When the ALREADY EXISTING FOSSIL EVIDENCE, which you can lay out on a table in front of you to look at, to hold, and touch, ALREADY SHOWS that your particular idea is WRONG, your idea is, by definition, an OBVIOUSLY bad idea.

    Hell, it may be possible that semi-aquatic wading could provide selection pressures that promote the evolution of bipedality. Maybe on some other planet in this universe there is in fact an intelligent tool using social creature that is bipedal and evolved bipedality because its ancestors had a semi-aquatic phase.

    Maybe, 300 million years hence, when humans have offed themselves by some combination of environmental degradation, nuclear war, the machine apocalypse, or the rapture, a second intelligent species will evolve on this planet, and they will be bipedal because their ancestry included a semi-aquatic phase the selected for bipedality. Maybe the squibbons will be bipedal, with 6 non-locomotive appendages for tool manipulation (and 2 for sex, of course).

    But not this planet, not this species, and not this time.

    Because the ALREADY EXISTING FOSSIL EVIDENCE found ON THIS PLANET, AT THIS TIME already shows that, ON THIS PLANET, AT THIS TIME, it is not so.

    Most of the rest of the other AAH crowd like Marcel Williams have all but abandoned the bipedality angle. You seem not to have gotten the memo, Algis. Your idea is ALREADY FALSIFIED. It is dead, finished, gone. Murdered by the ugly facts.

    Live with it.

  10. 510
    David Marjanović

    So, from the critique:

    It is probably true that Morgan may, on occasions, have been guilty of being too enthusiastic and uncritical in endorsing pieces of data which she thought supported the AAH (such as the salt tears argument) but Moore is even more gung-ho at finding any tiny error in her work to discredit it, to blow it up out of all proportion and report it as if it were some great shock-horror deliberate deception. (On the salt tears argument, for example, Morgan abandoned her support for it seven years ago, yet Moore continues to stress this argument as if it were a major pillar of the AAH, writing over 10,000 words about the salt argument compared to, say, 2,000 words on major AAH arguments like hairlessness.)

    (Bold and italics in the original. Yes, a large part of the first page is entirely in bold italics.)

    I’m surprised it isn’t obvious: the site isn’t a personal letter to Morgan. It’s presented to, among lots of other people, those who picked up the salt tears argument from her writings and may not even know she has abandoned it.

    Moore’s choice of URL
    One thing that Jim Moore should be taken to task for is the URL of his web site: Using http://www.aquaticape.org appears to be deliberately provocative. Anyone wanting to find something about the so-called “aquatic ape hypothesis” might well type in that URL thinking that they’d be directed to some kind of neutral site informing the general public about it

    That’s exactly what it is. You sound like a Republican complaining that reality has a well-known liberal bias.

    The idea behind the URL is obvious to me: search engine optimization. That you see it as a personal insult looks to me like a symptom of narcissism: you believe everything is about persons in general and you in particular.

    What I don’t understand is the .org part: how is this an organization?

    The nub, as usual, lies on that word ‘aquatic’. He states, quite clearly, that the AAT is claiming humans (suggesting post Homo) went through an ‘aquatic’ stage but what does he mean by aquatic? We shall see, but Hardy made it quite clear that he envisioned our ancestors (and he was thinking about ancestors that lived long before the advent of the genus Homo) being less aquatic than an otter. “It may be objected that children have to be taught to swim; but the same is true of young otters, and I should regard them as more aquatic than Man has been” Hardy (1960:643).

    (Hey, if you can use italics on your own website, what stops you from using them here???)

    See, Hardy and you aren’t the only AAH proponents. There are some who have proposed that our recent ancestors were literally aquatic. In the next paragraph you act as if you didn’t even know that, talking about “what the AAH is proposing” but meaning just your version of it.

    You envisage a hardly semiaquatic ancestor. You should say so instead of continuing to misuse the term “aquatic”.

    Are you just angry that your particular hypothesis isn’t mentioned enough?

    And no, “humans” doesn’t necessarily suggest Homo (what in the fuck do you mean by “post”?). Lots of people consider Australopithecus, Paranthropus, Kenyanthropus etc. etc. “humans”. Vernacular terms aren’t strictly defined; that’s exactly why biological nomenclature exists.

    He says, right from the onset, that his web site is one of the few to be ‘treating it as a serious scientific theory’ claiming that his is one of the few that give ‘critical examination’ of the theory. Next, Moore offers a word of explanation as to why he has written this site. He writes “I am doing what many AAT proponents — including its principal proponent, Elaine Morgan — have repeatedly claimed they want done: treating the AAT as befits a serious scientific theory.

    I am sure that Morgan had something more in mind than a web site dedicated to it’s dismissal.

    That sounds like you’re just angry at the conclusion. How dare a treatment of the AAH as a serious scientific hypothesis conclude it’s wrong!

    Putting to one side whether Elaine Morgan, a playwright and English graduate, could even theoretically have access to such a body of source material to back up ideas about human evolution that have often simply not yet been studied

    What the fuck. If she doesn’t know the literature about a subject, how is she competent to write books about that very subject?

    If I write a book that claims the moon consists of green cheese, will you defend me by saying I must not have had access to literature on moon rocks and general physics and cheese?!?

    But of course she could have had access. On the one side, there are libraries. Where I come from, the university libraries are public; for those where it’s allowed to borrow books, anybody can get a library card (I got one when I was 15), for those (this concerns journals in particular) where it’s not generally allowed to borrow anything, anyone can just walk in and make photocopies.

    On the other side, she could have written to authors and asked for reprints. Back in the day, authors got lots of free reprints (and sometimes even bought extra ones), so I don’t think they’d have refused out of scarcity.

    This sounds very impressive, but one should notice that he omits to actually cite any of these examples so that those of us who are sceptical of Moore’s motives are unable to go and check them out. We are supposed to just take his word for it. Already we see a certain double standard emerging. He can criticise AAH opponents for their shoddy methods, but he is above that same criticism himself.

    That’s a fair point. Unfortunately, it doesn’t say anything about the accuracy of the statements for which the unnamed AAH proponents didn’t cite sources.

    He ends his intro by defending his attacks on Elaine Morgan. He writes “I find it really annoying when good science is taken to task for not accepting a theory which is so full of holes and mistruths, and which is argued for so dishonestly.” He claims that he is no harder on Morgan than scientists are on each other and on their own work. But therein lies the point: Morgan is no scientist and has never claimed to be one. She is an interested commentator on human evolution.

    This just doesn’t make any sense.

    What Morgan has made is a scientific hypothesis on human evolution. It is scientific, because it is testable. This hypothesis is what aquaticape.org is about, not Morgan herself!

    Science is simply not about persons. Who came up with a hypothesis is simply not relevant.

    Second page:

    Firstly, the phase. Hardy did indeed hypothesise a distinct phase for this to have happenned. He wrote “The students of the fossil record have for so long been perturbed by the apparent sudden appearance of Man. Where are the fossils that linked the Hominoidae with their more ape-like ancestors? … The gap… Is it possible that the gap is due to the period when Man struggled and died in the sea?

    The gap… what gap? There was one in 1960. There isn’t now. There is no “sudden appearance of Man” anymore.

    And note that Hardy refers to a period “when Man”, not “Man’s ancestors” or something, “struggled and died in the sea”.

    Incidentally, “Hominoidae” must be someone’s mistake for Hominidae or Hominoidea. Please check which one Hardy used.

    have all espoused models of human evolution that may be broadly classed under the ‘aquatic’ umbrella, but which do not need or suggest any such distinct phase but rather a general trend towards greater aquaticism in the hominid line than the ape line.

    “The ape line”? There are four distinct ape lines, some closer to us than to other ape lines, and you know that full well.

    What you don’t seem to know is that, unfortunately, different scientists have used the term Hominidae in very different meanings. It’s only defined as “the family that contains Homo“, and “family” is not defined. You should clarify what you mean here.

    The final sentence, about convergent evolution, is fair in my opinion although I am a little nervous when I read phrases like ‘life in an aquatic environment’. Does he mean to suggest that the AAH is proposing our ancestors lived out at sea?

    Freshwater is “an aquatic environment”, too.

    Max Westenhöffer, a German scientist, was thinking along similar lines independently when he published his book ‘Der Eigenweg des Menschen” (“The path to Man”) in 1942

    I’m baffled. Please take it from a native speaker of German: “Der Eigenweg des Menschen” means… well, a really painfully literal translation would be “the own-path the’s human’s”; it means “Man’s own path”, “Man’s particular/special/unique path”. There is no “to” in it, and “Eigenweg” isn’t simply a synonym of “Weg”; “the path to Man” would be “der Weg zum Menschen”.

    Page numbers are still not used for the citations I found, however.

    Uh, that’s normal. Many scientific journals specifically state in their instructions to authors that page numbers should only be provided for direct quotations or when different pages of a work contradict each other.

    About that other proponent, Moore writes “Although Verhaegen’s articles do have references, they also contain statements such as claiming that rhinoceros are “predominately aquatic”, and several other howlers. [I think this is where the closing quotation mark goes.] So, in one sentence the whole or Marc Verhaegen’s work is dismissed. I do not think that this sets a very high scholarly standard from which to throw stones at the AAT greenhouse.

    Well, do Verhaegen’s articles claim that rhinos are predominantly aquatic? Because if they do, that… really lowers my expectations for what else they say.

    He concludes this section by writing: “P.S. One thing I found from posting on this subject in sci.anthropology.paleo is that Elaine Morgan
    A) doesn’t like it when you imply she is the primary proponent of this theory (she is certainly the best known and widest read); and
    B) doesn’t like it when you mention any claims made by AAT proponents other than her.” No reference is given for this statement either

    sci.anthropology.paleo is a reference. It’s not a very precise reference, and I would have given more precise references than this, but its archives are public and searchable; you can’t reasonably claim you can’t find what he’s talking about, only that it’s a bit of work.

    You do almost exactly the same with your reference to Keeter (2002).

    The AAH is based on questions like this. Humans are naked and fat, apes aren’t. Why should that be the case?

    We’re not naked, our hair is denser and shorter over most of the body than that of other apes; are we fatter than the average male orang-utan, for example?

    Practically every documentary ever made about human evolution and every artists impression ever drawn of early hominids depict a cave man stepping out onto open grasslands with a spear in hand. And yet, not only does Moore have the nerve to claim the AAH argument relies on this as a kind of straw man when it is clearly not a straw man argument at all

    For much of the 20th century, it wasn’t, as your quote from Potts (1998) in the preceding sentence says. It is now, however.

    Another claim made by Moore is that “AAT theorists have also gone for that classic technique among marginal theories, the shifting target. Specifically, the “aquatic apes” have become less and less aquatic over the years, from being fully acclimated to sea life, diving, etc., to seashore-dwelling waders, to denizens of the shores of streams and inland lakes.” Moore could substantially increase the persuasiveness of this argument if he had a few quotes to back it up from Morgan’s work, which spans twenty-five years, but instead, all we get is a couple quotes from scraping the sci.paleo.anthropology newsgroup barrel.

    1) Barrel or not, Usenet is where most AAH proponents live. There is way more discussion of it there than in print.

    2) You propose that our ancestors were “denizens of the shores of streams and inland lakes”. Are you the bottom of some barrel or other?

    Third page:

    Rhinos. Please. Aphelops and Teleoceras weren’t ancestors of extant rhinos, and the evidence for a hippo-like lifestyle has turned out to be much weaker than used to be thought – 1998 was 15 years ago.

    In the reference, you forgot the italics, dropped a letter from Teleoceras, and… the author always publishes as “MacFadden”, not “McFadden”. Too bad there’s no complete list of publications here.

    Should I go on to the fourth page if (that’s a big if) I find the time for that?

  11. 511
    David Marjanović

    Too bad about the blockquote fail.

    (and 2 for sex, of course)

    Because one hectocotylus (and that on just the males) isn’t enough anymore? :-)

  12. 512
    Amphiox

    Because one hectocotylus (and that on just the males) isn’t enough anymore? :-)

    Hey, if you’re going to be forced to evolve through 300 million years of a post-anthropocene apocalyptic wasteland, I think you’re entitled to getting a second sex appendage!

  13. 513
    ChasCPeterson

    So, I was wrong, was I? You back him to, do you?

    You were wrong, yes. When I said “I’m done with this guy” I was refering to you.
    Do I “back” Moore?
    It’s not a football match.

    Have you read his web site,

    Some of it; not all.

    or is this just a touchy-feely thing? PZ likes him, so you feel you should too?

    lol.
    “touchy-feely”? no.
    (not that there’s anything wrong with that)

  14. 514
    algiskuliukas

    Re 531

    So you’ve read some of it? A convenient dodge. Have you ever considered that someone might have written a counter critique? Did you read ANY of it with a critical eye or were you just looking for dirt and gossip to confirm your biases?

    Where is the open minded intellectual courage in this debate? Non existent. Appalling.

    Algis Kuliukas

  15. 515
    ChasCPeterson

    dude, you have zero perspective left on this.
    A “convenient dodge”?
    Fuck you.

  16. 516
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Where is the open minded intellectual courage in this debate? Non existent. Appalling.

    Why aren’t you open minded and have the intellectual courage to admit you are wrong? That is what crank/loons do. They question other people, but not themselves. They are wrong, and can’t/won’t admit it.

    You are a crank/loon if……

    You think everybody must agree with you before you move on

    You think a large volume of your opinion is better than one solid piece of evidence

    You think you are right until refuted, and will never allow yourself to be refuted

    You forget you must sell your idea through evidence, not through attitude and handwaving

    You forget the burden of evidence is upon you, and you must provide the evidence that convinces those you are trying convince

    15/15 for being a crank/loon. Perfect score AK. And you wonder why nobody believes a word you say?

  17. 517
    Lofty

    algiskuliukas:

    Re 531

    Since that post hasn’t even been written yet it just shows your lack of scientific rigour.

  18. 518
    algiskuliukas

    Re 515

    Look chas, I understand that you REALLY don’t like this idea, but please stop the nasty, childish hostility for a minute and try to engage, instead, on an intellectual level.

    I am trying to get someone here to justify their support of the travesty which is Jim Moore’s web site. I can think of no other area of science where students might be referred to an ex-car mechanic’s web site, where he gets to write whatever he likes with impunity, as the “definitive web resource” rather than, say, the peer reviewed literature to see why some idea was wrong.

    I’d like PZ Myers to do so, ideally, since his name is at the top of the blog, but as he keeps evading me (or calling me childish names) and as you’re supposed to be able to “whip his ass” in terms of physiology, it looks like you’ll have to do. After all, you did correct me when I thought you’d distanced yourself from him, and you did said you’d actually read some of it (you didn’t say which bits) and you clearly still did not react with the sort of critical disdain any academic would have for a 1st year essay written in that way, so excuse me for being curious.

    His web site is one HUGE misrepresentation of facts, arguments, ideas and people’s work. It is little more than a sleazy attempted character assassination of Elaine Morgan and anyone who values her contribution.

    My critique catalogues scores of examples of this. I don’t suppose you have even considered wondering if such a critique exists, let alone read any of it.

    http://www.riverapes.com/AAH/Arguments/JimMoore/JMHome.htm

    Can’t you see, your pretence of academic rigor starts to look very shabby in this light.

    What are you afraid of? If this idea is so bad, why do authorities have to hide behind the biased gossip of a layman with a chip on his shoulders who distorts everything about it? Why not take it on directly on its own merits.

    This must represent the most monumental example of intellectual cowardice in recent scientific history. A scandal of Piltdown proportions.

    Algis Kuliukas

  19. 519
    ChasCPeterson

    your pretence of academic rigor starts to look very shabby in this light.

    I’m not pretending anything. This is a (stupid) discussion in the comment section of a blog. That’s not about academic rigor. This is not a place where science is done. You keep pointing to your website that critiques Moore’s website that critiques Morgan’s popular books as well as more contemporary proponents (inc. you). That’s not how science is done either.
    Yeah, I’ve read parts of Moore’s website (simple truth, no dodge), the parts that interest me most, i.e. the physioogy stuff. I’ve also read the corresponding parts of your website.
    If either one was sent to me for pre-publication academic peer review I’d have plenty of comments and criticisms, both major and minor. But I’ll tell you: to a more-or-less disinterested observer, his site, though far from perfect, looks much more scientific than yours. It looks better researched, better argued, better referenced, and much less cranky and hobbyhorsey than yours. Yours basically amounts to a giant helping of special pleading for your beloved hypothesis.
    And That. Ain’t. Science.

    Sorry, man. Just calling it like I see it.

  20. 520
    Amphiox

    Algis should spend less time “critiquing” websites and more time looking for new fossils.

    The existing fossil evidence suggests a time frame that makes his whole contention impossible. Without NEW fossil evidence to show that the time frame inferred from the existing fossils is incorrect or incomplete, his idea is dead in the water.

    Without NEW fossil evidence, everything he has done or said is a waste of time and space.

  21. 521
    algiskuliukas

    Re 519

    But I’ll tell you: to a more-or-less disinterested observer, his site, though far from perfect, looks much more scientific than yours. It looks better researched, better argued, better referenced, and much less cranky and hobbyhorsey than yours. Yours basically amounts to a giant helping of special pleading for your beloved hypothesis.

    I’m calling your bluff on that. I simply do not believe you have read enough of both with a critical eye. More likely, you had formed the usual ignorant (and biased – hence “special pleading for your beloved hypothesis”) opinion on your first (ill-informed) impression of the idea and then sought to confirm your biases with something. As there is precious little in the literature, what else other than Jim Moore’s famous web site to get to the bottom of it all, right?

    It’s just rubbish.

    Take, for example, his “Can AAT/Her Research Be Trusted Page?”

    http://www.aquaticape.org/quotes.html

    It is an appalling example of deleberately cherry picking tiny micro-quotes out of context to peddle lie slurs.

    LESS cranky and hobehorsey!? You clearly haven’t read either!

    His No 1 is a missing ellipsis for heaven’s sake – one that might have been made in error by her typesetter. It didn’t change the context one bit anyway. The other 3 barrel scrapings (from over 40 years of Elaine’s work) are no worse. One of them is from a newsgroup posting for Christ sake.

    This, you say, is just “far from perfect” – WHAT? It’s a sleazy lie fest. On one of his “big four” shock-horror revelations (the Denton one) it’s Moore whose twisting words, not Elaine. The other two are relatively minor single word errrors that do not change much.

    My corresponding page is, in complete contrast, balanced and fair. Like every page in my critique, it encourages the reader to go to the corresponding page on his site and read it for themselves, whereas Jim has just one, tiny, reference to the fact that I have a critique on his.

    http://www.riverapes.com/AAH/Arguments/JimMoore/Quotes.htm

    Ditto all the other pages.

    I challenge any objective academic person to read any page on Jim’s web site and compare it with my corresponding one and they’ll come to the same conclusion – every time.

    Shame on you for adding further to anthro-lie-guy’s already unbounded confidence with this uncritical acclaim.

    Algis Kuliukas

  22. 522
    algiskuliukas

    Hold on…

    better researched

    … you’re having a laugh, aren’t you?

    He criticises Elaine for not citing her refs with page nos and then does worse himself.

    Almost all of his slurs are in the form “aquatic ape proponents usually say x about y” but rarely does he give specific examples. The reason he doesn’t, I suspect, is because whenever you find such an example, you can see (unless you are so biased you do not want to) that he is cherry picking a few words out of context and placing them in another context, deliberately to distort what was being said.

    The whole thing is an exercise in distortion.

    How much of his web site did you read, Chas? How much of my critique?

    Demonstrate that you have read even one of his web pages and my critique of it, and have compared them critically.

    I simply can’t believe someone in academia could come to the conclusions you have without either being extremely biased or simply by only giving them very perfunctory glance.

    Algis Kuliukas

  23. 523
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    You are a crank/loon if……

    You forget your opinion of your evidence will not be the opinion of those you are trying to convince

    You forget they must make up their minds for themselves, you can’t do that for them

    You forget citations to the scientific literature are evidence and are only refuted by more scientific evidence.

    You forget your opinion is negated by their opinion

    You haven’t sold your idea is three days, it means you need to go for the hard sell

    Now 20/20 on the crank/loon scale.

  24. 524
    David Marjanović

    I am trying to get someone here to justify their support of the travesty which is Jim Moore’s web site. I can think of no other area of science where students might be referred to an ex-car mechanic’s web site, where he gets to write whatever he likes with impunity, as the “definitive web resource”

    Ooh.

    Somebody appears not to have read comment 512!

    rather than, say, the peer reviewed literature to see why some idea was wrong.

    I explained several times on the previous page why it’s hard to get a manuscript on that topic into the peer-reviewed literature. You are too what to have read that? Scared?

    This must represent the most monumental example of intellectual cowardice in recent scientific history. A scandal of Piltdown proportions.

    :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D

    My corresponding page is, in complete contrast, balanced and fair.

    But reality isn’t.

    The truth does not lie in the middle.

    I challenge any objective academic person to read any page on Jim’s web site and compare it with my corresponding one and they’ll come to the same conclusion – every time.

    So far, I’m coming to Chas’s conclusion.

    Moore: doesn’t cite enough.
    Kuliukas: doesn’t cite enough; doesn’t understand what science is, thinking it’s a popularity contest of people; doesn’t understand evolution to the point that he can’t tell the difference between mother and sister; doesn’t know that gibbons are bipedal and has, because he doesn’t understand evolution, no clue why it matters; doesn’t keep up with relevant new discoveries and doesn’t even know why he needs to; ad nauseam.

    Almost all of his slurs are in the form “aquatic ape proponents usually say x about y” but rarely does he give specific examples.

    That’s because it’s common knowledge, at least on Usenet.

    Yes, he should provide specific examples with citations anyway. But for you to make a gigantic tu quoque argument about it is just hilarious!

    I simply can’t believe someone in academia could come to the conclusions you have without either being extremely biased or simply by only giving them very perfunctory glance.

    That’s because you’re a narcissist and have no clue.

    …as has been demonstrated over half a page of comments in this thread.

  25. 525
    algiskuliukas

    Re 524

    Ok, David, I’ll bite.

    Lets get back to basics here. Seriously, man, what’s your problem? Why all the hostility?

    Try to be honest and open minded for a moment and tell me why tthe idea that there could have been a differential between the degree of selection from wading, swimming and diving in the lineage leading to humans as compared to that leading to chimps is so crazy and problematic to you.

    Algis Kuliukas

  26. 526
    anteprepro

    Seriously, man, what’s your problem? Why all the hostility?

    Tears of a clown.

    Try to be honest and open minded for a moment…

    A passive aggressive clown.

  27. 527
    Amphiox

    Try to be honest and open minded for a moment and tell me why tthe idea that there could have been a differential between the degree of selection from wading, swimming and diving in the lineage leading to humans as compared to that leading to chimps is so crazy and problematic to you.

    BECAUSE THE EXISTING FOSSIL RECORD ALREADY SHOWS THAT THIS IS NOT SO.

  28. 528
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Now, AK has been shown to be a crank/loon by scoring 20/20 on a series of defining statements.

    No, what if he was a scientist:

    You are a scientist if….

    You publish in the peer reviewed literature first, and often

    You only try for the public after you begin to achieve a consensus you are right

    You avoid blogs and forums unless specifically asked to post or only pass through with ten or less posts to clarify a discussion

    You respond to scientific refutation by either citing the literature, or by doing and publishing original research to solve the question

    You always acknowledge you could be wrong, and are upfront about what would refute your ideas

    Gee, here he runs 0/5. Not a scientist at all. Nothing but a crank/loon.

  29. 529
    algiskuliukas

    Re 527 – No it doesn’t. Almost every fossil hominin ever found is from a depositional substrate near permanent water courses. Thousands of hominins have been found in such places but only 1(?) chimp.

    That the fossil evidence is AGAINST waterside hypotheses is one of the biggest myths in science. Quite the contrary.

    Anyone who peddles it is simply ignorant.

    Algis Kuliukas

  30. 530
    Michael Clark

    M o r o t o p i t h e c u s…

    There, say it slowly now. OK, now wipe your chin.

    Now say ~ A a r o n F i l l e r… Good boy!

  31. 531
    David Marjanović

    Don’t overestimate Morotopithecus. Look it up in Wikipedia, keeping in mind that they misuse “more derived” for “closer to us” (I’ll fix that later).

    Lets get back to basics here. Seriously, man, what’s your problem? Why all the hostility?

    Easy: 1) you plainy refuse to read at least half of what I write, and continue writing as if my comments didn’t exist; that looks intellectually dishonest. Are you, like, afraid of reading them? 2) So many times we’ve explained the same things to you, and you just don’t listen. You ignore all the evidence we present. That’s just exasperating.

    Try to be honest and open minded for a moment and tell me why tthe idea that there could have been a differential between the degree of selection from wading, swimming and diving in the lineage leading to humans as compared to that leading to chimps is so crazy and problematic to you.

    Of course there could have been. But there clearly wasn’t. The fossil record doesn’t fit it at all (see below), and there’s a much more parsimonious explanation for why we’re bipedal, for the umpteenth time.

    You only try for the public after you begin to achieve a consensus you are right

    What? No. Absolutely not. As soon as you think you have something publishable, in the sense of being new and sound, you submit it. If the reviewers agree it’s new and sound and the editor doesn’t reject it for not being groundbreaking enough, it gets published, and then a controversy can happen in the peer-reviewed literature. I’m currently participating in one that has been going on since long before peer review was invented.

    You avoid blogs and forums unless specifically asked to post or only pass through with ten or less posts to clarify a discussion

    Seriously, I don’t understand what you’re talking about.

    No it doesn’t. Almost every fossil hominin ever found is from a depositional substrate near permanent water courses. Thousands of hominins have been found in such places but only 1(?) chimp.

    How many more times do we need to explain utterly basic taphonomy to you? This is first-year stuff at universities.

    First, permanent water courses are almost the only places where sediments are deposited on land. Almost all the rest is where erosion happens instead. Almost all fossils of terrestrial organisms come from sediments laid down by rivers or lakes.

    Second, the reason why humans are so much more common in the fossil record than chimps is that rainforests are very bad places for preservation. Their soil is acidic enough to dissolve bone. I’m really surprised that you don’t know this utterly basic fact. Not just chimpanzees, but all rainforest animals are very rare in the fossil record.

  32. 532
    algiskuliukas

    Re 531 I’m sorry, David, but whenever I enter a discussion like this I get rounded upon by a dozen or so anonymous know-it-alls who all seem to be full of the same ignorant prejudices against the dreaded ‘a’ factor but devoid of any alternative.

    I tend to look for the most articulate and least rude and discuss exclusively with them.

    I apologies if you have been trying to engage in a serious discussion and not just name call but I seem to have started associating your posts with the later approach, not the former.

    Ok. So you have my attention.

    I know about Morotopithecus. I read Fillers book within months of it coming out. So what if bipedalism evolved earlier than we thought (something Marc Verhaegen was arguing for long before it suddenly became fashionable recently). All it does is push the question “how did bipedality begin in the first place?” Back a little further and replace the question “why did only one great ape become bipedal?” With “why did only one stay bipedal and become obligate terrestrial bipeds?” Wading, or the lack of wading, still helps explain these problems.

    Clearly, vertical climbing was also a major factor, but how on earth do you describe as “parsimonious” the fact that those great apes that stopped being vertical climbers were the ones that became obligate bipeds, whereas the ones that continued doing so, became quadrupeds? It makes no sense at all. Wading helps.

    I am not ignoring any evidence, unlike aquaskeptics who I’ve been arguing with for years.

    there clearly wasn’t

    My word. There’s confidence for you! How do you come to that conclusion? Where’s the science that even considered the idea, let alone rejected it?

    more parsimonious explanation

    Really? Odd how such parsimony has never been noted in 150 years. Where’s the paper in the literature that discarded this one idea and rejected tHe other 30+? I must have missed it?

    The next two points were not mine. You seem to have mangled them up somehow.

    Yes, yes… The taphonomy argument this time. Next time it’ll be the “we haven’t been looking for chimp fossils” argument. I’ve heard them both a hundred times. You are clutching at straws. Much more parsimonious is simply that our ancestors lived by the waters edge more than chimp ancestors.

    At the very least, to argue that the fossil evidence is AGAINST waterside ideas is a travesty.

    Algis Kuliukas

  33. 533
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    At the very least, to argue that the fossil evidence is AGAINST waterside ideas is a travesty.

    No, it it the truth. YOU HAVE NO EVIDENCE FOR YOUR CLAIMS. ERGO, YOUR IDEA IS DEAD.

  34. 534
    algiskuliukas

    Re 532. Should have written “promoted” that idea, not “discarded”.

  35. 535
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Still nothing of evidence. And AK’s opinions aren’t evidence. They are egotistical blather.

  36. 536
    David Marjanović

    Re 531 I’m sorry, David, but whenever I enter a discussion like this I get rounded upon by a dozen or so anonymous know-it-alls who all seem to be full of the same ignorant prejudices against the dreaded ‘a’ factor but devoid of any alternative.

    Well, I’m not anonymous. Go ahead, find my peer-reviewed publications in Google Scholar if you don’t believe me.

    I tend to look for the most articulate and least rude and discuss exclusively with them.

    Unscientific. :-|

    That somebody is rude or inarticulate doesn’t mean they’re wrong; that would be yet another argumentum ad hominem.

    All it does is push the question “how did bipedality begin in the first place?” Back a little further

    The gibbons did that much earlier. Morotopithecus is at least as close to us as the gibbons are.

    “why did only one stay bipedal and become obligate terrestrial bipeds?” Wading, or the lack of wading, still helps explain these problems.

    It’s completely unnecessary, though. Gorillas and chimps don’t walk long distances in open terrain. We do.

    how on earth do you describe as “parsimonious” the fact that those great apes that stopped being vertical climbers were the ones that became obligate bipeds, whereas the ones that continued doing so, became quadrupeds?

    Because chimps and especially gorillas don’t brachiate much anymore. They actually spend a lot of time sitting around on the ground, and while they do climb and sleep in nests, they don’t brachiate anywhere near as much as gibbons. That must be part of the reason why their arms aren’t that long. A gibbon has no trouble touching the ground with its hands while standing upright; they actually hold their arms above the head when walking.

    Where’s the science that even considered the idea, let alone rejected it?

    A paper doesn’t need to mention an idea in order to be able to present facts that contradict it!

    Why is this not obvious to you? :-D

    Really? Odd how such parsimony has never been noted in 150 years.

    What?

    Oh, did you believe I came up with the hypothesis that our bipedality is homologous to that of the gibbons? I didn’t. I got it from some semi-popular work or other maybe 10 to 15 years ago, so I don’t remember which one, but there must be primary literature about it…

    …and finding it is your job. Before publishing a hypothesis, you must try to disprove it.

    The next two points were not mine. You seem to have mangled them up somehow.

    :-D

    See, this shows your mindset really well.

    I wasn’t replying to you, I was replying to the points that had been made since my last comment. All of them, in chronological order (except the first).

    For the umpteenth time: science is not about persons.

    Yes, yes… The taphonomy argument this time. Next time it’ll be the “we haven’t been looking for chimp fossils” argument.

    What? “We haven’t been looking” is silly. Looking for one, you couldn’t help find the other, too. They’re almost the same sizes and shapes, FFS.

    I’ve heard them both a hundred times.

    From what kinds of people? Those that knew any taphonomy?

    You are clutching at straws.

    LOL! Projection.

    Much more parsimonious

    Show me. Count the steps.

    At the very least, to argue that the fossil evidence is AGAINST waterside ideas is a travesty.

    Nope, not even that. The fossil record shows increasing adaptations to long-distance walking and decreasing adaptations to climbing as you get closer to us; nowhere are there adaptations to wading*, swimming, or a diet of aquatic organisms.

    * Long toes (as found in wading birds) are good for wading, as well as for climbing. Ours are short, which is good for plantigrade walking but not much else.

  37. 537
    ChasCPeterson

    Demonstrate that you have read even one of his web pages and my critique of it, and have compared them critically.

    Now you’re giving me orders?
    Turnabout is fair play, so here’s one for you in return: Bite me.

    [ooh, why the hostility? You've earned it, having called me childish and ignorant several times now. You're not interested in discussing biology or ideas, just in flogging grudges and complaining about unfair treatment on the internet. Waaaaah!]

  38. 538
    Amphiox

    For the umpteenth time: science is not about persons.

    Thin skin, fat ego. Algis to a T.

    I suppose the second could be constistent with an AAH. Flotation aid and all that.

  39. 539
    Amphiox

    No it doesn’t. Almost every fossil hominin ever found is from a depositional substrate near permanent water courses. Thousands of hominins have been found in such places but only 1(?) chimp.

    Still peddling this pathetic and intellectually dishonest argument, even after it has already been refuted multiple times here by experts in taphonomy? The more you dismiss the taphonomy argument the more of an ignorant idiot you prove yourself to be. No LEGITIMATE evolutionary hypothesis ignores taphonomy. NONE.

    No one. NO ONE, makes the claim that any vertebrate lived in water solely because the fossils are found in “depositional substrate near permanent water courses” to an audience of trained paleontologists without expecting to be laughed out of the room.

    It is the ANATOMICAL FEATURES of those fossils, and the AGE of those fossils are found that provide the evidence that already falsifies your version of the AAH.

    The ANATOMICAL FEATURES show adaptions of climbing and terrestrial locomotion, but no adaptions for aquatic living. All you’re left with are features that could be from wading but could equally be from walking on tree limbs or the ground. Arguing that those features arose from wading, rather than walking on tree limbs or the ground is the very DEFINITION of unparsimonious (not to mention unfalsifiable), making the whole conjecture utterly unscientific.

    The AGE of the fossils show that all the adaptions purported to be the result of semi-aquatic habitat all arose at VASTLY DIFFERENT TIMES, making it IMPOSSIBLE for them all to be the result of a single period of selection pressure, no matter what you speculate that selection pressure to be.

    The version of the AAH which you have been arguing for on this page is completely falsified by the existing fossil record.

    Live with that reality and change your hypothesis, or live in delusion and waste everyone’s time. The choice is yours.

  40. 540
    Owlmirror

    Yes, yes… The taphonomy argument this time.

    This dismissal of taphonomy strikes me as being perversely and grossly unprofessional. Someone making a palaeontological argument should show more of an understanding of taphonomy and a willingness to engage with a taphnomical argument, instead of this vague contempt.

    It’s pretty easy to be dismissive: Oh, the wading argument again. And I suppose next you’ll be bringing up communities of modern humans living near the water, as if that had anything to do with aquatic adaptions.

    ====

    Long toes (as found in wading birds) are good for wading, as well as for climbing. Ours are short, which is good for plantigrade walking but not much else.

    That reminds me: Shouldn’t we expect a putative aquatic adaption to be a much higher incidence of webbed digits than we see as mutations and variations in modern humans?

  41. 541
    Amphiox

    All it does is push the question “how did bipedality begin in the first place?” Back a little further

    It pushes it back to a date that is completely inconsistent with your version of the AAH, as you have argued it here on this blog.

    It pushes it back to a time when the in question primates were exclusively arboreal, making a wading conjecture even more unparsimonious.

    It pushes it back to a time when the discrepancy between it and the times which all the other adaptions the AAH tries to argue for arose is even more stark.

  42. 542
    David Marjanović

    A basalt bed overlying Morotopithecus has been dated to 20.6 Ma ago. Not 10 or so like Oreopithecus – 20.

    Shouldn’t we expect a putative aquatic adaption to be a much higher incidence of webbed digits than we see as mutations and variations in modern humans?

    Webbing would be an adaptation to swimming. I’m not sure about wading. I guess wading would help distribute the weight on muddy ground, but might be too easily injured depending what else is lying around there.

  43. 543
    Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao

    I’m not even a scientist and I know that fossils are almost always found in places where they can be preserved…

  44. 544
    Amphiox

    A basalt bed overlying Morotopithecus has been dated to 20.6 Ma ago. Not 10 or so like Oreopithecus – 20.

    Just you wait David. The next walkback by the AAH crowd will be not that semi-aquatic living was the cause of bipedality anymore, but that bipedality in the ancestral clade preadapted them for semi-aquatic living…..

  45. 545
    Menyambal

    I just came up with a new hypothesis for the origin of bipedality, and am prepared to defend it against imaginary oppressors and to roam the internet ranting psychotically.

    I call it the Sideways Slow Sidle Sneak Hypothesis.

    See, long ago proto-humans out on the savanna sometimes stood upright to spot danger. The other animals who saw them do that always looked toward where the danger was, or assumed they were standing guard, or just didn’t know what the hell proto-humans were. The protos started stepping sideways toward the other animals, slowly and sneakily, and then jumping on them, and later, with tools, clonking them on the head.

    The more upright they stood the better it worked, so an upright posture became standard. It worked better in midday, so head hair grew as a sunshade, body hair thinned out for coolness and to look less predatory. The last few feet were accomplished as a bipedal run, so as to not lose the advantage of being above the prey, and led to bipedality.

    If you don’t believe me, notice that humans walk sideways better than any other mammal. Plus we have hand preferences, which came from hiding the clubs. See? Proof!

    All you haters can beg my forgiveness when you bring me my Nobel Prize.

    Until then, SSSSH!

  46. 546
    Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao

    @Menyambal:

    Ah, but do humans walk sideways better than Dr. Zoidberg?!

    I think not!

  47. 547
    David Marjanović

    Just you wait David. The next walkback by the AAH crowd will be not that semi-aquatic living was the cause of bipedality anymore, but that bipedality in the ancestral clade preadapted them for semi-aquatic living…..

    *giggle*

  48. 548
    anthrosciguy

    What I don’t understand is the .org part: how is this an organization?

    .com was taken and has been parked for some years. There are a number of non-AAT types using the term “aquatic ape” as a catchy phrase, and apparently someone thought it might have value sometime. .org is for me the most apropos domain (at that time anyway) as it’s not just for organizations, as it was originally envisioned, but was used as a catch all for things that didn’t fit in commercial, military, and educational institutions.

  49. 549
    David Marjanović

    Why not .net, then?

    (Of course .info would have been best, but it didn’t exist yet.)

  50. 550
    algiskuliukas

    Re 540 I think some might call this a “PR” version.

    The reality is Anthro-lie-guy couldn’t believe his luck that he could buy the domain that gave him most credibility to peddle his lies and slurs and gossip.

    The incredible thing is PZ Myers, and a few others, swallowed it, hook, line and sinker.

    Algis Kuliukas

  51. 551
    David Marjanović

    Oh, look at that. algiskuliukas ignoring every point everyone makes, and instead talking about the URL again.

  52. 552
    algiskuliukas

    Re 536

    Morotopithecus is at least as close to us as the gibbons are

    On what basis do you say that? Even if it is true, so what? The great apes are even closer and out of that clade we are the only one that is bipedal. You are clutching at straws.

    In any case, this is no answer to my point… “All it does is push the question ‘how did bipedality begin in the first place?’” back a little further.

    What are you on about?

    Gorillas and chimps don’t walk long distances in open terrain. We do.

    An anthropocentric argument if ever there was one. So what evidence is there that hominins, post the split between Hylobates and Pongo, walked “long distances”?

    Why did they do that long distance walking thing ANYWAY? Bipedalism evolved long before forests opened up. It’s just another just-so story.

    Because chimps and especially gorillas don’t brachiate much anymore

    But neither do we, and yet we became ologate bipeds, whereas the species that continue the vertical climbing didn’t. And you call this “parsimonious”?

    Bull Shit.

    A paper doesn’t need to mention an idea in order to be able to present facts that contradict it

    Ok, so name one tiny bit of evidence, in any paper published in the lietraure, that contradicts the wading hypothesis.

    Do you even know what the wading hypothesis is?

    …I don’t remember which one, but there must be primary literature about it… and finding it is your job

    Gasp!!

    In other words you are not even sure of the scientific literature on which you amazingly confident opinions are based. Typical.

    Aquaskeptics are usually clueless about how or why humans are so different from chimps but they are always mysteriously damned certain that whatever it was, it could not have had anything to do with moving through water.

    David, I’m calling your bluff: You don’t know what you’re talking about, do you? You pretend to be some kind of expert, but really, it;s just the usual ignorant sneer-pressure based tribalism.

    ……this shows your mindset really well…

    So because I took your post to be directed at me, it’s my fault that, embedded in that post – without any clue that you were doing so – you decided to also have a go at someone else too?

    Bull shit.

    “We haven’t been looking” is silly

    I agree but it is an argument some aquaskeptics like you have used in that same slot. At the end of the day the argument doesn’t matter, does it. You know Hardy was wrong. All else follows. No need for science when you have a gang of people all sneering to the same song sheet.

    Count the steps

    Ok.

    Taphonomy argument for why thousands of hominin ancestors found in depostional substrates but only one chimp.

    1. Waterside habitats are best for fossilisation

    2. Tropical Forests (and let’s pretend that chimps and their ancestors have always lived there) habitats are bad for fossiliation

    Two steps needed.

    Waterside life argument for why thousands of hominin ancestors found in depostional substrates but only one chimp.

    1. Waterside habitats are best for fossilisation

    One step needed.

    One step is less than two steps, hence MORE PARSIMONIOUS.

    Easy.

    I predict, like all pseudoskeptics, you’ll change the rules now, rather than concede you were wrong. Or, like John Langdon, you’ll attempt to redefine the term “parsimony” to fit your biased conviction.

    The fossil record shows …

    Long distance walking, where? The best place for efficient long distance walking to evolve is on the very substrates where it actually is efficient to do so. Flat, firm, vegetation-free substrates are found in the natural world (before pavements, carpets and lawns) on the very edge of the water on dried out river beds and the shore line.

    Wading came early. Please try to understand the argument.

    Swimming and diving will not have left much in the skeletal remains of hominin fossils but we clearly see a huge difference, consistent with that, in extant forms of Homo and Pan/Gorilla.

    Your long toes point is facile. The idea is that bipedalism came early as an adaptation to wading-climbing not wading exclusivelty.

    David, I’m just not very impressed.

    Algis Kuliukas

  53. 553
    algiskuliukas

    537: Not very impressed Chas.

    You SAY you’ve read both anthro”sci”guy’s web site (well, some of it – and you’re not saying which bits) and you SAY you’ve read some of my critique (but are not saying anything more about that) and on that basis you make some pretty damning slurs against my work – as you say Jim’s shite is better – but refuse to elaborate.

    I am calling your bluff. I bet you haven’t read ANY of it.

    Maybe you’ll read some NOW and post something quickly to try to prove you haven’t been telling fibs but I am just bored. I’ve seen this so many times before: Arrogant, self-righteous know-it-all, having heard coffee room gossip and sneering about the aquatic ape, gets all angry and self-righteous about it. Critical thinking is switched off – so no need to find out what is really being argued – and he/she goes looking for stuff to confirm their bias.

    When faced with inquisitive students whose only fault it to wonder why humans are so different from chimps and realise that there’s fuck all in the mainstream view that really answers that, instead of pointing to John Langdon’s unscholarly straw man paper, they point them to (wait for it…) Jim Moore’s (the unqualified ex car mechanic) shitty web site.

    Brilliant science, this!

    Chas, you’re not being as rigorous on this as you pretend to be.

    Algis Kuliukas

  54. 554
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Not very impressed Chas.

    Not at all impressed by such a dismissive response AK. Still haven’t presented the conclusive, much less anything other than barely suggestive, evidence ofr you idea. Much less, evidence to refute real experts. Very unscientific of you. Typical though, of cranks/loons. Long on attitude, short on links to true evidence.

    Score: Crank/loon, 20/20, scientific, 0/5. Nothing has changed nor will change until you fade into the bandwidth, and quit trying to bully us. Very unprofessional behavior on your part.

  55. 555
  56. 556
    algiskuliukas

    Re 540

    The taphonomy argument is not being dismissed per se. It’s just the selective use of it to perversely argue that it is AGAINST waterside hypotheses.

    Thousands of fossils attributed to Homo ancestors found in depositional substrates – 1 (?) chimp. And THIS is somehow supposed to be evidence AGAINST the idea humans lived in waterside habitats?

    How does that work?

    It’s rubbish, it really is. Some anthropologists, at least (e.g. Nina Jablonski) seem to have got this but many still peddle the old myth from the days when people sneered at Hardy’s ideas.

    The response really is lacking in any intellectual courage.

    Algis Kuliukas

  57. 557
    algiskuliukas

    Re 543 Yes, so why have thousands of fossils of human ancestors been found in such places, but only 1 chimp?

    Let me offer a guess: Hey, I know it’s as crazy as space apes and the entrire universe being created in six days just for us, but here’s a thought – maybe, just maybe, our ancestors lived closer to the water’s edge than chimps.

    Sorry.

    I know. I’ve stepped over the line there. The yellow van will be coming round soon.

    Von Daniken, Big Foot, ID, homeopathy proponents all look like good guys compared to this, right?

    What’s WRONG with you people?

    PZ, no doubt, will start typing…

    “SPACE APE! SPACE APE! SPACE APE! SPACE APE! SPACE APE! SPACE APE! SPACE APE! SPACE APE! SPACE APE! SPACE APE! SPACE APE! SPACE APE! SPACE APE! SPACE APE!”

    Mockery is Good, right, PZ?

    Algis Kuliukas

  58. 558
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Yawn, still no evidence, as mocking and attitude by AK is nothing but crankdom/loonydom, and isn’t scientific. Until real and conclusive scientific evidence is presented that meets OUR STANDARDS, no minds will be changed. AK can rant and rave all he wants, it won’t change a thing.

  59. 559
    David Marjanović

    I apologize: you only picked on the URL before trying to address my points.

    Anyway: four new papers on what our ancestors ate 4.1 to 1 Ma ago. No room for seafood.

  60. 560
    algiskuliukas

    559 No probs.

  61. 561
    David Marjanović

    On what basis do you say that?

    Reference 4 of the Wikipedia article on Morotopithecus. Though, actually, this paper, which is 2 years younger, must be taken as superseding it; it finds the gibbons to be closer to us than to Morotopithecus. The second paper is cited by reference 5 of the Wikipedia article, which shows that Morotopithecus cannot be distinguished (based on the material known to date) from Afropithecus and should therefore be considered a junior synonym of Afropithecus.

    The great apes are even closer and out of that clade we are the only one that is bipedal.

    Out of that clade, we are the only one that walks bipedally at all times. Chimps (bonobos more so than regular ones) and gorillas sometimes walk bipedally, too, orang-utans walk bipedally at many of the few times they walk at all, and gibbons walk bipedally at all times when they walk at all. Cercopithecoids and New World monkeys, in contrast, never walk bipedally. It follows, parsimoniously, that 1) the ability to walk bipedally is homologous among all apes, having a single origin, and 2) this origin must have happened somewhere in the origin of apes, not the origin of great apes or later.

    What’s so hard to understand about this?

    In any case, this is no answer to my point… “All it does is push the question ‘how did bipedality begin in the first place?’” back a little further.

    You have failed to read comments 541 and 542.

    Why did they do that long distance walking thing ANYWAY? Bipedalism evolved long before forests opened up.

    Bipedality did; it did during the origin of apes, see below. Our ancestors continued to climb a lot till the forests opened up; then the long-distance walking started.

    Gorillas and chimps don’t walk long distances in open terrain. We do.

    An anthropocentric argument if ever there was one. So what evidence is there that hominins, post the split between Hylobates and Pongo, walked “long distances”?

    What?

    Ancestral state for apes, retained by gibbons: brachiation and bipedality.

    Orang-utans derived from the ancestral state: less brachiation, shorter arms, rare fist-walking combined with rare bipedality.

    Gorillas and chimps independently derived from the ancestral state: even less brachiation, less climbing overall, even shorter arms, frequent knuckle-walking (and some fist-walking in gorillas) combined with rare bipedality.

    Humans derived from the ancestral state: no climbing anymore, even shorter arms, long-distance walking which is easy bipedally, so no selection pressure to evolve knuckle- or fist-walking – bipedality is retained, and additional adaptations to it happen.

    Ok, so name one tiny bit of evidence, in any paper published in the lietraure, that contradicts the wading hypothesis.

    The lack of adaptations to wading in us and our ancestors: limb proportions very different from wading birds that fit walking better, large muscle attachment sites that fit walking better, evidence that we ate stuff quite different from either seafood or waterside vegetation (I should have made that explicit in my previous comment; sorry for confusing you with Marcel Williams)…

    Do I seriously need to go on?

    Gasp!!

    In other words you are not even sure of the scientific literature on which you amazingly confident opinions are based. Typical.

    Aquaskeptics are usually

    Find it.

    Or don’t find it, and evaluate what I’ve written above in this comment on its own merits. That works, too…

    David, I’m calling your bluff: You don’t know what you’re talking about, do you? You pretend to be some kind of expert, but really, it;s just the usual ignorant sneer-pressure based tribalism.

    I’ve never claimed to be a paleoanthropologist; I am, however, a vertebrate paleontologist. As I said, find my papers in Google Scholar.

    So because I took your post to be directed at me, it’s my fault that, embedded in that post – without any clue that you were doing so – you decided to also have a go at someone else too?

    Bull shit.

    What? Why on the planet would I begin a separate comment just because two different people happen to have said the stuff I respond to? What for?

    Again: I do not respond to people. I respond to claims.

    My comment was not directed at you. It was directed at what had been said since my previous comment. Most of that had been said by you – but that’s not relevant for how I respond to it. Why would it be?

    Seriously, if you can’t separate what is said from who said it, how can you ever do science? You’ll be distracted by arguments from authority or ad hominem all the fucking time!

    I agree but it is an argument some aquaskeptics like you have used in that same slot. At the end of the day the argument doesn’t matter, does it. You know Hardy was wrong. All else follows. No need for science when you have a gang of people all sneering to the same song sheet.

    That’s not a response.

    Sorry, I have to break off and run, it’s stupidly late over here. See you in about an hour.

  62. 562
    anthrosciguy

    Why not .net, then?

    Don’t remember the details on that. My choice seemed reasonable at the time.

    Oh yes, after reading the Wikipedia article on it, it said that “its originally intended purpose was for organizations involved in networking technologies, such as Internet service providers and other infrastructure companies.”

  63. 563
    Amphiox

    Yes, so why have thousands of fossils of human ancestors been found in such places, but only 1 chimp?

    Still perseverating over this piece of idiocy?

    It is an invalid argument. Period. End of story. You waste your breath. Drop it and find something more fruitful to spend your time on, like, say, looking for fossils of your own.

  64. 564
    Amphiox

    So because I took your post to be directed at me, it’s my fault that, embedded in that post – without any clue that you were doing so – you decided to also have a go at someone else too?

    Bull shit.

    The fat ego gets even fatter.

  65. 565
    Amphiox

    Anyway: four new papers on what our ancestors ate 4.1 to 1 Ma ago. No room for seafood.

    Four more pieces of FOSSIL evidence that essentially falsifies Algis’ version of the AAH.

  66. 566
    Amphiox

    Speaking of chimp fossils, IIRC, there was some debate a while back as to whether or not Ororrin was actually on the chimp side of the divide. And there was also some debate, from other quarters that Sahelanthropus was on the chimp side. (It seemed like the supporters of Ororrin were the ones suggesting Sahelanthropus was not on “our” side of the family tree, and vice versa).

    Wasn’t there even a fringish group arguing that Australopithecus was actually on the chimp side (with Paranthropus being ancestral to gorillas)?

    Plus there was the DNA evidence that suggested a several million year period of regular interbreeding between the human side and the chimp side of the divide right around the split circa 5-7 million years ago, which would put both Ororrin and Sahelanthropus right in the middle of that interbreeding cauldron.

    It seems to be an undeniable fact that the majority of human anthropologists, on finding a fragment of a fossil ape from somewhere in the 4-8 million year window, will be much more likely to end up putting their fossil on the human side of the divide.

    Perhaps Cornelius and Zira would have done things differently….

  67. 567
    David Marjanović

    Two hours, not one, sorry.

    At the end of the day the argument doesn’t matter, does it. You know Hardy was wrong. All else follows.

    The other way around: we conclude Hardy was wrong because what he proposed doesn’t fit the evidence.

    Taphonomy argument for why thousands of hominin ancestors found in depostional substrates but only one chimp.

    1. Waterside habitats are best for fossilisation

    2. Tropical Forests (and let’s pretend that chimps and their ancestors have always lived there) habitats are bad for fossiliation

    Two steps needed.

    1. That doesn’t even count. It’s not something new that this hypothesis requires; it’s utterly basic taphonomy. It’s not only true of humans and chimps.

    2. That, too, doesn’t even count. It, too, is not something new that this hypothesis requires; it’s utterly basic taphonomy. For instance, poison-dart frogs (Dendrobatidae) and true toads (Bufonidae) are sister-groups. Today, all poison-dart frogs and most true toads live in the South American rainforests. How many poison-dart frogs are there in the fossil record? A grand total of zero. How many true toads are there in the fossil record? Plenty, but almost all come from toads that left the rainforest and spread to North America and Eurasia from the Oligocene onwards. Only one fragment, from the late Paleocene of Brazil, comes from South America. (And then there’s the surprising fragment from the late Paleocene of France; I expect it’ll turn out to belong elsewhere one day.) Keep in mind that the existence of late Paleocene true toads, older than 55 Ma, necessarily implies the existence of late Paleocene poison-dart frogs; yet, from those more than 55 Ma, not a single fossil has been found.

    So you haven’t identified any steps for either hypothesis yet. Try again.

    And who is John Langdon?

    The best place for efficient long distance walking to evolve is on the very substrates where it actually is efficient to do so. Flat, firm, vegetation-free substrates are found in the natural world (before pavements, carpets and lawns) on the very edge of the water on dried out river beds and the shore line.

    Among other places!

    And if you live at the waterside, why would you need to walk long distances?

    Your long toes point is facile.

    Do explain.

    Jim Moore’s (the unqualified ex car mechanic) shitty web site.

    And you’re back to making ad-hominem arguments!

    Have you no shame at all!!!

    Re 543 Yes, so why have thousands of fossils of human ancestors been found in such places, but only 1 chimp?

    Because, as everybody except you knows, rainforests are a really shitty place for preservation!

    What’s WRONG with you people?

    How dare we know any taphonomy?

  68. 568
    David Marjanović

    Speaking of chimp fossils, IIRC, there was some debate a while back [...]

    Very good points. Most paleoanthropologists are ancestor-worshippers who haven’t noticed that phylogenetics is a science now and still do it as an art. As a result, they can’t agree on anything. There are even still such silly things as rivalries – the closer you get to humans, the worse the science gets – between the team that discovered Sahelanthropus tchadensis and the team that discovered Orrorin tugenensis: as soon as the former had published their fossil, the latter published a short reply claiming it was a female gorilla instead, and Nature published an article titled “The Battle of Tugen Hills”.

    It’s probably not a gorilla. But without a phylogenetic analysis, we’ll never know.

  69. 569
    Amphiox

    the closer you get to humans, the worse the science gets

    These sorts of weaknesses in the existing fossil record opens a giant gaping zone of opportunity where someone could walk in, find some fossils, analyze them properly, maybe even present an idiosyncratic hypothesis or two, and win wide acclaim.

    But no, that’s too much hard work for Algis, apparently. He’d rather spend his time attacking a car mechanic’s website.

  70. 570
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    But no, that’s too much hard work for Algis, apparently. He’d rather spend his time attacking a car mechanic’s website.

    Doing real science, which is hard work, and he might will be wrong, versus making inane noises about something he should ignore? Let the loon/crank ego games continue…

  71. 571
    algiskuliukas

    Re 561

    I couldn’t get the 2nd link. Please post the ref like this…

    Andrews, P., Martin, L., 1987. Cladistic relationships of extant and fossil hominoids. J. Hum. Evol 16, 101–118.

    But look, I don’t see where this is going. So what if Morotopithecus is closer to us than Hylobates. Even if the ancestor of all great apes was already somewhat specialised for brachiation – enough so that they were bipedal on those rare occasions they moved on dry ground as extant gibbons are today – how does this help explain why, out of the great ape clade, only one became an obligate biped and the other three became quadrupedal?

    What’s so hard to understand about this?

    Nothing. I’m not disputing an early evolution of some kind of bipedalism.

    I’m disputing that the LCA of all apes was already a specialised brachiator like extant gibbons are and I’m asking the question – from this starting point, how then does this help explain great ape locomotion (3 quadrupeds, 1 obligate biped)?

    Re “pushing back” point. You say this is explained by 541 & 541. It isn’t at all.

    There is no inconsistency with my model and a very early evolution of some kind of bipedalism. I concurr with Marc Verhaegen on this – a climbing-wading LCA. I keep pointing out, and aquaskeptics keep ignoring it, that Marc was arguing for a bipedal LCA long before Filler and recent papers have suddenly made it re rigeur.

    “Amphiox” says

    It pushes it back to a time when the in question primates were exclusively arboreal, making a wading conjecture even more unparsimonious.

    Clutching at straws. How does anyone know that? A wading-climbing LCA makes perfect sense and is consistent with the fossil record. It acts as a better precursor to all four forms of extant behaviour – brachiation, knuckle-walking, quadramanous locomotion and obligate bipedalism.

    My model makes a clear distinction between the evolution of bipedalism and other traits. All mainstream models do too, so that final point of his/hers is, again, not right.

    Re 542 – that’s just a facile point. The idea is the LCA was a wading-climbing ape, not exclusively wading. How many times I’ve repeated this kind of thing is anyone’s guess. There seems to be no effort being made on the side of aquaskeptics to understand what is being argued, only to misrepresent it so it can be better sneered at.

    I asked “WHY the long-distance walking?”… the response ” then the long-distance walking started” doesn’t answer it. It’s more of a just-so story than the wading idea which at least has better evidence in extant apes.

    Another question that always seems to be dodged is this – if the LCA of all apes was already bipedal in the same kind of way gibbons are today (i.e. due to their arboreality) how come those great apes that lost their arboreality are the only ones that became obligate bipeds and the three that retained their arboreality lost their bipedality and became quadrupeds. It’s the opposiye of parsimony. Wading (or the lack of wading) helps.

    Do I seriously need to go on?

    Well yes. Frankly, as wading has never even been considered as an option in the debate (unless you can cite the paper that does, I did a massive lit. review for my PhD and couldn’t find one), I am surprised at your confidence at reporting these as show stoppers.

    The wading birds point is facile. The proposal is that the LCA was a wading-climbing ape, not an exclusive wader. I wonder how many times I’ll have to repeat this.

    The muscle attachment point implies that you know of some study has been done on this. Fascinating. Please could you cite it as I’ll need it in my PhD because this is an area I am studying. What early hominid pelvic sample are you thinking of? Or, are you just talking off the top of your head?

    The food argument, again, does not contradict a wading-climbing model.

    Find it.

    Can I use that technique too, or is it reserved for people who espouse mainstream views?

    “I think I read something in the literature that supported my view but I can’t remember. Now you have to go and find it.”

    If I used that method, a gang of anonymous nobodies would round on me and call me a pseudoscientist. When you do it, it’s fine and dandy. I see.

    My point is simply that there are many ideas about bipedal origins. Where, in the literature, is that paper that asserts the confidence you show that the Hylobation model of Sir Arthur Keith has suddenly been resurected to “mainstream” status?

    As Dennett wrote, the arguments are always thin and ad hoc. If the spectre of the dreaded ‘a’ factor is on the horizon, suddenly everyone pretends to “know” what caused our bipedality. But they forget where in the literature that knowledge came from.

    David, I did a Google Scholar search and I’m impressed. I am also impressed that you do not hide behind a silly pseudonym. I am also impressed that you take time to come to places like this and debate these idea. I am also sure you know more about paleontology than I do but, sorry, you’re arguments against the wading hypothesis are typically weak and not backed up by anything but what appears to be the usual prejudice.

    What for?

    To make the argument clear, obviously. You, yourself expressed confusion when replying to someone elses’s points in that post so I would argue that you answered your own question there.

    David, what this feels like is some pissing contest where, because you think I’m some “aquatic ape nut”, you presume to be superior in argumentation, scholarliness and pretty much everything else. It’s a mistake I’ve come across for years and it’s very irritating. Please don’tfollow Jim Moore’s delusion in dividing the whole world into two – those that think Hardy might be right (idiots at best who are also largely dishonest) and those that don’t (clever, nice, honest people, one and all.)

    Hardy’s original proposal seems to have been wrong in that it adopted a wrong timescale. But that was forgivable from the fossil evidence known at the time.

    Where’s the science to dismiss any waterside hypothesis? Where has it even been considered? There just isn’t any. You are pretending there has been rigour when there simply hasn’t been.

    “That doesn’t even count” – good answer. Look, I get it. You’re the paleontologist so what you says is right.

    who is John Langdon?

    The only guy to have published a paper in a specialist “anthro” journal on the so-called “aquatic ape” theory and attempted some kind of rejection. That’s all.

    Langdon, J. Umbrella hypotheses and parsimony in human evolution: a critique of the Aquatic Ape Hypothesis. Journal of Human Evolution 33:479-494, (1997).

    That you haven’t even read John Langdon’s paper on this subject does not inspire me with much confidence, David.

    Among other places!

    For the striding, extended limb gait – on which our bipedal effficiency is based – the substrate needs to be flat, firm and vegetation free.

    Apart from waterside habitats (and, ok, trailing behind a massive herd of savannah bovids) where do you find such places?

    Coastal foraging, picking up catfish from dessicated river banks etc provide plausible motives for walking on the water’s edge. The topology of coastal zones are, by definition, irregular and require much longer distances to traverse than open plains in land.

    It’s ok for the people here to insult me, I notice (PZ called me an “idiot”,”loon”,”kook”) and you are happy with that. I criticise Jim Moore’s “work” and you accuse me of making ad hominem attacks. I see. Not biased much, are you?

    Please explain how a thousands-1 disparity in the fossil record between those attributed to human ancestors near to permanent water courses (where, of course we know, fossils are more likely to be formed) compared to those attributed to chimp ancestors can be construed as evidence AGAINST the idea that humans lived in waterside habitats more than chimps?

    Algis Kuliukas

  72. 572
    algiskuliukas

    Re 566

    All good points, which I agree with.

    But, just taking fossils that are unequivocally on the Homo side (say < 2Ma) there are still thousands of those that have been attributed and 1(?) chimp.

    Can someone please explain how this can be construed as evidence AGAINST the idea that human ancestors lived waterside more than chimps'?

    Algis Kuliukas

  73. 573
    Lofty

    Algis, your soggy ape would have to compete with other animals in these idyllic fresh water habitats you propose, e.g crocodiles. Your soggy ape would benefit, in a very seasonal way, in the ability to walk from one drying water hole to another. This would be easiest using the trackways and cropped grasslands left by giant herds of migrating herbivores. Why would a former tree dweller try to outcompete previous water dwellers when the cry of the wide open veldt beckoned? Fresh water habitats are often very seasonal and provide an abundance of fruit, seeds, roots, small and large animals at different times during the year. Long term immersion would not only increase risk from large animals but risk from parasites which coinhabit these waters. Being able to walk bipedally across large stretches of savannah while holding your lunch would be a powerful advantage. Wading, not so much.

    Please explain how a thousands-1 disparity in the fossil record between those attributed to human ancestors near to permanent water courses (where, of course we know, fossils are more likely to be formed) compared to those attributed to chimp ancestors can be construed as evidence AGAINST the idea that humans lived in waterside habitats more than chimps?

    Protohumans probably lived next to the water, not in it. Seasonality means camps are sometimes inundated, sometimes dry. Trees that provide seasonal fruits on a flood plain would attract these creatures but they would benefit by not being permanently tied there. Chimps I believe are more likely to be found in year round rainforests where fossilisation is rare, as others before me have pointed out.
    .
    In summary, bipedal walkers thrive better in seasonal (not pemanently wet) environments than tree climbers or fresh water waders because of their ability to walk on dry land.

  74. 574
    algiskuliukas

    Re 573

    I don’t think you’ve quite understood what I’ve been arguing.

    See, there are two extremes here. On the one side, you have the idea that humans never ever stepped in the water. No-one would subscribe to that, right? On the other, is the idea that humans lived in the water. Well, it might surprise you, but no-one subscribes to that either.

    There is this wierd, strange thing, called THE MIDDLE GROUND. It exists somewhere between the two extremes. I do not know where, exactly, that point is, but if one accepts that it is there somewhere and one further adds the assumption that wherever this point was, our human ancestors were further along it (towards the ‘aquatic’ end) than chimp ancestors were, then you have already conceded the whole thing.

    This is because if there was a differential in terms of moving through water, there would be a differential in selection and population genetics 101 teaches us that even very slight selection is sufficient to overcome drift, even in relatively small populations sizes in relatively short evolutionary periods.

    s > 1 / (2Ne) – or for selection to overcome drift it need only be greater than the reciprocal of twice the effective population size.

    Why would a former tree dweller try to outcompete previous water dwellers when the cry of the wide open veldt beckoned?

    And odd concept where you decry the (albeit shrinking) habitat that they have become adapted to for tens of millions of years – seasonally flooded gallery forest refugia – for a completely new envirnment where already a whole host of fiercely competitive species were already well established.

    Waist/chest deep water is the one place where being bipedal is a simple life saver because if you were foolish enough to try to move quadrupedally you’d drown. Of all the Mammalian species, only our great ape cousins switch from quaddrupedalism on dry land to bipedalism in water. It’s so obvious an eight year old could spot it, but it’s eluded palaeoanthropology for 150 years!

    Mockery is good, right!?

    Protohumans probably lived next to the water, not in it.

    No dispute theere. No-one is saying they LIVED in water.

    Let me repeat that: No-one is saying they LIVED in water. Just that they sometimes moved through water and they did this more than chimp ancestors.

    It’s scary, I know. Space apes seem relatively benign compared to the idea that our ancestors might have got their feet wet, I know. But come on… TRY!

    Seasonally flooded riparian habitats are EXACTLY the places I have been arguing for years that terrestrial bipedalism is most likely to have evolved. So you are preaching to the converted there. They provide a habitat that simultaneously (in evolutionary terms) COMPELS bipedalism like no other substrate (wading), induces upright weight bearing posture through vertical climbing (where, incidentally escaping crocs and hippos would be quite easy) and provides regular opportunities for the optimisation of efficient longer distance TERRESTRIAL walking, foraging catfish and sedges from dried out (and therefore flat, firm and vegetation-free) river banks.

    I’ve been saying this for only about 13 years. Considering Hardy’s ideas are still being distorted even now, 53 years later, I don’t expect any of the pseudoskeptics who viscerally hate the “AAT” so much will ever actually get that simple point, but I live in hope.

    Rationality will previal one day, surely.

    Algis Kuliukas

  75. 575
    algiskuliukas

    568 – I agree completely.

    Algis Kuliukas

  76. 576
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Rationality will previal one day, surely.

    Considering your lack of evidence, and utter and sheer loon quality of your inane idea and egotistical posts. the only rationality that is appropriate is for you to shut the fuck up and leave trolling this blog. I’m not holding my breath for you to finally behave with honor and integrity.

  77. 577
    algiskuliukas

    Re 569, 570.

    I have done what you’re supposed to do. I returned to university (UCL), did a masters degree in Human Evolution. (Passed with Distinction.) I took my family to Australia so I could start a PhD at UWA. In this time I have done research yielding new emprical data pertaining to the wading hypothesis – an idea the field of anthropology has all but ignored for over 50 years. I’ve presented the findings at scientific conferences (including AAPA 2009) and published them in two peer review journals and three chapters in a recent eBook. During this time (because I have not received any significant research grant) I’ve had to continue to work as a database consultant. But on top of all that, I’ve still made time to act as a critical voice to the gossip guy. I consider that my duty.

    All he did was help proof read a book once and write a misrepresenting, masquerading web site, where he gets to write whatever gossip he likes with impunity.

    It’s very irritating (but absolutely typical) how I always get criticised by pseudoskeptics for doing no science, when I’ve done quite a bit actually, whilst anthro-slur-guy gets praised (PZ Myers says it’s the “defintive web resource” on this idea) for doing no science, and no academic work at all.

    As always, the aquaskeptic “response” is full of hypocrisy.

    Algis Kuliukas

  78. 578
    David Marjanović

    These sorts of weaknesses in the existing fossil record opens a giant gaping zone of opportunity where someone could walk in, find some fossils, analyze them properly, maybe even present an idiosyncratic hypothesis or two, and win wide acclaim.

    But no, that’s too much hard work for Algis, apparently. He’d rather spend his time attacking a car mechanic’s website.

    Very good points.

    I couldn’t get the 2nd link.

    Bizarrely, it gives me an “access denied” error, too. Maybe this link works instead? It does for me.

    But if it still doesn’t, drop me an e-mail (Google Scholar knows the address), and I’ll send you the pdf. It is:

    James B. Rossie & Laura MacLatchy (2006): A new pliopithecoid genus from the early Miocene of Uganda. Journal of Human Evolution 50: 568–586.

    I’m disputing that the LCA of all apes was already a specialised brachiator like extant gibbons are and I’m asking the question – from this starting point, how then does this help explain great ape locomotion (3 quadrupeds, 1 obligate biped)?

    It probably wasn’t quite that specialized: gibbons do have at least one adaptation to brachiation that we lack, extra mobility in the wrist. However, even we retain a lot of other adaptations to brachiation, like insanely mobile shoulders above and beyond what you can find in any monkey.

    Brachiation works best at gibbon sizes. Gorillas and chimps live mostly on the ground; they sleep in trees, but don’t spend that much of their waking time there. For living on the ground, a larger size is advantageous – no idea which is the cause and which the effect, though. Orang-utans mostly stay in the trees; but when they come down, they walk bipedally quite often, more often than chimps.

    There is no inconsistency with my model and a very early evolution of some kind of bipedalism. I concurr with Marc Verhaegen on this – a climbing-wading LCA. I keep pointing out, and aquaskeptics keep ignoring it, that Marc was arguing for a bipedal LCA long before Filler and recent papers have suddenly made it re rigeur.

    Uh – if bipedality was already there, you don’t need a wading phase more than 15 million years later to explain its origin.

    ~:-|

    I really can’t follow you here.

    A wading-climbing LCA makes perfect sense and is consistent with the fossil record. It acts as a better precursor to all four forms of extant behaviour – brachiation, knuckle-walking, quadramanous locomotion and obligate bipedalism.

    Oh. So you’re proposing that the wading phase lasted more than 15 million years, and that gibbons, orang-utans, gorillas, chimps, and humans independently stopped wading (or reduced it to insignificance) five times.

    But where’s the problem with a brachiating LCA for all apes?

    Four independent reductions/losses of brachiation are one step fewer than five independent losses of wading.

    I asked “WHY the long-distance walking?”… the response ” then the long-distance walking started” doesn’t answer it.

    Why? Because it was possible, because the opening of the forest made it advantageous, because it allowed to stay out of competition with chimps. Easy enough, as I already explained just a few comments ago.

    Another question that always seems to be dodged is this – if the LCA of all apes was already bipedal in the same kind of way gibbons are today (i.e. due to their arboreality) how come those great apes that lost their arboreality are the only ones that became obligate bipeds and the three that retained their arboreality lost their bipedality and became quadrupeds. It’s the opposiye of parsimony. Wading (or the lack of wading) helps.

    Doesn’t this predict that our ancestors should have become quadrupedal as soon as they stopped wading? Why did having a wading ancestor have an effect on us, but not on the chimps or the gorillas?

    The muscle attachment point implies that you know of some study has been done on this.

    Oh no. It only implies I can look at a skeleton. Try it sometime.

    The food argument, again, does not contradict a wading-climbing model.

    Of course it does. It says our ancestors lived off the savanna in that timeframe, eating lots of stuff that simply doesn’t grow at the waterside or on trees.

    Can I use that technique too, or is it reserved for people who espouse mainstream views?

    “I think I read something in the literature that supported my view but I can’t remember. Now you have to go and find it.”

    You know…

    Why don’t you just pretend I came up with the entire hypothesis on my own?

    I didn’t*, but that’s irrelevant as long as nobody writes a paper about it; then we’d need to know the actual source so we can credit it.

    The quality of the hypothesis does not depend on its source.

    * Maybe I did come up with some details. I don’t even remember. My knowledge of orang-utan bipedality comes from Tetrapod Zoology in any case.

    the Hylobati[a]n model of Sir Arthur Keith

    Never heard of it.

    I am also impressed that you do not hide behind a silly pseudonym.

    I’m simply not creative enough to come up with a good one. This has advantages as well as disadvantages: sometimes a bit of privacy would be a good thing.

    I am also impressed that you take time to come to places like this and debate these idea.

    I’m already here. :-) And time isn’t something I have, it’s something I steal. You’ll find that this explains a lot (mouse over the picture for extra text).

    What for?

    To make the argument clear, obviously. You, yourself expressed confusion when replying to someone elses’s points in that post so I would argue that you answered your own question there.

    …I’ve expressed confusion over what something means, not who said it. Who said it isn’t interesting or relevant.

    David, what this feels like is some pissing contest where, because you think I’m some

    And here you’re back to believing this is about people.

    No!

    I don’t care what your or my qualifications are or what else you or I think. If nothing else, even a stopped clock is right twice a day. I care about evidence, not about people. I evaluate evidence and logic, not people. I’m not trying to judge your character or mine, or our bladder capacities; I’m trying to judge the hypothesis that there was a wading-climbing phase in our Miocene and Pliocene ancestry, on its own merits, regardless of who came up with it or who agrees with it now!

    If you really can’t imagine a human holding this mindset, maybe it helps if you pretend I’m some kind of Vulcan?

    Unlike a Vulcan, I don’t try to suppress my emotions; but evidently I don’t get them over the same things as you. See, I’m not trying to engage in social interaction by having this discussion; I’m trying to have this discussion.

    Where’s the science to dismiss any waterside hypothesis? Where has it even been considered?

    Here in this very thread and here in this very thread, respectively.

    “That doesn’t even count” – good answer. Look, I get it. You’re the paleontologist so what you says is right.

    Translation: you don’t understand what I mean, but instead of asking, you decide to sneer instead.

    As a phylogeneticist, I do indeed deal with parsimony on a daily basis – but if you don’t understand, why don’t you ask?

    That you haven’t even read John Langdon’s paper on this subject does not inspire me with much confidence, David.

    It has the opposite effect on me: the flaws in the aquarboreal hypothesis are so easy to spot that I don’t even need to have read Langdon’s paper – I can find them on my own!

    Say, have you written a critique of Langdon’s paper? On this page you say you have; but the HTML version of the promised critique is a blank page, the PDF version doesn’t exist (“not found on this server”)… and you cut the quoted abstract off in the middle of a word.

    If you have written it, we could discuss it…

    For the striding, extended limb gait – on which our bipedal effficiency is based – the substrate needs to be flat, firm and vegetation free.

    That’s exaggerated. Any tree savanna will do.

    Apart from waterside habitats (and, ok, trailing behind a massive herd of savannah bovids)

    …Interesting idea; why wouldn’t our ancestors have followed the herds as opportunistic scavengers? After all, if you need to find a carcass before the hyenas get there, you have to reach it really quick.

    coastal zones [...] require much longer distances to traverse than open plains in land

    Uh, why? Are food and potable water even more sparsely distributed along coasts than on open plains?

    It’s ok for the people here to insult me, I notice (PZ called me an “idiot”,”loon”,”kook”) and you are happy with that. I criticise Jim Moore’s “work” and you accuse me of making ad hominem attacks. I see. Not biased much, are you?

    It’s really not encouraging that you haven’t noticed the fundamental difference between insults and argumenta ad hominem: insults aren’t logical fallacies.

    “You belong to group X, therefore whatever you say is wrong” is an ad-hominem argument.

    “Your argumentation contains a lot of stupid mistakes, therefore you are an idiot” is an insult; it’s not an ad-hominem argument.

    PZ doesn’t say “you’re an idiot, therefore you’re wrong”. He concludes that you’re an idiot because of the arguments you make.

    That’s not nice of him, sure; but I can’t see how that’s relevant to science. PZ has not committed a logical fallacy.

    Speaking of Vulcans, we scientists are Borg. Insults are irrelevant. Logical fallacies we hate.

    Please explain how a thousands-1 disparity in the fossil record between those attributed to human ancestors near to permanent water courses (where, of course we know, fossils are more likely to be formed) compared to those attributed to chimp ancestors can be construed as evidence AGAINST the idea that humans lived in waterside habitats more than chimps?

    I don’t think anybody has claimed that’s what it is. The idea is that it’s not evidence for any waterside hypothesis. You have claimed many, many times that it is – and that’s just wrong.

    Algis, your soggy ape would have to compete with other animals in these idyllic fresh water habitats you propose, e.g crocodiles.

    I’ve already linked to the description of Crocodylus anthropophagus. :-)

    In summary, bipedal walkers thrive better in seasonal (not pemanently wet) environments than tree climbers or fresh water waders because of their ability to walk on dry land.

    Bingo.

    And odd concept where you decry the (albeit shrinking) habitat that they have become adapted to for tens of millions of years – seasonally flooded gallery forest refugia – for a completely new envirnment where already a whole host of fiercely competitive species were already well established.

    You need to quantify that. Even in the absence of trees, chimps defend themselves quite well against leopards; are leopards and hyenas and lions a greater danger than crocodiles and hippos?

    I’m also not that sure about “established”. Before some 3 to 4 million years ago, there wasn’t much open habitat in Africa; it was pretty much rainforest from sea to shining sea.

    Finally, as mentioned above, adapting to a new environment means you’re no longer competing with your closest relatives.

    induces upright weight bearing posture through vertical climbing (where, incidentally escaping crocs and hippos would be quite easy)

    o_O

    It’s really not common that trees grow in the water or have thick branches hanging into the water or within reach. If you wade for a living, trees will hardly ever help you when you’re attacked. If you don’t wade for a living, where’s the selection pressure?

    Of all the Mammalian species, only our great ape cousins switch from quaddrupedalism on dry land to bipedalism in water.

    That’s because they’ve inherited the ability to walk bipedally in the first place. Obligately quadrupedal species can’t deal with a bipedal posture for long, so they can’t reap the advantages of a bipedal posture in water.

    It’s so obvious an eight year old could spot it, but it’s eluded palaeoanthropology for 150 years!

    Then perhaps it’s wrong.

    See, it’s obvious that relativity and quantum physics are all wrong. And yet, they’re right; their deeply bizarre predictions are correct to at least 18 significant digits.

    The argument from personal incredulity is a logical fallacy.

    568 – I agree completely.

    …But if you do, you can’t say with such strong confidence that only one chimp fossil has been found – in the continued absence of a phylogenetic analysis, we don’t really know.

    I’ve [...] published them in two peer review journals

    References, please.

    And do keep in mind that your use of “peer review journals” makes it looks like you have no idea of peer review: you mean peer-reviewed journals – they’re not journals of or about peer review, but the manuscripts in them are reviewed before publication.

    and three chapters in a recent eBook

    …which you yourself edited, and which wasn’t peer-reviewed at all.

  79. 579
    Menyambal

    Baboons wading through water – Planet Earth – BBC animals & wildlife http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nAiZFhhHEXU

    David Marjanović, it is always a pleasure and an education to read what you write. Thank you.

    Algis, the vid above shows baboons wading, some of them going bipedal. I think you said only us great apes do that. It is the vid I referred to when I said it looked like they hated water, and I now see it looks like only the young ones went bipedal—I can’t say if that is a matter of depth, or age-related ability.

    As far as chimps and gorillas go, I look at them and think they used to be more bipedal. Their back legs look too long, and are bowed out, as if their ancestors used to walk more upright. They haven’t the functional back legs of baboons. Which is to say I agree that our LCA was mostly bipedal.

    Algis, you keep babbling about some “aquaskeptic”‘s web site, as if it is poisoning the brains of us impressionable people. (Another way you are horribly insulting without calling names.) I’ve never seen it, and don’t care to. I form my own opinions, thanks.

    I read the Aquatic Ape material back in the ’60s or ’70s, and was interested. I recall that it was strongly aquatic, to the point that women’s breasts and hair were shaped for floating babies. It was like we went all dolphin, then for some dumb-ass reason staggered back to land. But you’ve waded all the way back to occasional sloshing about in the shallows. How is that still Aquatic?

    Algis, In another thread I asked how good humans can swim without lessons, and how well chimps could swim with training. I was pointing out that we really can’t compare abilities, and thinking of how you keep basing your case on the “fact” that we humans are much better swimmers. You, of course, misunderstood the implications for your argument.

    You now want to see a fair comparison of chimp/human swimming abilities, and you seem angry that no-one will do that science. You fail to see that there is no reason to—the case for Aquaticism isn’t strong enough to risk even a grad student in a pool with a pissed-off chimp.

    By the way, in all your science, there’s something you’ve missed about human anatomy that would help your case. I’ve based my “theory” on it, and it even started with a waterside ape—it didn’t end there, though. I will say that the nice flat land that you say doesn’t exist is found on game trails in almost all terrains.

    You are really, really coming across as a nutcase. You show every sign of being a pseudoscience crank, and you haven’t shown any good science. If there were anything to Aquaticism, you’ve damaged its reputation seriously.

  80. 580
    Amphiox

    Skin gets ever thinner. Ego gets ever fatter.

    Bored now.

  81. 581
    Amphiox

    A wading-climbing LCA makes perfect sense and is consistent with the fossil record. It acts as a better precursor to all four forms of extant behaviour – brachiation, knuckle-walking, quadramanous locomotion and obligate bipedalism.

    Oh. So NOW you’re talking about a bipedal LCA that lived 20 plus million years ago? Are you admitting now that everything you’ve fapped about the “big” differences between humans and chimps, and all that humans x and chimps y reasoning was all just a useless waste of time?

    Because if we’re now talking about a wading LCA that lived 20 million years ago (a time when the fossil record indicates that every known primate in the world was arboreal) none of any of the stuff you’ve babbled concerning humans and chimps and their differences has any relevance whatsoever.

  82. 582
    Amphiox

    An Algis STILL doesn’t understand ad hominem. After all the time spent trying to explain it to him, one has to start questioning his intellectual integrity on that point.

    Ad hominem has NOTHING to do with insults. If it exists along with insults, it is purely coincidental.

    One could praise someone to high heaven and still be committing ad hominem.

    Sherlock Holmes could be saying “My dear Dr. Watson, you are such an honest and noble spirit that you simply cannot comprehend the depths of depravity to which some men might sink, and thus your conjecture concerning the motivations of our culprit are surely wrong.”

    THAT is an ad hominem.

    “You are a boring, insipid, dishonest idiot” is not an ad hominem.

  83. 583
    Amphiox

    You fail to see that there is no reason to—the case for Aquaticism isn’t strong enough to risk even a grad student in a pool with a pissed-off chimp.

    This speaks to an important point. There are COSTS associated with doing scientific research. Costs in time, effort, money, risk.

    If we were all immortal, invulnerable, infinitely wealthy, and our mental resources infinite in extent, it might not be so, but the real world isn’t like that.

    If you can’t make a compelling enough argument to someone to convince to spend his or her LIMITED resources of time, effort, mentation, and risk of danger investigating your idea, then your idea won’t get investigated. Period.

    You either come up with a more compelling argument, or YOU invest the time, effort, mentation and exposure to risk to DO THE INVESTIGATIONS YOURSELF.

  84. 584
    David Marjanović

    Algis, the vid above shows baboons wading, some of them going bipedal. I think you said only us great apes do that.

    And I blithely believed it. That’ll teach me.

    Sherlock Holmes could be saying “My dear Dr. Watson, you are such an honest and noble spirit that you simply cannot comprehend the depths of depravity to which some men might sink, and thus your conjecture concerning the motivations of our culprit are surely wrong.”

    THAT is an ad hominem.

    Exactly!

  85. 585
    Michael Clark

    http://www.uprightape.net/

    The reason I mentioned Morotopithecus was to establish bipedalism at 20 -21 million BP. That together with Oreopithecus at 7-9 million BP pretty much establishes the fact that bipedalism has an ~ancient~ origin and history. So what does this mean for those who are poking around at the homo/pan split in search of the origin of bipeds? It means they’re barkin’ up the wrong tree. Well, OK, that’s all very well and good but then Algis’ question still applies –”What about the ~origin~ of bipedalism?” Algis claims to have read all about Filler’s homeotic transformation yet reveals himself to be lying once again when he asks questions which are easily answered by any brief perusal of the last couple chapters of The Upright Ape.

    I’ve read enough AK to realize that he couldn’t find his way out of a phone booth but I haven’t heard from anyone on this side of the fence regarding the plausibility of Fillers’ thesis: namely, that we and our ape cousins owe our shared bipdedalism to a homeotic transformation of the lumbar spine –which, in one fell swoop, ~forced~ the original unfortunate primate to stand erect. All subsequent descendants then inherited this genetic defect and went on to found their respective groups ~hylobates, pongo, pan, gorilla and homo. Homo then retains the basal configuration while our cousins work with what is derived from that condition. Filler has a nice little discussion of the restrictions placed on ape locomotion by the configuration of the transverse processes of the lumbar verts –and the subsequent rigidity of the lower thoracic region.

    I would also like to take issue with the use of the term “brachiation”. While it is true that brachiation requires a superiorly oriented glenoid fossa, such a feature would also be useful for what Lovejoy calls “careful climbing” –one of the Ardi papers. True brachiators have a stiff lumbar spine –again, a derived feature.

  86. 586
  87. 587
    Amphiox

    There is something else that should be noted with respect to the genetic evidence of significant degrees of interbreeding between the human and chimpanzee lines around the time of the split. Said evidence suggests and extended period of regular interbreeding, a period lasting over a million years.

    This means that the proto-humans and the proto-chimps were sharing the same habitat. There were no mail-order sperm banks 5-7 million years ago. To interbreed you had to share overlapping habitat and regularly venture into each other’s territory.

    And again, we’re talking about a period of at least a million years, if not more, of such regular interbreeding.

    If proto-humans were really hiving themselves off in some riverside habitat and doing lots of wading, then the proto-chimpanzees must have been there too for all the various hanky-panky. The genes tell us so. This means that IF the prevalence of human ancestor fossils in waterside-type environments really was an indication of living frequently in water-side habitats, then chimpanzee fossils SHOULD be also frequently found in that environment, because we KNOW from the genetic evidence that the chimpanzees were there.

    Since we DON’T see these chimpanzee fossils, even though the genetic evidence of interbreeding tells us the chimpanzees must have been there, that tells us that the prevalence of the human fossils in the riverine environments must be artifactual, and not indicative of something special in terms of human habitation of those environments.

    Wherever the humans were, the chimpanzees were too, for at least a million years. That means that if you want to argue about differential environmental selection for the different adaptations between humans and chimpanzees, said selective forces must be concentration after the final divergence, for dates younger than 5 million years. And we already know from fossil evidence that bipedalism in hominins was established long before that.

    So once more, the time frames do not match for Algis’ version of the AAH.

  88. 588
    algiskuliukas

    Re 578 “Very good points”? I answered those “very good points” easily. They were not very good at all.

    Thanks for the ref to the paper. I’ll be able to get that myself.

    However, even we retain a lot of other adaptations to brachiation, like insanely mobile shoulders above and beyond what you can find in any monkey.

    And of course, the possibility that this might be a swimming adaptation is discounted without so much as a passsing thought.

    … if bipedality was already there, you don’t need a wading phase more than 15 million years later to explain its origin.

    See? You assume “bipedality” means terrestrial bipedality. What if that early bipedalism was wading-climbing bipedalism?

    Wading-climbing bipedalism acts a perfect precursor to quadrupedal knuckle-walking and obligate terrestrial bipedalism.

    … So you’re proposing that the wading phase lasted more than 15 million years, and that gibbons, orang-utans, gorillas, chimps, and humans independently stopped wading (or reduced it to insignificance) five times.

    Wading-Climbing. Please try not to distort the argument. Straw men is the usual thing aquaskeptics use – and then they accuse “us” of doing that.

    Well the de rigeur argument used to be that the LCA of Pan/Gorilla/Homo was likely to be a quadruped based on parsimony. Now it seems that the LCA of Pan/Pongo/Gorilla/Homo was already some kind of biped – that argument from parsimony has already been superceded.

    Some kind of biped (a wading-climbing) biped acts a more parsimonious precursor to knuckle-walking and terrestrial bipedalism than what you seem to assume is already terrestial bipedalism.

    Brachiation is a specialisation, just like knuckle-walking is. It’s as unparsimonious to assume the LCA of all of them had one extant specialisation as any other. Better to assume that it was something intermediate. Wading-climbing fits that role better.

    …because the opening of the forest made it advantageous, because it allowed to stay out of competition with chimps.

    Why would it be advantageous to go walking on the open savannah for a short, little hominin that had few of the other human attributes yet, like large brain, language etc?

    It’s a just-so story. What about the competition with baboons that had already adapted to life there? What about the increased risk of predation? All flicked away as if nothing.

    …Doesn’t this predict that our ancestors should have become quadrupedal as soon as they stopped wading? Why did having a wading ancestor have an effect on us, but not on the chimps or the gorillas?

    The idea is that the LCA of all three was a wading-climbing hominid.

    If a chimp climbs down from a tree onto land, it switches to quadrupedalism.
    If a chimp climbs down from a tree into waist deep water, it switches to bipedalism.

    The idea is that Chimps and gorillas lost the regular wading so they have no need for bipedalism. Our ancestors lost the regular climbing so they moved along waterside habitats doing coastal foraging. Wading sometimes and walking on the perfect substrates for efficient bipedalism the rest of the time.

    …Oh no. It only implies I can look at a skeleton. Try it sometime.

    No need to be so patronising. So, you were just talking off the top of your head, then.

    The articulation of the femur in the acetabulum, and the asssociated muscles involved with locomotion ther, are highly complex and require serious analysis to determine what was likely to have been going on in early bipeds.

    I have looked at many skeletal samples of Primates, thank you. I have digitised hundreds of them to gather data on the load arms of the muscles involved in locomotion of the hip and I can tell you that there is no such study that looks a wading as a putative mode of locomotion in early bipeds, let alone dismisses it.

    It says our ancestors lived off the savanna in that timeframe.

    That’s funny. John Langdon (you know, the author of the one paper that attempts a “rejection” of the “AAH”, the one you haven’t read) argues that the savannah idea is a straw man invented by Elaine Morgan!

    Now, notice how the rules will change again and some other thin and ad hoc argument will be conjured up out of thin air.

    Never heard of it [The Hylobatian model]

    It’s interesting how “aquatic ape loons” are always derided for not knowing anything about palaeoanthropology but when the “big gun -experts” are wheeled out and they know even less, it’s fine and dandy – it’m me who’s the “idiot”/”loon”/”kook”.

    Here in this very thread and here in this very thread, respectively.

    Funny. I thought science was supposed to be conducted through the literature. Only when it doesn’t involve the dreaded ‘a’ factor, I suppose. When it does, it can be dismissed with a simple roll of the eyes and a “SPACE APE! SPACE APE! SPACE APE! SPACE APE! SPACE APE! SPACE APE! SPACE APE! SPACE APE! SPACE APE! ” tirade.

    It’s really not encouraging that you haven’t noticed the fundamental difference between insults and argumenta ad hominem: insults aren’t logical fallacies.

    And it’s really not encouraging that you excuse ignorant, childish name calling from the “expert” whose name is at the top of this blog and try to pretend my criticism of Jim Moore’s crappy, web site is somehow worse.

    I have to go now. More later.

    Algis Kuliukas

  89. 589
    algiskuliukas

    Re 585

    –which, in one fell swoop, ~forced~ the original unfortunate primate to stand erect.

    Wonderful idea, that. A single mutation “forcing” a whole new form of locomotion. No more need to worry then. Problem solved.

    Whilst leaving the telephone booth, though, I was just wondering about that tiny thing called selection.

    Algis Kuliukas

  90. 590
    Michael Clark

    I thought you said you’d read Filler. Admit it –somebody came along and opened the door for ya, didn’t they.

  91. 591
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Yawn, AK still thinking his OPINION is evidence? Never was, and never will be. He is no authority on anything. If he had something, all he would need to do is link and shut up.

    But then, what would an evidenceless crank/loon do with his time, if he can’t make a scientific fool of himself on somebody else’s blog on the internet. Not showing himself to be somebody to be listened to, just mocked and laughed at.

  92. 592
    Eurasian magpie

    Algis, have you ever managed to convince anybody with your “simple, plausible, Darwinian” hypothesis? I’m genuinely curious.

  93. 593
    David Marjanović

    which, in one fell swoop, ~forced~ the original unfortunate primate to stand erect.

    Uh, what are you talking about? What keeps me from walking on all fours more often is the fact that my legs are too long (not my arms too short, BTW; if anything, they’re too long, too); what keeps me from galloping more than a few meters is the fact that my wrists are too unstable (they tend to bend any which way, painfully). That’s right, I can gallop, just not for more than ridiculous distances.

    A colleague (I’ll ask him for a source) told me about an experiment with some macaques or other. They were kept from an early age in such restrictive conditions that they had to stand upright all the time. Their spine assumed the famous human double-S shape. What happened when the restrictions were taken away? Nothing. The double-S shape remained, it did not revert to the usual ( shape.

    I would also like to take issue with the use of the term “brachiation”. While it is true that brachiation requires a superiorly oriented glenoid fossa, such a feature would also be useful for what Lovejoy calls “careful climbing” –one of the Ardi papers.

    Not a bad point. Any climber much larger than a gibbon has to climb rather slowly and carefully (even though some smaller animals, like chamaeleons and various lorises, also do it).

    This means that the proto-humans and the proto-chimps were sharing the same habitat.

    Well, adjacent habitats should be enough, especially when there’s no sharp boundary between them, as indeed there isn’t.

    However, even we retain a lot of other adaptations to brachiation, like insanely mobile shoulders above and beyond what you can find in any monkey.

    And of course, the possibility that this might be a swimming adaptation is discounted without so much as a passsing thought.

    So, the last common ancestor of all apes swam for a living (in addition to wading for a living), had a few novel adaptations to that, and then the gibbons used these adaptations to brachiate?

    What an unnecessarily complicated scenario. What an unparsimonious scenario.

    See? You assume “bipedality” means terrestrial bipedality. What if that early bipedalism was wading-climbing bipedalism?

    What do you need that hypothesis for?

    Wading-climbing bipedalism acts a perfect precursor to quadrupedal knuckle-walking and obligate terrestrial bipedalism.

    The same is true when you drop the “wading” part.

    Wading-Climbing. Please try not to distort the argument.

    I’m sorry that I’m too lazy to spell it out every single time, after I’ve already spelled it out earlier in the same comment. I shall call it the WC phase, then.

    Brachiation is a specialisation, just like knuckle-walking is. It’s as unparsimonious to assume the LCA of all of them had one extant specialisation as any other. Better to assume that it was something intermediate. Wading-climbing fits that role better.

    It’s not intermediate at all. Wading is yet another specialization.

    Why would it be advantageous to go walking on the open savannah for a short, little hominin that had few of the other human attributes yet, like large brain, language etc?

    How about the advantages I already mentioned, like lack of competition from increasingly crowded close relatives?

    It’s a just-so story. What about the competition with baboons that had already adapted to life there?

    Competition for what exactly?

    What about the increased risk of predation?

    Show me there’s an increased risk of predation. It’s harder for an ambush predator to hide in a savanna than in a forest.

    Besides… don’t you think that going from the rainforest to the waterside instead of to the savanna would increase the risk of predation by crocodiles and rage-killing from territorial hippos???

    If a chimp climbs down from a tree onto land, it switches to quadrupedalism.
    If a chimp climbs down from a tree into waist deep water, it switches to bipedalism.

    The idea is that Chimps and gorillas lost the regular wading so they have no need for bipedalism.

    But now you say gibbons and orang-utans lost the regular wading, too!!!

    If a gibbon climbs down from a tree onto land, it switches to bipedalism.
    If an orang-utan climbs down from a tree onto land, it doesn’t quite seem to know what to do, but switches to bipedalism pretty often.

    If the WC hypothesis can’t explain these, I must consider it disproved!

    The articulation of the femur in the acetabulum, and the asssociated muscles involved with locomotion ther, are highly complex and require serious analysis to determine what was likely to have been going on in early bipeds.

    And? Have you done that, or do you have a reference for that, or are you talking off the top of your head…? And why do you talk just about the femur and the pelvis?

    and I can tell you that there is no such study that looks a wading as a putative mode of locomotion in early bipeds, let alone dismisses it.

    Again: it doesn’t need to. It only needs to present evidence, knowingly or not, that conflicts with the WC hypothesis.

    Godfrey (1989) illustrated the beautifully preserved cleithrum of Greererpeton from all sides. The illustrations show a big, well-developed postbranchial lamina; Godfrey didn’t recognize it, didn’t label it in the figures and didn’t mention it in the text. Nobody recognized it till Coates (1996) did and mentioned it, citing Godfrey’s figures, in his paper on evidence for gills in early tetrapods. Godfrey had unknowingly presented strong evidence that Greererpeton had open gill slits and a functional gill lid.

    It says our ancestors lived off the savanna in that timeframe.

    That’s funny. John Langdon (you know, the author of the one paper that attempts a “rejection” of the “AAH”, the one you haven’t read) argues that the savannah idea is a straw man invented by Elaine Morgan!

    Now, notice how the rules will change again and some other thin and ad hoc argument will be conjured up out of thin air.

    Do you know what calling isotope ratios “some [...] thin and ad hoc argument” makes you?

    An idiot and a loon, that’s what. :-| You didn’t even follow the four links I posted, did you?

    What do I care what Langdon wrote so long ago? Did I ever say he’s infallible? And what exactly did Morgan or he mean by “the savannah idea”?

    (I almost certainly won’t have time to read the paper today.)

    Here in this very thread and here in this very thread, respectively.

    Funny. I thought science was supposed to be conducted through the literature.

    Then why are you here?

    If you’re going to ignore everything that’s posted in response to your comments, why are you here? And why do you post, when by your own silly rules we’re supposed to ignore it because it’s not in the literature?

    You really haven’t thought this through, have you.

    a “SPACE APE! SPACE APE! SPACE APE! SPACE APE! SPACE APE! SPACE APE! SPACE APE! SPACE APE! SPACE APE! ” tirade

    Have I ever made such a thing?

    And it’s really not encouraging that you excuse ignorant, childish name calling

    I don’t excuse it. I simply don’t care because it’s irrelevant.

    How hard can that be to grasp?

    As I wrote: I am not trying to engage in social interaction by having this discussion. Jim Moore isn’t my friend or foe, and I’m not trying to do anything about that. I’m trying to discuss hypotheses and evidencenot people.

  94. 594
    David Marjanović

    Algis, have you ever managed to convince anybody with your “simple, plausible, Darwinian” hypothesis?

    No – and that’s exactly why he believes we’re all ganging up on him, him personally, and everyone else who proposes any waterside hypothesis. It simply doesn’t occur to him that there are more parsimonious interpretations for the evidence.

    Look how it completely threw him that I’m not covering Langdon in slobbery kisses!

  95. 595
    Amphiox

    I read Elaine Morgan’s books cover to cover, and at the time I believed and accepted every word in it without question. (In fact that book was my first introduction to the concept of unrecognized male privilege – it wasn’t mentioned by name, but when I did encounter it years later it was immediately familiar and understandable because I remembered what I read in Morgan’s books.)

    The savannah hypothesis she described therein is indeed a shallow strawman. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a real, far more nuanced, set of hypotheses that other people also refer to as “savannah” hypotheses.

    I find Algis’ way of deliberately trying to shoehorn terminology into his preferred brackets, which he has done for quite a number of other terms as well, exceedingly intellectually dishonest.

  96. 596
    Amphiox

    There is no way in hell’s notated circles that the idea that a climbing primate venturing into water, evolving a shoulder joint for improved swimming and then returning to the trees to coapt that shoulder anatomy for climbing again is more parsimonious than a primate climbing in the trees stayed in the trees and evolved a different shoulder anatomy to climb in a slightly different manner in response to other changes such as body size or alteration of the types of trees it found itself climbing in.

  97. 597
    ChasCPeterson

    Poor Mr. Kuliukis has been looking at the world through the same pair of narrow goggles for so long that he can no longer remove them. Nor can he acknowledge that there is a big wide world out there that his goggles do not reveal. He is stuck screaming to anyone who will listen that the world consists only of what can be viewed through two small circular tinted portholes; the rest of us look around and can only wonder what the fuck he’s still yelling about.

    Wading!
    [what about climbing?]
    No, no, Wading!
    [dude. Climbing.]
    oh, ok, Wading&climbing.
    [uh...how 'bout just climbing?]
    NO MUST HAVE WADING

  98. 598
    Michael Clark

    David: If you do nothing else this year, read Fillers’ “The Upright Ape”. I included a link above. that’s what I’m talking about. Vertebrate paleontologist, eh?

  99. 599
    David Marjanović

    The savannah hypothesis she described therein is indeed a shallow strawman.

    What is it like? Man-the-Hunter-type stuff? That wasn’t much of a strawman when she started writing.

    David: If you do nothing else this year

    I’m doing too much other stuff!

    And on the homepage of that site, on the left, just under the photo of the upright chimp, there’s a link to a PLoS paper – you know, published in a peer-reviewed journal. Why didn’t you simply link straight to that? :-) That would have spared me this sight:

    “We now understand that vertebrates emerged from invertebrates by a 180 degree flip of the body.”

    Uh, no, that’s an old idea, but it simply fails when you look at more than a few model organisms. Yes, vertebrates and vinegar flies determine their dorsal and ventral sides in opposite ways – but octopuses don’t play along, molluscs in general have neither one dorsal (like chordates) nor two ventral (like arthropods and annelids) nor one dorsal and one ventral nerve cord (like enteropneusts), they have four (two ventral, two ventrolateral), and flatworms have been known for easily 100 years now to have eight regularly spaced nerve cords all around the body.

    In short, Filler is trying to make a very general point about how evolution works – it’s in the subtitle of his book, too – and one of his centerpiece examples is wrong.

    His paper is quite interesting and highlights several similarities between us and the gibbons that are not shared with the other apes. I don’t have time to read this long paper in detail now, though. Anyway, Pierolapithecus is interesting.

    Vertebrate paleontologist, eh?

    Yes, why? I’ve never worked on mammals, though. The closest I’ve come is this.

  100. 600
    David Marjanović

    Oops. Italics instead of blockquote, because Scientific American blogs don’t allow the blockquote tag. :-]

  101. 601
    anthrosciguy

    There is this wierd, strange thing, called THE MIDDLE GROUND. It exists somewhere between the two extremes. I do not know where, exactly, that point is, but if one accepts that it is there somewhere and one further adds the assumption that wherever this point was, our human ancestors were further along it (towards the ‘aquatic’ end) than chimp ancestors were, then you have already conceded the whole thing.

    But of course your idea doesn’t fit along any sort of middle ground, because as you carefully avoid saying here your idea is, and I quote you, “this explains all the major phenotypic differences between us and them” (us and them being “humans and chimps/gorillas”).

    So you propose a “pretty much 100% terrestrial” hominid — which somehow has a tiny amount of contact with water, a fraction of one percent, causing them to evolve the features of whales, sirenia, and seals. Concerning this fraction of one percent you say “this explains all the major phenotypic differences between us and them” (us and them being “humans and chimps/gorillas”). How is that possible?

    It isn’t. It doesn’t make the least bit of sense. The so-called “mild” version is the opposite of mild, it’s actually far more radical than Hardy’s, which didn’t mesh with the facts but at least had a time period that might account for those features.

    As I explained to you when you claimed baboons were “up and running” within minutes after birth, there is no middle ground between that kind of dishonest and/or stupid claim/response, and reality.

  102. 602
    anthrosciguy

    It’s really not encouraging that you haven’t noticed the fundamental difference between insults and argumenta ad hominem: insults aren’t logical fallacies.

    Although history shows Algis won’t get this, here’s an example: someone says Mister X is a slob, a crook, smells terrible, and steals candy from babies, and that his ideas on this subject are wrong because they don’t fit the facts. Very insulting; not an ad hominem. Then someone says that Prof Y is super smart and has a sterling record in his field but can’t be right on this subject because it’s outside his field. Very compimentary, but it’s an ad hominem.

  103. 603
    Amphiox

    There is this wierd, strange thing, called THE MIDDLE GROUND. It exists somewhere between the two extremes.

    Science cares not a whit about middle grounds. Science seeks what is true and discards the rest. The truth is no more likely a priori to be in the middle ground than towards any particular extreme.

    Now consider the following scenario:

    Human ancestors descended from the trees and took up living in partially open ground with collections of trees scattered about, criss-crossed by waterways. They stood up and walked on two legs to get from tree stand to tree stand, climbed the trees, and, when needed, waded across the rivers. As the trees retreated ever further before the progressing savannah, humans became ever more ground dwelling, and started following the great herds of savannah herbivores for scavenging and so forth. One thing that enabled them to do this more readily then their chimpanzee-line cousins was they could walk better bipedally, which, as an ancillary benefit, enabled them to cross rivers, since the large herds frequently crossed rivers. This made it much easier for them to walk long distances and spread far and wide, while their chimp-line cousins remained among the trees, restricted in movements so much that a single river dividing their ancestral territory posed such a barrier to movement that it caused them to speciate into bonobos on one side of that river, and chimpanzees on the other.

    Our ancestors’ bipedality, inherited from the distant past, pre-adapted them to walk further on open ground AND wade and cross water barriers, and became a key to their long-term success as a clade. The selection pressure of walking and jogging long distances on open ground sculpted our bodies into our modern human form. The benefits to wading were an ancillary bonus for a minor set of activities that nevertheless proved important and gave our lineage further adaptability in terms of habitat exploitation that further promoted their success.

    Well there’s your “middle ground”. And guess what? This scenario is only TRIVIALLY different from the mainstream savannah-based scenarios. In fact it basically IS the mainstream savannah-based scenarios. In no way would it be honest to call such a scenario an “aquatic ape” hypothesis at all. And neither would it be honest to call such a scenario anything to do with “wading” apes either.

  104. 604
    Amphiox

    What is it like? Man-the-Hunter-type stuff? That wasn’t much of a strawman when she started writing.

    Yes. Lots of Man-the-Hunter stuff. But also lots of Man-the-Active-Player-in-Shaping-his-own-Selection-Pressures-while-Woman-Passively-Sat-Around-Evolving-Passively-In-Reaction-to-Man’s-Shenanigans.

    And also lots of Man-the-Hunter-Oh-Wait-There’s-Such-A-Thing-As-Woman?-Oh-Yeah-She-Makes-The-Babies-But-There’s-Nothing-Interesting-There-To-Think-About-For-Evolutionary-Explanations-And-BACK-TO-THE-HUNT!

  105. 605
    anthrosciguy

    What do I care what Langdon wrote so long ago? Did I ever say he’s infallible? And what exactly did Morgan or he mean by “the savannah idea”?

    This is something that Algis, and Elaine before him, do not (or refuse to) get. Elaine’s use of savanna hypothesis has two major problems: one is that she consistently conjures up a “arid treeless plain” rather than the view of savanna as a variety of landscapes often with trees. This also works hand in hand with an attempt to claim that paleoanthropology uses the same environmental determinism that the AAT/H uses. This is a mainstay of the AAT/H.

    Naturally paleoanthropologists do attempt to describe how hominins came to be able to live on savannas, because they did (and do) do so and so any hypothesis of human evolution has to do that. And how hominins came to be the supreme mammalian environmental generalist. But they are not environmentally deterministic like the AAT/H/WHHE; they are based mostly on food-getting and social interaction as drivers of change during human evolution.

  106. 606
    anthrosciguy

    What is it like? Man-the-Hunter-type stuff? That wasn’t much of a strawman when she started writing.

    You see, even the Man the Hunter (promoted by another pop dramatist, ironically) stuff wasn’t particularly environmentally deterministic. It dealt with food-getting and social life, and would’ve worked fine in open ground, mosaic savanna, or forest. It didn’t really fit the facts though, which is what sunk it.

  107. 607
    PZ Myers

    I see we aren’t all tired of Elaine Morgan and her lackeys yet, or I’d suggest we could switch to beating up Robert Ardrey for a change of pace.

  108. 608
    Menyambal

    I was just reading up on swimming strokes, and it was quite clear that most strokes have to be learned—before 1850, it was different strokes for different continents. The strokes that really use the flexibility of the human shoulder were NOT universal (and were considered barbaric by the English when first seen).

    Claiming that swimming caused the shoulder to change is silly. Brachiating is much more likely.

  109. 609
    David Marjanović

    Who’s Robert Ardrey?

    Well there’s your “middle ground”. And guess what? This scenario is only TRIVIALLY different from the mainstream savannah-based scenarios. In fact it basically IS the mainstream savannah-based scenarios. In no way would it be honest to call such a scenario an “aquatic ape” hypothesis at all. And neither would it be honest to call such a scenario anything to do with “wading” apes either.

    QFT!

  110. 610
    Amphiox

    IIRC, Robert Ardrey was one of the early proponents of the so-called “killer ape” theories.

    (That would probably be seen by Algis and co. as yet another reason for the AAH. The killer apes had to go to the water’s edge to wash the blood off their hands.)

  111. 611
    algiskuliukas

    Re 592… A few, but this is not a popularity contest is it?

    I couldn’t care less how many goons there are that think “mockery is good” is the best response to the misnamed, misrepresented so-called “aquatic ape hypothesis”. If I’m outnumbered 100:1 by people who do not show intellectual courage and argue the idea on its terms, rather than misrepresent it like anthro-slur-guy does, it only encourage so me. The fact so many hate the idea but still cannot scramble one, half decent intellectual, honest argument why, between them is very encouraging.

    Most encouraging of all is to read PZ Myers and Henry Gee patting each other on their backs about their eight-year-old level sneers. With intellectual opponents like these… Who needs ignorant morons to poke fun at?

    Algis Kuliukas

  112. 612
    algiskuliukas

    Re 601

    How is that possible?

    Anthro-slur-guy again shows he doesn’t understand population genetics 101.

    It is possible because if there was a differential in selection between human and chimp ancestors in, say, swimming (crazy, I know, space apes are more likely right, PZ?) then the basic principles of evolutionary theory will tell you to expect, even in relatively short evolutionary timescales (let alone 7 million years) that there would be a phenotypic difference too.

    Jim doesn’t understand basic evolutionary theory. All he understands is how to cherry pick words to distort and discredit.

    This is why he can write deliberate slurs like suggesting my ideas (arguing that some slight differential in wading, swimming and diving (at the most ‘aquatic’ at the time of early Homo sapiens) are more extreme than Hardy’s, which argued for swimming for several hours at a stretch for millions of years.

    Algis kuliukas

  113. 613
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Gee, still nothing but OPINION from AK. And his opinion isn’t worth its weight in water.

  114. 614
    anthrosciguy

    Algis:
    Anthro-slur-guy again shows he doesn’t understand population genetics 101.

    An interesting post on TRF at this link, wherein a PhD (screename sfs) whose speciality is precisely what Algis claims to understand (and who has a great many publications and cites to his credit) explains to Algis that his claims are not science.

    http://www.talkrational.org/showthread.php?p=937737#post937737

    This post of mine from there has several quotes from that poster, plus Larry Moran, which point out errors in Algis’ understanding of genetics.

    http://talkrational.org/showthread.php?p=1323181#post1323181

    Another post from sfs from TRF: http://www.talkrational.org/showthread.php?p=912868#post912868

    And of course always remember that Algis is the guy who thought that drift was another name for mutation and that tooth wear was an example of epigenetics. And this (bold added):

    Algis:
    Now, according to my simulations even this would be enough for the allele to become fixed in the population within 30-40Ka on average, albeit assuming that there were no negative effects of having the allele and that the mutation would keep re-appearing if it became extinct.

    As I said then, if you assume magic all things are possible.

    BTW, when Peez earlier brought up Algis’ equating tooth wear and epigenetics, I don’t think he mentioned Algis’ excuse for that error:

    Algis:
    I admit that I was incorrect in my use of the term in using to to describe tooth wear. I had got it into my head that it meant “any phenotypic trait that was not due to genetic factors”. It was a mistake. Mea culpa. But BFD, it’s a minor technicality.

  115. 615
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    But BFD, it’s a minor technicality.

    Nope, its a typical major fuckwittery from a loon/crank who is bullshitting about it being minor. Even I know better than AK on that issue.

  116. 616
    Amphiox

    Anthro-slur-guy again shows he doesn’t understand population genetics 101.

    This is rich coming from Algis, is has more than adequately demonstrated on this thread that he doesn’t even understand the population genetics chapter in Biology 10.

  117. 617
    Menyambal

    I watched the _Hominiform Progression_ vid at Filler’s website http://www.uprightape.net/Hominiform_Progression.html and enjoyed it. There’s some good video of siamangs and orang-orang utan, if nothing else, and some comparisons with people swinging on rings.

    I didn’t read his paper, as it required paying, but I’m willing to consider that the brachiation/bipedalism logic is sound. The siamangs did walk around quite nicely, and I can see gorillas and chimps as descendants of something like a siamang, who lowered its long arms to the ground and lost the bipedal. Humans, when the chimps split off, were forced even more bipedal, and here we are.

    Most folks sort of assume we evolved from something like a chimp, but we need to keep in mind that chimps have had as long to change as we have (and even more generations and perhaps more pressure) so the LCA might have been halfway between, at least. And, as far as I know, there’s nothing to keep a critter from losing bipedalism like an ostrich losing flight. Without going in the water like a penguin.

    By the way, Wikipedia has http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aquatic_ape_hypothesis which pretty much covers this entire discussion, and even has Algis’s name somewhere in the middle. I learn more here, of course.

    There’s also a new page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archicebus about a fossil that isn’t relevant to this discussion, but may be of interest as it’s the oldest fossil primate skeleton discovered.

  118. 618
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    even has Algis’s name somewhere in the middle.

    That I believe. I think he also had an article in Scientific American or American Scientist several years ago. Not impressed. Too much “just so”, too little hard evidence. Still the case today, and even worse with the progress of science. Easy to pretend when there is little evidence. Much harder today….

  119. 619
    Lofty

    Algis’s purported ancestor. We seem to have lost the rubber skin though, had to buy a replacement..

  120. 620
    John Morales

    anthrosciguy,

    BTW, when Peez earlier brought up Algis’ equating tooth wear and epigenetics, I don’t think he mentioned Algis’ excuse for that error:

    Algis:
    I admit that I was incorrect in my use of the term in using to to describe tooth wear. I had got it into my head that it meant “any phenotypic trait that was not due to genetic factors”. It was a mistake. Mea culpa. But BFD, it’s a minor technicality.

    It is amusing.

    Algis: tooth wear is not a phenotypic trait.

    (Yours is a major blunder, not a minor technicality)

  121. 621
    ChasCPeterson

    tooth wear is not a phenotypic trait.

    ?

    Sure it is.

  122. 622
    John Morales

    Chas, well, if it is then I’ve made a major blunder! :)

  123. 623
    algiskuliukas

    Re 593…

    So, the last common ancestor of all apes swam for a living.

    David, please try not to fall into the common aquaskeptic trap of the binary straw man. All I was pointing out was that you assumed that the mobility of the human shoulder was an inherited trait from some brachiator ancestor and not a derived trait for swimming and diving. There is scope for many intermediates.

    In between the “humans never swam” position and the “humans swam for a living” position there is a lot of middle ground.

    Similarly, with the early bipeds – you assume that this was exclusively terrestrial (or arboreal) bipedalism, but the dreaded ‘a’ factor, again, is discounted a priori for no better reason that you don’t like it.

    It’s not intermediate at all. Wading is yet another specialization.

    Wading-climbing is what all apes do.
    Put a gibbon in waist deep water, it’ll move bipedally.
    Put a orang utan in waist deep water, it’ll move bipedally.
    Put a bonobo in waist deep water, it’ll move bipedally.
    Put a chimp in waist deep water, it’ll move bipedally.
    Put a gorilla in waist deep water, it’ll move bipedally.
    Put a human in waist deep water, it’ll move bipedally.

    Doesn’t sound very specialised to me.

    How about the advantages I already mentioned, like lack of competition from increasingly crowded close relatives?

    Trading off less competition with chimps for more competition with baboons (for food)and savannah predators, doesn’t seem very likely.

    It’s a fair point though because, later, coastal habitats would have provided a far better way of doing this of course though.

    If the WC hypothesis can’t explain these, I must consider it disproved!

    Convenient. You cherry pick the two ape clades (Hylobates and Pongo, not Pan or Gorilla) furthest away from us, and on that basis consider it “disproved”.

    And? Have you done that, or do you have a reference for that, or are you talking off the top of your head…? And why do you talk just about the femur and the pelvis?

    Yes. It’s a work in progress. No I’m not talking off the top of my head, that was you when you wrote “Oh no. It only implies I can look at a skeleton. Try it sometime.”

    You seem to be suggesting that simply by looking at a skeleton you could tell if a hominin’s bipedalism had a wading component or not. I notice that you didn’t provide the link to the paper I asked for that showed how such inferences could be made.

    Let’s face it, there are hardly any papers in the literature that even mention wading in the context of bipedal origins and the putative anatomy of early hominins.

    It only needs to present evidence, knowingly or not, that conflicts with the WC hypothesis.

    What evidence, do you think, conflicts with the wading-climbing idea?

    Which post did you put “the four links in”? Must have missed it.

    Ignoring yet another “idiot and loon” slur, Please note that anthro-”sci”-guy (the guy PZ Myers thinks is wonderful) has a different argument. He argues that environmentalist arguments about human evolution are not correct.

    I’d like to hear what you two have to say about that.

    David, I am here because PZ Myers wrote another ridiculously ignorant, sneering post about the mislabelled “aquatic ape hypothesis” and I feel compelled to be a critical voice to that and also because I want him to justify his support for anthro-slur-guy’s shoddy web site. I’ve told you this before.

    I want to discuss the hypothesis and evidence too, but you cannot pretetend that the opinions of people do not matter to evrybody. To some they are all important. Just a few posts ago someone asked me how many people I’d persuaded about the wading idea. I agree, that it does not matter how many agree/disagree with me. I think the evidence is good and the argument is sound but, clearly, a whole lot more science needs to be done.

    That PZ Myers has backed Jim Moore’s (the ex car mechanic, not the real anthroplogist) gossip-fest web site and calls me an idiot/loon/kook is clearly of importance to some people. That you pay lip service to this ignorant tribalism is not encouraging.

    Algis Kuliukas

  124. 624
    algiskuliukas

    Re 594

    It simply doesn’t occur to him that there are more parsimonious interpretations for the evidence.

    On the contrary, I have listened avidly to many of these alternative “explanations” for abour 15 years. I have not heard one that is any good yet, as long as one scales back the selection from mermaid-levels.

    Algis Kuliukas

  125. 625
    algiskuliukas

    Re 595

    The savannah hypothesis she described therein is indeed a shallow strawman. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a real, far more nuanced, set of hypotheses that other people also refer to as “savannah” hypotheses.

    Double speak. If Elaine Morgan writes about it, it’s a straw man. If anyone else does, it’s fine.

    The material point is that for much of the last century, and earlier, the “open plains hypothesis” pretty much dominated all thinking on human evolution. It still largely does today, despite evidence (e.g. from Ardipithecus) that savannahs probably played little part in the evolution of early hominins.

    If, as anthro-slur-guy would have it, some anthropologists never really thought in terms of stark environmental change, then it only begs the question – so why the stark phenotypic changes between humans and chimps?

    Algis Kuliukas

  126. 626
    algiskuliukas

    Re 596

    Note the only way these people can convince themselves is by distorting the arguments. You’d think if these ideas were so bad (as bad as, say, space apes) there’d be no need to twist and exaggerate them. I don’t need to distort creationism, or Von Daniken or Big Foot to argue it’s crap, so why do these people?

    a climbing primate venturing into water, evolving a shoulder joint for improved swimming and then returning to the trees to coapt that shoulder anatomy for climbing again

    Where do you get the “returning to the trees” but from? You just made it up, right?

    The idea is this…

    Wading-Climbing LCA of all the great apes

    Pongo loses the wading – so climbing and quadrupedalism.
    Pan loses the wading – so climbing and k-w-ing quadrupedalism.
    Gorilla loses the wading – so climbing and k-w-ing quadrupedalism.
    Homo loses the climbing, gains some swimming/diving – obligate biped with some swimming/diving abilities.

    What’s the mainstream model on this? Is there one?

    De rigeur, now, it seems, maybe this….

    The idea is this…

    Gibbon-like brachiator LCA of all the great apes

    Pongo loses the brachiation – so climbing and quadrupedalism.
    Pan loses the brachiation – so climbing and k-w-ing quadrupedalism.
    Gorilla loses the brachiation – so climbing and k-w-ing quadrupedalism.
    Homo loses the brachiation and the climbing – obligate biped.

    There’s no difference in parsimony there, as far as I can see.

    Algis Kuliukas

  127. 627
    algiskuliukas

    Re 597 Nice, sneering post there, Chas, thanks. I love it when you guys revert to type and just act like twelve year olds. It makes me more confident about being right.

    If, by this, you mean I keep coming back to the same astonishing, glaring fact that the one scenario in the natural world where any number of great apes will be compelled to move (not just pose momentarily) bipedally (instead of their usual quadrupedalism) for as long as the conditions would prevail, and would actually kill them if they were to try to move quadrupedally – is the one scenario that anthropologists seem to go out of their way to dismiss, then yes, you have a point.

    Just when being in a minority starts to make me think I might be wrong about this, I return to the above point and think “nope”, they’re all just doing the “group think sneering” thing.

    That you guys always have to misrepresent, exaggerate to breaking point and just generally polarise the argument, even when I have repeatedly stressed the slight selection argument indicates to me that your arguments are exceptionally weak.

    The actual dialog I experience goes something like this…

    Waterside selection. That’s a wading-climbing origin (river ape) followed by an almost fully terrestrial beach-combing hominin that swims and dives sometimes (coastal people.)
    - Hahah! You mean the aquatic ape! Hahaha!
    No, no, just a little more wading, swimming and diving than chimps.
    - Hahah! That’s just your “PR” position. You mean the aquatic ape really, don’t you?
    No, I don’t, I’m just suggesting that even slight selection from a little more wading, swimming and diving in humans than chimps could be responsible for all phenotypic differences we see.
    - Hahah! Why must it be only wading! Hahaha!
    I’m not saying that. I’m saying bipedalism started with wading-climbing and was later optimised on dry land – ideally flat, firm, vegetation-free land.
    - Hahah! Space apes are more likely. It’s all creationism. Mockery is good.

    And on and on it goes.

    53 years on, PZ Myers & Henry Gee have elloquently demonstrated the intelelcctual response to these idea – it’s none existent.

    Algis Kuliukas

    Algis Kuliukas

  128. 628
    ChasCPeterson

    a wading-climbing origin (river ape) followed by an almost fully terrestrial beach-combing hominin that swims and dives sometimes (coastal people.)…even slight selection from a little more wading, swimming and diving in humans than chimps could be responsible for all phenotypic differences we see.

    To be clear, that precise scenario is exactly what I’m sneering at. OK? No straw man. Get used to it. It’s actually your ideas–not Morgan’s, not Hardy’s, yours–and your ignorant blinkered persistence in insisting they simply must be true that I find sneer-worthy. OK? Just so you know.

  129. 629
    algiskuliukas

    Re 603 You misunderstand my point. I’m not arguing that science should try to find the middle ground, I am suggesting that aquaskeptics, like the group of people that have already formed here, should see that middle ground does exist, instead of always polarising the argument to help dismiss it.

    I have repeatedly argued for a wading-climbing LCA, and yet the “climbing” bit is often snipped away to make it look like I’m only arguing for wading. Chas did that very thing just now. I’ve repeatedly argued for a terrestrial Homo with some swimming and diving, but it’s always exaggerated into some “aquatic” ape.

    Why do you do that? If the idea’s so bad, why not just point out where it’s wrong on its own terms.

    I do agree with you about one thing…

    In no way would it be honest to call such a scenario an “aquatic ape” hypothesis at all.

    I agree. That is why I think it’s a gross misnomer. They (plural) should be called waterside hypotheses of human evolution.

    I have been arguing this for years too, but it’s easier to sneer at the “aquatic ape” so pseudoskeptics just ignore the point and keep sneering.

    Algis Kuliukas

  130. 630
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Yawn, still no new evidence from AK. And his opinion isn’t and never will be evidence. That comes from citing the peer-reviewed work of others. You know AK, real scientists, not cranks/loons like yourself.

  131. 631
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Oh, and AK, your point is that you are a TRUE BELIEVER™ who can’t be wrong, no matter how little evidence your have for your idea. What a loon. Typical of crankism.

  132. 632
    Menyambal

    Algis, you really do read poorly and write poorly.

    Wading
    for a living is a specialization, even if all apes wade bipedally

    when they have to. (Baboons wade bipedally, too.) You set up your

    version of the AAH to claim enough wading to affect evolution, now

    you say that proto-humans specializing for wading isn’t a specialization.

    And what happens to swimming when you focus on wading? It pops in

    and out of your mind like a frolicking dolphin.

    Competing with baboons isn’t a deal-breaker. The early bipedals likely

    have got their start in Asia, well away from baboons. Even if directly

    competing with baboons, bipedalism may have helped them, and been

    reinforced—I see a biped harvesting from isolated trees, or from grass

    seed-heads, much better than a baboon.

    Savannah predators were certainly a factor, but they liked to hunt around

    water holes. And water has its own predators and parasites.

    Coastal, marginal and littoral life has double the trouble. There are videos

    of crocodiles and big cats fighting over the same prey animal, and there

    are no videos of people living a wading lifestyle. There are videos of

    probiscus monkeys living the life aquatic, and they look like

    monkeys (and like Jimmy Durante).

    Let’s face it, there are hardly any papers in the literature

    that even mention wading in the context of bipedal origins and the

    putative anatomy of early hominins.

    There aren’t any papers mentioning spacships, either.

    Wading just isn’t a factor. We’ve all heard of the AAH, but it doesn’t

    explain anything. It’s just everything you accuse us of, coming from

    you—closemindedness, arrogance, personalities, and cetera.

    By the way, there’s a place where a river is a boundary for chimp range.

    You might look there for an effect of lack of swimming ability. (You’ll

    probaly find that humans walked upstream, or used boats, but it’ll make

    your AAH happy.)

    clearly, a whole lot more science needs to be

    done

    Clearly, a whole lot more science would have to be done, but there’s no

    reason to do it. You’ve got nothing.

    That PZ Myers has backed Jim Moore’s (the ex car

    mechanic, not the real anthroplogist) gossip-fest web site and calls me an

    idiot/loon/kook is clearly of importance to some people.

    Not to me, it isn’t. I find you kooky on your own merits. You just can’t

    imagine anybody reaching conclusions on their own, and you can’t

    avoid personalities and name-calling, while snarling about imaginary

    slights to you.

    You and your own personal problems is all that is going on here. All of

    your paranoid imaginings are simply not happening. Reasoning with you

    isn’t possible, so PZ suggests mockery—nothing else is going to work.

    But I don’t blindly follow PZ.

    Double speak. If Elaine Morgan writes about it, it’s a straw man. If anyone

    else does, it’s fine.

    No, the way she wrote about the savannah hypothesis was a straw man. She set up an imposslble scenario, like saying the little bipeds were Chuck-Norrising jaguars, and she scoffed at that. The blockquote you used says that clearly enough, but you strawmanned it.

    would actually kill them if they were to try to move quadrupedally

    No, moving quadrapedally in water is safe in shallow water, is needed for scavenging food off the bottom, leads to swimming more easily than does bipedal wading, and isn’t going to be done if it isn’t safe.

    Two paragraphs later, you complain that we “exaggerate to breaking point”.

    I can’t keep up with you, and it isn’t because you are right.

    We have living brachiators, and we see signs of former brachiation in the long arms of chimps. We have no living waders, and we see the most aquatic of monkeys looking just like monkeys.

  133. 633
    Menyambal

    Well, damn. I composed in a text window, and I thought I cleared out the double-spacing artifact. Sorry about that.

  134. 634
    David Marjanović

    The killer apes had to go to the water’s edge to wash the blood off their hands.

    :-D

    By the way, Wikipedia has http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aquatic_ape_hypothesis which pretty much covers this entire discussion, and even has Algis’s name somewhere in the middle.

    …It says Greg Laden is a paleontologist. o_O

    So, the last common ancestor of all apes swam for a living.

    David, please try not to fall into the common aquaskeptic trap of the binary straw man. All I was pointing out was that you assumed that the mobility of the human shoulder was an inherited trait from some brachiator ancestor and not a derived trait for swimming and diving. There is scope for many intermediates.

    In between the “humans never swam” position and the “humans swam for a living” position there is a lot of middle ground.

    “For a living” is shorthand for “often enough for natural selection to kick in”. That is what you propose, right?

    By assuming that shoulder mobility increased as an adaptation to climbing, I’m not assuming any additional habitats. You are. All else being equal, parsimony sez your hypothesis loses.

    but the dreaded ‘a’ factor, again, is discounted a priori for no better reason that you don’t like it

    Stop lying. I’ve explained often enough why I think it’s an unparsimonious hypothesis. How much I like it is completely besides the point.

    It’s not intermediate at all. Wading is yet another specialization.

    Wading-climbing is what all apes do.
    Put a gibbon in waist deep water, it’ll move bipedally.
    Put a orang utan in waist deep water, it’ll move bipedally.
    Put a bonobo in waist deep water, it’ll move bipedally.
    Put a chimp in waist deep water, it’ll move bipedally.
    Put a gorilla in waist deep water, it’ll move bipedally.
    Put a human in waist deep water, it’ll move bipedally.

    Doesn’t sound very specialised to me.

    *eyeroll* You say that our ancestors waded often enough for natural selection to kick in, resulting in adaptations that cause us to remain bipedal even outside the water. In other words, you’re saying our ancestors became specialized enough for wading that such adaptations conferred a fitness advantage.

    Whether they additionally kept climbing doesn’t change any of that.

    Trading off less competition with chimps for more competition with baboons (for food)and savannah predators, doesn’t seem very likely.

    I asked what we’d compete with baboons for.

    You haven’t answered.

    I asked if predation pressure is really higher in the savanna than in the rainforest, let alone waterside environments (which have the added danger of territorial hippos).

    You haven’t answered.

    If the WC hypothesis can’t explain these, I must consider it disproved!

    Convenient. You cherry pick the two ape clades (Hylobates and Pongo, not Pan or Gorilla) furthest away from us, and on that basis consider it “disproved”.

    That’s because our bipedality is homologous to that of the gibbons.

    Also, as I keep mentioning, orang-utans walk bipedally quite a lot (when they walk at all).

    Yes. It’s a work in progress.

    OK, I’m shutting up about this topic.

    Which post did you put “the four links in”? Must have missed it.

    559. You didn’t miss it – you even responded to it. You just did so without following any of the links.

    (I apologize again for mentioning “seafood”. I corrected that in 561, a comment you also replied to.)

    Jim Moore’s (the ex car mechanic, not the real anthroplogist)

    You just can’t get over it, huh?

    I think you are the tribalist here: you want to belong to the tribe of anthropologists, so you try to be xenophobic about the tribe of car mechanics. Hint: it’s not working.

    It simply doesn’t occur to him that there are more parsimonious interpretations for the evidence.

    On the contrary, I have listened avidly to many of these alternative “explanations” for abour 15 years.

    …Many of those interpretations aren’t even 15 years old. Back then, most paleoanthropologists believed we’re descended from knuckle-walkers.

    The savannah hypothesis she described therein is indeed a shallow strawman. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a real, far more nuanced, set of hypotheses that other people also refer to as “savannah” hypotheses.

    Double speak. If Elaine Morgan writes about it, it’s a straw man. If anyone else does, it’s fine.

    Read that quote again, this time for understanding, and read comments 559, 604 and 606.

    The idea is this…

    [...]

    There’s no difference in parsimony there, as far as I can see.

    Let’s count the steps:

    Wading-Climbing LCA of all the great apes

    [1] Pongo loses the wading – so climbing and quadrupedalism.
    [2] Pan loses the wading – so climbing and k-w-ing quadrupedalism.
    [3] Gorilla loses the wading – so climbing and k-w-ing quadrupedalism.
    [4] Homo loses the climbing, [5] gains some swimming/diving – obligate biped with some swimming/diving abilities.

    What’s the mainstream model on this? Is there one?

    De rigeur, now, it seems, maybe this….

    The idea is this…

    Gibbon-like brachiator LCA of all the great apes

    [1] Pongo loses the brachiation – so climbing and quadrupedalism.
    [2] Pan loses the brachiation – so climbing and k-w-ing quadrupedalism.
    [3] Gorilla loses the brachiation – so climbing and k-w-ing quadrupedalism.
    [4] Homo loses the brachiation and the climbing – obligate biped.

    4 is less than 5. Losing the climbing is a single step that logically entails losing the brachiation; it didn’t happen afterwards (or at least there’s no reason to think it did).

    I love it when you guys revert to type and just act like twelve year olds. It makes me more confident about being right.

    Oh, look, a logical fallacy.

    and yet the “climbing” bit is often snipped away to make it look like I’m only arguing for wading

    Why in the fuck do you jump straight to assuming malicious intent? That’s quite unparsimonious.

    It’s snipped away because – see higher up in this comment – it’s often not relevant to a particular argument.

    I agree. That is why I think it’s a gross misnomer. They (plural) should be called waterside hypotheses of human evolution.

    I have been arguing this for years too, but it’s easier to sneer at the “aquatic ape” so pseudoskeptics just ignore the point and keep sneering.

    …So why exactly did you think PZ had your hypothesis in mind when he mocked the AAH?

  135. 635
    David Marjanović

    Competing with baboons isn’t a deal-breaker. The early bipedals likely have got their start in Asia, well away from baboons.

    Uh… that would be the origin of apes. Our ancestors, already distinct from those of the chimps, had the savanna move in under them much later, just some 2 to 3 Ma ago, and that clearly happened in Africa.

    Even if directly competing with baboons, bipedalism may have helped them, and been reinforced—I see a biped harvesting from isolated trees, or from grass seed-heads, much better than a baboon.

    A good point. See also Oreopithecus standing under trees and reaching up like a ground sloth or chalicothere or homalodothere.

  136. 636
    ChasCPeterson

    And why be so whiny about ex-car-mechanic Jim Moore’s website URL if it’s a gross misnomer anyway?

  137. 637
    anthrosciguy

    I am suggesting that aquaskeptics, like the group of people that have already formed here, should see that middle ground does exist, instead of always polarising the argument to help dismiss it.

    We had a little go-round over this last year at TRF, where I tried to explain to Algis just why this didn’t work (he’d picked up on the phrase “non-polarising” and was trying to use it in nearly every post at that time). I gave the example of his “up and running” after birth claim and pointed out that there is no comfy non-polarizing middle ground between fantasies like the claims he made and the facts.

    For anyone who wants the background on this particular episode, here’s a post which contains the previous posts and a link.

    http://talkrational.org/showthread.php?p=1952306#post1952306

    Bottom line is that Algis claimed that if we had lived in savanna environments (he ignored that we know that many of us did) we should be expected to have evolved the same birth strategy as ungulates*. He then danced around this for many weeks claiming he meant something else “up and running” within minutes after birth, at one claiming he was referring to baboons.

    The oh-so-comfy non-polarized middle ground does not exist in-between that kind of dishonest and/or stupid claim/response, and reality. Science must exist in reality, not Algis-style fantasies. If Algis really does want a non-polarized discussion he needs to leave the fantasy-world he’s built for himself and enter the world of reality in which science must operate.

    * This is an old AAT/H type of claim: Morgan for decades has claimed that if we weren’t semiaquatic we should expect to have abandoned phylogeny and evolved the sweating system of “the wild ass and the camel”, along with other nonsense along those lines.

  138. 638
    anthrosciguy

    BTW, on Algis’ constant claim that others are twisting the claims about the AAT/H, let me point out what Hardy and Morgan claimed. (Algis’ claim is not twisted either; everyone is aware that he is talking about less than 1% water contact causing “all the major phenotypic differences between us and them” — them being African apes. This is not a milder view, as he seems to think, but far more radical since it removes selection pressure.)

    Morgan claimed “I think that probably [aquatic apes] were about aquatic to the same degree as an otter. So, they would spend large amounts of time in the water but come ashore to sleep and to breed.” Algis has said of this statement: “Quote mining. Congratulations for finding the word combo that best distorts her thinking into what you want her to say.” But the statement was directly from her, while she was being filmed for a television documentary, and there is no way a longtime professional television scriptwriter did not have clearly planned what she wanted to say.

    Hardy said we were similar to “Polar bears, otters, beavers, water voles, etc.” although he simultaneously said that he thought of otters “as more aquatic than Man has been”. He also envisioned our ancestors lived “in large colonies, like those of seals or penguins”.

    Some groups of mammals became completely aquatic, like the whales and the Sirenia (dugongs and manatees), others like the seals almost so, and many others, such as Polar bears, otters, beavers, water voles, etc., became partially aquatic. I then put forth the thesis that perhaps Man himself had had such a phase of semi-aquatic life.”

    “Will Man be more aquatic in the future?”
    The New Scientist, 24 March 1960 Vol. 7:175, pp. 730-733

    In 1960 Hardy said we had a discreet semiaquatic phase during the then recognized “fossil gap” (“gap of some ten million years, or more”); in 1978, after even the last holdouts had accepted that we and chimps had diverged much later, Hardy doubled his timeframe to “twenty million years or more of living a semi-aquatic life”. He talked about “no more than half” his time in water, and that “I must make it clear that I do not suppose man spent more than perhaps five or six hours in the water at a time.”

    The next comment is a cut and paste of a summary of claims by the major AAT/H proponents.

  139. 639
    anthrosciguy

    http://talkrational.org/showthread.php?p=848639#post848639
    (note: this is not an exhaustive list of the outrageous, contrary to fact claims of these proponents)

    Hardy compares us to whales, sirenia, hippos seals, and penguins; with jaws like frogs; living in offshore colonies like seals or penguins for 20 million years or so; says we’re shaped like boats, learned to stand upright on the seabed; made stone tools like knives and spear heads; hunting porpoises; returned to land “after some twenty million years or more of living a semi-aquatic life” spending “perhaps five or six hours in the water at a time”; diving reflex found only in humans and diving animals. Don’t forget that his view of human evolution always included telepathy playing a part, with habits sometimes spread by “telepathic-like means” from a “psychic pool of existence”.

    Then comes Morgan with her sweat glands and tears evolving as salt excretion mechanisms despite their inability to excrete hypertonically; hymens as aquatic adaptations; fur seals sweatcool via eccrine glands; humans don’t have salt hunger, humans don’t search for salt when deprived of it (and other false claims about salt); “hypothetical crocodiles”; standing up produces the same bodily “emergency” reaction as surgery, anxiety, a diet deficient in salt, and haemorrhage; our fat is like that of aquatic mammals 9ie. seals, whales, and sirenia… and this is false); rhinos are descended from an aquatic ancestor; all apes and monkeys always walk bipedally when in water; humans “are halfway to being shaped like a fish”; there is a mainstream theory called the savanna theory, there is no mainstream theory (she says both things even though they’re mutually exclusive); academic response to the AAT/H is handled by “diktat” (“Somebody up there is issuing the commandment”).

    Then Verhaegen with his “predominantly aquatic” rhinos; “semi-aquatic” mountain beavers; Neanderthal snorkel noses with nostrils on the end (he started off saying the nostrils were on the top of the nose); ear exostoses “only found in populations that dive”; “hairless” male steller’s sea lions; “most-themoregulatorily-sweating mammals besides humans are sea-lions”; robust australopithecines ancestral to gorialls and gracile australopithecines ancestral to humans, chimps, and bonobos; “Thermoactive eccrine sweating is abundant in sealions & humans on land. I have no examples of this in other mammals.”; and most insanely: “When one gradually shifts to drinking small frequent bits of seawater + eating fish, it’s possible to survive for months”. Plus his made-up institutional affliliation.

    Then Algis Kuliukas, with claims like these: “the one place apes are pretty much *always* bipedal is in water”, “Extant apes are pretty much 100% bipedal in water”; two-thirds of seals are hairless; genetic drift is another word for mutation; sideways “ice skating” wading in australopithecines (“you’ll agree that the evidence that Lucy might have moved in this way is quite staggering”); his claim that “it favours the AAH” that in “Jane Goodall’s landmark survey of chimp behaviour she ranked moving over wet ground (after or during rain) second in her big three factors to compell bipedalism”; “our lineage has been exposed to a greater degree of selection from wading, swimming and diving than the lineage leading to the African great apes and that this explains all the major phenotypic differences between us and them”.

    And the various AAT/H/WHHE proponents comparing themselves to Darwin, Wegener, Copernicus, and Galileo.

  140. 640
    algiskuliukas

    Re 628 –

    …and your ignorant blinkered persistence in insisting they simply must be true …

    Oh dear, Chas. You got that wrong, big time.

    Do you really think that I have been “insisting” that it “must be true”?

    How ever did you get that idea? I’ve been arguing about this for about 17 or so years and have made thousands and thousands of posts and I have NEVER EVER written anything like that.

    Why do you people have to keep twisting the words of people who argue things you don’t like? It does not show much intelectual courage.

    And “ignorant”? From the guy who, when challenged to show how he can describe a single page on Jim’s web site as being “well researched” http://www.aquaticape.org/quotes.html and my critique of it http://www.riverapes.com/AAH/Arguments/JimMoore/Quotes.htm – he runs away.

    PZ? This, is the guy you think I was afarid of engaging in a debate with!?

    Just to be clear: I do not “insist” that waterside hypotheses “must be true”. All I would like to see is that the field of science responsible for enlightening humanity about our evolution finally try to get over their ridiculous, ignorant, phobia about the damned “aquatic ape hypothesis” and show some open mindedness about the simple, plausible, evidence-basded and very Darwinian idea that some differential in selection from moving in water might help explain the remarkable phenotypic differences between humans and the other great apes.

    Algis Kuliukas

  141. 641
    algiskuliukas

    Re 632

    There aren’t any papers mentioning spacships, either.

    Good point.

    Algis Kuliukas

  142. 642
    algiskuliukas

    Re 634

    By assuming that shoulder mobility increased as an adaptation to climbing, I’m not assuming any additional habitats. You are. All else being equal, parsimony sez your hypothesis loses.

    But, David, humans came down from the trees. We have been close to 100% terrestrial for the best part of 2.5 million years.

    Humans do swim and dive better than chimps. I think a more parsimonious (and Darwinian) explanation for that is that is is the result of natural selection rather than a fortuitous exaptation from bipedalism, or encephalisation or some other just-so story.

    No-one denies we have a more arboreal past but I put it to you that far more people regularly go swimming today than climb trees. But to even float the idea that this might mean we had a “more aquatic” past too (even one just slightly more, as I argue) then anthropologists get all in a panic and start lashing out irrationally. (“SPACE APE!! SPACE APE!! SPACE APE!! SPACE APE!!)

    What’s your problem? Why are you guys all so hydrophobic?

    Stop lying. I’ve explained often enough why I think it’s an unparsimonious hypothesis. How much I like it is completely besides the point.

    Please let’s not escalate this into an insult-throwing battle. I’m calling your bluff on your pretence of rigour. Parsimony, my arse. I think you just don’t like the idea because none of your peers do.

    We have seen the sort of treatment people like PZ, Gee and verbal bullies here dish out to people who are so much as open minded about this idea so it’s no surprise that people who are naturally insecure about their reputation would seek safety in numbers on such matters.

    *eyeroll*

    All members of the ape clade wade bipedally in waist-deep water. You can roll your eyes all you like but that is NOT then a specialised behaviour, is it?

    Unlike brachiation, knuckle-walking and efficient striding bipedalism.

    Arguing for a wading-climbing LCA is therefore more parsimonious than arguing for any one of the extant (specialised) modes of locomotion.

    I asked what we’d compete with baboons for. You haven’t answered.

    I did: “Food”. What else?

    I asked if predation pressure is really higher in the savanna than in the rainforest, let alone waterside environments (which have the added danger of territorial hippos). You haven’t answered

    Sorry. Yes, really. There are these things called lions, leopards and hyenas.

    Crocs and hippos can’t climb trees. Our ancestors could.

    our bipedality is homologous to that of the gibbons

    Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. Gibbon bipedalism is very different from ours and seems to be more a result of their specialisation to brachiate. With arms as long as theirs it’s hard to see how they could be quadrupedal even if they tried.

    Usually, in cladidistics, we look in the closest clades for homologies. Hylobates-Pongo etc split 18 Ma. Gorila-Pan-Homo ca 7Ma. It seems to be a bit of special pleading to argue that the LCA of all great apes was also a biped (like gibbons) for the time in between and then Pongo, Pan and Gorilla all became quadrupedal.

    You just can’t get over it, huh? I think you are the tribalist here: you want to belong to the tribe of anthropologists, so you try to be xenophobic about the tribe of car mechanics. Hint: it’s not working.

    No, I can’t. I seriously pisses me off that some lay person with a massive chip on his shoulder gets endorsements from people like PZ Myers for misrepresenting people’s work and ideas, whereas people like me, who have tried to do the thing your supposed to do (it’s called science) get called “idiot” “loon” etc.

    I’m just pointing out the double standards. Alister Hardy and Elaine Morgan were castigated for not being specialists. Even Sir Richard Attenborough and Dan Dennett’s considered opinions are dismissed because they are not of that unique, mysterious band of people who uniquely understand human evolution, but the nit picking gossip of the unqualified Jim Moore, simply by clinging to Nancy Tanner’s coat tails, is fine and dandy – the “ultimate web resource”.

    Back then, most paleoanthropologists believed we’re descended from knuckle-walkers.

    Some did. Some didn’t. You said that it did not occur to me that there were “more parsimonious” explanations of our bipedality. This wasn’t true. I have avidly read all the latest ideas, as well as all the old ones.

    The current de rigeur idea which you back is one of the oldest, actually. Sir Arthur Keith promoted a Hylobatian model early in the last century. That you were not even aware of this makes your lecturing of me on this matter look a little weak, don’t you think?

    e.g., see…

    Keith, A. Man’s posture: it’s evolution and disorders (1923)

    Some “idiot”, eh, PZ?

    4 is less than 5

    Woopidoo. Clutching at straws, or what!?

    2 is less than 1 too, hence the knuckle-walking LCA idea – which also proved wrong.

    Parsimony is a good principle but it does not always prove to be true, as you should know.

    All apes move bipedally in waist deep water. It is less specialised than brachiation or any of the other extant forms. Wading-climbing is therefore a more parsimonious starting point.

    So why exactly did you think PZ had your hypothesis in mind when he mocked the AAH?

    I didn’t. PZ Myer has never shown the slightest evidence of knowing (or even caring to know) what the latest thinking about waterside hypotheses are. His sneering indicates the kind of knee-jerk, ignorant reaction people have when they hear jokes about the idea in a crowded bar or staff coffee room.

    Algis Kuliukas

  143. 643
    anthrosciguy

    Oh dear, Chas. You got that wrong, big time.

    Do you really think that I have been “insisting” that it “must be true”?

    How ever did you get that idea? I’ve been arguing about this for about 17 or so years and have made thousands and thousands of posts and I have NEVER EVER written anything like that.

    Flashback to 01-31-2010, Talk Rational Forum:

    RAFH: “Have you considered the possibility it’s a shite idea?”

    Algis: “Yeah.. I considered it for about 30 seconds in 1995 when I first read one of Elaine Morgan’s book. Since then I’ve thought it’s a great idea.”

    Bonus flashback from 2010:

    Algis: “It’s all very well playing the “evidence” card. Anyone can do that.”

  144. 644
    anthrosciguy

    I’m just pointing out the double standards. Alister Hardy and Elaine Morgan were castigated for not being specialists. Even Sir Richard Attenborough and Dan Dennett’s considered opinions are dismissed because they are not of that unique, mysterious band of people who uniquely understand human evolution, but the nit picking gossip of the unqualified Jim Moore, simply by clinging to Nancy Tanner’s coat tails, is fine and dandy – the “ultimate web resource”.

    Those beliefs were and are not dismissed because of who the people were/are or what their training was, but because of what they claimed. What they claimed is not so, so it’s proper that it be not accepted.

    What I’ve done on the AAT/H, begun some years after wife died, is obviously not clinging to her coattails (although my decade of researching with her was certainly very good training for my later AAT/H critiquing).

    You really need to learn, and accept, the actual meaning of the term ad hominem.

  145. 645
    algiskuliukas

    And why be so whiny about ex-car-mechanic Jim Moore’s website URL if it’s a gross misnomer anyway?

    Duh. That’s the point.

    Anthro-slur-guy has, for 17 years, been misrepresnting these ideas.

    I bet PZ Myers hasn’t even read it. Maybe tiny a fraction, enought to conclude “mockery is good”. Or, if he has, it doesn’t say much about his academic standards if he thinks it’s “the definitive web resource” on the idea.

    Algis Kuliukas

  146. 646
    algiskuliukas

    Re 643

    Note gossip guy’s technique is to regurgislur precious little snippets he’s collected over the years as “proof” of something.

    It should only take a rational person, who understands what is being proposed, seconds to dismiss the notion that it is a “shite idea”. This, note, is not at all saying that “it must be true”.

    But never mind small matters of logic like that, Jim has a slur to peddle so let’s all stand up and applaud.

    Algis Kuliukas

  147. 647
    algiskuliukas

    Re 637

    The usual gossip.

    Jim’s life’s “work” on this idea has been to try to polarise the debate. He has misrepresented practically everyone who’s stated an opinion on it. Most notably, Daniel Dennett, author of “Darwin’s Dangerous Idea”. Search the web for “anthrosciguy Dennett” and you’ll found countless posts where Jim peddles the idea that Dennett brackets the idea along with creationism and denies his rather clear open minded support of Elaine Morgan’s work. I wrote to Dennett the other week to ask him about this and he told me, quite categorically, that Jim’s peddlings were simply not true.

    From Hardy’s work, his web site only cherry picks the worst sounding bits (“penguin colonies” and “frog jaws” and the like) and not his “first and foremost” points – the fact humans swim and dive rather well, certainly as compared to chimps.

    There is a lot of middle ground to be sought here, if only people would abandon their tribal hysterics for a minute.

    Savannahs contain lots of micro habitats that are wet. Seasonally flooded gallery forests, for example. As conditions got drier, our ancestors would paradoxically have been more dependent on such refugia. Being 100% terrestrial (to the nearest integer) does not mean that we never swam and dived. Even swimming once a week poses a significant threat of drowning and if our ancestors did this more than chimps for a significant period of time we’d expect to see some phenotypic shift from selection.

    Take two extremes here.

    One is that human ancestors did not swim and dive significantly more than chimp ancestors. If so, one would predict no difference in swimming and diving abilities between the two species. A lot more research needs to be done but the anecdodatal evidence seems to contradict this.

    The other is that humans ancestors became aquatic mammals in the past. If so, one would expect to see clear evidence of aquatic traits in the fossil record. We’d expect to see limb reduction, and a definite trend toward vestigiality of weight bearing traits. The evidence so far contradicts this too.

    But there is a middle way too. Human ancestors were largely terrestrial like we are now, but swam and dived more than chimps. Here, we’d expect to see an odd collection of traits that are hard to explain otherwise and clear evidence that humans are significantly better at swimming and diving than chimps are. Again, a lot more science needs to be done but so far, this seems to be the closest to the truth.

    I predict Jim Moore will ignore this line of argument – as he has for the past 17 years of so, and continue to peddle slurs that my ideas are even more extreme than Hardy’s.

    Algis Kuliukas

  148. 648
    Menyambal

    Good point.

    Wow.

    Thank you.

    Algis, in your wading scenario, what is the primary purpose of the wading? I mean, out in the ocean, ships are either fishing or transporting—extracting something from the ocean, or just trying to get through it. (The tuna you had for lunch came from the ocean, the computer you are using came over the ocean.)

    So are your waders just slogging through the water to get to a flooded tree to climb up, or are they scavenging for snails off the bottom, or harvesting water plants off the surface, or even from reeds overhead? What are they doing in the water, and how do you justify your scenario? Yes, a mix of all is possible, but I’d like something more than just “wading”.

    My point here is that chimps are much better suited than we are for scavenging stuff off the bottom of shallow water.

    The only wading that humans currently do for a living (to any appreciable extent), is rice cultivation. The transplanting of seedlings`—”rice planting”— is done in water a foot or so deep, and pretty much involves getting the hands down almost to the bottom. It’s done bent over, often with legs spread, and is back-aching work.

    Fortunately the bottom is soft and the rice seedlings are stiff, so it doesn’t have to be done quite as far down as it could be, but it isn’t easy for people to do. Chimps, on the other hand, would find it a doddle.

    Chimp hands are already on the ground. Hell, their knuckles are on the ground, they could extend a finger into the mud and nestle the seedling into the hole, without even blinking.

    Chimp back feet would also have it a bit easier in the soft muck, with their spreadable toe/fingers and sensitivity.

    Now, you could move the chimps over to snail-harvesting, or clambering around on a rock bottom, or grubbing for oysters, and they’d still be doing better than humans. Unless the water is deep, or fast, or the travel is fast, chimps are better suited to it than humans. (I’ve been in many a water/wading situation, and I’d go chimp in most of them.)

    Algis, you need to specify what the water-work is, and then show evidence for it. Just saying that humans are better is not sufficient.

  149. 649
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    *checks evidence net for anything to back up AK’s idea. Sees nothing as opinion is nothing.*

  150. 650
    anthrosciguy

    But there is a middle way too. Human ancestors were largely terrestrial like we are now, but swam and dived more than chimps.

    This false dichotomy is part and parcel of the AAT/H, and Algis certainly continues the tradition. By doing so, the proponents suggest that any use of water is evidence for their overall idea. (For instance, I’ve mentioned above that Algis has said that Jane Goodall’s observation that chimps at Gombe often walked bipedally on wet ground after a rain is strong evidence for the AAT/H.) But the AAT/H isn’t just some water use; it’s that water use to some degree (often vague and shifting) spurred convergent evolution and left us with features seen only in cetaceans, pinnipeds, and sirenia (and hippos)… the features seen in humans (and often those other animals) are generally inaccurately described as well, making for a huge GIGO problem. In fact I’ve described the AAT/H as a GIGO machine, which I think is quite accurate if you’ve looked at the history of the proponents’ argumentation.

  151. 651
    Amphiox

    But there is a middle way too. Human ancestors were largely terrestrial like we are now, but swam and dived more than chimps.

    This middle ground is trivial, and already acknowledged and a part of existing savannah based theories. In fact it is a truism. A terrestrial mammal on the savannah that travels long distances over that savannah MUST swim and dive more often than a forest-bound mammal living in the trees. That small degree of water use however offers little in the way of pervasive selection pressure and fails to provide any form of parsimonious explanation for anything. If you walk back your assertions all the way here, Algis, then you have given up on the AAH, even if you refuse to accept that reality.

  152. 652
    Amphiox

    Convenient. You cherry pick the two ape clades (Hylobates and Pongo, not Pan or Gorilla) furthest away from us, and on that basis consider it “disproved”.

    The fact that you think this is “cherry picking” is just another demonstration that you don’t comprehend the first thing about how evolutionary theory works on its most fundamental level.

  153. 653
    Amphiox

    Double speak. If Elaine Morgan writes about it, it’s a straw man. If anyone else does, it’s fine.

    Truly you are pathetic Algis. Now it appears we can add “straw man” to “ad hominem” and the rest of the basic evolutionary concepts you simply do not understand.

    WHAT Morgan wrote was the straw man, you pitiful ignoramous (and truly, you are rankly pitiful right now). Other people have written DIFFERENT THINGS that are not straw men, but they just happen to have used the same words as a name for what they wrote.

    Labels aren’t magic. And that applies to your juvenile perseveration over “waterside” vs “aquatic”.

    It. don’t. matter. what. you. call. it. Algis.

    Your. problem. is. that. your. idea. STINKS.

    It is unparsimonious.

    It is unnecessary.

    It is based upon false assumptions.

    It is inconsistent with established evidence that WE ALREADY HAVE.

  154. 654
    Menyambal

    Algis, I’d not call orangs quadrupedal. They mostly stay up in trees, and while in trees sometimes walk bipedally on branches, with hands for stabilization. They do seem to more quadrupedal than bipedal on the ground, but do go bipedal fairly often. I’d call them arboreal, rather than name them for a ground gait.They look to me like brachiators who got too heavy.

    Chimps and gorillas I’d call quadrupeds, and say they live mostly on the ground. But even they look like brachiators gone bad.

    So two out of four of the apes are quadrupeds. I have no trouble with that.

    Algis, when you say “swimming and diving”, what do you mean? Some folks say they are swimming when they are sloshing about in a pool, and diving can mean leaping into water from a height, or just swimming down to the bottom.

    Chimps are dense, strong little bastards, and really can’t float. We humans, as best I can tell, have slow and steady muscles (that came from the savannah life) and are less dense. We are also, most of us, packing some fat.

    I argue that our swimming abilities came AFTER the savannah made us soft-muscled and well-fed.

    Orangutans have been trained to swim a bit, and even observed to do so in the wild—really swimming across a river. I could argue that swimming is so un-natural for all us primates that only humans can learn how to do it well. Only we have the brains to do the moves and work the breath, and even we suck at it.

  155. 655
    ChasCPeterson

    Humans do swim and dive better than chimps.

    Yay, let’s play Mad-Libs!
    Humans do _verb_ and _verb_ better than chimps.

    Why are you guys all so hydrophobic?

    We are Lipid.
    Hear us roar.

    Usually, in cladidistics, we look in the closest clades for homologies.

    Dude. You’re bluffing.

    2 is less than 1 too

    quoted for the record.

    we’d expect to see an odd collection of traits that are hard to explain otherwise

    Begging The Question for $1000, Alex.

  156. 656
    algiskuliukas

    Re 644:

    What they claimed is not so

    What Jim means here is that he has managed to find a couple of minor points that they made which, with the benefit of hindight, might have been false. Anyone (apart from Jim Moore, it seems) is capable of making mistakes.

    The material point of what they claimed – that there are a set of remarkable phenotypic differences betwween humans and chimps that are consistent with a “more aquatic” past – is exactly so.

    This is why Jim Moore’s web site fails to even mention the most significant fact of the whole debate. Yes, that’s right, PZ. Imagine that. The most pertinent fact in the whole issue of the “aquatic ape theory” and the “definitive web resource” on the subject doesn’t even mention it.

    Humans swim and dive BETTER than chimps.

    This is why Jim’s nit picking somehow manage to miss Hardy’s “first and foremost” point. Lot’s of stuff that, when taken out of context, and given the once over by Jim’s special presentation techniques, sound a bit crazy, but not the esssentials.

    Some web resource this!

    Algis Kuliukas

  157. 657
    algiskuliukas

    Re 644:

    What I’ve done on the AAT/H, begun some years after wife died, is obviously not clinging to her coattails

    followed immediately by…

    (although my decade of researching with her was certainly very good training for my later AAT/H critiquing).

    In other words: “I’d like people to think that I’m not clinging to her coattails, but I am really.”

    Surprising, Jim. I don’t remember any cherry-picked, out-of-context gossip in Nancy’s work, whereas that’s pretty much all your “critiquing” has been for the last 17 years.

    Algis Kuliukas

  158. 658
    algiskuliukas

    Re 655:

    Chas, thanks for your encoragement. PZ had you lined up as some big intellectual foe I was supposed to get my arse kicked by.

    The reality is you’re nothing of the sort. Easy-peasy. That’s really encouraging. The more I dig into this, the more I find that so-called experts have nothing significant to say on the matter.

    Yay, let’s play Mad-Libs! Humans do _verb_ and _verb_ better than chimps.

    Gosh. That’s a new one. Never heard that one before.

    But please, before rattling off the usual “we can climb mountains better than chimps” “we can play the trombone better than chimps” etc let’s try to think about doing stuff without technology and from the earliest ages. Infants can learn to swim before they learn to walk.

    We are not talking here about wierd things cultural modern humans can do, we’re talking about how well we move compared to chimps in one of only three substrates possible – the one you’re not supposed to consider, otherwise you get labelled an “idiot”.

    The rest is not worth bothing about.

    Come on, Chas. I’m sure you can do better than this.

    How about reading Jim’s (shock horror) Can “AAT Research be Trusted?” page, and then reading my critique of it, and tell me – knowing that your scientific reputation might be at stake – why you think Jim Moore’s research is better than mine.

    Or, you could just keep evading the point and hope nobody has noticed…

    Algis Kuliukas

  159. 659
    Tethys

    Algis does not like it that Jim Moore is better at science. It makes him very angry!

    So angry that he will draw a thread out to a month long, because how dare the mechanic have a better understanding of the subject than Algis. It’s almost as if all those years of school were a compleat waste of time and money.

  160. 660
    algiskuliukas

    Re : 651

    … then you have given up on the AAH

    The “aquatic ape hypothesis” is a misnomer. It’s not suggesting our ancestors were “aquatic” in any real sense. My understanding was that the term Desmond Morris coined was somewhat ironic – of the apes (of which we know are most definitely not aquatic) we are the most aquatic.

    It’s not exclusively pre-Homo, so “ape” is not appropriate.

    And it’s not one idea, but several – hence “Waterside Hypotheses of Human Evolution” (plural) is better, in my view.

    In that sense, I have given up on the “AAT”, yes.

    But, there is a clear difference between what I’m suggesting and what you say is “trivial”.

    “Waterside hypotheses of human evolution assert that selection from wading, swimming and diving and procurement of food from aquatic habitats have significantly affected the evolution of the lineage leading to Homo sapiens as distinct from that leading to Pan.” (Kuliukas & Morgan 2011:118)

    Kuliukas, A., Morgan, E. (2011). Aquatic scenarios in the thinking on human evolution: What are they and how do they compare?. In: Vaneechoutte, M., Verhaegen, M., Kuliukas, A. (eds.), (2011). Was Man More Aquatic in the Past? (eBook). Blackwell Science (Basel)

    You say …

    That small degree of water use however offers little in the way of pervasive selection pressure and fails to provide any form of parsimonious explanation for anything

    … but I dispute it. Even slight levels of selection can, and do, cause significant phenotypic changes in short evolutionary timescales.

    Some selection from wading, swimming and diving, potentially explains all the major phenotypic differences between humans and chimps/gorillas.

    Algis Kuliukas

  161. 661
    Menyambal

    … there are a set of remarkable phenotypic differences betwween humans and chimps that are consistent with a “more aquatic” past …

    There are also differences that are consistent with a “running” past, a “space” past and a “gay San Francisco hairdresser” past.

    Algis, you keep addressing snarkasms toward PZ. I’m pretty sure he isn’t reading this, and would not care what you said care if he did. You just sound egomaniacal and bitterly twisted.

    And to other people …

    Gosh. That’s a new one. Never heard that one before.

    And you have heard it so damn many times before because it is true, and you don’t listen.

    let’s try to think about doing stuff without technology and from the earliest ages. Infants can learn to swim before they learn to walk.

    They have to be taught, and they don’t swim well. Have you tried teaching baby chimps to swim? Can you really say we swim better? (By the way, I understand that baby seals or sea lions have to learn to swim, so there’s “instinctive” oot the windae.)

    We are not talking here about wierd things cultural modern humans can do, we’re talking about how well we move compared to chimps in one of only three substrates possible

    We run distances better than chimps. We walk distances better than chimps. We dance better than chimps. We do karate better than chimps. We suck at wrestling and biting, compared to chimps. And we really don’t know that we swim better than chimps—we float better because we are spongy and fat, and that’s all we can say. As for scoffing at “cultural”, you just can’t—we are cultural, and so are chimps—and swimming is cultural.

    – the one you’re not supposed to consider, otherwise you get labelled an “idiot”.

    No, that’s not the reason for the label.

  162. 662
    algiskuliukas

    Re 653

    Your. problem. is. that. your. idea. STINKS.

    Yes, adding the full stops there really makes the point. Thanks.

    Trouble is, your “justification” for that opinion doesn’t add up.

    Most waterside hypotheses are parsimonious. For example, what’s the most parsimonious explanation for why we swim better than chimps?

    Is it a) because our ancestors were exposed to more selection from swimming than theirs or, b) because of an exaptation from something else, like bipedalism?

    If it’s unnecessary, how do you explain the suit of traits that WHHE explain? You can’t. Saying it’s unnecessary is just saying “we don’t know is fine”. It might well be fine, but why reject a perfectly plausible potential model just because a whole field got the wrong end of the stick on the idea from day one?

    What false assumptions?

    How is it inconsistent with established evidence that we already have?

    Algis Kuliukas

    PS

    Please, do you have to do the “you don’t understand x, y, z” slur? I have a masters degree in human evolution (passed with distinction) am doing a PhD and tute human biology to 1st year university. I make mistakes but, honestly, peddling slurs like this is truly pathetic. Who are you, and what are your qualifications to lecture me on all this anyway?

  163. 663
    algiskuliukas

    Re 654

    Chimps are dense, strong little bastards, and really can’t float. We humans, as best I can tell, have slow and steady muscles (that came from the savannah life) and are less dense. We are also, most of us, packing some fat.

    I argue that our swimming abilities came AFTER the savannah made us soft-muscled and well-fed.

    Why are you so sure that our “slow and steady” muscles “came from the savannah” and that our fat is a recent phenemon of over-eating?

    Isn’t it just as likely as the density difference between humans and chimps is due to some selection from swimming?

    Algis Kuliukas

  164. 664
    algiskuliukas

    Re 661

    There are also differences that are consistent with a “running” past, a “space” past and a “gay San Francisco hairdresser” past.

    Daft point. See, a “space past” and a “gay San Francisco hairdresser” past are silly, ridiculous, implausible examples. I personally have no problem with Lieberman’s ER hypothesis, so you cannot accuse me of being inconsistent about running, whereas I can accuse the mainstream of that.

    Seriously, why do people sneer so much about the idea that humans might have waded, swam and dived more than chimps since the LCA? Do you? If not, what’s you’re problem with this idea?

    Algis, you keep addressing snarkasms toward PZ.

    Yes, because it’s his blog and he has made the most ridiculously ignorant sneering posts against a perfectly plausible idea. He also gave uncritical support of a shit web site that any academic should want to disown.

    And you have heard it so damn many times before because it is true, and you don’t listen.

    On the contrary, I do listen, very carefully. The first person to make this point against me was Mark Collard, my tutor at UCL. It was a silly point then and it’s a silly point now.

    Infants can learn to swim before they learn to walk. This cannot be placed in the ssame bracket as playing the trombone etc.

    Of all the billions of permutation comparing how well two species move in a given substrate, where there is a significant difference, the only one where natural selection would not be offered as the obvious explaination straight away is where humans and chimps are being compared in water.

    Humans, chimps, trees – chimps are better due to n.s.
    Humans, chimps, dry land – humans are better due to n.s.

    Pick any other combo…
    Pigs, monkeys, trees – monkeys are better due to n.s.
    Whales, squirrels, water – whales are better due to n.s.

    etc etc.

    Try this…
    Humans, chimps, water – and all of a sudden, the rules change. Anything can be considered here APART FROM NATURAL SELECTION.

    It just can’t be, right? I mean, that’s CRAZY. SPACE APES!! SPACE APES!! SPACE APES!! SPACE APES!! SPACE APES!! SPACE APES!! SPACE APES!! SPACE APES!!

    Can you really say we swim better?

    Good question, and thanks for admitting that even true aquatics have to learn. Clearly more (well some) proper research needs to be done, but I think the anecdotal evidence is pretty clear.

    Observed incidents of swimming in humans – billions, chimps – a handful at most.
    Observed incidents of infant swimming in humans – thousands, zero in chimps.
    Swimming > 3km in humans – thousands, meanwhile the river Congo has been an
    adequate geographical barrier to seperate the three great ape species for 3Ma.
    Diving incidents > 5m depth in humans – thousands , chimps zero.

    scoffing at “cultural”

    Who was scoffing? Not me. Even walking requires learning. I’m just making the point that the argument we can do x better than chimps, where x is yet another of the millions of things human culture and technology has enabled us to do completely misses the point.

    There are three possible substrates our ancestors might have moved through.

    JUST THREE. This is assuming we never flew and we never started burrowing underground.

    Of the three why do you think it’s justifiable to completely reject one of them a priori, and concentrate on the other two?

    Why ignore water when it is clear to everyone that the big ecological thing that happenned in Africa since the Miocene involves that very stuff? Seasonally flooded gallery forest habitats were clearly a key micro niche in human evolution.

    Algis Kuliukas

  165. 665
    vaiyt

    Pick any other combo…
    Pigs, monkeys, trees – monkeys are better due to n.s.
    Whales, squirrels, water – whales are better due to n.s.

    Oh! Oh! Can I try? Let’s do this combination for size:

    - Pigs, squirrels, water.

    If pigs swim better than squirrels (or the opposite) it must be because one of them was specifically adapted to traverse water! It makes perfect sense!

    Or maybe you didn’t think this through. Humans don’t necessarily swim better than chimps because we suffered selection pressure to swim. Maybe we just happen to float better and have more mobile shoulders for different reasons, which incidentally made us better suited to swimming than our closest cousins. Mind you, we might swim better than other primates, but we still suck compared to basically anything that actually lives in the water.

  166. 666
    algiskuliukas

    Re 665 – See that? “specifically adapted” is a misrepresentation of the argument, all I’m suggesting is just that some natural selection is usually used to explain the difference, if there is one.

    Yes, maybe. Maybe we swim better because we’re bipedal. Maybe we swim better because we have more intelligence. Maybe we swim better because we’re fatter. Maybe we swim better because we have mobile shoulders from brachiation. Maybe we swim better because we fart so much.

    Who knows why, or cares? The one key message is clear: It CAN’T be due to natural selection, coz that’s crazy! SPACE APES!! SPACE APES!! SPACE APES!! SPACE APES!! SPACE APES!!

    Of course we suck compared to anything that actually lives in the water – because we don’t live in the water and nobody ever suggested we ever did. The idea is we swim better than chimps so… (I know it’s so scary anthropologists will be twitching and starting to fit now) so… MAYBE our ancestors were exposed to selection from swimming and diving more than they were

    As always, deny and distort to discredit, is the mantra of aquaskeptics.

    Why do these people hate the idea so much? It’s truly bizare.

    Algis Kuliukas

  167. 667
    Michael Clark

    NS! NS! NS!

    I wonder if I can prevail upon you to haul out your copy (you said you’d bought and read it, right?) of The Upright Ape? It isn’t necessary to read the whole thing (Jeez, think of the attention span you’d have to muster) –just the last chapter. That last chapter is called “The Four Great Hominiforms”. Can you guess what it covers? Oh, I know you’ve read it so you know what it covers, right?

    Now go back and read your last post.

    EVEN YOU should be able to see how stupid your argument has become. EVEN YOU, Algis.

    Eversbanes’ AHA moment is coming for you. That very scientific moment when you look in the mirror and say “Gee, look how wrong I was!”

    We’ll let DM stumble around for awhile yet. He saw the word “octopus” and ran away laughing. But you and me, Buddy, we’re ahead of the game ‘cuz we’ve read Filler, right? Right?

  168. 668
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    AK’s evidenceless arguments don’t hold water, never did. What a drip.

  169. 669
    ChasCPeterson

    PZ had you lined up as some big intellectual foe I was supposed to get my arse kicked by.

    That’s not what happened.

    How about reading Jim’s (shock horror) Can “AAT Research be Trusted?” page, and then reading my critique of it, and tell me – knowing that your scientific reputation might be at stake – why you think Jim Moore’s research is better than mine.

    Those goggles you’re wearing–they distort your perceptions.
    In the first place, I had to actually LOL at the notion that my scientific reputation might hinge on a blog comment in which I express an opinion about two personal pages on the inernet, neither of which has jack shit to do with science. Scientific reputations don’t work that way, man, and the fact that you don’t realize that is one reason why you come off as a crackpot.
    So but anyway I took your little challenge and frankly it was senseless; I can’t judge the quality of his research or yours from a webpage that discusses a webpage that discusses a pop-science book. If it helps, I agree with you that Moore’s page is highly selective and that some of the examples are trivial errors; because its purpose could be interpreted as well-poisoning it’s not something I would choose to include if it was my website. Your response, on the other hand, once again presents you as a crank. The tone is belligerent. It seems excessive and obsessive, with every detail made explicit and a wordcount that dwarfs the page to which you are responding. It’s laced with appeals to authority and special pleading.
    OK? You asked.

    Or, you could just keep evading the point and hope nobody has noticed…

    And what exactly is it that you think is “the point”? (Please spell it out so that folks can decide whether I’ve been evading it or not.)

    Seriously, why do people sneer so much about the idea that humans might have waded, swam and dived more than chimps since the LCA?

    I’m not sneering at that idea.

    If not, what’s you’re problem with this idea?

    My-are problem with your waterside-evolution scenario is with this part:

    “Waterside hypotheses of human evolution assert that selection from wading, swimming and diving and procurement of food from aquatic habitats have significantly affected the evolution of the lineage leading to Homo sapiens as distinct from that leading to Pan.”

    …and with this part:

    Some selection from wading, swimming and diving, potentially explains all the major phenotypic differences between humans and chimps/gorillas.

    …because although the ideas are sort of interesting, they are a) not supported by any of the available evidence and b) therefore unnecessary because all of the available evidence is better explained by competing hypotheses.
    OK? *shrug*

  170. 670
    Owlmirror

    Of course we suck compared to anything that actually lives in the water – because we don’t live in the water and nobody ever suggested we ever did.

    Um.

    Isn’t that exactly what the original aquatic ape hypothesis posited?

    The idea is we swim better than chimps so… (I know it’s so scary anthropologists will be twitching and starting to fit now) so… MAYBE our ancestors were exposed to selection from swimming and diving more than they were

    I think you need a new phrasing and acronym for your far more limited idea.

    How about the Adaptive WAter-Side Hypothesis?

    It’s not AAH; it’s AWASH.

  171. 671
    Owlmirror

    Or maybe:
    Ape Wading Verticality Adaption Synapomorphic Theory

    AWVAST, landlubbers!

  172. 672
    anthrosciguy

    They have to be taught, and they don’t swim well. Have you tried teaching baby chimps to swim? Can you really say we swim better? (By the way, I understand that baby seals or sea lions have to learn to swim, so there’s “instinctive” oot the windae.)

    No, baby seals, sea lions, or otters (as Hardy claimed) don’t really have to taught to swim. The ” teaching” people sometimes talk about consists of being nudged into water and kept there. They, like virtually all mammals it seems, swim instinctively. Exceptions are humans, African apes, giraffes, and of course adult hippos are incapable ( but I would assume the infants do so instinctively) . Jan Wind looked at the reasons for this, why humans and African apes are out of this particular loop compared to other primates and other mammals, and determined that its a consequence of our respective primary modes of locomotion. The instinctive swimming moves all mammals use (even kangaroos use the dog paddle even though its quite different from the way they normally use their legs) don’t work we’ll for either our bottom heavy upright style or African apes top heavy quadrupedal bodies. The instinctive swimming stroke mammals use tends to drive us under water, unlike most mammals. Luckily for us this problem is easier to overcome than it is for African apes, since in our style our heads are at least closer to the surface. All of this, however, including the difference between us and African apes, is a side effect of our locomotion rather than an adaptation for swimming.

  173. 673
    algiskuliukas

    Chas, I appreciate your reply. Thanks.

    …neither of which has jack shit to do with science

    Well I’m glad you’re so confident that whatever you write here publicly will not have any impact on your reputation.

    Both Jim Moore’s web site – and my critique of it – should have “jack shit” to do with human evolution, I would agree, but unfortunately, so sparse is the peer-reviewed scientific literature on the subject, I fear many undergraduates are finding, or being directed to, his web site, reading endorsements like those from PZ Myers, and are trusting his word on that basis. I was, by Leslie Aiello, at UCL.

    I can’t judge the quality of his research or yours from a webpage that discusses a webpage that discusses a pop-science book

    Fair enough, but you did say earlier that you thought his web site was better researched than mine. On what basis did you make that assessment? How much of his web site did you actually critically read, and how much of it did you then look at my critique for a comparison?

    I’m frankly skeptical that you could have come up with the conclusion you did if you gave it much more than a perfunctory glance.

    If it helps, I agree with you that Moore’s page is highly selective and that some of the examples are trivial errors; because its purpose could be interpreted as well-poisoning it’s not something I would choose to include if it was my website

    Thank you.

    Your response, on the other hand, once again presents you as a crank. The tone is belligerent. It seems excessive and obsessive, with every detail made explicit and a wordcount that dwarfs the page to which you are responding. It’s laced with appeals to authority and special pleading.

    Is it more “cranky” to obsessively try to twist a missing ellipsis into a seedy slur of some kind of malpractice, or to carefully expose that gross misrepresentation? Ditto the other three on that page. Ditto the rest of the web site.

    My tone is was not belligerent when I wrote my critique. I actually gave Moore some credit, whereas he has never given one hint of any to Elaine Morgan.

    I admit I have become belligerent since. I despise the way this guy, simply by hanging on the coattails of a respected anthropologist, supplying dirt and gossip to scientists looking to have their biases confirmed – and doing no science or academic work of his own, has been given so much uncritical acclaim, whereas I, and people like me, have tried to do the right thing, returned to university with an open mind, got academic qualifications and done some proper science to look into these ideas for the first time, presented them at scientific conferences and had them published, get treated like pseudoscientific cranks.

    Anyway, I understand your desire to appear balanced and fair here.

    And what exactly is it that you think is “the point”? (Please spell it out so that folks can decide whether I’ve been evading it or not.)

    Well as you have just, finally, given some fair (and rare) criticism of one of Jim’s pages and my critique of it, I can no longer say that you have been evading it.

    because although the ideas are sort of interesting, they are a) not supported by any of the available evidence.

    I really don’t know how you can say that.

    * Humans do swim and dive better than chimps. You couldn’t wish for a better piece of pertinent evidence than that if it was a Hollywood script.
    * Thousands of fossils, attributed to ancestors of Homo have been found near paleolakes and lacustrine dominated habitats, compared to a tiny few attributed chimps.
    * We have a peculiar set of traits that are all consistent, and more importantly, none that are contradictory to, a more waterside life.

    As a scientist, would you not, at least, agree that more science needs to be done here?

    …therefore unnecessary because all of the available evidence is better explained by competing hypotheses

    … or that.

    I have carefullly evaluated all the 30+ models of hominin bipedal origins and the wading hypothesis, by any rational objective measure, is as good as any of them, and far better than most.

    I suspect that if each and every human-chimp difference was looked at in this way and for each, the competeting mainstream explanation(s) were evaluated against waterside ones, you’d find a similar pattern.

    Even John Langdon’s “AAH critique” found 6 out of 26 traits “consistent with AAT” and he was evaluating a rather exaggerated form of the idea.

    If practically no science has been done to evaluate these ideas rationally (and it hasn’t, by the way) on what basis do you make such bold claims? Coffee room sneering, right?

    Algis Kuliukas

  174. 674
    algiskuliukas

    Re 670

    Isn’t that exactly what the original aquatic ape hypothesis posited?

    No. At least not in my, and some waterside proponents, opinions.

    Morgan can be criticised, in my view, for not labelling the idea more accurately or for trying to define what it (they) actually are.

    Unfortunately, we are left with a herd of cats all arguing about what it is, when it happenned, where and how much?

    It drives me up the wall, but I guess that’s human nature for you.

    What I think all of “us” agree with though is the form of words I’ve repeated here already a few times such as here.

    Adaptive WAter-Side Hypothesis

    That’s really not too bad!

    Actually, the label I have suggested (without a great amount of success, I admit) is

    Waterside Hypotheses of Human Evolution (WHHE)

    Waterside, not ‘aquatic’ because the term is loaded. I think it was only meant as an ironic term but that irony clearly has gone over many people’s heads. I agree humans are 100% terrestrial (to the nearest integer) and probably always were. But even if we were only 0.49% aquatic at most, that still leaves plenty of scope for some swimming and diving – easily enought for some selection to shape the phenotype.

    Human Evolution not “apes” because the idea is not exclusively pre Homo.

    and

    Plural Hypotheses because there are several, not one, related ideas.

    I call my own, specific model “River Apes … Coastal People but there are severl others.

    Algis Kuliukas

  175. 675
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Crankdom like AK shows comes when one lets an idea and your ego get ahead of the evidence in science. There really isn’t any evidence for AK’s idea, so it doesn’t even reach hypothesis state.

    The idea becomes a monomania, where the crank pester one and all about the idea, but not in the right way. His continued presence here is prima facie evidence that his efforts are misplace. The “NO SALE” signs have been up ever since he couldn’t show the proper evidence. Nobody will accept his word for anything other than bullshit at this point. His efforts here are wasted time he could use in the field to find the evidence to support his idea.

    AK needs to convince scientists, which means he should stick to publishing in the peer reviewed literature, and he should be doing field work to support his idea. Otherwise, he isn’t doing science, he is being a crank.

    AK also seriously needs to ask himself “why can’t I give up this idea?”. Science is evidence based, not idea based. His idea is worthless without anything to back it up. His continuous goalpost shifting is a sign he knows he has nothing, other than the honesty and integrity to admit the idea, while appealing to him, is probably wrong, and maybe he should let it go for a while and see what develops as far as the evidence is concerned.

    But his ego is too big to acknowledge he could be wrong. He mouths the words, but doesn’t back up those words with actions, showing his lack of character. His continued temper tantrums about being refuted are another sign of crankdom and overly big ego. His crank score was 20/20. His scientist score was 0/5. He needs to reverse that, where the crank score is a low percentage, and he is 5/5 on being a scientist. I’m not holding my breathe. His idea doesn’t hold water, and his ego is inflated beyond all reason.

  176. 676
    Michael Clark

    AK: “I call my own, specific model “River Apes … Coastal People but there are severl others.”

    I always thought you should call it ~ Coastal-Riverside Aquatic People. ;)

  177. 677
    anthrosciguy

    Even John Langdon’s “AAH critique” found 6 out of 26 traits “consistent with AAT” and he was evaluating a rather exaggerated form of the idea.

    This is a repeated claim from Algis, but it’s false. (He’s also varied on the numbers here, for whatever reason: sometimes he says 7, sometimes 6.) I’ve explained this in a post at TRF (link below), where I pointed out “Algis understands this as Langdon saying this is what Langdon believes to be so. But Langdon actually says in his intro to Table 1 that these are the arguments given for the AAH, not what he himself believes to be so, and elsewhere he has already outlined why these arguments fall down.”

    http://talkrational.org/showthread.php?p=1490396#post1490396

  178. 678
    Amphiox

    Remember earlier in the thread when I commented that a version of a wading hypothesis was not an AAH?

    Remember how vociferously Algis complained about that?

    Now listen to him babbling about how his ideas are a “waterside” hypothesis, and NOT an AAH?

    What a pathetic hypocrite he is.

  179. 679
    Amphiox

    Seriously, why do people sneer so much about the idea that humans might have waded, swam and dived more than chimps since the LCA?

    Here you are, lying again Algis. Putting false words into everyone else’s mouth.

    Man, you are pathetic in your intellectual dishonesty.

    No one is sneering at that idea. That “idea” is a trivial truism that is already de facto included in the mainstream savannah based hypotheses. ANY animal that lives on an open savannah and travels long distances over it HAS to wade, swim and dive more than an animal that lives in dense, wet forests, simply because the first lifestyle requires the usage of rivers and lakes as water sources and the crossing of those rivers in migrations, whereas an animal living in a dense, wet forested environment can get all its water needs satisfied within the trees.

    What people dispute is that this trivial truism has selective significance to the SPECIFIC traits you are claiming it to have.

    And the existing fossil record ALREADY clearly says no.

    Your idea stinks, Algis.

    Live with the reality.

  180. 680
    Nick Gotts

    Waterside, not ‘aquatic’ because the term is loaded. I think it was only meant as an ironic term but that irony clearly has gone over many people’s heads. – algiskuliukas

    WTF? How could it possibly be “ironic” in any sense of that word? If Morgan didn’t mean “aquatic”, it was just incompetent of her to use that term.

  181. 681
    Owlmirror
    Isn’t that exactly what the original aquatic ape hypothesis posited?

    No. At least not in my, and some waterside proponents, opinions.

    I wrote “original” specifically to distinguish from what you were writing.

    I thought the whole point of talking up the infant diving reflex was to argue that human ancestors were not just part-time water-waders, but actually living in water for a long enough time that they were giving birth in water as well.

    Another acronym from my personal generator:

    Altered Lumbar Loading Wading Evolutionary Theory

  182. 682
    anthrosciguy

    WTF? How could it possibly be “ironic” in any sense of that word? If Morgan didn’t mean “aquatic”, it was just incompetent of her to use that term.

    Cut and pasted (in other words, Algis knows this but pretends not to, or rather, it’s blocked by his Morton’s Demon):

    http://talkrational.org/showthread.php?p=1148218#post1148218

    Algis apparently has a huge animus toward whoever foisted the name “aquatic ape” on the world; a name he claims is “ironic”. He’s said “It was meant to be ironic – of the ape clade (which we know are very much not aquatic) we are the most aquatic.”

    How that’s “ironic” rather than “descriptive” seems elusive. It seems to me that it was intended to be a descriptive but not perfectly literal name. BTW, this insistence on literalness is another of the ways in which Algis argues (and thinks?) like a creationist. Back in the early 1990s days, when my online discussions were partly internet and partly the various BBSes and nets around, I went into this with a creationist on FIDONET who was using the scientific name of Australopithecus africanus literally (“see, the name says it’s an ape!”) and my post described the practice of scientific names being non-literal descriptive names (cougar, Felis concolor; giraffe, Giraffa camelopardalis; etc.).

    And where did this “aquatic ape” name come from?

    Hardy certainly got the ball rolling. His 1960 article started with an explanation of his talk and its title which Hardy said he selected: “Aquatic Man: Past, Present and Future”. He continued with “I ventured to suggest a new hypothesis of Man’s origins from more aquatic apelike ancestors…” and “Then, in time, I see him becoming more and more of an aquatic animal going further out from the shore…”. He described his idea dawning on him as he was watching a seal being skinned this way: “at once I thought perhaps Man had been aquatic too.” He also used the phrase “aquatic past” several times when describing his idea, and talked about us being adapted “for aquatic life”. Clearly these pointed the way toward the use of this term, especially, I would say, when he wrote the phrase referring to our supposed “aquatic apelike ancestors”.

    In his radio talk, the text of which was published that same year (1960, that is), he used the phrase “semi-aquatic” or “partly aquatic”.

    (He also titled his 1977 Zenith article “Was there a Homo aquaticus?” and used the name Homo aquaticus four times and also the phrase “semi-aquatic” several times.)

    Desmond Morris, who Algis inaccurately says originated the phrase “aquatic ape” (and apparently then forced it on everybody else, including Hardy retroactively), used that phrase once, in his book The Naked Ape.

    Then came Elaine Morgan, who used the phrase repeatedly for decades, in six books (and as the title of two of those books) and numerous articles, talks, and interviews, right up to her TED Talk last year.

    So if Algis wants to complain about the name, he should direct his sputtering rage toward the person who started the ball rolling that way — Alister Hardy — and especially the person most responsible: Elaine Morgan. Desmond Morris used the phrase once — as many times as Hardy did. Morgan used it over and over for decades, even as the titles of books and articles.

    Certainly she didn’t need to; she wasn’t forced to, she did so willingly, so Algis has some wild and weird hate-on for her in this matter, or would if he honestly faced the implications of what he’s saying. Since he feels he can’t deal with that rage honestly, he directs it elsewhere.

  183. 683
    Menyambal

    Why are you so sure that our “slow and steady” muscles “came from the savannah” and that our fat is a recent phenemon of over-eating?

    I am not “so sure”. Why do you keep trying to make it sound like everybody but you has some sort of blind fixation?

    Isn’t it just as likely as the density difference between humans and chimps is due to some selection from swimming?

    Not equally likely, no. Just because there are two possible scenarios doesn’t mean they are both equally probable—a lot of people think that. If nothing else, the surface area of savannah is much greater than the surface area of wading-depth water—there’s more environment.

    And, seriously, we have high-arched feet with heels, we don’t have swim fins, we have sweat glands that work best in dry climates, we can’t see through the water’s surface well, we hate water up our noses, we can go for years without bathing, we get all pruney in water ….

    Now, as I have said earlier, chimpanzees have evolved as much as we have since the last common ancestor. I see them as having lapsed from a long-armed former-brachiator biped, and gone to scuttling through the undergrowth. You want to account for ALL the differences between us and them by OUR changing, and you want all those changes due to swimming. Or wading. Or whatever you think at the moment.

    Seriously, why do people sneer so much about the idea that humans might have waded, swam and dived more than chimps since the LCA? Do you? If not, what’s you’re problem with this idea?

    Frankly, most of my problem right now is with you. You’ve made this discussion into a mental circus.

    And one of the things you’ve done is back off further and further from the original Aquatic Ape. Notice in the above quote that you say “… humans might have waded, swam and dived more than chimps since the LCA”. Hell, everybody knows that humans HAVE waded, swam and dived more than chimps, or at least that such is the case in the present day, and it is reasonable to assume that such a pattern, even if only valid for the past five thousand years, adds up to MORE than chimps did.

    So yay, you finally touch reality. But you haven’t shown that it makes a difference, and you haven’t really defined your terms. You don’t have a case.

    Look, I know that the Pacific Ocean islands were settled by boat people, and think that some of the first Native Americans arrived by boat, and that the first Australians arrived by water, and even that early people went East from Africa over water. I’ll say that most of those folks knew how to swim, even (though not necessarily the case). I’ll even show you oyster-shell middens all over the damn world.

    Humans have done more in, on and with water than chimps have. But that doesn’t make them aquatic, or that aquatic life has re-shaped them.

    There was a guy making the case that proto-humans developed by throwing rocks. People throw rocks more than chimps do. See, that’s as good a case as yours. (By the way, when I get near water, I throw rocks.)

    This brings to mind the “historical Jesus” argument. Yes, there certainly was a Jew named Jesus, about then, but that doesn’t make him the son of God. Yes, we wade more than chimps, but that doesn’t make it a major factor in our evolution.

    Yes, Algis, our relative-to-chimps affinity for water has surely affected us in some ways. It has, for instance, fed South Asians with rice and fish, making the world human population just a little bit more South-Asian than it would otherwise be.

    If you want to make a more precise case, Algis, you need to make it, and to stop raving about.

    I do listen, very carefully. … It was a silly point then and it’s a silly point now.

    I’m just going to let that one steam.

    Algis Kuliukas, many times:

    SPACE APES!! SPACE APES!! SPACE APES!! SPACE APES!! SPACE APES!!

    PZ, once:

    “Space Ape!”

  184. 684
    David Marjanović

    “hypothetical crocodiles”

    Forget the space apes! This is how to make me laugh! :-D :-D :-D

    “semi-aquatic” mountain beavers

    Whoa. Mountain beavers (Aplodontia) are neither beavers nor remotely semiaquatic. Was he misled by the name?

    Plus his made-up institutional affliliation.

    …Wow. That’s outright kookery. Tell us more about that!

    Do you really think that I have been “insisting” that it “must be true”?

    How ever did you get that idea?

    Perhaps from statements such as this in the same comment (640)?:

    All I would like to see is that the field of science responsible for enlightening humanity about our evolution finally try to get over their ridiculous, ignorant, phobia about the damned “aquatic ape hypothesis” and show some open mindedness about the simple, plausible, evidence-basded and very Darwinian idea that some differential in selection from moving in water might help explain the remarkable phenotypic differences between humans and the other great apes.

    You know, this sounds like insisting your hypothesis is not just true, but obviously true, so much so that any opposition to it can’t possibly be scientific – oh no, the opponents have to be clinically insane, it must be a phobia. (Splash damage to people with actual phobias, whose conditions you use to score a cheap rhetorical point, be damned.)

    Have you never noticed how this makes you sound!?!?!

    By assuming that shoulder mobility increased as an adaptation to climbing, I’m not assuming any additional habitats. You are. All else being equal, parsimony sez your hypothesis loses.

    But, David, humans came down from the trees. We have been close to 100% terrestrial for the best part of 2.5 million years.

    …So? What are you trying to say? Should we have lost shoulder mobility?

    Humans do swim and dive better than chimps. I think a more parsimonious (and Darwinian) explanation for that is that is is the result of natural selection rather than a fortuitous exaptation from bipedalism, or encephalisation or some other just-so story.

    Do we have any potential adaptations, any heritable phenotypic traits, that are good for swimming or diving and that chimps lack?

    I can’t think of any. But my imagination is limited, so please tell me which traits you are thinking of.

    Please let’s not escalate this into an insult-throwing battle. I’m calling your bluff on your pretence of rigour. Parsimony, my arse. I think you just don’t like the idea because none of your peers do.

    That’s an incredible insult at least on par with me saying you’re lying. “Please let’s not escalate this into an insult-throwing battle”? Work on your sarcasm!

    I counted the steps out for you! Why don’t you reply to that!

    My peers? Fuck ‘em! Have a short look at my papers, and you’ll find I agree with a phylogenetic hypothesis on the origin of the modern amphibians that only 2 or 3 other people in the world agree with, against at least a dozen who think one particular alternative fits the facts better – and those are the people who write the textbooks and the review papers except the one by me + coauthor.

    Being a scientist, I don’t care what my peers conclude. I care what facts they find and how they arrive at conclusions.

    people like PZ, Gee and verbal bullies here

    Stop trying to make this about people. I’m not “people like” anybody else, and I don’t pretend that you are either.

    Talk about evidence and parsimony, you know, like a scientist.

    people who are naturally insecure about their reputation

    *blink*

    Who would that be?

    PZ, who has a job he likes and has an extremely popular blog?

    Gee, who used to be the editor of fucking Nature?

    Chas, who has published plenty of neat work?

    Oh, me? My first paper alone has been cited over 100 times now, and when I applied for a Humboldt Foundation grant for the maximum duration, I got it. Do you really believe commenting on something outside my narrow field for weeks raises my reputation among colleagues or potential employers? If anything, I’m running the risk of being seen as a procrastinator.

    (I don’t care, because you’re still wrong. :-) )

    All members of the ape clade wade bipedally in waist-deep water. You can roll your eyes all you like but that is NOT then a specialised behaviour, is it?

    Unlike brachiation, knuckle-walking and efficient striding bipedalism.

    Arguing for a wading-climbing LCA is therefore more parsimonious than arguing for any one of the extant (specialised) modes of locomotion.

    …No. That’s not how it works. It does not follow that the MRCA of humans and anything else waded for a living. I think we attach different connotations to the word “specialised”.

    I asked what we’d compete with baboons for. You haven’t answered.

    I did: “Food”. What else?

    So? What do baboons eat, and how do they get it?

    (Chimpanzees eat baboons on occasion, BTW.)

    I asked if predation pressure is really higher in the savanna than in the rainforest, let alone waterside environments (which have the added danger of territorial hippos). You haven’t answered

    Sorry. Yes, really. There are these things called lions, leopards and hyenas.

    Leopards occur in rainforests just as well. And do remember that the Pliocene fauna was different from today’s. There were, apparently, pumas in Tanzania and South Africa (extant pumas occur in all terrestrial habitats that aren’t too cold); and the large, rather carnivorous bear Agriotherium occurred in South Africa and Ethiopia (the earlier layers at Middle Awash!) before the savanna got there.

    Crocs and hippos can’t climb trees. Our ancestors could.

    Convenient trees are not usually located in the water. If you’re attacked by a croc or a hippo – and they don’t give you much advance warning – while wading, you usually have a problem.

    our bipedality is homologous to that of the gibbons

    Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. Gibbon bipedalism is very different from ours

    Oh, now you tell me. Why didn’t you say so weeks ago? And why don’t you provide any details?

    and seems to be more a result of their specialisation to brachiate. With arms as long as theirs it’s hard to see how they could be quadrupedal even if they tried.

    Exactly – the idea is that we have inherited this bipedality.

    Usually, in cladidistics, we look in the closest clades for homologies.

    You know what? Tell me in your own words what “cladistics” means.

    (There are two meanings; I’ll accept either one.)

    Hylobates-Pongo etc split 18 Ma. Gorila-Pan-Homo ca 7Ma. It seems to be a bit of special pleading to argue that the LCA of all great apes was also a biped (like gibbons) for the time in between and then Pongo, Pan and Gorilla all became quadrupedal.

    Pongo, as mentioned several times by me and others now, not all that much.

    Gibbons: bipedal. Oreopithecus: bipedal. Afropithecus (“Morotopithecus“), Pierolapithecus: apparently bipedal. Pongo: semibipedal. Gorilla, Pan: walk bipedally on rare occasions (P. paniscus not that rare).

    You just can’t get over it, huh? I think you are the tribalist here: you want to belong to the tribe of anthropologists, so you try to be xenophobic about the tribe of car mechanics. Hint: it’s not working.

    No, I can’t. I seriously pisses me off that some lay person

    You’re doing it again! The argumentum ad hominem, that is.

    whereas people like me, who have tried to do the thing your supposed to do (it’s called science)

    Could you show us your publication list again?

    I’m just pointing out the double standards. Alister Hardy and Elaine Morgan were castigated for not being specialists. Even Sir Richard Attenborough and Dan Dennett’s considered opinions are dismissed because they are not of that unique, mysterious band of people who uniquely understand human evolution, but the nit picking gossip of the unqualified Jim Moore, simply by clinging to Nancy Tanner’s coat tails, is fine and dandy – the “ultimate web resource”.

    *sad headshake*

    No. It works the other way around. The arguments by Hardy, Morgan, Attenborough and Dennett, considered though they were, were evaluated and found to be wrong – and then the people who found them to be wrong proposed a hypothesis for why they had come up with such wrong arguments: it must be because they’re not familiar with the field.

    We can of course discuss if that really is the reason (except I’m not interested, I don’t care). But it’s counterfactual to claim the anthropologists had all engaged in ad hominem arguments (“they’re not qualified, so we don’t even need to read what they write, it must all be wrong anyway”).

    The current de rigeur idea which you back is one of the oldest, actually.

    Well, not in its current form, and it had completely fallen out of fashion for many decades in the meantime…

    Sir Arthur Keith promoted a Hylobatian model early in the last century. That you were not even aware of this makes your lecturing of me on this matter look a little weak, don’t you think?

    e.g., see…

    Keith, A. Man’s posture: it’s evolution and disorders (1923)

    Some “idiot”, eh, PZ?

    ~:-|

    I’m trying to do science here, not history of science. That’s a separate subject, interesting in its own right, but pretty much irrelevant to science itself – till it comes to citing sources and giving credit where credit is due (social acts more than scientific ones).

    4 is less than 5

    Woopidoo. Clutching at straws, or what!?

    WTF? I guess science theory is another subject I should lecture you on!

    2 is less than 1 too,

    Don’t write faster than you think. It makes it look like you read faster than you think, too – and anything read at that speed can’t be understood.

    hence the knuckle-walking LCA idea – which also proved wrong.

    The hypothesis that the LCA of chimps and us knuckle-walks requires two steps: 1) origin of knuckle-walking in the ancestry of the LCA of gorillas, chimps and us; 2) loss in some ancestor of ours after our LCA with chimps.

    The hypothesis that the LCA of chimps and us did not knuckle-walk also requires two steps: 1) origin of knuckle-walking in the gorilla branch; 2) origin of knuckle-walking in the chimp branch.

    Without additional information, parsimony cannot discriminate between these two hypotheses.

    Parsimony is a good principle but it does not always prove to be true, as you should know.

    It’s all we have to discriminate between hypotheses that explain all (!) of the data. If you think the most parsimonious hypothesis about anything is wrong, you must show that there are data it doesn’t explain.

    All apes move bipedally in waist deep water. It is less specialised than brachiation or any of the other extant forms. Wading-climbing is therefore a more parsimonious starting point.

    …No. All we can say from this is that our LCA with chimps (and indeed the one with gorillas, and so on) waded bipedally when it had to enter water. It does not tell us if it entered water often enough for selection to kick in.

    So why exactly did you think PZ had your hypothesis in mind when he mocked the AAH?

    I didn’t. PZ Myer has never shown the slightest evidence of knowing (or even caring to know) what the latest thinking about waterside hypotheses are.

    What do you mean by “latest”? You aren’t “later” than Marcel Williams or Marc Verhaegen!

    Chimps are dense, strong little bastards, and really can’t float.

    Really? Reference, please!

    We are also, most of us, packing some fat.

    I asked whether we pack more than the average male orang-utan. Nobody has replied yet. I’ve also pointed out that if I don’t inhale enough before diving, I don’t float – I sink, and have to jump off the bottom to resurface.

    How about reading Jim’s (shock horror) Can “AAT Research be Trusted?” page, and then reading my critique of it, and tell me – knowing that your scientific reputation might be at stake – why you think Jim Moore’s research is better than mine.

    Once again: nobody except you cares who, which person, is “better”. We care about individual facts and individual hypotheses. Trying to evaluate everything that comes from the same person in bulk would be quite silly.

    Infants can learn to swim before they learn to walk

    We’ve been through this (possibly on the other thread): somebody pointed out that moving generally forward in water is easier, in absolute terms, than upright bipedal walking – pretty much any movement will propel you in some direction, and such things as balance are taken care of. You never replied.

    Swimming > 3km in humans – thousands, meanwhile the river Congo has been an
    adequate geographical barrier to seperate the three great ape species for 3Ma.

    Incidentally, how wide is the Congo in that region? (It’s more than 220 m deep somewhere.) Or perhaps even that is irrelevant, and what actually matters are the crocs and hippos?

    We’ll let DM stumble around for awhile yet. He saw the word “octopus” and ran away laughing.

    …what? I didn’t see that word, I brought it up. Read that comment again.

    PZ had you lined up as some big intellectual foe I was supposed to get my arse kicked by.

    That’s not what happened.

    I’m reminded of several creationists who came here over the years and found that way too many people argued against them, so each one individually suggested that we name a champion to fight him like the Philistines named Goliath to fight David.

    It never occurred to them that science isn’t a fight between people.

    I despise the way this guy, simply by hanging on the coattails of a respected anthropologist, supplying dirt and gossip to scientists looking to have their biases confirmed – and doing no science or academic work of his own, has been given so much uncritical acclaim

    Oops! You did it again.

    He hasn’t been given acclaim, uncritial or otherwise. His arguments against various AAH arguments have been.

    Concerning coattails – I only learned from one of your comments in this thread that his wife was an anthropologist.

    * Thousands of fossils, attributed to ancestors of Homo have been found near paleolakes and lacustrine dominated habitats, compared to a tiny few attributed chimps.

    So, all of our discussions of basic facts of taphonomy never happened.

    He’s also varied on the numbers here, for whatever reason: sometimes he says 7, sometimes 6.

    That looks like a typo to me. He writes fast, after all.

  185. 685
    David Marjanović

    cougar, Felis concolor

    It’s been Puma concolor for quite some time now. The other species in Puma is the jaguarundí, P. yagouaroundi.

  186. 686
    anthrosciguy

    cougar, Felis concolor

    It’s been Puma concolor for quite some time now. The other species in Puma is the jaguarundí, P. yagouaroundi.

    Yes, only about a year or so after the internet conversation I was talking about.

  187. 687
    anthrosciguy

    “semi-aquatic” mountain beavers

    Whoa. Mountain beavers (Aplodontia) are neither beavers nor remotely semiaquatic. Was he misled by the name?

    Apparently yes. This was an interesting mistake, not just because it shows just how little research these folks typically do regarding their claims (Verhaegen is arguably the biggest and best-known of the AAT/H proponents after Morgan) but because, well, here’s the deal:

    Verhaegen and his co-author Puech claimed mountain beavers were semiaquatic and that their supposed similarity to australopithecines in toothwear was evidence for australopithecines being semiaquatic. They were apparently confused by the name of the animal (mountain beavers were named that because they look sort of like little beavers except for that tail business, and the not being semiaquatic business). Verhaegen has responded to people like me and others pointing out the facts about mountain beavers by doubling down and insisting that anyone who says they aren’t semiaquatic is an “anti-AAT fanatic”, which would include every wildlife biologist in the Pacific Northwest, among others.

    Naturally, with huge glaring and basic errors like that, and the fact that they have repeated that error even after they’ve been corrected, doesn’t make me for one inclined to accept their analysis of australopithecine teeth.

    Another aspect of this is that they’re in a bind here, because the above means there are two possibilities and either one destroys their argument:

    either 1) Puech, who has done some tooth studies, did a rotten job of this and the tooth microwear of capybaras and mountain beavers is not like that of australopithecines.

    Problem for them if the above is so: this would mean that their conclusion that australopithecines were eating foods indicating semiaquatic habits is not supported by the data.

    or 2) Puech, who has done some tooth studies, did a good job of this and the tooth microwear of capybaras and mountain beavers is like that of australopithecines.

    Problem for them if the above is so: this would mean that their conclusion that australopithecines were eating foods indicating semiaquatic habits is not supported by the data, since one of the “semiaquatic” mammals they say australopithecines’ tooth microwear resembles is not semiaquatic.

    Plus his made-up institutional affliliation.

    …Wow. That’s outright kookery. Tell us more about that!

    Cut and paste from the Verhaegen page on my website:

    Another suspect tactic is inflating credentials; in Verhaegen’s case he’s done this by claiming an affiliation with “Studiecentrum Antropologie”. It turns out that “Studiecentrum Antropologie” is not a real institution at all, as Marc explains to a supporter in his Yahoo group:

    “In fact, it’s “Studiecentrum Antropologie”. My Instutution is not very large (about 1 room) :-D but if you want to get something published, I thought you better have some Institution. I got this idea after a correspondent on mine (Jos Verhulst) created his “Louis Bolk Centre” (about 2 rooms) for the same reason.”

  188. 688
    anthrosciguy

    You know what? Tell me in your own words what “cladistics” means.

    Here’s some of Algis’ own words, written after he got his masters and while he had been engaged for many years on a quest for a PhD connected with human evolution:

    “I am no specialist, I agree. I accept that my knowledge of teeth is weaker than yours. I accept that my anatomy is very poor compared to my peers. I accept I know relatively little about paleoanthropology, primatology, genetics, ecology, neurology, embryology etc etc.”

    “Nope. When I see the term “craniodental characters” it makes me think
    “what’s the point?” As I said. I’ve done an analysis like that and I
    learned that it was just dodgy. I freely admit that I cannot tell a
    bit from a bobble on a bone and I know there are many very clever
    sounding people who will tell you that they can and that I must be
    very stupid for not being able to do so. But I’m still not impressed.”

    “I’ve done cladistic analyses on skulls and pelves and other bones too
    and I have never felt confident about them. At UCL we were encouraged
    to give a binary 1 or 0 for the presence or absence of a particular
    “bony bit” and it was almost impossible to do.”

  189. 689
    David Marjanović
    but if you want to get something published, I thought you better have some Institution

    …Wow.

    A completely unfounded fear driving him to making shit up? That’s the regard for reality he has?

    I’ve seen people publish peer-reviewed papers without an institution, just with a home address.

    Here’s some of Algis’ own words

    But those are old. Let’s see if he has learned since then.

  190. 690
    anthrosciguy

    You said “if he has learned” in connection with Algis… I just love crazy juxtapositions like that. :)

  191. 691
    vaiyt

    Seriously, why do people sneer so much about the idea that humans might have waded, swam and dived more than chimps since the LCA?

    Why do you insist that we’re sneering at that? It’s a trivially true statement. That’s NOT what you’re trying to peddle, though. You conveniently omit the part where humans swimming and diving more than chimps has shaped all the major differences between us and them. That’s shifting the goalposts, and nobody’s going to buy it.

    All apes move bipedally in waist deep water. It is less specialised than brachiation or any of the other extant forms. Wading-climbing is therefore a more parsimonious starting point.

    It does NOT follow from there that the differences between us and chimps are explained by us retaining adaptations for wading that they lack. Especially since chimps ALSO can wade bipedally in waist deep water. So, even if you’re right (which you have no evidence for), it’s irrelevant to your hypothesis.

    * Thousands of fossils, attributed to ancestors of Homo have been found near paleolakes and lacustrine dominated habitats, compared to a tiny few attributed chimps.

    This is what makes people compare you to creationists. Your assertions are challenged, and your reaction is to repeat them as if the rebuttal never happened.

  192. 692
    Michael Clark

    We’ll let DM stumble around for awhile yet. He saw the word “octopus” and ran away laughing.

    …what? I didn’t see that word, I brought it up. Read that comment again.

    You’re absolutely right. You brought it up –to suggest that Filler didn’t know what he was talking about. It only stuck in my mind because Filler mentions them in his book. Look, it might strain credulity to think that you could get a vertebrate from any old invertebrate, but Filler isn’t making ~that~ argument. For the argument that he is making, he supplies plenty of referenced ammunition. He’s saying that at or around 21 million years ago, some primate underwent a homeotic transformation that changed the shape of its lumbar spine such that it was no longer comfortable unless standing erect. All else follows from this transformation. It’s a pity that you can’t find the time to read what he has to say but I can fully appreciate that you have plenty on your plate. He published this book in 2007, I only bought it last year and have just now finished reading it. I can tell you that I feel pretty dumb about this –Filler goes into excruciating and humiliating detail about Washburns’ setting the stage for all those wide-eyed anthro types to follow. Now, it seems, we’ve all been outed –barkin’ up the wrong tree. I don’t know, I found his argument quite persuasive. I think you would too, but it is hard to tell from where we’re standing.

  193. 693
    David Marjanović

    He’s saying that at or around 21 million years ago, some primate underwent a homeotic transformation that changed the shape of its lumbar spine such that it was no longer comfortable unless standing erect. All else follows from this transformation.

    Off the top of my head…

    1) The discomfort I get from a quadrupedal posture isn’t in my lumbar region, it’s in the neck.
    2) In anything other than a large climbing animal, such a mutation would simply have been selected against. Hanging around in trees (literally) allowed it to be retained in the population.

  194. 694
    Michael Clark

    The discomfort you get *once you’d undergone the transformation* would be in the lumbar region. It might even make you prefer an orthograde posture.

  195. 695
    Menyambal

    David Marjanović, the stuff I said up there about chimps being too dense to swim was based on what I think is fact, that they have much stronger muscles than us. Which was explained as us having slower endurance muscles, related to running. I think that was a semi-scientific source, but I cannot cite.

    A quick Google showed no swimming chimps, and found an explanation that they were too dense to swim. I added the lack of fat my own self. (I assume they could do a quick swim if they needed, and knew how.)

    Orangs, on the other hand, are fat. I never said they weren’t, as I was addressing Algis on chimps. There is video of one orang at least, floating under water, said to be able to swim 20 feet on his own. There was also an article saying some orangs swim across a particular river, with a picture, but highlighting that it us unusual.

    Algis, I have mentioned two things that humans do that involve wading for food purposes, planting rice and hunting oysters. I say that chimps could do them better, with the quadrupedal posture and all. Let’s change that to hunting for snails, say, and let’s have you tell me why bipeds would do that better.

  196. 696
    anthrosciguy

    We have very few claims of chimps swimming. It’s often said to be denseness, or lack of fat, but I don’t think that’s clear. Well, really lack of fat by itself clearly isn’t the reason, since we see humans with as little fat are able to swim. In fact, several Olympic champs, including Michael Phelps and Tom Dolan, are noted as being extremely low fat, certainly as low or lower than chimps. Simple denseness due to musculature could be it, but it isn’t something that’s proved; it’s a speculation. Jan Wind’s suggestions, which I mentioned before, seem to me to be far stronger supported. That’s that African apes have a top heavy structure and coupled with their necks not being either incredibly long or incredibly flexible, means they have a difficult time swimming in the manner we see other mammals doing. They’re simply not built to do a dog paddle without tipping down at the front and then, naturally, they’re apt to drown. We have a similar problem but biased toward the bottom, which at least leaves our heads tending to point up, so all we have to do is overcome our tendency to drive ourselves underwater with our instinctive attempts to swim. I say “all we have to do” but it obviously isn’t easy. Humans drown with remarkable regularity.

    Other primates, such as macaques, swim (and dive) easily and instinctively even when they’ve had no chance to learn before adulthood.

  197. 697
    Avo, also nigelTheBold

    anthrosciguy:

    Some of my favorite footage in the Planet Earth series is the macaques swimming.

    I guess I never thought about why other primates don’t swim a lot. The top-heavy, head-not-swiveling hypothesis seems legit.

    I’d look into it, but damnit, Jim, I’m a programmer, not a primatologist.

  198. 698
    algiskuliukas

    Re 677

    The usual anthro-lie-slur-guy twistings.

    I made a simple typo (I wrote “6″ instead of “7″ – John Langdon listed 7, not 6, traits that were consistent with the AAH) and the tedious nit picking guy with a chip on his shoulder tries to twist into a sordid accusation of incompetence/malpractice against a damned “aquatic ape” proponent.

    Seriously, this is ALL he has ever done.

    It’s just rubbish. Thanks to people like PZ Myers giving him uncritical acclaim, Jim now seems to think he can write anything and it must be true. All the one-way praise has gone to his head.

    Another technique he often does, like here, is paste in some link to a post he’s written, as if it proves him right. Of course he never links to any criticism of that post, which inevitably follows (usually by me, like here.)

    In this case his post in question is splitting hairs on whether Langdon actually believes what he wrote in that table. As anyone with a critical mind who has been following the discussion at TalkRational will know, Jim Moore’s interpretation of what people mean is different from reality. He’s been peddling the idea, for years, that Dan Dennett’s clear support of Elaine Morgan’s work was somehow, really, a way of bracketting it with creationism.

    See here for more about that.

    The guy’s a nasty, twisting, piece of work. Anyone that believes a word he writes on this subject is either naive or just equally biased.

    Algis Kuliukas

  199. 699
    algiskuliukas

    Re 682

    Notice how Jim’s hubris is now apparently so great, he imagines that everyone should “know” all his postings and gossip on his web site in detail.

    The material point in all that is that Desmond Morris was the first to use the term “aquatic ape” – not, as Jim is twisting, the word “aquatic” in any sense related to human evolution per se.

    “Another, more ingenious theory is that, before he became a hunting ape, the orginal ground ape that had left the forests went through a long phase as an aquatic ape. He is envisaged as moving to the tropical sea-shores in search of food. There he will have found shellfish and other sea-shore creatures in comparative abundance, a food supply much richer and more attractive than that on the open plains. At first he will have groped around in the rock pools and the shallow water, but gradually he will have started to swim out to greater depths and dive for food.” Morris (1967:29)

    Morris, D. (1967). The Naked Ape: A Zoologist’s Study of the Human Animal. McGraw-Hill (New York)

    Whether Morris originally used this term in an ironic sense or not, it has always been my undertanding that Elaine used it in that sense. It was also, obviously, used for drammatic affect, to make a headline.

    I think this paragraph, from her original (and most controversial) book, “Descent of Woman” says it all. You won’t find it on Jim Moore’s web site, of course, it gives a far too moderate impression for that.

    At the highest point of their period of aquatic adaptation the ancestral hominids, though never as fully marine as the dolphins or sirenians, would probably have been capable of crossing wide stretches of water under their own steam; and without postulating that at such an early stage of their evolution they became boat builders, it is highly possible that they would have been aware of some of the uses of a floating log. Morgan (1972:133)

    Morgan, E. (1972). The Descent of Woman. Souvenir Press (London)

    Hardly an argument for a mermaid, is it?

    At the end of the day, both Hardy and Morgan can be criticised for not being as clear as they might have been about exactly how “aquatic” they were proposing human ancestors to have been. I guess they’d say “we just don’t know”. The title of Hardy’s original article was clear enough: “Was Man More Aquatic in the Past?”
    But exactly how much more, no-one seems to have asked or even wondered.

    Throughout the long running debate about this, people who seem to just viscerally hate the idea always to want to exaggerate the claims to dolphin levels, people who cannot understand what the fuss is all about, tend to go in the opposite direction.

    I fall into the later category.

    Even if human ancestors only swam for just half an hour a week, and chimp ancestors did none whatsoever, that still represents a significant extra drowning risk and a mechanism for natural selection to have worked on our phenotype.

    It’s population genetics 101 but whenever I mention it, it seems to fly over everyone’s head (proponents and skeptics alike).

    I continue to be puzzled by all the controversy surrounding this idea. It’s very simple and very plausible. It’s supported by a lot of evidence and contradicted by none. It potentially helps explain so much, with so little extra assumption, it hurts. And yet just look at the hysterical, sneering response it always generates.

    SPACE APES!, indeed.

    On TalkRational right now, there’s a new thread started on human bipedal origins but the moderators have BANNED any discussion of the wading idea and the discussion of waterside hypotheses have been relegated into a section on pseudoscience.

    Truly bizarre.

    Algis Kuliukas

  200. 700
    Avo, also nigelTheBold

    algiskuliukas :

    But exactly how much more, no-one seems to have asked or even wondered.

    I dunno, I’m just spit-balling here, but: maybe because there’s never been a reason to wonder?

  201. 701
    algiskuliukas

    Re 688, 690 Anthro-slur-guy at “work”. Brilliant, isn’t he, PZ?

    Algis Kuliukas

  202. 702
    Avo, also nigelTheBold

    “hypothetical crocodiles” is the name of my Fountains of Wayne cover band.

    In case anyone was interested.

  203. 703
    algiskuliukas

    I’m going to use the David Marjanovic technique here. (No clue as to who you are citing, arguing with, on about etc.) Just randomly, cherry picked snippets to rant against.

    After all, it’s only about the arguments, not the people, right?

    Convenient trees are not usually located in the water

    WHAT!?

    IN the water? What kind of a moron wrote this!?

    Seriously. I mean, do you REALLY STILL think anyone is arguing that our ancestors LIVED in the water?

    Have you noticed how ignorant this makes you look!?

    Ok. I’m bored now.

    Oh dear, another gang of know-it-alls, led by the Chief of Misrepresentation himself, seems to have gathered with their usual self-righteous anger about a simple plausible idea they bizarrely just hate and a pretence of rigour about how science works which just masks a gross hypocrisy and closed mindedness.

    What’s at the root of all this?

    Remember?

    The idea that the reason humans are so very different from chimps and gorillas (despite being genetically closer to chimps than they are to gorillas) might have had something to do with moving through water – that’s wading, swimming and diving.

    Crazy, isn’t it? Space apes are just as likely.

    The fact that the one place all apes will move (not just pose momentarily) bipedallly with 100% certainty, for as long as the conditions prevailed, and would KILL them if the moved quadrupedally, is simply ignored and the “new” (actually old, Keith 1912) Hylobation model is roled out as if no more discussion on bipedal origins need ever be done. We were always bipedal. It was a magical preadaptation.

    The fact that humans actually do swim and dive better than chimps – the most blatant evidence imaginable – is brushed aside as nothing without a hint of embarassment at inventing all sorts of just-so stories to explain it. We swim better because we’re bipedal. We swim better because we’re fat. We swim better because we are clever. We swim better because we have a brachiating exaptation for mobile shoulders. Look, we don’t know why, but we’re DAMNED CERTAIN it couldn’t have been that usual thing we use to explain these things… natural selection. No, that’s the LAST thing to consider this time.

    Mockery is good.

    What is wrong with you people?

    Algis Kuliukas

  204. 704
    Avo, also nigelTheBold

    algiskuliukas:

    The fact that humans actually do swim and dive better than chimps – the most blatant evidence imaginable – is brushed aside as nothing without a hint of embarassment at inventing all sorts of just-so stories to explain it.

    You know what swims better than humans?

    Deer.

    Seriously. I’ve seen deer swim across channels most humans wouldn’t survive. I’ve been on a boat between two islands miles apart in Southeast Alaska, and BAM! there’s a deer, swimming a distance (and making it!) that would drown a human from sheer exhaustion.

    Are you saying deer evolved aquatically?

    (HINT: the ability of an organism to adapt to an environment doesn’t mean that organism evolved in that environment.)

  205. 705
    anthrosciguy

    Hardly an argument for a mermaid, is it?

    I haven’t met or heard of any significant critic of the AAT/H who thought the argument was about mermaid levels of aquaticism. I have seen several AAT/H proponents who suggest that, including William “Mermaids are real” Bond, who posts regularly in Verhaegen’s Yahoo group where Algis also posts.

    I’ve used what AAT/H proponents say and what animals they use as anologies for the characteristics they say we evolved due to water use. For the earlier versions of Hardy and Morgan this generally is some vaguely otter-like amount of water use, as Morgan said (and which Algis has denied Morgan said despite her saying it on camera for a TV documentary) and for the charcateristics (inaccurately described by the proponents, of course) these are cetaceans, pinnipeds, and sirenia (with occasional references to penguins, flamingos, frogs, and hippos). Because of this the less aquatic versions of the idea, such as Algis’, are actually more radical since they claim convergence without significant selection pressure. All the versions, due to inaccurately describing the characteristics in question, suffer heavily from GIGO.

  206. 706
    Rey Fox

    I really have not even scratched the surface of this thread, but I have to chime in with amusement at the way Algis signs his name at the bottom of every comment, no matter how raving he is. And no matter that his name (nym) appears at the top of every comment automatically.

  207. 707
    algiskuliukas

    Re 704

    Deer

    This may come as a shock to you but the last common ancestor of humans and chimps was not in Artiodactyla.

    It’s the comparison between humans and chimps that’s key to understanding human evolution.

    Algis Kuliukas

  208. 708
    vaiyt

    @algiskuliukas

    This may come as a shock to you but the last common ancestor of humans and chimps was not in Artiodactyla.

    It’s not a shock to anyone that you missed the point by a mile.

  209. 709
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    It’s the comparison between humans and chimps that’s key to understanding human evolution.

    Which you show you don’t understand you need to look at just more than chimps if you wish to talk about human evolution. A topic you provide prima facie evidence you know nothing about each and every time your post about your all wet idea. You don’t have a hypothesis. That requires some evidence. All you have is your imagufactured easily refuted bullshit. What an egotistical loser, proven by needing to sign every post. Only egotists do that, usually those whose ego outruns their intellect. Which is the case with you also.

  210. 710
    ChasCPeterson

    We swim better because we are clever.

    That much seems clear. I used to teach swimming lessons professionally.
    I doubt that a chimp who figured out how to swim would be able to teach another chimp, even if it wanted to. And learning by observation alone is far rarer and more difficult than one might think.

    About the ability of chimps to swim at all, I think that all this talk about muscle density and top-heaviness on land is pointless.
    In the first place, the only reason that any non-obese vertebrate floats is because of the buoyancy of lung air. Period. Therefore if a vertebrate is floating, it’s because its thoracic cavity is full of sufficient air to balance the ineluctable density of bone and protein. Even fat (in the living form of adipose tissue) is really not all that buoyant; it takes a lot just to cancel out the skeleton.
    In the second place, there is no diference in density between more-powerful but quick-fatiguing fast-glycolytic muscle tissue and lower-power but fatigue-resistant slow-oxidative muscle tissue. If, in fact, humans have proportionally more of the latter this would have no correlative effect on buoyancy.

    My guess is that chimps could be trained to float by breath-control and that a young enough chimp could be trained by a human teacher to swim just fine.
    But that’s a guess.

  211. 711
    Amphiox

    It’s the comparison between humans and chimps that’s key to understanding human evolution.

    Not in this case and not for this characteristic.

    But this has already been explained to you, in depth, Algis.

    And yet you continue to repeat this already debunked falsehood ad nauseum. Just as you continued to repeat your lies about taphonomy. Just as you repeat your demonstrably false accusations of ad hominem against anthrosciguy even has you shamelessly ad hominem him.

    You have crossed the line, Algis.

    Your demonstrated intellectual dishonesty is more than merely pathetic now. It is disgusting.

    Disgusting.

    Your behavior is no different from that of txpiper, joey, jimashby and the rest of the lying, hypocritical, unethical trolls of their ilk that have infested this blog from time to time.

    You are disgusting.

    Your only saving grace is that you lie and dissemble on an academic topic that does not directly imply or produce harm to real world people.

    You are disgusting.

    I am done with you. Your intellectually dishonest filth shall henceforth be ignored.

    The only commentary from that I will henceforth notice will by that which is quoted by others like David M and Chas.

  212. 712
    algiskuliukas

    Re 711 – Blimey. I’ve seen some rabid hydrophobes in my time but this one takes the biscuit!

    The idea, remember, is that humans might be so different from chimps because of some wading, swimming and diving!

    Yes, “Amphiox”, please do not comment any more.

    Algis Kuliukas

  213. 713
    vaiyt

    It’s funny.
    Algis Kuliukas uses a comparison between whales and squirrels to illustrate how we can supposedly detect who’s adapted to water by comparing their swimming ability.
    Then, when it gets turned back at him with two animals where the difference isn’t so clear (humans and deer, squirrels and pigs) he complains that we aren’t doing it right.
    We’re just trying to follow your logic, throw us a bone here!

  214. 714
    Menyambal

    ChasCPeterson, thanks for the info on muscle density. What you say makes eminent sense. (Unlike the stuff that Algis babbles.)

    Algis, you seem to have a magic power to know what everyone else means and thinks, even when they clearly write something else. You keep whipping out pop psych explanations for our motivations, yet everything you say would better apply to you.

    Parsimony implies that if there is a cultic crazy cacophony of confusion going on in this thread, it’s in the side with the fewer people. And when it’s one guy, it’s probably that guy. And that guy is you, Algis.

    Take whatever self-defense you just worked out in response to me, and turn it around. I bet you a cookie that it applies better to you.

    This isn’t healthy for you, Algis. Go away and get over it.

  215. 715
    anthrosciguy

    It’s funny.
    Algis Kuliukas uses a comparison between whales and squirrels to illustrate how we can supposedly detect who’s adapted to water by comparing their swimming ability.
    Then, when it gets turned back at him with two animals where the difference isn’t so clear (humans and deer, squirrels and pigs) he complains that we aren’t doing it right.
    We’re just trying to follow your logic, throw us a bone here!

    That sort of internal inconsistency predates Algis’ appearance on the AAT/H scene. Here’s an example of a reply I made to one such in 1995:

    Pa> In that case, please advise which other primates have gone through the
    Pa> major skeletal changes that constrain them to 100% bipedalism. (Gibbons
    Pa> don’t work; they are virtually 100% arboreal and so far off the human
    Pa> line as to be irrelevant to the discussion).

    As I have pointed out before, it is laughably ludicrous for you or any
    AAT-supporter to say that brachiactors such as gibbons are “so far off
    the human line as to be irrelevant to the discussion” when *their*
    theory depends on comparisons between humans and whales, dolphins, pigs,
    hippos (both regular and pygmy), sea gulls, crocodiles, sea snakes and
    turtles, seals, sea otters, and “any hairless aqautic mammal”, not to
    mention (at least somewhat closer to home) Japanese macaques and proboscis
    monkeys. Why do you continue to insist that gibbons alone, out of all
    the animal world, receive this special “not applicable” treatment?

  216. 716
    anthrosciguy

    Parsimony implies that if there is a cultic crazy cacophony of confusion going on in this thread, it’s in the side with the fewer people. And when it’s one guy, it’s probably that guy. And that guy is you, Algis.

    One of the posters at TRF has used as a sig a line John Langdon said to Algis: “When I begin to think that all the world is wrong but me, I should question myself.”

  217. 717
    anthrosciguy

    Algis, you seem to have a magic power to know what everyone else means and thinks, even when they clearly write something else. You keep whipping out pop psych explanations for our motivations, yet everything you say would better apply to you.

    Algis is a mass of projection, which seems to be a common theme in pseudoscience. He’s also had a long time habit of objecting to what people like Hardy or Morgan say or write being presented, as he claims to know what they meant to say or write. His attitude toward accepting what they’ve said is summed up in this tidbit: “A rational approach is not to take Hardy’s text too literally but to think critically about the idea being proposed.”

  218. 718
    Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao

    Algis Kulukis argues exactly like a creationist. I’ve only been basically reading this topic to get some information about stuff I didn’t know about, and it’s clear he understands exactly what’s being said – and just chooses to ignore stuff.

    So much of his responses have been repeats of infomation already presented. He talks as if no one responded to his arguments. He’s like Ray Comfort – who I told no less than twenty times on his blog the exact scientific definition of evolution, and still refused to use that definition, instead arguing for some straw man definition we had already responded to and corrected.

  219. 719
    Amphiox

    I forgot to mention parsimony as yet another of the concepts Algis continues to shamelessly lie about.

    I wonder if Algis will take issue with me commenting again? I specifically said that I would still be following this thread because I am interested in the posts of other people, but knowing Algis and his flabby, buoyant ego, he probably thinks that participation in this thread requires responding to him. Because it is all about him.

    Disgusting.

  220. 720
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Yawn, True Believer™ is still peddling his sunken and sodden idea of human evolution. No solid evidence for anything he says to be seen. He’s still trying to pretend his interpretation of everything is the only one.
    Sorry AK, real scientists look at everything, and see what you post (self-serving and self-bragging bullshit), and just point and laugh. You are comic relief. There is no way for you now to get above being a joke around here until you show some intelligence and go away for a while. 20 years sounds good.

  221. 721
    anthrosciguy

    I forgot to mention parsimony as yet another of the concepts Algis continues to shamelessly lie about.

    A lot of people have told Algis directly about this over the years, and it’s been a common theme hammered home many times by others criticizing the AAT/H in general. But John Langdon said it directly to and about Algis’ misunderstanding in a short pithy form: “Your concept of parsimony is a delusion.”

  222. 722
    Menyambal

    I’m going to walk back on something I said earlier (hey, if Algis can walk back, I can, too).

    I conceded that humans spend more time wading and swimming than chimps do, and said that it was not really important. But now I’m going to say isn’t true, especially for pre-technology humans (pre-technology being something Algis brought in for one of his arguments).

    I, myself, haven’t been swimming for about two years, and can’t recall wading for a few years. I cannot believe that a chimp living in a jungle hasn’t had to wade in all that time. My life is such that wading and swimming is a recreational choice (one of my recreations, poling my canoe, involves NOT wading if I can possibly get upstream any other way), but a chimp doesn’t have that kind of life. He has to wade sometimes, surely.

    A chimp certainly gets caught out in the rain more than I do.

    Humans, when you think about it, have developed all kinds of ways to avoid getting wet. Houses, umbrellas, weather forecasts, all in aid of staying dry. Hell, pre-technology humans lived in caves and tents and huts. Low-tech humans, even now, tend to live in the dry areas of the world. Keeping dry drives some of our earliest technology.

    Yeah, the Romans built baths, but the Medieval Europeans didn’t use them. Mongols never bathed, the Bedu never swim, Persian though rivers were sacred ….

    We may shower to get clean, and some may swim for fun, but I’ll bet a chimp gets wet from rain and wading far more than the average human does.

    And, as was said above, chimps get up and walk bipedal just to avoid wet grass. I bet they fucking hate wading. I see no reason to think our ancestors were any different, and given the way most of us live, I’d say we still hate getting wet … when we don’t have a choice.

    That we swim and bathe and plant rice is cultural, I say, and we do our best to make the water clean and warm and as little like jungle water as possible.

    The chimps must hate us dry-shod bastards and our domesticated water.

  223. 723
    Menyambal

    Oh, and I’m agreeing and reinforcing what David Marjanović and others said above about babies not really being able to swim before they can walk. Algis just loves to say that babies can swim, and makes it sound like they blast through the water like Michael Phelps headed for a bong.

    Babies float. Babies float because they are fat, and as ChasP points out, they have a lungful of air. As I recall it, the trainers start humming, which the babies imitate (see, cultural already). The humming effectively equals breath-holding, and when the kid has inhaled for another round, the trainers submerge him, gently. Some of the kids then “swim” by making a crawling movement just like they’d do on dry carpet. They do not go ripping around any better than they could crawl.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MEDUrEh7hSU was the first video Google hit for “babies swimming”, and it features much talk about training, and nothing of a baby moving through the water. The little bugger just lies there and twitches. You might as well say that babies can lie on a waterbed before they can walk.

    If a baby could manage any better in water than on dry ground, it would be due to the floating nature of water, not to instinct or evolutionary history, and certainly not to the babies “natural” swimming ability.

  224. 724
    Ichthyic

    If a baby could manage any better in water than on dry ground, it would be due to the floating nature of water, not to instinct or evolutionary history, and certainly not to the babies “natural” swimming ability.

    besides which, even IF babies could somehow “swim”, it actually can’t be considered evidence of much of anything, really. Could be any number of reasons for it. Rather, our illustrious nutter here simply biases the idea right into evidentiary support.

    dude has … obvious issues. His lack of scientific understanding to be the very least of them.

  225. 725
    anthrosciguy

    Oh, and I’m agreeing and reinforcing what David Marjanović and others said above about babies not really being able to swim before they can walk. Algis just loves to say that babies can swim, and makes it sound like they blast through the water like Michael Phelps headed for a bong.

    Babies float. Babies float because they are fat, and as ChasP points out, they have a lungful of air.

    Actually, what babies do best in water is drown. It’s the leading cause of accidental death for infants in the USA. Algis’ claim is based on the “swimming reflex” and the facts behind that have been pointed out to him and other AAT/Hers for years now. The infants can’t swim, they can’t breath on their own, and the people who run these baby “swimming” programs are careful to point out that not only does it not drownproof your kids, but that except for unusual kids you can’t count on an infant to be able to learn to swim until about the age of two. (Obviously, the vast majority of human children learn to walk well before that, and to crawl even earlier.)

    Algis has regularly refused to accept the written statements of the people who run these programs worldwide. One such person I’ve mentioned to Algis is a Norwegian expert, Torril Hindmarch, who pointedly questions why there are so few swimming toddlers in Norway when there were so many “swimming” babies there. (Algis actually tried to explain this by saying “I guess the reason is because Norway has a relatively small population compared to the rest of the world.” Think about that one… cause he didn’t. :)).

    Also, the swimming reflex, when you look at it, is virtually the same thing or actually the same thing in terms of movement as the crawling reflex, which is another reflex that infants have early on in life which is then lost.

  226. 726
    Menyambal

    anthrosciguy, you are right, of course. All the videos that I found about swimming babies were about drown-proofing the little varmints, or, actually, drown-resisting. The vids stand as evidence that babies cannot swim for poop, and need lots of training to not drown instanly.

    The swimming baby thing seemed to be centered in California, where there are lots of swimming pools, lots of New-Age people, and lots of money to indulge such a thing. So yay for the Norwegians.

    Algis really seems to have read about a few things, and is parroting them around without thinking about them. He is very much like the creationists, and all the other conspiracy cranks.

    Yeah, I know he has some college degrees. It sounds like some of his profs didn’t want to give him one, though … but I’m sure he could put a lot of effort into churning back what he was taught or had read. Look at all the work he has done here.

    I went through university in the Honors College, and noticed that about half of us excellent students were just really good at regurgitating formulas and composing impressive-sounding papers. Every one of those was a fundamentalist Christian of one sort or another. (I hung out with the atheists who really dug down for the concepts, and who were truly creative and self-teaching.) So, whoopee for Algis’s educational qualifications. He’s just as goofy as the “Doctors” at the Disco ‘Tute.

    Or, as they say, ten percent of everything is shit.

  227. 727
    anthrosciguy

    Yeah, I know he has some college degrees. It sounds like some of his profs didn’t want to give him one, though … but I’m sure he could put a lot of effort into churning back what he was taught or had read. Look at all the work he has done here.

    One of our faves over at TRF was Algis saying “See, I have ‘o’ levels in science, ‘a’ levels in science, a first degree in science, a masters degree in science and 3/4 of a PhD in science.”

    I went through university in the Honors College, and noticed that about half of us excellent students were just really good at regurgitating formulas and composing impressive-sounding papers. Every one of those was a fundamentalist Christian of one sort or another. (I hung out with the atheists who really dug down for the concepts, and who were truly creative and self-teaching.) So, whoopee for Algis’s educational qualifications. He’s just as goofy as the “Doctors” at the Disco ‘Tute.

    A few years ago I offered a test for Algis, based on his bragging about his masters, to list in order who was the best source of info on human evolution based on their degrees. A link to a post where I outlined it all is below, but the results were this:

    anthrosciguy:
    Algis’ choice for best source:
    creationist/ID proponent Michael Behe

    His choices for next best sources, in order:
    “young earth” creationist Duane Gish
    “young earth” creationist Kurt Wise
    ultra-fringe biologist Rupert Sheldrake

    and Algis’s choice for worst source of info on evolution:
    Richard Leakey

    He has shown absolutely no signs of having learned anything from that episode.

    http://www.talkrational.org/showthread.php?p=786151#post786151

    Of course Algis has always been fluid on whether or not degrees are of paramount importance or completely unimportant (ie., it’s whether or not someone accepts the AAT/H).

  228. 728
    Amphiox

    Algis’ degrees are a classic example of GIGO.

  229. 729
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Gee, it appears AK thinks of himself as a rebel against traditional science based on the sources he likes. Explains his inability to understand how science is done, and what his inability to evidence his fuckwitted idea really means. Like the creobots, he knows he is right. He just needs to find arguments to persuade people. But scientists understand an idea without evidence is to be discarded in favor of one that has evidence. No wonder his idea is all wet.

  230. 730
    Menyambal

    My dad’s an inventor, or he was until the Alzheimer’s took over, and he got a lot of people wanting help with their inventions. He said once that most people are really proud of their idea, because it’s the only one they’ll ever have. (Isaac Asimov said something similar about ideas for stories.)

    I’m now going to say the same thing about epiphanies. Wiki says epiphany (from the ancient Greek ἐπιφάνεια, epiphaneia, “manifestation, striking appearance”) is an experience of sudden and striking realization. (An idea for an invention could be a realization that something would work, so there’s the similarity.)

    I’m referring here to epiphanies that come from reading something that explains everything (or seems to), and that make all kinds of sense (or seem to). As Thomas Henry Huxley said, “How extremely stupid not to have thought of that.”

    I add “or seems to” because I find that epiphanies aren’t going to happen about obvious things that everybody already knows, things that are true, but seeming epiphanies can happen about things that are not true. Con men can’t sell you real things for their actual value, but are selling false goods—the peddlers of seeming epiphanies are selling falsehoods.

    So Algis, like many others, read a book (his was about aquatic apes) and felt that giddy rush of “facts” clicking into place, things making sense, patterns emerging, and the feeling that he knew something that few others knew, and that he was smart enough to understand it. He had an epiphany, and it felt good. It was his first, and it was his last.

    He need the help of a book laying it out for him, and he hadn’t the sense to distinguish falsity, but he had an epiphany.

    Now he, like many a crank, is going to hold on to that, religiously.

    —–

    Mark Twain:

    What is it that confers the noblest delight? What is that which swells a man’s breast with pride above that which any other experience can bring to him? Discovery! To know that you are walking where none others have walked; that you are beholding what human eye has not seen before; that you are breathing a virgin atmosphere. To give birth to an idea–to discover a great thought–an intellectual nugget, right under the dust of a field that many a brain–plow had gone over before. To find a new planet, to invent a new hinge, to find the way to make the lightnings carry your messages. To be the first–that is the idea. To do something, say something, see something, before any body else–these are the things that confer a pleasure compared with which other pleasures are tame and commonplace, other ecstasies cheap and trivial. Morse, with his first message, brought by his servant, the lightning; Fulton, in that long-drawn century of suspense, when he placed his hand upon the throttle-valve and lo, the steamboat moved; Jenner, when his patient with the cow’s virus in his blood, walked through the smallpox hospitals unscathed; Howe, when the idea shot through his brain that for a hundred and twenty generations the eye had been bored through the wrong end of the needle; the nameless lord of art who laid down his chisel in some old age that is forgotten, now, and gloated upon the finished Laocoon; Daguerre, when he commanded the sun, riding in the zenith, to print the landscape upon his insignificant silvered plate, and he obeyed; Columbus, in the Pinta’s shrouds, when he swung his hat above a fabled sea and gazed abroad upon an unknown world! These are the men who have really lived–who have actually comprehended what pleasure is–who have crowded long lifetimes of ecstasy into a single moment.

  231. 731
    algiskuliukas

    714>

    Parsimony implies that if there is a cultic crazy cacophony of confusion going on in this thread, it’s in the side with the fewer people. And when it’s one guy, it’s probably that guy. And that guy is you, Algis.

    “There’s more of us than you.”

    Bullies’ charter.

    Algis Kuliukas

  232. 732
    algiskuliukas

    Re 715

    …when *their* theory depends on comparisons between humans and whales, dolphins, pigs, hippos …

    Jim, demonstrates that he hasn’t understood much about “their theory” in over 17 years.

    It *depends* on comparisons between humans and chimps, not gibbons. It *uses* examples from other taxa as pointers to try to explain why the human-chimp differences have occurred.

    Algis Kuliukas

  233. 733
    algiskuliukas

    Re 713

    We’re just trying to follow your logic, throw us a bone here

    Why are humans more efficient terrestrial bipeds and better at ER than chimps? Does anyone doubt it was due to natural selection?

    Why are chimps better at climbing than humans? Does anyone doubt it was due to natural selection?

    Why are humans better at swimming and diving than chimps? Suddenly, the rules change, and the LAST thing to be considered is n.s. Why’s that?

    Re 715-717, 721, 725, 727 – anthro-slur-guy at work. You can always rely on the spanner man to deliver a never ending series of cherry picked, out-of-context micro-quotes, on cue. Each of these has been answered elsewhere, but it never stops him regurgisluring them again and again. He is the peddler of zombie slurs that never die. Great “resource”, eh, PZ?

    Re 718

    Algis Kulukas argues exactly like a creationist. I’ve only been basically reading this topic to get some information about stuff I didn’t know about, and it’s clear he understands exactly what’s being said – and just chooses to ignore stuff.

    So much of his responses have been repeats of infomation already presented. He talks as if no one responded to his arguments.

    What, exactly, do you think I have ignored? So that I can try to address it for you.

    Honestly, you should try being in the minority in places like this where a kind of lynch mob mentality arises. I do not have infinite time to spend here answering each and every point of a dozen know-it-alls who couldn’t tell you why we are so different from chimps but are mysteriously certain that it has nothing to do with water.

    Is it arguing like a creationist to specifically take on the people who, I was told by PZ himself, are most authoritative and ignore those that usually just sling nasty insults over and over again?

    I notice you have not one word of censure for them. Your pretence to be some kind of objective thinker would have a bit more of a ring of truth about it, if you did.

    Who did respond to my arguments without cherry picking and distorting them? Chas Peterson, did some, perhaps. But who else?

    PZ didn’t and he’s the main reason I’m here. He wrote a shamelessly ignorant blog post sneering at a perfectly plausible idea and he has backed a shoddy, gossipy, masquerading web site that does the same, for years. I’ve asked him to defend those actions and all he’s replied is by calling me an “idiot”/”loon”/”kook”. Presumably, by this reckoning, you think PZ argues like a creationist too, then?

    re 724 (& 725)

    The key comparison that matters is (why do I have to keep repeating this? – oh yeah, misrepresentation is the name of the game here) with chimps.

    If unequivocal evidence is shown that human infants are no more likely to survive near drowning incidents (assume their mother is close by to enact a rescue) than chimp infants, I, for one, promise to drop the idea like a stone in a pond, never to return.

    (another creationist-like argument, I suppose.)

    Re 730

    So Algis, like many others, read a book (his was about aquatic apes) and felt that giddy rush of “facts” clicking into place, things making sense, patterns emerging, and the feeling that he knew something that few others knew, and that he was smart enough to understand it. He had an epiphany, and it felt good. It was his first, and it was his last.

    A bit presumptious. If I write anything like this I get attacked for it (e.g. by the very guy who wrote this!) A bit hypocritical too, then.

    Yes, I was inspired by Elaine Morgan’s book “The Aquatic Ape Hypothesis”, true (and “Scars of Evolution”). Brilliant books. Have you read them? I have been inspired by several such books, (like all of Richard Dawkin’s books, most notably “The Selfish Gene”, Sean Carrol’s “Endless Forms Most Beautiful”, Daniel Dennett’s “Darwin’s Dangerous Idea”, Sam Harris’ “End of Faith” and Ray Kurzweil’s “The Singularity is Near.”)

    So what?

    The cheap slur you are trying to peddle is really a bit scummy.

    Are you saying you have never read a book and been inspired by it? That would be sad admission indeed.

    Now, about this bit…

    …and he hadn’t the sense to distinguish falsity.

    Therein lies the problem.

    Just run that past me again. What falsity, other than minor errors?

    I’ve read the literature on this and I’ve asked all sorts of people who, I’m told, are authorities on the subject and, like Daniel Dennett, I’ve still not heard an answer worth tuppence.

    Maybe you have.

    Please point me to something in the scientific literature that even evaluates the so-called “aquatic ape theory” rationally and objectively, let alone rejects it.

    John Langdon’s unscholarly straw man paper is very weak indeed, as I have described…

    Kuliukas, A. (2011). Langdon’s Critique of the Aquatic Ape Hypothesis: It’s Final Refutation, or Just Another Misunderstanding?. In: Vaneechoutte, M., Verhaegen, M., Kuliukas, A. (eds.), (2011). Was Man More Aquatic In The Past? Fifty Years After Alister Hardy: Waterside Hypothesis Of Human Evolution. Bentham (Basel)

    What else? A load of childish sneering in places like this and twisting gossip by anthro-lie-slur-guy.

    Seriously, so where does your incredible confidence come from that this must be pseudoscientific rubbish come from? Sneer pressure. What else? Precious little science has been done, so what else?

    Talking about the supposed lack of ability to see fault, how come aquaskeptics never criticise each other in these places? Apart from Chas Peterson’s very refleshingly honest criticism of Jim Moore’s “Can AAH/Ter Research be Trusted?” page the other day, I have never read one word of criticism by anyone of his gossip.

    One-way-only critical thinking is a hallmark of pseudoskepticism, You can’t accuse me of that. I have criticised Hardy. Morgan and had a public falling out with Verhaegen rcently.

    Algis Kuliukas

  234. 734
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Back again with more evidenceless OPINION. What a unscientific loser. Only one thing will work AK shutting the fuck up and pointing to the EVIDENCE. Since it doesn’t exist, his overly inflated ego delusional thinks his talking will convince folks of anything other than he is a bullshit artiste. Not working AK, Crank/loon and troll.

  235. 735
    anthrosciguy

    OMG, despite my long experience with Algis, I didn’t know until now that he’s a Kurzweil singularity nut.

  236. 736
    anthrosciguy

    It *depends* on comparisons between humans and chimps, not gibbons. It *uses* examples from other taxa as pointers to try to explain why the human-chimp differences have occurred.

    Ah, “Pointer Theory” has arrived here. This is how Algis tried to run away from what convergent evolution says (“characters that are similar in structure and function but have arisen separately rather than from a common ancestor are termed convergent.” – Vertebrate Paleontology and Evolution 1988, by Robert L. Carroll ). As I said after he first came up with “Pointer Theory”:

    anthrosciguy:
    Us pointing out that convergent evolution is about change to similar form due to similar selection pressure is why Algis tried to abandon convergent evolution for his made up “pointer” theory. Which is also now known as “Greenfieldism”.

    Algis (and other AATers) has regularly invoked convergence (or vague Greenfieldism) between us and various aquatic and semiaquatic animals, including flamingos, elephant, babirusa, walrus,
    cetacean, sirenia, hippo, pinnipeds.

    Morgan has used flamingos, penguins, herons, frogs, and moose. Verhaegen has used flamingos and ostriches among others.

    Here’s a common tactic among AAT/H/WHHE proponents:

    Algis:
    I am not claiming that humans were like dolphins, just that they had to move through water (wade, swim, dive) regularly enough for the evolutionary pressure incurred there to have had an corresponding effect on our phenotype.

    Algis Kuliukas 13 May 2003

    ie., he’s not saying we were like dolphins, so if you say he said so he’ll call you a liar, because he’s just saying we had enough evolutionary pressure to have the same phenotypic change as dolphins.

  237. 737
    anthrosciguy

    Bonus Algis: “As long as you use my definition and not your straw man, I have never come across a difference between humans and chimps that wasn’t best explained by a waterside scenario.”

  238. 738
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    I have never come across a difference between humans and chimps that wasn’t best explained by a waterside scenario.”

    So says the proven liar and bullshitter that nobody should take their word as an expert OPINION. Third party evidence is required for AK to be believed on any claim. Funny how all the evidence is from him and filtered through his aqua colored glasses and delusions. Prima facie CRANK/LOON behavior.

  239. 739
    algiskuliukas

    Bonus anthro-slur-guy: Jim has been misrepresenting Dan Dennett’s clear and open support off Elaine Morgan’s work for years. I wrote to him recently to ask if, like Jim has been suggested, if he really did bracket the idea along with creationism.

    Dennett made it clear that he did not, at all.

    But despite this clear correction, Jim Moore just cannot admit to any fault, and issue a Mea cukp, even now. Ask him a direct question like this…

    Do you accept that your repeated claims that Dennett was bracketting the “AAT” with creationism was a complete misrepresentation now? or do you still claim that is what he was doing?

    …and he’ll dodge it.

    Algis Kuliukas

    PS… Correction, I’m passing “the biscuit” to Nerd… Honestly, what is his(?) problem ?

  240. 740
    Arawhon, a Strawberry Margarita

    algis, give up. The fossils say dry land, the diet says dry land, everything we have documenting our ancient ancestors says rainforest to savannah with no waterside effects great enough to change our ancestors. Until you can come up with actual fossil evidence or genetic evidence that points otherwise you are a crank. I read the talkrational thread,well parts anyway, and you come off a pseudoscience promoter. A loon practicing cargo cult science. Your idea doesnt mesh with any of the data that is continously being gathered and keeps reinforcing an arboreal to land transition without water as even a minor factor. Where are your fossils? Put up or shut up.

  241. 741
    algiskuliukas

    re 740

    The fossils say dry land, … Where are your fossils?

    The fossils say “waterside habitats”, actually. Exactly as I do.

    I don’t think you’ve really been listening, have you?

    All you guys can do, is misrepresent the argument and thow childish names.

    It’s all the more pathetic that you’re really just aping the like of PZ Myers and Henry Gee in these tactics.

    Algis Kuliukas

  242. 742
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    The crank is back with more OPINION, not one iota of evidence. NO SALE!

    When will you learn, nobody gives a shit about your inane idea?

  243. 743
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    Over a month later and Kuliukas is still whining?

    Dafuq?

  244. 744
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    @anthrosciguy

    …he’s just saying we had enough evolutionary pressure to have the same phenotypic change as dolphins.

    That sounds a lot, to me, like he’s saying we’re like dolphins.

  245. 745
    Michael Clark

    740 AK: “I don’t think you’ve really been listening, have you?”

    Well, ~somebody~ hasn’t been listening, that’s for sure.

  246. 746
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    The fossils say “waterside habitats”, actually. Exactly as I do.

    I don’t think you’ve really been listening, have you?

    Sorry AK, I don’t listen to cranks/loons babbling bullshit, but your “evidence”, not filtered through your aqua colored glasses, say savannah, conclusively. And I believe the real evidence, not your aqua colored interpretation of said evidence.

    Time for you to shut the fuck up and listen: NO SALE!

  247. 747
    anthrosciguy

    But despite this clear correction, Jim Moore just cannot admit to any fault, and issue a Mea cukp, even now. Ask him a direct question like this…

    Do you accept that your repeated claims that Dennett was bracketting the “AAT” with creationism was a complete misrepresentation now? or do you still claim that is what he was doing?

    …and he’ll dodge it.

    Algis Kuliukas

    Algis is fond of these “have you stopped beating your wife” questions (which have typically been answered and/or corrected for him many times before, of course). This one he’s been pushing at TRF in an attempt to distract from his not wanting to support something stupid he said. His claim was that in a 2007 paper, Dan Lieberman et al. were claiming that early hominids were “chasing elephants” across the savanna (that formulation came from a dumb strawman David Attenborough was quoted as saying in a recent news article). I asked Algis to point to where Lieberman et al. said that and Algis has been pushing this recycled Dennett thing again instead of pointing… it’s almost as if Lieberman et al. didn’t say that and Algis knows it despite claiming they did. :)

    http://talkrational.org/showthread.php?p=2127387#post2127387

  248. 748
    anthrosciguy

    That sounds a lot, to me, like he’s saying we’re like dolphins.

    Yes, it does, but then in the same sentence he says he’s not; Algis has proven himself perfectly capable (“perfectly capable” is not something you can say about Algis very often) of saying two contradictory things within the space of a single sentence.

    But that’s the magic of Pointer Theory. You should hear about Darwinian Default. Then the AAT/H has a history of proponents trying to make up new evolutionary concepts, or change the names of well-known ones (like Elaine Morgan tried to do for convergent evolution in the 90s).

  249. 749
    Arawhon, a Strawberry Margarita

    I don’t have a science degree and barely went to college, but the way you promote your idea is just like the Discovery Institute, just like John Edwards, just like a huge variety of those who want the acclaim of science but don’t want to actually do the work. And don’t start with that stupid bullshit about your waterside hypothesis explaining the fossils, because it doesn’t. Since you don’t understand how the bones are shaped by wear and tear and how different environments leave different alterations to the skeleton, and that all the skeletons show having lived on dry land for nearly all their life. Since you also don’t understand and refuse to learn what taphonomy is, you cant be trusted to interpret the data correctly. The data has spoken and your idea has lost, and has been losing for a long time now.

    You. Are. A. Failed. Scientist.
    You sicken me.
    Get off the internet and go do some actual research for once in your life.

    Sorry for the harshness, but this guy has started to grate on my nerves so much it’s forced me to de-lurk.

  250. 750
    Arawhon, a Strawberry Margarita

    My above should be for Algis, thought I had included that.

  251. 751
    Amphiox

    Is Algis still fapping out his pathetic lies?

  252. 752
    Amphiox

    While Algis faps away, real science moves on. Take a look at this:

    http://phenomena.nationalgeographic.com/2013/06/13/one-protein-shows-elephants-and-moles-had-aquatic-ancestors/

    Pertinently:

    The team found highly charged version of myoglobin in the muscles of many aquatic mammals, including seals and walruses, whales and dolphins, beavers and muskrats. Other partially aquatic species, like American water shrews and star-nosed moles, have myoglobins with less charge than those full-time swimmers but still more than land-living species.

    Of course, mountaineers and burrowers also need a lot of oxygen, but the team found that their myoglobins lack the positive charges of diving mammals. It seems that a positively charged myoglobin is a clear sign of a diving lifestyle.

    If this holds up, it would mean that positively charged myoglobin is a de facto marker of aquatic ancestry, and it is possible to delineate even a small amount of partial water-living.

    So if swimming had been a significant selection pressure of human ancestors but not with for chimpanzees, thus accounting for the “significant” differences between the two, the signature of this past selection pressure should be present in human myoglobin. Human myoglobin should differ from chimpanzee myoglobin and have more positively charged amino acids in it.

    So how does human and chimpanzee myoglobin compare?

    http://todd.jackman.villanova.edu/HumanEvol/WilsonKing1975.pdf

    One amino acid difference.

    Well, so much for that.

    But this means that AAH supporters have an obvious next step before them. Myoglobin happens to be just about the most studied, the best known, protein in the animal kingdom. Show us that human myoglobin possesses this signature of an aquatic ancestry, and then do the molecular dating to show us WHEN that aquatic ancestry occurred. Of course, will they accept the results that such research would yield? We can already see that IF there was any selectively significant aquatic phase in human ancestry, it must have occurred before the human-chimp split, and chimpanzees and bonobos must have also shared that part of our ancestry, at the very least.

    As an interesting side-note, this research indicates that elephants and hyraxes really might have had an aquatic common ancestor (which could have lived as long as 65 million years ago). The AAH people can take some solace in THAT thought.

  253. 753
    anthrosciguy

    That’s interesting, in and of itself but also because the idea that elephants had a semiaquatic ancestry is big in the AAT/H (even though it provides no evidence for it) but has always been based on one really thin strand of data and another really stupid claim. It’d be interesting if there’s some actual evidence for it.

  254. 754
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Ah, smell the real evidence presented by Amphiox that refuted the aquatic bullshit once and for all. Watch the decaying idea drift out to sea and slowly sink beneath the waves. bye-bye egotistical fuckwittery.

    Time for AK to fade into the bandwidth. His dishonesty, lack of scientific integrity, and overly big ego probably makes this impossible for him to do. Let’s see if he is honest enough to acknowledge defeat, or if he must try to pretend he is still right since his ego won’t accept reality that his idea is all wet.

    Stay tuned as the ego meets the facts.

  255. 755
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    @anthrosciguy

    The comparisons between AAHers (I absolutely refuse to lend it the accolade of “theory”) and creationists are becoming more and more apparent.

    Come up with a hypothesis (in the case of AAH, an admittedly very interesting one, initially) based on one logical explanation for an observed trait, then try to make the evidence fit the hypothesis. When it becomes clear the evidence doesn’t quite fit the hypothesis, confirmation bias and ad hoc rationalisations ensue, and the pig-headed refusal to let go of your pet theory becomes entrenched.

    The fact Kuliukas and his ilk have the brass nerve to use these tactics and still referr to themselves as scientists is infuriating. The older I get, the more it becomes apparent that my idealistic teen admiration for Atheists and scientists was really just the result of rose-tinted glasses.

  256. 756
    algiskuliukas

    Re 747

    A beautiful illistration of the Jim Moore “School of Science” (Department of Discreditology) methodology that PZ Myers, has publicly endorsed.

    It’s the bait and trap technique.

    He posts something that’s a bit provocative. In this case it was asking the question “Who posits that ["easier than chasing elephants and wildebeests across the savannah".] (at least who posits that happening earlier than maybe a half million years ago or so — perhaps)?”

    Now, I have to admit, I fell into the trap. I saw the wildebeests bit and I read Jim’s caveat about half a million years, and I answered….

    Dan Lieberman does.

    Lieberman, D., Bramble, D., Raichlan, D., Shea, J. The evolution of endurance running and the tyranny of ethnography: A reply to Pickering and Bunn. Journal of Human Evolution 53:439-442, (2007)

    Silly me. I should have known, by now, after years of banging my head against the wall with The Nerd of Slurs, that I should have seen the elephant in the sentence, because this was Jim’s gambit.

    Of course, it was part of the lie slur preparation technique he’s master at.

    Just around the corner at TR came this…

    Please quote the portion or portions where Lieberman et al. refers to “chasing elephants” as you claim they do.”

    and hereon PZ’s blog …

    This one he’s been pushing at TRF in an attempt to distract from his not wanting to support something stupid he said. His claim was that in a 2007 paper, Dan Lieberman et al. were claiming that early hominids were “chasing elephants” across the savanna (that formulation came from a dumb strawman David Attenborough was quoted as saying in a recent news article).

    In isolation, out of context, it sounds terrible, doesn’t it, but when you read it in the original context, it’s at worst a tiny mistake. But Jim doesn’t care about that.

    No doubt this will be thrown at me now for years to come as yet more “evidence” of terrible “AAT/H Research methods”. You never know, it might even make into Jim’s BIG 4 “shock horror” revelations where, among others, he reveals that Elaine Morgan (or was it her typesetter) once missed an ellipsis out of a Darwin quote where a few totally irrelevant words were ommitted.

    He used the same trap technique with Elaine, years ago, on sap. Having discovered the damning missing ellipsis (Oh joy! What a nugget of gold it must have been for him) he asked her on a newsgroup about whether she deliberately missed omitted words out of quotations. Elaine replied that she usually didn’t, but whenever she did, she would put three little dots in to indicate something had been missed.

    BINGO! Jim must have been jumping with joy. On top of the damning typo error, he now also had her with one of his hallmalk lie slurs! Job done.

    Brilliant, isn’t he PZ?

    These tedious, nit pickings, blown up into accusations of malpractice at best, outright lies at worst, are what Jim Moore does. Amazingly this sleazy shit from a totally unqualified ex-car mechanic seems to be the best response mainstream science has managed to come up with in over 50 years to the damned aquatic ape – and the people who defend the mainstream ignorant sneering response seem to be proud of it.

    This is the kind of thing PZ Myers, apparently, admires so much!

    “The Definitive Web Resource”, he calls it!

    BULL SHIT!

    I keep asking PZ if he even read it. Is he really defending this sort of shady journalism?

    PZ’s “replies” have been to call me an “idiot”, “loon” or “kook”. Brilliant.

    MEANWHILE, what Jim HIMSELF is desperately trying to distract attention from is his repeated evasion of this simple question….

    Do you accept that your repeated claims that Dennett was bracketting the “AAT” with creationism was a complete misrepresentation now? or do you still claim that is what he was doing?

    See, Jim’s been misrepresenting Daniel Dennett’s views on Elaine Morgan’s work 180 degrees for years. Again and again, he’s claimed that Dennett was bracketing the “AAT” with creationism when he wasn’t.

    Do a Google search of “anthrosciguy Dennett” if you don’t believe me. It’s there, in the newsgroup archives for all time for anyone to read.

    Dennett actually thinks it’s a pretty good idea – he told me that himself – and he was clearly distinguishing between the people who support ID and those who are trying to do some science on ideas that have been deemed “fringe” by the mainstream. In his NYT article he told them to “get in line behind” people like me who are only trying to do some science.

    So, who’s being most dishonest here?

    Me, for falling into Jim Moore’s elephant trap four days ago, or anthro-slur-guy, for deliberately and repeatedly completely distorting the words of Dan Dennett, one of the most respect thinkers about Darwinian theory today, about Elaine Morgan’s work – for years and then continue to deny he’d done anything wrong even after I wrote to Dennett asking him directly about it?

    Don’t tell me guys… the pseudoskeptic gang here will all side with Jim Moore, right?

    You’ve really assembled a great crowd of rational independent-thinking people here, PZ.

    Well done!

    Algis Kuliukas

  257. 757
    Lofty

    algis the koooooooooooook, you know if you stop picking at this thread it will die all on its own? Your chance of winning any arguments here is exactly zero….

  258. 758
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    Anyone else got to the point where they’re only reading this thread because Kuliukas’ childish outrage is quite amusing?

  259. 759
    Menyambal

    I find Algis’s behavior to be more mentally disturbed, and it is disturbing for me to read. But I’m learning how how he thinks, and seeing much similarity to religious “thinking”, so there’s an education.

    I learn a lot in threads like this, both from reading other comments, and from researching for my own–I just looked up Guinea worm (eww) and also researched diseases of chimps. Too busy for good reply today, though.

  260. 760
    anthrosciguy

    Algis sure needs a lot of words to almost admit he just said something stupidly wrong because he didn’t think much about what he was saying.

  261. 761
    anthrosciguy

    Anyone else got to the point where they’re only reading this thread because Kuliukas’ childish outrage is quite amusing?

    I find Algis’s behavior to be more mentally disturbed, and it is disturbing for me to read. But I’m learning how how he thinks, and seeing much similarity to religious “thinking”, so there’s an education.

    I learn a lot in threads like this, both from reading other comments, and from researching for my own–I just looked up Guinea worm (eww) and also researched diseases of chimps. Too busy for good reply today, though.

    That’s what most folks say over at TRF, and why they’ve followed the thread since the Dawkins forum shut down. There’s been some really interesting stuff presented: odd and amusing bits of craziness from Algis, and good factual stuff from others. One of the interesting things I’ve seen, from many years of this sort of back and forth online with several of the big fish in the tiny pond that is the AAT/H, is how seldom the proponents of the idea actually come up with info. But others do, like Amphiox presenting the very interesting Science paper (which I’d love to read if it weren’t firewalled). In the past, I’ve made the mistake of assuming Algis had come up with some paper or such that was being discussed online and invariably it turns out one of his opponents did so. Viurtually the only thing he’s come up with that he accurately described has been from pop science books and snippets — formulas, for instance — from books that he admits he does not understand.

  262. 762
    ChasCPeterson

    Amphiox, thanks for the link to the myoglobin thing; very interesting stuff. From what I can see of the data, the pattern among extant diving mammals is remarkable. The business about elephant ancestry not so much. But I haven’t seen the article itself.

  263. 763
    Amphiox

    Pertaining to the link I provided, when you obtain the original article (it’s behind a paywall, so you have to have some sort of access to Science, unfortunately) and look at the supplemental data, it turns out, interestingly, that the authors analyzed a wide spectrum of mammals, INCLUDING PRIMATES AND HUMANS.

    So let’s take a look at what it actually says about primates and humans.

    This is from table S2 in the supplementary material, for those who can access the link. They’ve presented pretty much the entire mammalian clade and given Z-values for their myoglobin charge. The higher the value, the more aquatic the ancestry.

    Whales and Pinnipeds are in the 3-5 range.
    The Polar Bear is 1.98.
    The American Water Shrew is 2.54.
    The African and Asian Elephants are 2.11.

    And humans?

    0.65.

    Exactly the same as all the tested Hominoidea (great and lesser apes) except for Orangutans and Chimpanzees.

    Which were, wait for it….

    0.98 for Orangutans, and 1.29 for Chimpanzees.

    There is no hint of aquatic ancestry here in the entire primate clade, and chimpanzees (AND Orangutans) score HIGHER than humans.

    So much for that.

  264. 764
    ChasCPeterson

    Do they say anything about how these ‘surface charges’ might affect the oxygen-binding characteristics of different myoglobins?

  265. 765
    Amphiox

    So does this (if the data holds up to replication) mean absolute falsification of the entire AAH idea?

    It’s pretty close to it, though to be fair, it is not completely so.

    There is one exception that stands out in the data set. Sirenians score low. The myoglobin data pertains specifically to swimming, diving, and breath holding. As shallow water specialists, the Sirenians manage to be aquatic without needing to do much if any diving or breath holding.

    So there’s a loophole here where Algis can drive his bipedal wading apes through.

    But all the swimming/diving/breath holding arguments are nixed. So no more babble about naked skin, and diving reflexes, and babies “instinctively” knowing how to float. No more talk about buoyancy or muscle density or whatnot. Humans did NOT have ANY phase of their ancestry since the origin of primates where swimming and diving were significant selective pressures in any way. Period.

    We’re left with a scenario where human ancestors spend enough time in water for wading to be a significant selective pressure, but for all that time, somehow, there was no swimming, no diving, no breath holding. The Sirenians apparently did it, so it is not entire ridiculous to contemplate, but still.

    AND the chimpanzees and orangutans score HIGHER than humans. That means either that there was no difference in swimming/diving/breath holding selective pressure between humans and gorillas (also score 0.65 like humans) on one hand and chimpanzees and orangutans on the other among the great apes, and the differences are stochastic, and below the threshold of sensitivity to indicate anything meaningful about aquatic ancestry, OR, that chimpanzees and orangutans had MORE exposure to water, and MORE selection pressure from swimming/diving/breath holding than humans, which would turn Algis’ scenario into one where the human ancestors were wading but NOT swimming or diving or breathholding or otherwise putting their faces under water, while the chimpanzees ancestors, while NOT wading (and thus no bipedality), WERE swimming and diving and holding their breath under water.

    I think one would need to petition for presidential dispensation for special pleading to get that one through….

  266. 766
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Now, with Amphiox’s reported data, anybody who is a scientist and looking OBJECTIVELY, NOT EGOTISTICALLY at the data would be dropping all mention of the aquatic ape idea. I drowned due to lack of data.

    So AK, do you have sufficient honesty and integrity to finally shut the fuck up? Stay tuned for the latest installment of Crank/Loon Thread.

  267. 767
    Tethys

    I keep reading this thread for the amazing science like the myoglobin study. I’m still scratching my head over star-nosed moles being aquatic. Huh? Water-shrews sure, but moles?

    I worry if I think too much about the fact that Algis has years of higher education and does not seem to understand how science works.

  268. 768
    Amphiox

    Do they say anything about how these ‘surface charges’ might affect the oxygen-binding characteristics of different myoglobins?

    In the discussion, the authors had this to say:

    Our results are further consistent with the view that the convergent evolution of high Z
    Mb increases intermolecular electrostatic repulsion of Mb and/or its less stable precursor, apo-Mb, permitting higher oxygen-storage capacities in the muscles of mammalian divers without potentially
    deleterious self-association of Mb or apo-Mb. Accordingly, aquatic mammals repeatedly evolved a
    natural form of protein “supercharging,” the recombinant introduction of charged amino acid
    residues for increased protein solubility (52).

  269. 769
    Amphiox

    Now, with Amphiox’s reported data, anybody who is a scientist and looking OBJECTIVELY, NOT EGOTISTICALLY at the data would be dropping all mention of the aquatic ape idea. I drowned due to lack of data.

    The ancestral reconstructions in the paper do depend on existing fossil specimens, as they have to factor in estimated total body mass into their calculations.

    It is still therefore possible for some AAH diehard to try to shoehorn the theory into a gap in the primate fossil record, wherein the primates went aquatic, gained the myoglobin charges, then trooped back onto land, and subsequently re-lost all the myoglobin changes, neatly erasing the evidence completely from modern investigative techniques.

    Heh. They’ve done something similar in the past with other sorts of fossil evidence that countered their hobby horse.

    But once we get to THAT level of gap prospecting and special pleading, how, exactly, is the AAH and its proponents any different from the creationists?

  270. 770
    Amphiox

    I’m still scratching my head over star-nosed moles being aquatic. Huh? Water-shrews sure, but moles?

    http://www.animalplace.net/mammals/star-nosed-mole-facts-characteristics-habitat-and-more/

    These species dwell in both wet areas as well as land surface.
    They can swim long distances in search of prey. However, like to spend several hours on the land surface.

    These species like to inhabit in the wet areas. One can also spot them in wet meadows, lakes, streams and banks. These moles create tunnels underneath the water.

    But it is telling. The degree of “aquatic-ness” of star-nosed moles isn’t huge. Not much different conceptually than a hypothetical wading water-side ape. And yet the signature of aquatic ancestry is easily seen in their myoglobin. You would expect a similar to signature to be just as easily seen in humans, if it existed, and it is not.

  271. 771
    Amphiox

    But all the swimming/diving/breath holding arguments are nixed. So no more babble about naked skin, and diving reflexes, and babies “instinctively” knowing how to float. No more talk about buoyancy or muscle density or whatnot.

    And of course, no more talk about how much “better” modern humans are at swimming and diving than chimpanzees. If we are so, it must be a recent (very recent!) adaption that has not persisted long enough to have any impact on our myoglobin, and thus of no evolutionary relevance pertaining to our origins within the ape clade.

  272. 772
    Amphiox

    Incidentally, this also nixes the Space Ape Hypothesis too. Breath holding is likely to be important for interplanetary migrators….

  273. 773
    anthrosciguy

    Thanks for posting that part of the paper, Amphiox.

    So AK, do you have sufficient honesty and integrity to finally shut the fuck up?

    In the past, confronted with evidence, Algis has categorically stated that nothing will convince him. The only thing he says will is if someone does a dangerous, unethical test that no one will do, and although people have pointed out ways Algis could do variations of that test which would be cheap, practical, and ethical he has refused to do it.

    In other words, the answer to your question is “no”.

  274. 774
    Tethys

    Thanks Amphiox, you rock!

  275. 775
    algiskuliukas

    Re 752

    Putting to one side the slur about me “fapping away” (presumably by that, he means me pointing out anthro-slur-guy’s nauseating double standards, which, I note no-one here has yet had the courage to comment on)…

    … thanks, “Amphiox” for linking us to a timely and excellent piece of pertinent science. A brilliant paper, indeed.

    S. Mirceta et al., Science 340,1234192 (2013). DOI: 10.1126/science.1234192

    A big step up from his “you are disgusting” slur post recently.

    I have only just got the paper and will read it today but there are a few points in that have already come to mind which should be noted before the aquaskeptics here get too carried away with their knee-jerk triumphalist gloating.

    No. 1 on that list has to be, simply, this (from the supplementary materials p 19)…

    Stella’s Sea Cow (Hydrodamalis gigas) and the Dugong (Dugong dugon) both score 0.68, almost the same as Homo sapiens (0.65) and the Florida Manatee (Trichechus manatus latirostris) scores -0.27 by their computer modelled ZMb (net surface charge) figure.

    So, as no-one here, presumably, is denying that manatees and dugongs are not very aquatically adapted, this is already a bit of a show stopper to this line of evidence, isn’t it?

    Clearly, there must be other biochemical/physiological markers of adapations to swimming and diving other than the one they modelled through myoblobin surface charge.

    From the paper…

    Within sirenians, we reconstructed a secondary reduction in ZMb from the late Cretaceous/ early Paleocene paenungulate ancestor toward modern forms, suggesting that semiaquatic early middle Eocene (50Ma) sirenians, such as Pezosiren portelli (44), had higher muscle oxygen storage capacities than living forms, presumably because of the higher metabolic costs for functioning well both on land and in water in amphibious mammals (45). The very lowZMb of extant, fully aquatic manatees is fully in line with a negligible muscle oxygen storage capacity (46) and is seemingly linked to a strongly reduced metabolic rate (oxygen requirements) and a blunted dive response in these sluggish herbivores (46, 47).

    (p 1234192-3)

    So there is scope for comparing humans and other great apes in this area and seeing how those figures compare.

    So much for that argument.

    2nd is how interesting it is that this evidence is supportive of the argument, long held by Elaine Morgan and others, and long sneered at by aquaskeptics, that elephants might have also had a more aquatic past.

    Our analysis also indicates that muscle O2 storage capacities in early amphibious proboscideans may have been even higher than in basal paenungulates, because two additional positiveMb charges are reconstructed in the stem proboscidean lineage, which are compensated by two negative charges in the last common ancestor of recent elephantids (Fig. 5). The most parsimonious evolutionary scenario in light of fossil evidence is that ZMb continued to increase in early proboscideans before a secondary reduction.

    (p 1234192-2)

    So, I expect aquaskeptics will exhibit less sneering on that idea from now on.

    But, having read Amphiox’s triumphalist 765 post – despite admitting the sirenia data above completely contradicts the whole argument – I doubt that.

    See how blatant contradictory evidence is simply flipped away…

    We’re left with a scenario where human ancestors spend enough time in water for wading to be a significant selective pressure, but for all that time, somehow, there was no swimming, no diving, no breath holding. The Sirenians apparently did it, so it is not entire ridiculous to contemplate, but still.

    “No swimming, no diving, no breath holding”, note. Whilst at the same time admitting that the sirenians did it… “but still”!

    And this…

    therefore possible for some AAH diehard to try to shoehorn the theory …

    What? the very data in the paper, as “Amphiox” admitted showed that sirenians had a similar (or even less) score than humans. No need for any shoe-horning at all.

    I repeat I am certainly not arguing that humans were ever any where near as aquatic as manataees and dugongs. If humans swam and dived (of course close to the surface) a little more than chimps since the LCA it would be remarkable if any selection would have occurred pertaining to myoglobin function.

    I do agree and accept, however, that there should be some physiological markers for some kind of increased blood oxygen carrying which discriminate humans from chimps and gorillas if there is anything in the idea that humans were subjected to more selection from swimming and diving than our ape cousins.

    If, upon further investigation, such markers were found in manatees (and other more aquatic mammals) and the data showed that humans were at the more terrestrial end of the spectrum, by these markers, than chimpanzees were, I would, of course, concede the idea is wrong.

    Algis Kuliukas

  276. 776
    algiskuliukas

    Damn!

    That should, have read…

    “So, as no-one here, presumably, is denying that manatees and dugongs are very aquatically adapted… ”

    Sorry.

  277. 777
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Yawn, liar and bullshitter still lying and bullshitting. His IDEA IS DEAD, DROWNED IN ITS OWN LACK OF EVIDENCE.

    Long past time AK to show us you are a scientist, and not just a CRANK/LOON. SHUT THE FUCK UP.

  278. 778
    Tethys

    *shakes head*

    Algis apparently missed the part about shallow water diving

    Sirenians score low. The myoglobin data pertains specifically to swimming, diving, and breath holding. As shallow water specialists, the Sirenians manage to be aquatic without needing to do much if any diving or breath holding.

    So there’s a loophole here where Algis can drive his bipedal wading apes through.

    But all the swimming/diving/breath holding arguments are nixed. So no more babble about naked skin, and diving reflexes, and babies “instinctively” knowing how to float. No more talk about buoyancy or muscle density or whatnot. Humans did NOT have ANY phase of their ancestry since the origin of primates where swimming and diving were significant selective pressures in any way. Period.

    Or he saw the word loophole, and proceeded to wedge his aquatic ape in the wrong one.

  279. 779
    algiskuliukas

    Re 773

    In the past, confronted with evidence, Algis has categorically stated that nothing will convince him.

    That is simply an outrageous and blatant lie.

    (Great “web resource” this, eh PZ?)

    Note how anthro-slur-guy does not back this up with anything – even one of his cherry-picked, out-of-context, microquotes.

    My model is completely based on all the evidence I am aware of and is open to rejection, or modification, as more evidence emerges, either new, or existing that I am currently not aware of.

    Note this garbled mess…

    The only thing he says will is if someone does a dangerous, unethical test that no one will do, and although people have pointed out ways Algis could do variations of that test which would be cheap, practical, and ethical he has refused to do it.

    … is simultaneously arguing that “no one will do it” and at the same time that I have “refused to”!

    Brilliant at slurs, this guy, isn’t he?

    What Jim doesn’t report, note, is the actual test itself – the one that, if shown to be negative, would cause me to drop the idea like a stone in a pond, never to return.

    It’s a thought experiment because, Jim’s right about one thing, it would be unethical to test in this way…

    Infant Drowning Rescue (thought experiment) Test

    Given an infant and mother pair and a circular pool, of 3m radius and 3m depth.

    Take the infant from the mother and place it in the centre of the pool. Observe.

    Repeat with 100 such pairs.

    Prediction: If the species is Homo sapiens every single infant will be rescued by the mother. If the species is of the genus Pan, every single infant (and a few mothers) would drown.

    This is because a) the human infant, due to its increased adipocity, would float long enough for her to enact a rescue and b) the human mother, also being more buoyant will be able to get across to the infant even if she has never swam before.

    I put it to you that you couldn’t ask for a simpler, more stark, test of waterside hypotheses in humans and our nearest relatives than this.

    I have repeatedly said that if ever this test (or something unequivocally similar, perhaps through computer modelling) was done and proved the prediction very wrong – specifically that there would be no significant difference in the rescue rates, then I would drop the idea.

    Jim knows that I haven’t “refused” to do this. It’s just another lie of his. He knows that my area of research has been bipedalism and the wading hypothesis but, amazingly for god’s gift to anthropology, he does not seem to realise how dificult it is to do empirical research and get it published – especially one like this.

    And, today I’ve now added another test which, if proved false, would also cause me to drop the idea.

    The Miceta et al (2013) paper cited by Amphiox is brilliant but it does not dent the waterside hypothesis one jot because, by the one thing they measure – a computer modelled indication of Myglobin surface charge, humans are almost the same as members of sirenia.

    However, if a similar study was done which found some cluster of metrics clearly pertaining to manatee shallow diving and on that scale, humans came closer to the terrestrial end of the spectrum than chimps, again, I would drop the idea.

    That’s two.

    Your turn. What evidence would make you accept that humans swim better than chimps because of some selection from doing so more than their ancestors did since the LCA?

    Algis Kuliukas

  280. 780
    algiskuliukas

    Re 778

    What? Humans and manatees & gugongs score around the same. So much for the argument that this paper dents the AAH.

    I can imagine that you must feel really gutted but we have to go by the evidence, right?

    Algis Kuliukas

  281. 781
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Still nothing but hot air from AK. Still no EVIDENCE that his idea hasn’t died the death of a bad scientific idea. Unless he can link to real evidence, NO SALE!

    Typical Crank/Loon, can’t admit he is WRONG, and must evidence, not bullshit, his way right…

  282. 782
    Tethys

    I repeat I am certainly not arguing that humans were ever any where near as aquatic as manataees and dugongs.

    That would be silly wouldn’t it? Would you say humans were as aquatic as star-nosed moles?

    If humans swam and dived (of course close to the surface) a little more than chimps since the LCA it would be remarkable if any selection would have occurred pertaining to myoglobin function.

    Why would humans follow the one exception, rather than the common trait among all the rest of the aquatic animals?

    I do agree and accept, however, that there should be some physiological markers for some kind of increased blood oxygen carrying which discriminate humans from chimps and gorillas if there is anything in the idea that humans were subjected to more selection from swimming and diving than our ape cousins.

    You mean like the data that was just spoon fed to you above?
    The chimpanzees and orangutans score HIGHER than humans, so apparently you think the water was full of wading primates. Nevermind the fearsome beasties that lived in the shallows where the human and chimp lines were apparently cavorting.

    If, upon further investigation, such markers were found in manatees (and other more aquatic mammals) and the data showed that humans were at the more terrestrial end of the spectrum, by these markers, than chimpanzees were, I would, of course, concede the idea is wrong.

    I’m sure you would just ignore it, and post more about your sadistic science “experiments”.
    You are dishonest, and more than a little creepy.

    I can imagine that you must feel really gutted, but we have to go by the evidence, right?

  283. 783
    algiskuliukas

    Re 782

    Why would humans follow the one exception, rather than the common trait among all the rest of the aquatic animals?

    The “one” exception? What you mean ignoring manatees and dugongs?

    They’re MUCH more aquatic than I envisage humans ever being but clearly, even their myoglobin has not needed to evolve along the lines you seem to think would have left a smoking gun for humans. Who, exactly, is trying to cherry pick here?

    You mean like the data that was just spoon fed to you above?

    Well, as that dataset placed fully aquatic mammals such as manatees and dugongs next to humans, no, obiously not.

    I mean a dataset of a physiological measure that showed manatees to be at one end of a spectrum and their terrestrial Paenungulata cousins, say Hyraxes, at the other. If, on that spectrum, humans were closer to Hyraxes, and further from Sirenia, than chimps, I’d concede the argument is dead.

    Measures like.. the size of RBC’s, the amount of Haemoglobin per cell etc.

    I’m sure you would just ignore it, and post more about your sadistic science “experiments”. You are dishonest, and more than a little creepy.

    Well all I can say is that you’re wrong about that. I have always been driven by the evidence. You know – the fact humans do swim and dive better than chimps and that the one place apes are most predictably bipedal is in waist deep water. That evidence you flick away as nothing.

    There is nothing “sadistic” about a thought experiment that has been specifically designed to clearly discriminate between humans and chimps on the exact degree of selection I am talking about.

    Rather than just repeating the slurs of the lynch mob you are a member of, maybe you’d care to point to an incident where you think I have been “dishonest” so that I might have the opportunity to give my point of view on the matter.

    As always, all you guys can do is peddle ignorant mob-like slurs, misrepresent the argument and deny evidence.

    Algis Kuliukas

  284. 784
    algiskuliukas

    Anyone notice that neither “Tethys” nor “Nerd…” took their turn and offered to state a piece of evidence that would cause them to change their minds on this, like I have done (twice).

    While we’re at it, can you point to anyone in mainstream anthropology that has done this recently, or indeed, ever? Philip Tobias is remarkable for at least admitting that he got the savannah theory completely wrong but I can’t think of any other examples.

    Maybe PZ Myers might chip in here with something! (Yeah, right!)

    Maybe Jim Moore, with his excellent “library research” techniques, might be able to point us to an example in 150 years of anthropological literature.

    And I’m the one castigated as some pseudoscientific “kook”!

    Algis Kuliukas

  285. 785
    algiskuliukas

    Talking about people telling lies…

    Here’s a post anyone who trusts anthro-slur-guy should read if they have any pretence of being open minded.

    Great “web resource” eh, PZ?

    Algis Kuliukas

  286. 786
    Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao

    Dear fucking GOD Algis.

    That experiment is one of the most vile things I’ve ever heard about. You’d expose infant apes (either human or not) to the possibility of drowning. Babies can drown in an inch of water if they swallow the water.

  287. 787
    algiskuliukas

    Re 786

    It’s a thought experiment.

    I wouldn’t deliberately expose anyone to any risk of anything.

    What’s wrong with you people?

    I see you’re not going to comment on anthro”sci”guy’s double standards or offer you own piece of evidence that would change your mind on this. Just, the usual slurs…

    Algis Kuliukas

  288. 788
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    What’s wrong with you people?

    Wrong question. What’s wrong with you Loon/Crank if you can’t understand your idea doesn’t hold water when faced with the evidence. Any real scientist would have rejected your idea by now. As we all have.

    You aren’t a scientist. You are nothing but a liar and bullshitter. Your word is considered nothing but drivel.

  289. 789
    ChasCPeterson

    Dan Dennett’s opinion: still completely irrelevant.
    Jim Moore’s opinion about Dan Dennett’s opinion: still doubly completely irrelevant.
    Algis Kuliukas’s opinion about Dan Dennett’s opinion: ditto.
    Algis Kuliukas’s opinion about Jim Moore’s opinion about Dan Dennett’s opinion: still so completely triply irrelevant that NOBODY CARES AND NOR SHOULD THEY.

    but I realize that this thread is now just another front in a long war of attrition.

  290. 790
    Michael Clark

    But guys, there IS evidence. Humans ~do~ swim better than Chimps –we have the youtube videos. Well, that’s his argument, isn’t it?

    :-D

  291. 791
    anthrosciguy

    Dear fucking GOD Algis.

    That experiment is one of the most vile things I’ve ever heard about. You’d expose infant apes (either human or not) to the possibility of drowning. Babies can drown in an inch of water if they swallow the water.

    That’s the point; it’s an experiment he can be assured will never ever be performed, so there is no chance of the results being anything other than what he imagines them to be. Several people last month at TRF pointed out ways this could be tested by Algis in ethical, safe ways, but he has (typically for him) refused to consider doing so. (Of course in real life this experiment has essentially been performed, with the resulkts that drowning is the leading cause of accidental death for infants in the USA and Canada.) For my part, I’ve pointed out that his scenario, where an infant is somehow snatched from its mother and thrown into the middle of a deep pool, is nonsensical, especially if you consider how often this would have to happen for any selection pressure to result from it. I suggested that a realistic scenario would be for an infant to fall from its mother’s or caregiver’s grasp in water no deeper than the mother felt comfortable in, and that the infant would be immediately picked up. The result in such a case would be identical for humans or chimps.

    Here’s an example where the mother isn’t even next to the infant.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pjvnQwJbF8w

    What’s most interesting to me, however, about this thought experiment is that it mirrors others that Algis comes up with; what they have in common is barbaric cruelty. Another he came up with was putting a group of apes in an inescapable arena and filling it with water to see if they swam or drowned. Part of this is probably just his wanting to make sure his claims can’t be tested, and so he can claim that he would drop his idea “if” while being certain that “if” cannot happen, but it is disturbing that he comes up with these cruel ideas.

  292. 792
    anthrosciguy

    BTW, manatees are able to dive for relatively long times (they usually don’t, and need to rest between dives if they do) because of their unusually low metabolic rate. We’re not just talking about unusually low compared to humans, but compared to other marine mammals (similar studies have not been done on dugongs, AFAIK, but they are presumed to be similar due to their similar habits and diet).

    “Manatees have been reported to exhibit metabolic rates as
    low as 25 % of that predicted on the basis of body mass
    (Scholander and Irving, 1941; Gallivan and Best, 1980, 1986).
    This low metabolic rate, together with their herbivorous
    feeding behavior (Campbell and Irvine, 1977; Best, 1981),
    makes them unique among marine mammals.”

    and

    “Although manatees exhibit metabolic rates lower than that
    predicted by body mass under normal conditions, they have
    been reported to reduce their metabolic rate by an additional
    23 % during fasting (Gallivan and Best, 1986).”

    Those from “THYROID HORMONE CONCENTRATIONS IN CAPTIVE AND FREE-RANGING WEST
    INDIAN MANATEES (TRICHECHUS MANATUS)” RUDY M. ORTIZ, DUNCAN S. MACKENZIE, AND GRAHAM A. J. WORTHY in The Journal of Experimental Biology 203, 3631–3637 (2000)

    BTW, they found that this low metabolic rate was not due to lower thyroid hormone:

    “In spite of lower metabolic rates,
    thyroid hormone concentrations in captive manatees were
    comparable with those for other terrestrial and marine
    mammals, suggesting that the low metabolic rate in
    manatees is not attributable to reduced circulating thyroid
    hormone concentrations.”

  293. 793
    Amphiox

    If humans swam and dived (of course close to the surface) a little more than chimps since the LCA it would be remarkable if any selection would have occurred pertaining to myoglobin function.

    This argument could be made if humans and chimpanzees both scored the same low Z-number.

    But Chimpanzees scored HIGHER than humans.

    If you have had the opportunity to actually look at the data presented in the supplemental material, you see that the authors have exhaustively examined every single major clade within mammalia, with several representative species for each, among the apes they were thorough enough to have BOTH gibbons AND siamangs (how many researchers are thorough enough to do that, including both of them even when the primates weren’t the main group of interest for the study), orangutans, chimpanzees, humans and gorillas.

    The Sirenians are the ONLY exception in the entirety of mammals. And for the Sirenians we actually have a documented plausible mechanism for why they might be an exception – their low metabolic rate.

    There is no such plausible mechanism that could make humans an exception, and no mechanism that could make chimpanzees a REVERSE exception (of which, if Algis’ contention is true, they would stand as the ONLY such reverse exception in the entirety of all the mammals)

    Shall we turn Algis’ little phrase around?

    If humans swam and dived (of course close to the surface) a little more than chimps since the LCA, so little more that it would be remarkable if any selection would have occurred to pertaining to myoglobin, then what cause have we to suspect that such little selection difference would have occurred pertaining to bipedal locomotion?

    More typical two-faced dishonest babbling from Algis yet again.

  294. 794
    Amphiox

    What’s most interesting to me, however, about this thought experiment is that it mirrors others that Algis comes up with; what they have in common is barbaric cruelty.

    Simply disgusting.

  295. 795
    anthrosciguy

    This argument could be made if humans and chimpanzees both scored the same low Z-number.

    But Chimpanzees scored HIGHER than humans.

    Algis, following the example of Elaine Morgan, has often used diving world records as “evidence”, so it’s disingenuous for him to now say he’s not talking about much diving. But then he’s always been ready to change direction radically as long as it allows him to keep his core belief (no matter how many of its supports he has to jettison to do so). For example, now the key comparison is not chimps — or orangs — and humans, it’s sirenia and hyrax. But this throws his past statements right out the window. Here’s a few such (a couple are from this comment thread):

    The only comparison that matters is Humans compared to chimps and gorillas.
    Algis Kuliukas 26 Jan 2010

    Every time, whereas I’m comparing humans to apes, you’re comparing them
    to species that swim regularly. That’s a misrepresentation of the AAH.
    Algis Kuliukas 2 Jan 2005

    Duh. I’m not comparing human abilities with cetaceans and sirenians, as
    you would like to.
    Algis Kuliukas 2 Jan 2005

    It’s the comparison between humans and chimps that’s key to understanding human evolution.
    Algis Kuliukas 10 June 2013

    The key comparison that matters is (why do I have to keep repeating this? – oh yeah, misrepresentation is the name of the game here) with chimps.
    Algis Kuliukas 11 June 2013

    I agree with all that, but the only comparison that matters here is between humans and chimpanzees, right?
    Algis Kuliukas 27 August 2012

    John, this is a straw man, and you know it. You have admitted that you agree that we are better at swimming and diving than chimps. That is the only comparison that matters. Phylogeny 101.
    Algis Kuliukas 30 Aug 2012

    When it comes to comparing abilities in water, the only comparisons that are significant are those with our own clade.
    Algis Kuliukas 1 Jan 2005

    Algis has also long held that the proper null in biology is not drift, as textbooks say, but selection; it’s his made-up principle of “the Darwinian Default”. Along with this he holds that extremely slight selection, selection so small he has been told by professional geneticists that it would be indistinguishable from drift, necessarily causes phenotypic change. If these two things were true than he has to feel that the myoglobin differences between humans and chimps is the result of chimp ancestors doing more diving than ours. But this is the opposite of what he claims so instead he has flung his longstanding belief in “Darwinian default”/slight selection right into the trash bin.

    When he does things like this it’s exactly like Biblical literalists who don’t obey large swaths of the Bible but nevertheless insist they follow it literally.

  296. 796
    Amphiox

    Algis, following the example of Elaine Morgan, has often used diving world records as “evidence”,

    Quite frankly, if a chimpanzee could be trained to do the hyperventilation and other preparation that human divers must do, it would not surprise me if the chimpanzees would EASILY outperform humans at diving from the simple fact that their substantially smaller brains would be metabolically substantially less demanding. And when it comes to holding your breath, it is your brain’s metabolic needs that is, at least in apes, always the rate limiting step.

    so it’s disingenuous for him to now say he’s not talking about much diving.

    Disingenuous but completely predictable. Algis hasn’t been anything but disingenuous since I’ve had the displeasure of being exposed to his screeds.

    But then he’s always been ready to change direction radically as long as it allows him to keep his core belief (no matter how many of its supports he has to jettison to do so).

    At the moment it is floating suspended in the vacuum, levitating by magic.

  297. 797
    anthrosciguy

    Quite frankly, if a chimpanzee could be trained to do the hyperventilation and other preparation that human divers must do, it would not surprise me if the chimpanzees would EASILY outperform humans at diving from the simple fact that their substantially smaller brains would be metabolically substantially less demanding. And when it comes to holding your breath, it is your brain’s metabolic needs that is, at least in apes, always the rate limiting step.

    One of the facts I came across some years ago in looking at all this is that untrained dogs can hold their breath somewhat longer than can untrained humans.

  298. 798
    algiskuliukas

    Re 789

    Dan Dennett’s opinion: still completely irrelevant.
    Jim Moore’s opinion about Dan Dennett’s opinion: still doubly completely irrelevant.
    Algis Kuliukas’s opinion about Dan Dennett’s opinion: ditto.
    Algis Kuliukas’s opinion about Jim Moore’s opinion about Dan Dennett’s opinion: still so completely triply irrelevant that NOBODY CARES AND NOR SHOULD THEY.

    Chas, that’s sweet that you think it’s all irrelevant but the fact of the matter is that tribal group think in science (especially anthropology) is rife, and opinion matters.

    Why then, did Sir David Attenborough get publicly lambasted recently for (shock horror) being open to waterside hypotheses?

    Why does PZ Myers feel the need to openly sneer at the idea in places like this?

    Is his opinion irrelevant too?

    The material point is that anthro”sci”guy has received an incredible amount of uncritical acclaim from people who should know better. My supervisor at UCL, Leslie Aiello, referred me to it after I had critiqued John Langdon’s straw man paper. That’s right, the then editor of JHE, having realised that I could easily answer every point in the only paper in an anthro journal attempting some kind of critique of the so-called “AAH”, that she must have let through peer review as editor, even though the paper is very unscholarly and would get have got a red line through it if submitted as an essay to an anthro tute – then referred me to the gossip-filled, nit picking web site of a totally unqualified ex car mechanic with a huge chip on his shoulder!

    It would be funny if it wasn’t so shocking.

    PZ Myers says it’s the “definitive web resource” on this idea! But the trouble is… it’s shit.

    Jim Moore has, for years, twisted everyone’s words, every fact and every argument. He’s searched the internet for the tiniest, most tedious errors and trumped them up as evidence of malpractice at best, or shock-horror sordid dishonesty at worst.

    The fact that he has been completely twisting the clear support of someone as well known as respected as Daniel Dennett for years (hundreds of times) is simply a symptom of the malais. He’s done the same thing with Derk Denton, Philip Tobias and everyone else.

    PZ Myers should write here and defend this shoddy practice or disavowe his support of Jim Moore’s “work”.

    Algis Kuliukas

  299. 799
    Menyambal

    I’m not saying elephants could never have been partially-aquatic, I’m just wondering if the sheer size of the buggers gets them into some special oxygen needs.

  300. 800
    algiskuliukas

    Re 793

    The differences between human and chimp/gorilla myoglobin are minor and probably due to simple random error. So I think you are clutching at straws there. If we take this data literally, we’d have to assume that chimps and gorillas have done more diving than humans since the LCA, which completely contradicts the evidence from extant forms which, I should remind you, is that many thousands of humans have been observed diving in > 2m depths but no chimps or gorillas.

    The fact that sirenian myoglobin did not need to evolve in the same direction as cetaceans and other aquatics simply shows that there are other evolutionary pathways to adapt to a diving life style.

    It would be interesting if, in a follow up paper, some physiological marker were found which enumerated those physiological markers and they were analysed in a similar way to this brilliant paper.

    I promise you this, if such a paper is published that includes such markers where there are no obvious aquatic mammals as outliers, like here, and Humans do not clearly rate closer to the ‘more aquatic’ end of the spectrum than Pan in that analysis, I will concede that the idea is dead in the water, as far as I am concerned.

    Algis Kuliukas

  301. 801
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    I promise you this, i

    Your promises aren’t worth the electrons used to post them. YOU MUST EVIDENCE YOUR IDEA. You keep arguing like a creobot and godbot, where you are right until proven wrong. IF YOU ARE SCIENTIST, YOU ARE WRONG UNTIL YOU EVIDENCE YOURSELF RIGHT. YOU HAVEN’T DONE THAT, AND APPARENTLY CAN’T DO THAT.

    Since you refuse to be scientific, nothing you say will cause you to make any headway here. The null hypothesis is you lie and bullshit for your inane and all wet idea. You are obviously a CRANK/LOON who can’t shut the fuck up.

  302. 802
    algiskuliukas

    What’s most interesting to me, however, about this thought experiment is that it mirrors others that Algis comes up with; what they have in common is barbaric cruelty. Another he came up with was putting a group of apes in an inescapable arena and filling it with water to see if they swam or drowned. Part of this is probably just his wanting to make sure his claims can’t be tested, and so he can claim that he would drop his idea “if” while being certain that “if” cannot happen, but it is disturbing that he comes up with these cruel ideas.

    Desperado at “work”.

    Jim, stop it. You’re embarassing. They are thought experiments, as you know. This is science. Thought experiments do not have to take account of (only very selective) touchy feely-ness. I am not proposing that anyone actually do these experiments in the way I have described them, but if anyone produces evidence from similar, ethically sound, research that gives unequivocally comparable data that shows my predictions to be wrong, I’ll drop the idea.

    What’s your similar guarrantee? Which evidence, that might be produced, would cause you to drop your obsessive hostility to this idea?

    While, we’re at it, why don’t you want to talk about the hundreds of times you’ve completely misrepresented Dan Dennett’s clear support of these ideas? Not very honest are you?

    Algis Kuliukas

  303. 803
    algiskuliukas

    … it’s an experiment he can be assured will never ever be performed, so there is no chance of the results being anything other than what he imagines them to be. Several people last month at TRF pointed out ways this could be tested by Algis in ethical, safe ways

    Which is it, Jim…

    a) the experiment can never be performed, which is why Algis is promoting it,
    b) the experiment can be performed, but Algis “refuses” to do it, or
    c) it doesn’t matter, as long as I get to slur another “aquatic ape” guy.

    I think it’s “c”.

    Algis Kuliukas

  304. 804
    algiskuliukas

    Re: 795

    If these two things were true than he has to feel that the myoglobin differences between humans and chimps is the result of chimp ancestors doing more diving than ours. But this is the opposite of what he claims so instead he has flung his longstanding belief in “Darwinian default”/slight selection right into the trash bin.

    But Jim, it would be ridiculous to go on this one figure, wouldn’t it?

    If we did, we’d have to conclude that chimps were far more aquatic than manatees.

    I haven’t “flung” anything.

    If the Mirceta et al data placed all aquatics (including Sirenia) at one end of a spectrum and terrestrials at the other, with humans closer to the terrestrial end than chimps, then, yes, this paper would be a bit of a show stopper.

    But guess what… it just didn’t.

    You are like the bible literalist here, cherry picking the bits you like and ignoring the bits you don’t.

    No-one who has followed your work with a critical mind – just me apparently – should be surprised at this.

    Your “interpretations” have been shown to be faulty for years. This is how you have managed to twist Dennett’s clear support of Elaine Morgan’s work and pretend it is bracketining it with creationism hundreds of times.

    Algis Kuliukas

  305. 805
    Michael Clark

    Any evidence today, Mr. Kuliukas? Any at all? No? Should I check back tomorrow then? You know, at some point, your new fan base here is going to figure out that you don’t have any evidence and that no amount of begging and pleading, on their part, is going to get you to post something you don’t have. See, this constant bawling about ASG’s masterful disassembly of you and your hobbyhorse does not constitute evidence in support of your hypothesis –this much I think we can agree on. So then the question becomes “What else has he got?” Nothing. So why are you even here? Is it because PZ thinks you’re a loon? So what? Everybody else thinks you’re a loon, too. Are you trying to muscle in on the Internet Whack-job Hall of Fame? Are you and Ed Conrad vying for the biggest hat? What do you think you’ll gain with such a trophy? “Oh, there goes Algis Kuliukas, biggest damned fool this side of Poughkeepsie!” Hardly seems worth it, does it? And what about the family? Are you gonna keep at it ’til they have to put a grocery bag over their heads whenever they leave the house? Seems counter productive to me, but then you’re the master of your own destiny. So far, you seem hell-bent on augering yourself into the ground. But hey, don’t let me stop you. You’ll be back tomorrow and so will I. You –sputtering and bumping into walls, and me, laughing so hard I fall out of my chair.

  306. 806
    Michael Clark

    I know, why don’t you post your list of evidence here at Pharyngula? That should be good for a few giggles. No? You want me to post it for you?

  307. 807
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Still no new evidence from AK. Crank/Loon at work. The idea drowned in the sea of unevidence. Give it a rest monomaniac. You have nothing scientific to offer. All you have is ego, attitude and bullshit. Not a combination to sell an evidenceless idea at a SCIENTIFIC web blog.

    NO SALE!

  308. 808
    algiskuliukas

    Re 805

    Michael, as you know, I have provided a list of evidence for you many times over at TalkRational but, just like the most devout creationist, you simply deny that it is evidence.

    No 1 on that list is the most simple, blatantly obvious, piece of evidence imaginable, the most pertinent, the most clear cut – simply that humans swim and dive better than chimps.

    Now why oh why should that be? We swim better because we’re clever? We swim better because we’re bipedal? We swim better because we’re fat? We swim better because we have a brachiating arm? We swim better because we … [Enter your favourite just-so story here]

    Whatever it is, the one thing you people cannot ever consider is the one thing that is usually the only thing that it considered when comparing how well two species move in a given substrate… natural selection.

    Suddenly, here and only here, natural selection is the last thing to be considered.

    Parsimony gone mad.

    Yes, your denial of this is good for a giggle. Pity you can’t see how silly your pretence of rigour is.

    Algis Kuliukas

  309. 809
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Look, another evidenceless post by AK. His OPINION isn’t and never will be evidence. Welcome to real science AK. You lose.

  310. 810
    Michael Clark

    808:
    Oh, thank you, Algis! That saves me the headache of looking it up myself. I’m sure the folks here will be amazed at your carefully manicured list and, let’s face it, be provided with whole minutes of knee-slappers. We won’t tell them that your list has been run through a Cuisinart and found to contain ~no evidence~ but I’m sure that any very brief perusal will yield a similar conclusion. Thanks again and please keep ‘em comin’! Hey! Maybe you should take your act to the stage, eh? I see income potential!

  311. 811
    Tethys

    Here is one of Algis’s bits of so called evidence. Look how he provides the most parsimonious explanation, and immediately rejects it in favor of stupid speculation.

    3) Dietary. We have large brains and small teeth. The simultaneous trends of dental reduction, reduction in chewing power, encephalisation and early use of stone tools are easier explained in coastal settings than elsewhere. Dental reduction and reduced chewing power implies a shift from tougher, more fibrous (vegetation-based) foods to softer ones. Encephalisation implies a shift from high volume, low energy to low volume high energy foods. Although the phenomenon of cooking offers an easy and elegant explanation to both adding a coastal dimension includes the bonus of explaining early tool use too. Shellfish, being sessile could easily be procured merely with the use of a pebble. A three-year-old could be taught to do this. The marine food chain is high in DHA, Iodine and other nutrients that are essential for healthy brain growth. The coastal ecosystem is one of the most productive in the world, there is relatively little competition for shellfish and there are relatively few predators.

    Chimpanzees and bonobos both fashion sticks, rocks, leaves, and grass into tools for various purposes. (most of them food related)

    With the exception of the upper canine/cuspid, human teeth and chimp teeth are proportional to their respective jaw. Humans have a greatlly reduced mandible to accomodate their greatly expanded cranium. It is so reduced that most humans have issues with the third molar.

    I am most amused by the coastal ecosystem sentence. Gathering shellfish at the coast requires a digging stick at low tide and enough intelligence to get back to the beach before the tide turns. You will get your feet wet, but there is zero swimming involved.

    While it is true there are relatively few large predators in more temperate areas of the coasts, in the area where humans evolved there are several of them. Salt-water Crocs and various sharks spring immediately to mind. There are also several animals which aren’t predators, but they are pretty lethal. Hippos account for several human fatalities yearly. I can’t imagine their ancestors were less territorial. Not to mention all the lethal to stinging critters like jellyfish, fireworms, sea urchins which our naked skin would offer little protection against.

    Parsimony says no to AAT. It says primate which began eating and cooking other critters, in addition to plants and roots. Cooperative foraging selected for increased manual dexterity, and increased bipedalism.

  312. 812
    anthrosciguy

    Why then, did Sir David Attenborough get publicly lambasted recently for (shock horror) being open to waterside hypotheses?

    He got lambasted for belieiving in something despite the evidence, and for making up starwmen about early hominids “chasing elephants” across the savanna, something so dumb even you finally admitted it was dumb.

    Which is it, Jim…

    a) the experiment can never be performed, which is why Algis is promoting it,
    b) the experiment can be performed, but Algis “refuses” to do it, or
    c) it doesn’t matter, as long as I get to slur another “aquatic ape” guy.

    I think it’s “c”.

    Pretty clear (I doubt others found it so hard to grasp as you did). a) is so; b) needs to read “a variation of the experiment can be performed easily and ehtically, but Algis “refuses” to do it; c) ha.

    They are thought experiments, as you know.

    I am aware they are thought experiments (I’m certainly under no illusion you intend to do the research you regularly castigate others for not doing for you). I’m just taken aback at how barbarically cruel your thoughts are.

  313. 813
    anthrosciguy

    Michael, as you know, I have provided a list of evidence for you many times over at TalkRational but, just like the most devout creationist, you simply deny that it is evidence.

    http://talkrational.org/showthread.php?p=1508743#post1508743

  314. 814
    anthrosciguy

    BTW, Michael Clark, a very nice bit of trolling there. Perhaps not the elegance of a Bart, but with a nuts and bolts non-surreal angle that in many ways surpasses his work.

  315. 815
    Michael Clark

    Why, thank you Jim. Coming from the master, that is high praise indeed! Yes, bobbing-for-fruitcakes isn’t my only talent. I also do crop dusting and once worked as a Stromotologist from Iowa. Who can forget Philbert Desenex, eh? :-D

  316. 816
    Menyambal

    Algis:

    “There’s more of us than you.”

    Bullies’ charter.

    Actually, a bully is more like, “There’s more of ME than of any of you.” The big guy tries to bully all the littler people. You keep telling us how much more brain and education you have, and blustering and screaming in all caps, and defining all the rules to suit yourself. You, Algis, are bullying. And projecting.

    If unequivocal evidence is shown that human infants are no more likely to survive near drowning incidents … than chimp infants, I, for one, promise to drop the idea….

    What will you accept as unequivocal? Given your antics here, I assume there’s nothing. You’ll probably say that swimming didn’t start ’till adolescence or something. Or go back to wading.

    But mostly, there’s absolutely no reason to think that humans swim better than chimps, and there’s no reason to do an experiment. You picked up that delusion from your holy book, and you will not let it go.

    Are you saying you have never read a book and been inspired by it? That would be sad admission indeed.

    No, I’m not saying that, and you are sad for trying such passive-aggressive shit. Twisting up a strawman seems good to you, eh?

    I’m saying you got off on one book/concept, and have stuck with it ever since. You are not rational about the aquatic ape nonsense.

    I’ve read the literature on this …

    Almost all the literature on the AAH is by supporters. As you keep whingeing, nobody else writes any. And reading all the positive literature about something and getting further stuck in is a common trait of conspiracy theorists.

    I read the Aquatic Ape books as a teen, and even believed ‘em. And now I have a stack of creationist crap in my library, so I can keep aware of the other side.

    Please point me to something in the scientific literature that even evaluates the so-called “aquatic ape theory” rationally and objectively, let alone rejects it.

    Again, a very common whine. You could sieve through all of science, and not find anything refuting the “purple zebras on pogo sticks in Antarctica” theory, either. Do you even think, Algis?

    The fossils say “waterside habitats”, actually. Exactly as I do.

    Fossils form near water, mostly because of water-related deaths, such as mudslides, where the body is buried. Fossilization—the mineralization—is the slow leaching of minerals, which is again, water.

    Dead animals out in the savannah simply disappear in a few days—that’s been observed. You know, tested.

    But, yeah, humans get near water to drink, bathe and wash. Then the clumsy bastards fall in and fossilize, instead of swimming ashore. Which is to say that people dying in water is possibly evidence against the AAH.

    As for habitat, nobody in your time-frame left water-related evidence such as shell middens.

    All you guys can do, is misrepresent the argument and throw childish names.

    No, we are the serious adults here, you are the all-caps, multiple-exclamation-marks, goal-post-moving, name-calling arguer. You, Algis, are projecting.

    It’s all the more pathetic that you’re really just aping the like of PZ Myers and Henry Gee in these tactics.

    See, insults from you. Again, we aren’t following anybody. You are following the AAH people, and acting exactly like every conspiracy loon on the ‘net.

    Amazingly this sleazy shit from a totally unqualified ex-car mechanic seems to be the best response mainstream science has managed to come up with in over 50 years to the damned aquatic ape – and the people who defend the mainstream ignorant sneering response seem to be proud of it.

    Again with the insults and names. And again, I have NOT read his stuff—I’m just going off this thread and you, Algis, and if you are the best of the AAH, it sucks.

    … I would, of course, concede the idea is wrong.

    No, you wouldn’t. You haven’t.

    My model is completely based on all the evidence I am aware …

    Aware being the key word there. You’ve a bad set of blinkers combined with “aqua-colored glasses” (such a lovely image).

    Infant Drowning Rescue (thought experiment) Test.

    Cruel and poorly designed.

    It could be done other ways, and I bet you a dime that a mother chimp will get there quicker, just by jumping, or swinging or scrambling. I’ve been near two child-drowning incidents, and in both cases the mother was useless. We have lifeguards for good reasons, and they are trained, not instinctive.

    I have always been driven by the evidence. You know – the fact humans do swim and dive better than chimps and that the one place apes are most predictably bipedal is in waist deep water. That evidence you flick away as nothing.

    But humans DON’T swim and dive better than chimps. You picked that up from the AAH books, and you cannot let it go. Some humans swim more, but that’s all you can say. The rest is your delusion.

    Apes are bipedal in water because they fricking hate water. If they loved it, they’d settle down and swim. You torture your reasons the way you torture a sentence—”the one place” and “most predictably” don’t really work together. (You sound like a commercial.)

    The differences between human and chimp/gorilla myoglobin are minor and probably due to simple random error. So I think you are clutching at straws there.

    Again, you decide what someone else did, and then what someone else is doing. Algis, you really think you are a god.

    … your obsessive hostility to this idea?

    Algis, you are the obsessive hostile here. Seriously, dude, I’ve seen people like you before, and you ain’t healthy.

    While, we’re at it, why don’t you want to talk about the hundreds of times you’ve completely misrepresented Dan Dennett’s clear support of these ideas? Not very honest are you?

    Hundreds of times? Completely? Clear support? Again, you exaggerate and twist and push just as far as you can.

    No 1 on that list is the most simple, blatantly obvious, piece of evidence imaginable, the most pertinent, the most clear cut – simply that humans swim and dive better than chimps.

    No, they don’t. You’ve never done a test. You just assume.

    Physically, I can see advantages to chimps in swimming. They’ve got long arms, and their back feet would really move water—our back feet are pretty much useless.

    The best primate swimmer that I know of is the probiscus monkey, and they are on the other side of chimps, body-wise. We are all stiff and clunky, by comparison, with little hands and useless feet—even our best swimmers, and the rest of us are horrible.

    Besides, I thought you were back to wading? Why do you keep harping on swimming?

    Now why oh why should that be? We swim better because we’re clever? We swim better because we’re bipedal? We swim better because we’re fat? We swim better because we have a brachiating arm? We swim better because we … [Enter your favourite just-so story here]

    We swim better because you think we do. I, personally, can’t swim for shit.

    I certainly can’t outswim a probiscus monkey, and chimps look more them than we do.

    Whatever it is, the one thing you people cannot ever consider is the one thing that is usually the only thing that it considered when comparing how well two species move in a given substrate… natural selection.

    Of course we look for natural selection. But again, Algis knows what’s going on, and us puny mortals should listen.

    And where does that “one thing … only thing” thing come from? Everybody knows about emergent properties and spandrels, except Algis.

    3) Dietary. We have large brains and small teeth. The simultaneous trends of dental reduction, reduction in chewing power, encephalisation and early use of stone tools are easier explained in coastal settings than elsewhere.

    That happens to not be the case.

    Dental reduction and reduced chewing power implies a shift from tougher, more fibrous (vegetation-based) foods to softer ones.

    Softer ones like shrimp in the shell? Gritty foods with sand in them? You need to show which foods are softer, and where they grew, and some evidence that they were eaten.

    The marine food chain is high in DHA, Iodine and other nutrients that are essential for healthy brain growth.

    It’s also low in fat, the stuff you need for brain growth.

    The coastal ecosystem is one of the most productive in the world, there is relatively little competition for shellfish and there are relatively few predators.

    Which coast is all that? And again, show us the middens. Show us the people who now live there like our ancestors did.

    Look, Algis, the biggest difference between chimps and us is our feet. The rest of bipedalism is postural, but our foot is a freaking freak show. You need to explain our feet, first and foremost.

    Our foot is a runner’s foot, with a heel and an arch and a big toe. It is not a chimp’s foot, it is not a swimmer’s foot, and it is not a wader’s foot. It is a narrow foot, suited for game trails in the savannah, and it works well for that.

    It sucks for wading, by the way. A nice chimp foot to grip rocks, or to spread out in mud, or even to clasp closed on the forward step, would be better. (And, oh doggies, a quadrupedal posture would have saved me some skin, sometimes.)

    When it comes to swimming (if you are considering swimming today, Algis) the chimp’s lower body has more flex and power, and those nice cuppy, spready feet to kick with.

    Our lower bodies are worthless in swimming. Seriously, grab a kickboard and try to move by just kicking with your legs. We suck at kicking water.

    A chimp’s upper body has longer arms and longer hands. They could out-do anyone at paddling a surfboard. Put their legs in there, and they’d beat Michael to the marijuana.

    And, as you admit, human swimmers have more hair than they need, so they shave it off sometimes. And some of us are damned hairy. Human hair is finer than a chimps, but not less frequent, and hairiness varies widely among humans, but the AAH started off with comparing.us to dolphins. (The same with fat, by the way—the subcutaneous fat beloved by the AAH is just not consistent.)

    Algis, you keep saying we swim better than chimps, and are adapted to water. I say the opposite is likely true. So?

    As for chimps not swimming, well, I’d not go swimming in a river in chimp territory, not unless I wanted to catch a whole lot of diseases and parasites. There’s a vid somewhere of a baby chimp playing happily in water, and his mom dragging him out—it’s possibly hard-learned culture, to stay out of the water to stay healthy.

    Our brain is bigger than a chimp’s, partly because we eat high-fat foods. Such fatty foods aren’t usually found on a tropical seashore. (The fish-eating cultures I’m familiar with craved beef, they just couldn’t afford it.)

    Our smaller jaws could have come from slurping oysters, sure, but you’ve got to find the shell-middens that later cultures left piled all over hell. And you’ve got to find the species the proto-humans likely ate, where and when they ate them. (You can pretend there was a magic species, which was eaten to extinction, if you like.)

    Cooked food is soft food, and safer, too—much seafood is poisinous, in one way or another. But cooking isn’t easy on a tropic shore, and almost impossible in a swamp—if we’re back in the swamps, today, Algis. You need dry wood, and tropic shores are humid and short on hardwoods. Savannahs, on the other hand, have dry grass, scrubby trees and dried dung all over the place.

    —===—

    “What’s brown and sounds like a bell?”

    “Dung!”

  317. 817
    algiskuliukas

    Re 813

    Typical Jim Moore. He pops in a link to one of his posts as if that was the last word on the matter.

    I answered this post here and here here but Jim never replied.

    These people are evidence deniers, just like creationists.

    Algis Kuliukas

  318. 818
    Menyambal

    Re 817

    Typical Algis Kuliukas. He pops in a link to something of his outside this thread as if that was the last word on the matter.

    I addressed him here in this thread but Algis never replied.

    That person is an evidence assumer, just like creationists.

    Menyambal

  319. 819
    anthrosciguy

    These people are evidence deniers, just like creationists.

    Algis Kuliukas

    Like the three creationists you picked as better sources of info on human evolution than Richard Leakey is? :)

  320. 820
    Arawhon, a Strawberry Margarita

    Hey everyone, I went and checked that thread Algis linked. Guess what, ASG didnt have to reply because everyone else answered and tore his arguments to shreds. So Algis, got any actual science and not your references to books and your own “papers” to substantiate you hypothesis? Any at all?

  321. 821
    anthrosciguy

    Algis has a little problem with the myoglobin paper. In it there’s one clear outlier, the sirenia. We have an explanation for why they can be an outlier (metabolic rate). Humans are not an outlier among primates. So Algis has only a couple choices: accept the evidence and admit it’s a huge blow to his claims; or pretend that humans are some sort of outlier and sirenia are not.

  322. 822
    Arawhon, a Strawberry Margarita

    Ha, I didnt read far enough ahead. ASG does respond. Algis is a liar, there is no other explanation for his posts. He is a shameless liar.

  323. 823
    anthrosciguy

    Self-quoting, but I think it’s forgiveable: “Your obsession with the idea of me as the person who makes you look bad is the wrong focus for you; it is you who makes you look bad, with your ill thought out ideas and claims and your responses to those claims being shown to be ill thought out. And this is so for virtually all the various AAT/H proponents and their arguments and claims. You are, by far, your own worst enemy.”

  324. 824
    vaiyt

    Whatever it is, the one thing you people cannot ever consider is the one thing that is usually the only thing that it considered when comparing how well two species move in a given substrate… natural selection.

    But only when it’s convenient. See: pigs vs. whales as opposed to pigs vs. squirrels.

  325. 825
    Amphiox

    The disgusting spectacle that Algis proposes is most definitely NOT a “thought experiment”.

    A real thought experiment is a scenario, where through deduction and inference, one can arrive at an actual conclusion, preferably one which can then actually be tested in a REAL experiment later.

    What Algis proposes is nothing of the sort. You can’t derive any insight or result just by thinking about it. You do, actually, have to do it.

    And that is no “thought experiment”.

    What it is, is psychopathy.

  326. 826
    Amphiox

    I’m not saying elephants could never have been partially-aquatic, I’m just wondering if the sheer size of the buggers gets them into some special oxygen needs.

    The molecular data in the myoglobin paper, pertaining to the elephants and hyraxes, suggests an aquatic ancestry WAY in the past (30-65 million years ago). The aquatic LCA could even have shared the earth with the last of the dinosaurs. It is quite unlikely that it would have been anything significant in the way of size. We’re most likely talking about something akin to a water “shrew” here.

  327. 827
    Amphiox

    Algis has a little problem with the myoglobin paper. In it there’s one clear outlier, the sirenia. We have an explanation for why they can be an outlier (metabolic rate). Humans are not an outlier among primates.

    Not only are humans not an outlier among primates (incidentally, humans also score lower than all the old world monkeys, which have Z scores of 0.98 to humans’ 0.65), but chimpanzees are, in the other direction. Chimpanzees have the highest Z score among all the great apes, almost twice that of humans.

    Algis has to explain why humans are an outlier in one direction (but the gorillas, gibbons, and siamangs, which have the same Z score as humans are not), while at the same time the chimpanzees are an outlier in the OTHER direction, with a higher Z score despite NOT having an aquatic ancestry like, as he proposes, humans did.

    It would be one thing if the apes were just one uniform group, all with low Z scores. Then one could try to say that the apes for one reason or another are an outlier clade like Sirenians. But that is not the case. There is a pattern WITHIN the apes, and that pattern is the precise OPPOSITE of what Algis’ contention should have produced. One wouldn’t go so far as to call that a flat out falsification of Algis’ ideas, but it sure comes close.

    Parsimony has never been Algis’ friend.

  328. 828
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    These people are evidence deniers, just like creationists.

    As are you AK, you deny evidence, and present none. CRANK/LOON behavior. Scientific behavior would be for you to abandon the aquatic ape idea and find an more evidence idea to promote to the SCIENTIFIC community (and ignore blogs).

  329. 829
    Menyambal

    Amphiox, thanks for the info on elephant ancestry. I do learn a lot here.

    I’m learning that there is a clear pattern of non-scientific thought. Algis is a case study, indeed.

    I’m now wondering if chimps went all aquatic, caught something nasty, and the survivors are those with an irrational fear of water. They would do well in water, both swimming and wading.

    I worked for a river-based park for a while, and had to do a lot of wading. I took water samples, seined for fish surveys, and did stream-flow profiles. It was fairly clear water on gravel bottom, and about the best case for wading. I’ve also waded Michigan swamps, Washington state beaches and Indonesian shores. As I said, I’d go quadrupedal chimp for most of it.

    I’d not go on rocks with barnacles without shoes. Ow.

    I’ve also walked cow paths and game trails in very light shoes—I don’t go barefoot around poop, thanks. I can place one foot in front of the other on a narrow trail a lot better than I can swim.

    I was once running through a field of tall wheat, and noticed that I instinctively switched to a gliding step that made it a lot easier to get through. It didn’t feel like I figured it out, it just happened.

    In water, on the other hand, it took me many years to learn to do anything other than thrash about, and I still suck at swimming.

    The gay term for guys with enough body hair to shame a chimp is “grizzly”, I think. I’m not going to Google that to check. Hairless humans, my hairy ass.

  330. 830
    algiskuliukas

    Algis has to explain why humans are an outlier in one direction (but the gorillas, gibbons, and siamangs, which have the same Z score as humans are not)

    Easy. Random drift.

    It’s funny how aquaskeptics rail against n.s. when there is overwhelming evidence in favour of the (crazy, I know – as bad as space apes, right?) idea that human ancestors might have been subjected to more selection than chimps from wading, swimming and diving – i.e. we do swim and dive better than they do.

    Then, natural selection, we are told, needs to be demonstrated. Anything but n.s. should be assumed first. It doesn’t matter what. Big brains, bipedalism, being fat, having brachiating arms, drift, any just-so story will do as long as it doesn’t face the elephant in the room.

    But when there’s a paper which comes up with a computer model for one estimate of one parameter of one molecule that shows chimps to be more aquatic than humans (and, incidently, also Sirenia!!), suddenly the rules change and, of course, it’s natural selection that should be considered. Drift? Schmift.

    Listen, I know it must be a terrible disappointment to all the desperate aquaskeptics here that this paper, which Amphiox was dancing in the streets about, actually doesn’t dent the idea at all but please try to remember that no-one ever argued that humans were aquatic in anything like manatees and dugongs are (similar myoglobin to us) leet alone whales and dolphins etc.

    Deny. Distort to discredit. Slur…. as always.

    Algis Kuliukas

  331. 831
    algiskuliukas

    psychopathy

    I’m always amazed how far group think gang mentality allows (I’m sure) otherwise rational and sensible people to go in their lynch mob mentality.

    So, because I am open to the idea that humans were more exposed to some (perhaps only slightly more) selection pressure from moving through water than chimps (evidenced by the overwhelmingly obvious and pertinent fact that we do swim and dive better than them), this makes me fair game for any amount of hostility, does it?

    Reading some of the posts here you’d think I’d been found guilty of some crime.

    Apparently, thinking Hardy might have been right, even in some small way, means that not only are you an idiot and stupid about everything, but it also means you’re dishonest and psychopathic. Unlike all those people who think Hardy was nuts. They’re all clever, knowledgable about everything, honest, lovely and sensible people.

    Please, get a grip and try to be a little more rational and less hostile. It’s just an idea.

    I blame PZ. This is his blog. If he had any responsibility he’d step in a try to act as some kind of voice of reason here. Instead, he’s leading the lynch mob with his own ignorant sneering.

    Shameful.

    Algis Kuliukas

  332. 832
    ChasCPeterson

    because I am open to the idea

    rather an understatement, don’t you think?

  333. 833
    algiskuliukas

    Not really, Chas.

    It’s the ad hoc nature of the counter arguments and the bizarre hostility of people, who can’t begin to tell you why humans are so different from chimps but are certain that whatever it was could’t have been anything to with water, that drives me more than anything.

  334. 834
    Menyambal

    algiskuliukas:

    It’s the ad hoc nature of the counter arguments …

    Well of course the counterarguments are ad hoc. We can’t quote from S. Morgenstern’s Nobel Prize-winning proof that we are NOT aquatic, because there isn’t any scientific work to quote from—as you, Algis, keep bitching. We have to make our own case here, and as we have said, that’s the nature of this corner of the internet.

    But, you, Algis, want scientific authority to take you seriously. You want to be a scientific authority so bad you are pissing down your leg. Well, you might be able to write your way to a degree, but you are making a laughingstock out of yourself and your case—whatever your case is today … wading, is it now?

    You have a two-part problem, Algis. First, the Aquatic Ape, or Wading Ape or whatever the hell you are arguing for at the moment, is bunk, bupkis, beans, bull, blank or bad—there is nothing there. Second, and let me emphasize that this is a separate issue, you, Algis, are acting like a raving nutcase. You sound like every other conspiracy clown, and not because you support the AAH, but because of the way you support it. The “bizarre hostility” isn’t directed toward the AAH—there’s nothing there—it is a reaction to your bizarre antics and your sneering hostility toward everyone.

    We are not so different from chimps, really, and … we’ve covered all that. I’m going to go walk the dogs …

  335. 835
    Lofty

    algiskuliukas:

    Please, get a grip and try to be a little more rational and less hostile. It’s just an idea.

    No, its an obsession. Go away and heal thyself.

  336. 836
    David Marjanović

    David Marjanović, the stuff I said up there about chimps being too dense to swim was based on what I think is fact, that they have much stronger muscles than us.

    They do, but I don’t think a bit of myosin 2 will make them that much denser…

    The guy’s a nasty, twisting, piece of work. Anyone that believes a word he writes on this subject is either naive or just equally biased.

    Argumentum ad hominem, all the way to poisoning the well.

    Still no shame?

    I’m going to use the David Marjanovic technique here. (No clue as to who you are citing, arguing with, on about etc.) Just randomly, cherry picked snippets to rant against.

    After all, it’s only about the arguments, not the people, right?

    Right – except I don’t pick cherries; I respond to everything that I think needs to be addressed, and I keep it in context.

    Convenient trees are not usually located in the water

    WHAT!?

    IN the water? What kind of a moron wrote this!?

    Seriously. I mean, do you REALLY STILL think anyone is arguing that our ancestors LIVED in the water?

    What… no. You are arguing that our ancestors waded in the water on occasion, and were able to escape crocs & hippos by climbing. Well, if you’re attacked while wading, you first need to get out of the water, run to the nearest tree, and then climb it, unless the tree is standing in the water.

    In other words, you are proposing that convenient trees were located in the water. I just pointed this out, because you seem not to have noticed what you’re saying.

    Think your own ideas through, please.

    Oh dear, another gang of know-it-alls, led by the Chief of Misrepresentation himself

    We’re not led. We’re hosted.

    The idea that the reason humans are so very different from chimps and gorillas (despite being genetically closer to chimps than they are to gorillas) might have had something to do with moving through water – that’s wading, swimming and diving.

    Crazy, isn’t it?

    You keep not getting it. We’re not discussing if it’s crazy. We’re discussing if it actually happened, based on what the evidence tells us. Lots of crazy shit has in fact happened or is still ongoing!

    Don’t you notice that you are the one who keeps chanting “space apes” as a mantra???

    We were always bipedal. It was a magical preadaptation.

    What, pray tell, is there magical about vertical climbing and brachiation?

    Hint: exaptation, not “preadaptation”.

    What is wrong with you people?

    We’ve been traumatically injured by Ockham’s Machete?

    (HINT: the ability of an organism to adapt to an environment doesn’t mean that organism evolved in that environment.)

    If this weren’t true, there still wouldn’t be any terrestrial animals, let alone flying ones.

    Yeah, the Romans built baths, but the Medieval Europeans didn’t use them.

    They did – it was after the Middle Ages were over that bathing stopped. (Apparently there was too much sin going on in the bathhouses.)

    As an interesting side-note, this research indicates that elephants and hyraxes really might have had an aquatic common ancestor

    Hyraxes, too? Now that’s interesting – and makes sense out of sea cows and hyraxes being more closely related to each other than either are to proboscideans.

    AAHers (I absolutely refuse to lend it the accolade of “theory”)

    That’s not an accolade, it would simply mean it’s a big overarching explanation for a lot of things. Being specific to a phase in human or hominid evolution, it’s simply too small to be a theory.

    he reveals that Elaine Morgan (or was it her typesetter) once missed an ellipsis out of a Darwin quote where a few totally irrelevant words were ommitted

    Omitting words from a quote counts as a lie!

    Perhaps it doesn’t among writers like Morgan – but among scientists, it does; I’m not in the least exaggerating.

    this sleazy shit from a totally unqualified ex-car mechanic

    You don’t even know how scientists react to omitting words from a quote, and then you complain about somebody not being a professional scientist?

    What, seriously, are you doing in a PhD program???

    This is the kind of thing PZ Myers, apparently, admires so much!

    “The Definitive Web Resource”, he calls it!

    And you will never get over how fucking irrelevant this is, you will never discuss the topic, you will repeat this quote again every 5 or 10 comments because you can use it to discuss people!

    Learn to be ashamed.

    Is he really defending this sort of shady journalism?

    What? Journalism?

    PZ’s “replies” have been to call me an “idiot”, “loon” or “kook”. Brilliant.

    And you’re somehow incapable of discussing substance because you can’t get over the fucking tone.

    People calling you names doesn’t make our ancestors wade for a living. Really, it doesn’t.

    MEANWHILE, what Jim HIMSELF is desperately trying to distract attention from is his repeated evasion of this simple question….

    Who cares what Dennett said? I care what the bones and the stones say, not what a person says. You keep distracting from that.

    Dan Dennett, one of the most respect thinkers about Darwinian theory today

    What nonsense. Dennett isn’t even a scientist, he’s a philosopher. Futuyma and Dawkins come to mind, the Grants, Gould…

    Don’t tell me guys… the pseudoskeptic gang here will all side with Jim Moore, right?

    If Moore sides with me, that’s his problem, not mine.

    We’re left with a scenario where human ancestors spend enough time in water for wading to be a significant selective pressure, but for all that time, somehow, there was no swimming, no diving, no breath holding. The Sirenians apparently did it, so it is not entire ridiculous to contemplate, but still.

    AND the chimpanzees and orangutans score HIGHER than humans. That means either that there was no difference in swimming/diving/breath holding selective pressure between humans and gorillas (also score 0.65 like humans) on one hand and chimpanzees and orangutans on the other among the great apes, and the differences are stochastic, and below the threshold of sensitivity to indicate anything meaningful about aquatic ancestry, OR, that chimpanzees and orangutans had MORE exposure to water, and MORE selection pressure from swimming/diving/breath holding than humans, which would turn Algis’ scenario into one where the human ancestors were wading but NOT swimming or diving or breathholding or otherwise putting their faces under water, while the chimpanzees ancestors, while NOT wading (and thus no bipedality), WERE swimming and diving and holding their breath under water.

    I think one would need to petition for presidential dispensation for special pleading to get that one through….

    All seconded.

    I keep reading this thread for the amazing science like the myoglobin study. I’m still scratching my head over star-nosed moles being aquatic. Huh? Water-shrews sure, but moles?

    Desmans are aquatic, and they are moles.

    Alternatively, living underground, where oxygen is relatively scarce, may cause selection pressure for such things. Does the paper mention other moles, or burrowing rodents, or golden “moles”, or marsupial “moles”? (Admittedly, the latter two live in desert sand, which is probably much better aerated.)

    So there is scope for comparing humans and other great apes in this area and seeing how those figures compare.

    Uh, yeah. In particular, apes lack the extremely low metabolic rates of sea cows. Didn’t you know that?

    The most parsimonious evolutionary scenario in light of fossil evidence is that ZMb continued to increase in early proboscideans before a secondary reduction.

    (p 1234192-2)

    So, I expect aquaskeptics will exhibit less sneering on that idea from now on.

    …Then why isn’t there evidence for such a reduction in our myoglobin sequence?

    Amphiox’s triumphalist 765 post – despite admitting the sirenia data above completely contradicts the whole argument –

    I don’t know how you did it, but you somehow managed to completely overlook the part where comment 765 explains that sea cows don’t actually dive much.

    adipocity

    Excuse me, why can’t you learn to spell adiposity? Doesn’t it at least help that the adjective is adipose?

    It’s a thought experiment.

    Uh, that makes it completely useless. You can’t simulate a chimpanzee in your brain, let alone 200.

    Quite frankly, if a chimpanzee could be trained to do the hyperventilation and other preparation that human divers must do, it would not surprise me if the chimpanzees would EASILY outperform humans at diving from the simple fact that their substantially smaller brains would be metabolically substantially less demanding. And when it comes to holding your breath, it is your brain’s metabolic needs that is, at least in apes, always the rate limiting step.

    Seconded.

    Chas, that’s sweet that you think it’s all irrelevant but the fact of the matter is that tribal group think in science (especially anthropology) is rife, and opinion matters.

    Silliest attempt at a tu quoque argument I’ve seen in a long time.

    Why then, did Sir David Attenborough get publicly lambasted recently for (shock horror) being open to waterside hypotheses?

    …Because he was wrong?

    Why does PZ Myers feel the need to openly sneer at the idea in places like this?

    PZ hasn’t shown up in this thread in weeks!

    Is his opinion irrelevant too?

    Of course. What’s relevant is the evidence he cites, even indirectly (by citing aquaticape.org in this case).

    Really, what’s so hard to get about this?

    as well known as respected as Daniel Dennett

    Will you finally stop these arguments from authority?!?

    The differences between human and chimp/gorilla myoglobin are minor and probably due to simple random error.

    “Probably”? That sounds like you’ve calculated the probability. Show your work!

    (…Also, comment 827.)

    The fact that sirenian myoglobin did not need to evolve in the same direction as cetaceans and other aquatics simply shows that there are other evolutionary pathways to adapt to a diving life style.

    Yes, trouncing your metabolic rate, which we evidently haven’t done.

    Any other ideas?

    Now why oh why should that be? We swim better because we’re clever? We swim better because we’re bipedal? We swim better because we’re fat? We swim better because we have a brachiating arm? We swim better because we …

    How about you test those hypotheses?

    Hmmmm?

    The simultaneous trends of dental reduction, reduction in chewing power

    Dental reduction? We retain very thick enamel, and most of us still grow wisdom teeth despite all our snout reduction – retaining three out of the three eutherian molars per jaw quarter.

    Physically, I can see advantages to chimps in swimming. They’ve got long arms, and their back feet would really move water—our back feet are pretty much useless.

    Some professional swimmers have feet so huge they’d have real trouble buying shoes over here. Like, I’ve never seen shoes with those sizes offered for sale; they probably have to be custom-made.

    And again, show us the middens.

    There are plenty of Mesolithic middens. I’m not aware of older ones.

    Our foot is a runner’s foot

    No; it’s actually surprisingly similar to a sauropod foot. It’s a walker’s foot. Look at the feet of running mammals, let alone dinosaurs!

  337. 837
    Amphiox

    I’m going to use the David Marjanovic technique here. (No clue as to who you are citing, arguing with, on about etc.) Just randomly, cherry picked snippets to rant against.

    After all, it’s only about the arguments, not the people, right?

    Words cannot describe how utterly, contemptibly pathetic Algis sounds when he makes posts like this. And how pitiful it is that Algis seems utterly oblivious to just how pathetic he makes himself sound whenever he posts screeds like this.

  338. 838
    Amphiox

    Alternatively, living underground, where oxygen is relatively scarce, may cause selection pressure for such things. Does the paper mention other moles, or burrowing rodents, or golden “moles”, or marsupial “moles”? (Admittedly, the latter two live in desert sand, which is probably much better aerated.)

    In the myoglobin paper they found that species that burrowed or had other types of hypoxic selection pressure, did not have the same elevated Z-score for myoglobin positive charge that aquatic species did. For example, the burrowing but non-aquatic moles all scored low. Other burrowing mammals also scored low.

    They were incredibly thorough. They examined the myoglobins of hundreds of species right across the mammalian lineage. Virtually every single aquatic and semi-aquatic mammal clade correlates. Even within clades where only one of a closely related group of species was semi-aquatic, that species had the high Z while all the others had low Z. The Sirenians were literally the only exception.

  339. 839
    Amphiox

    If chimpanzees are truly denser than humans, that should, if anything, make them BETTER adapted to swimming and diving. If you are a diving animal, you WANT to be dense. One of the hallmarks of whales is their very dense bones.

  340. 840
    anthrosciguy

    Omitting words from a quote counts as a lie!

    Perhaps it doesn’t among writers like Morgan – but among scientists, it does; I’m not in the least exaggerating.

    I’ve provided several examples of Morgan changing quoting in ways that altered their meaning so as to support her, but the main reason I’ve said she lied about this matter is that despite her having left out words from various quotes without indicating it, she later claimed, rather haughtily, that she had never ever done so. (“I have never even in my green and unregenerate days omitted words from even the most long-winded quotation without indicating by a row of dots that words had been removed.”)

    Will you finally stop these arguments from authority?!?

    Algis displays some classic pseudoscience habits, and this is one. On the one hand, he regularly denigrates working scientists by, for example, calling the many years of work by the team of researchers who worked on the Ardi fossils merely Owen Lovejoy’s “opinion”. On the other hand, he also regularly invokes authorities. I’ve said this is exactly like what archeologist John Cole in 1980 (“Cult Archeology) referred to as:

    4. Ambivalent authoritarianism : Authorities are vilified, but people are asked to accept new authorities, whether because of arguments or leaps of faith. Questions devolve to: “Whom should one believe?” Ideas are not tested rigorously. ..

    5. Ambivalent anti-establishmentarianism : The “establishment” is vilified, yet at the same time respected and envied. “Cult” archeologists curry big-name endorsements so avidly they count as “votes” in their favor the simple lack of an attack on them. Scientific caution may be interpreted as cowardice or an inability to answer a devastating argument.

  341. 841
    Amphiox

    The differences between human and chimp/gorilla myoglobin are minor

    Another rather telling error here.

    It is the difference between chimpanzee and HUMAN/GORILLA myoglobin that is the issue. The human and gorilla myoglobins are identical, both with a Z-score of 0.65 (also identical with the myoglobin of gibbons and siamangs). It is the CHIMPANZEE myoglobin that is different, with a Z-score of 1.2.

    The Z-score of 0.65 is the primitive condition among all the apes, great and lesser. Humans RETAINED the primitive myoglobin. Chimpanzees (and Orangutans) are the ones that evolved some differences in their myoglobin.

    If the difference is stochastic then we default to the null, which is that NONE of the great or lesser apes had any significant degree of water-based selection in their histories since the beginning of the ape clade. If the difference is meaningful, then it suggests that chimpanzees had MORE water-based selection in their history than humans, since we split from the LCA.

    No matter how you slice this, this data simply and flatly contradicts Algis’ contention that greater water exposure was a selection factor that produced significant (or indeed, any) differences in humans compared to chimpanzees.

  342. 842
    anthrosciguy

    Physically, I can see advantages to chimps in swimming. They’ve got long arms, and their back feet would really move water—our back feet are pretty much useless.

    Some professional swimmers have feet so huge they’d have real trouble buying shoes over here. Like, I’ve never seen shoes with those sizes offered for sale; they probably have to be custom-made.

    There’s another interesting aspect to this. A few years back at the Dawkins forum a poster other than Algis claimed greater plantar flexion in humans as an aquatic adaptation, and Algis quickly seconded him, obviously without thinking. I had to point out that humans, relative to chimps, have greatly reduced plantar flexion. One of the unusual traits seen in some (maybe most?) champion swimmers is a highly unusual degree of plantar flexion compared to us regular folks, allowing for much swimming ability. It seems certain that, whatever the potential ability of African apes re swimming, to have their plantar flexion ability would be an enormous benefit.

    Algis referred to my presenting this fact as “gossip”. He has a number of idiosyncratic definitions for common words.

  343. 843
    Amphiox

    Given that all the common swimming strokes are utterly counter-intuitive, culturally dependent, non-instinctive, and require special instruction and training to master, the null hypotheses pretty much has to be that humans swim better than chimpanzees because of our bigger, cleverer brains, that allow us to teach our bodies to move in ways that we had not evolved to move.

    This would put swimming on par with a vast array of other similar types of human physical activity, be it gymnastics on parallel bars, javelin throwing, archery, hopscotch, figure skating, judo, typing, juggling, etc, all of which humans do better than chimpanzees.

  344. 844
    anthrosciguy

    The dog paddle seems intuitive; it’s the instinctive stroke used by all mammals AFAIK. Even kangaroos, which ordinarily move their hind legs together, use a dog paddle while swimming. But Jan Wind, in two papers I think I mentioned upthread, pointed out that for us the dog paddle requires a special position which is not our usual when locomoting, and in our normal position the dog paddle is ineffective at best and at worst tends to drive us underwater. For African apes the situation is even worse as they tend to tip forward. This results in them and us being some of a very few mammals which do not swim instinctively. For us, all effective swimming strokes are, as you say, utterly counter-intuitive, culturally dependent, and non-instinctive.

    Obviously we can overcome this but it seems that this might well have been expected to have been bred out of us via natural selection, if we had enough selection to cause all these other claimed changes. This is along with reactions like having an instinct to breath in when we run out of oxygen even when we’re underwater — a reaction which aquatic mammals do not have.

  345. 845
    Menyambal

    If I recall the AA books, there was a list of traits, all of which are not found to be actually the case. We can’t swim, we don’t have a layer of subcutaneous fat, we are covered with fully-functional hair follicles, we have a walker’s foot (thanks, David M), we have landlubber myoglobin, and nobody lives the life aquatic. How are we supposed to be aquatic apes, again?

    What is the theory, anyhow? Algis has changed it from sporting among the waves to slogging through swamps or scrambling over barnacles. He’s also changed it from mildly interesting to extremely embarrassing.

  346. 846
    algiskuliukas

    Re 836

    Argumentum ad hominem, all the way to poisoning the well. Still no shame?

    Funny how aquaskeptics are always so sensitive to any criticism of their chosen prophet, anthro”sci”guy. The special one. I mention the fact that he is an unqualified ex-car mechanic and even PZ Myers is woken out of his slumber and has to chip in. I point out his outrageous misrepresentation of Dan Dennett – 180 degree distortions of what he was saying, hundreds of times over several years – and the gang have to close ranks and form a line of shields around him. I point out that one missing ellipsis (of a completely inconsequential set of words from a Darwin quote that had no bearing on the argument) that could have been a mistake by a typesetter, is scraping the barrel to say that it is the No 1 allegation of incompetence, from 40 years work, and David Marjanovic picks this out for his special attention – it “needs to be addressed”!

    I thought that in academia critical thinking wasn’t just one-way, gang-like sneering. I thought – surprising this, eh? – that it was supposed to work for for and against one’s point of view.

    Apart from the notable exception of Chas Peterson here the other day, I’ve never witnessed any significant criticism of Jim Moore’s contribution in a public place like this from people who pretend to be critical thinkers. So, either this guy has written work that is just perfect, or he tends to attract a gang of sheep like followers who are so biased they cannot bring themselves to say one word against him.

    I think it’s option b.

    See, some of us don’t have this uni-directional-criticality-only problem. I have criticised Hardy, Morgan and most other proponents of waterside ideas. I’ve publicly fallen out with Verhaegen et al several times. If anyone is showing open, fair minded two-way critical thinking here, it’s me, not you guys.

    Are you not ashamed?

    In other words, you are proposing that convenient trees were located in the water.

    Gasp. Holy Misrepresentation! Jesus. Have you no shame?

    Ahem. Ever heard of gallery forests – riparian habitats?

    See, it’s this kind of thing that really gets my goat. David Marjanovic wheels in here as some “expert” to beat down the silly, amateurish, “aquatic ape loons” with hard nosed sciency stiff – and this is the kind of “argument” he comes up with!

    Every time I read something like this, or like PZ Myers going on about SPACE APES and how “mockery is good”, or Henry Gee equating these ideas with CREATIONISM, it makes me realise that the counter arguments are really, really shit.

    If, after 53 years this is all you people can do, you should not be surprised that open minded fellows like me, who are reluctant to go along with sheep-like mentality, will keep being drawn to the idea.

    Don’t you notice that you are the one who keeps chanting “space apes” as a mantra???

    Not me, m’lud. PZ Myers started this whole blog with it! He’s the one who said “mockery is good”. Nothing to say about that? No, I didn’t think so. A bit biased, aren’t you?

    I have been mocking your gang’s pathetic, ignorant mockery, though, true. Until PZ, or someone, comes out with something half intelligent to show that they now regrets doing that, or has the intellectual capacity to actually discriminate between the plausibility of idea that some (perhaps only slight) selection from wading, swimming and diving and the idea that the entire universe was created in six days just for us, I’ll keep doing so.

    What, pray tell, is there magical about vertical climbing and brachiation?

    Magical, in the sense that it is supposed to have made us optimal terrestrial bipeds, like we are today, from day one, before we’d even started stepping out onto open ground.

    If not, how come Crompton et al’s work on the A. afarensis gait (that they walked like us) has not been criticised?

    The current fashion to brush the whole bipedal origins debate under the carpet and say “Hey, we were always bipedal. Problem solved” is just yet another palaeoanthropological absurdity that Elaine Morgan would have ripped into if she had written “Descent…” today.

    Ockham’s Machete

    Oh sure you have. It’s so parsimonious not to assume that n. s. might explain the difference in swimming and diving abilities between humans and chimps and, instead, to insert whatever just-so special pleading is seen as cool today.

    It’s so parsimonious to imagine that the very vertical climbing preadaptation that led to bipedalism was the very thing not needed for the great ape that became optimally bipedal, but those geat apes that still vertically climb today became quadrupedal.

    it’s simply too small to be a theory

    “Small”? It is not one, there are several waterside hypotheses. Different timescales, different modes of selection, different aspects of human physiology… all (heretically) involving that wet stuff beginning with “w” – so all requiring lots of sneering and ridicule and no science at all to reject.

    counts as a lie

    Or, it could have just been a tiny mistake by her typesetter.

    Hey, let’s not give the witch any slack, eh? She missed an ellipsis out. In 40 years work, and she missed an ellipsis out, once. Shock horror. Sling her up, eh?

    It was a popular science book, not an article in a scientific journal. The missing words didn’t change the context one jot. If they had, and if she’d done this more than once, then you’d have a point.

    David, I think you are proving yourself as just yet another biased gang member.

    What, seriously, are you doing in a PhD program?

    Oh, just trying to do some science. You know, that thing people are supposed to do when they see something interesting that needs investigating.

    I thought the wading idea was a pretty good one and couldn’t understand why the field had ignored it for 50 years. Terrible, eh? Clearly, I should have just written a shitty, gosssipy web site and then maybe people like PZ Myer’s would have given me some credit – only if I wrote what he agreed with though, of course.

    And you will never get over how fucking irrelevant this is…

    So irrelevant, you picked it out for your special attention because, as you say, “it needed addressing”.

    I will not stop mocking PZ Myers for backing Jim Moore’s shitty, misrepresenting, masquerading web site until he either writes here and defends, in full, Jim’s methods or disavowes his support of it.

    It’s a shocking indictment on a field of science that rather than cite the peer reviewed literature, people are recommended such sleazy rubbish. If you are not ashamed about that then I question your integrity as a scientist.

    What? Journalism?

    http://www.aquaticape.org (!) is an exercise is shady journalism. It’s hardly better than News of The World. Have you read it yet?

    And you’re somehow incapable of discussing substance because you can’t get over the fucking tone

    I’m discussing the substance and I’m mocking the tone. Both. Get over it.

    The fact that a bunch of pseudoskeptics have to be so hostile to people whose only crime is to take Hardy’s idea seriously speaks volumes of their lack of intellectual courage.

    Who cares what Dennett said?

    Clearly Jim Moore does, otherwise why misrepresent his views so often, so consistently, for so long? Respected opinion matters, whether you like it or not. Why was Sir David Attenborough publicly sneered at for going to the recent London conference, if nobody cares about such things?

    Are you endorsing Jim Moore’s misrepresentations of Dan Dennett’s views, or not? Why are you trying to brush this under the carpet?

    You’d think anthropologists would understand this better than anyone but they seem to be more guilty of group think than most fields.

    What nonsense. Dennett isn’t even a scientist…

    But unqualified (in science) ex car mechanics… wow, they’re really important, right?

    See this is the kind of ad hoc argumentation aquaskeptics always do.

    When it’s a playwrite or a marine biologist or a philosopher or a documentary presenter – who cares what they think, they’re not proper anthropologists, like we are.

    When it comes to pointing to the “definitive web resource” on this subject – who cares that it’s written by an unqualified ex car mechanic. You’re arguing ad hominem if you say anything.

    All seconded.

    This is what David seconded… “We’re left with a scenario where human ancestors spend enough time in water for wading to be a significant selective pressure, but for all that time, somehow, there was no swimming, no diving, no breath holding. The Sirenians apparently did it, so it is not entire ridiculous to contemplate, but still.

    All remaining respect evapourates.

    Then why isn’t there evidence for such a reduction in our myoglobin sequence?

    Clearly there is more than one way for evolution to favour diving in mammals.

    I have never argued that humans were very aquatic. Nowhere near as aquatic as manatees and dugongs, let alone whales and dolphins.

    The evolution of myoglobin beautifully reported by Mirceta et al speaks of significant diving adaptation in some mammalian taxa. If I were in the Marc Verhaegen et al camp, who argue that humans ancestors were part time divers, this paper would cause me to seriously rethink, but I am not. I have consistently argued that humans are close to 100% terrestrial and probably always have been. I stress the fact that even a slight degree of selection could still make a significant difference to phenotypes in relatively short evolutionary timescales.

    sea cows don’t actually dive much

    Exactly. And neither did human ancestors, as far as I am concerned. Nobody, not even Marc Verhaegen et al, would claim that human ancestors dived even as much as manatees, so I think you have shot the aquaskeptic argument in the foot there.

    why can’t you learn to spell adiposity

    Oh, good argument that. Spelling’s never been a big deal to me. I know it is to some. English should be like Lithuanian where all the words are spelt phonetically, in my opinion.

    Uh, that makes it completely useless

    Well not really. It illustrates a simple scenario where a regime of selection could result in the remarkable difference between human and chimp infant/mother phenotypes.

    it would not surprise me if the chimpanzees would EASILY outperform humans at diving… seconded

    It would surprise me, considering the anecdotal evidence shows thousands of humans diving and zero (or is it one?) chimp(s) doing so.

    Clutching at wishful thinking straws, me thinks.

    Because he was wrong?

    But how do you know that? You don’t. What you mean is… there are lots of us clever scientists who all think he is wrong. We all think this idea is so silly we needn’t even do any science to show it’s wrong. Even an ex car mechanic’s gossip is enough.

    Humans do swim and dive better than chimps.

    The one place chimps and gorillas move (not just pose momentarily) bipedally with 100% certainty is in waist/chest deep water.

    Why are you so sure that these facts are irrelevant in the debate on human evolution and that something else (and who cares what) as long as it’s something other than some selection from wading, swimming and diving – is all that needs to be considered?

    Is his opinion irrelevant too? …Of course

    Then why are you spending so long here? Why am I? Why are we all?

    Will you finally stop these arguments from authority?!?

    Hypocrite! You just told me his opinions are irrelevant because he’s only a philosopher. Apparently only those special people, called palaeoanthropologists understand anything about human evolution.

    Probably?

    One or two mutations in 5-7Ma since the Pan-Homo LCA. The fact that such mutations caused the “net charge” affect to go one way or another is likely to be random.

    metabolic rate

    Clutching at straws, I think. So, only Sirenia, out of all the Mammalia have this special “low metabolic rate” now?

    Please explain.

    How about you test those hypotheses?

    Yes, it’s all down to me. Proper scientists just don’t do the “a” thing, right? That’s for kooks.

    I’ve been looking at bipedal origins. I did a thorough lit review of 30+ models and evaluated them all. I found some weaknesses in the wading hypothesis, as reported to date (ca 2000) in the literature, and I attempted to do some scientific testing there.

    That took years. Please don’t peddle the Jim Moore cheap slur that I should also have done the swimming studies, the infant adiposity (corrected!?) studies, the olfactory receptor studies etc etc and also gone to Eritrea to look for fossils.

    He often derides me for not doing more science and for spending for too long being a critical voice to him. (Funny that). The fact is I’ve done both on top of earning some kind of living as a database guy.

    It’s a walker’s foot

    I agree. We are adapted, most of all, to efficient striding bipedalism. Ideally, that works best on the sorts of substrates we have made for ourselves – carpets, lawns, pavementts etc. Now, where in the natural world, do you find substrates like that?

    Algis Kuliukas

  347. 847
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    AK

    Are you not ashamed?

    ARE YOU, AK, NOT ASHAMED FOR PROMOTING AN UNSCIENTIFIC IDEA FOR MONTHS, AND NOT TAKING NO SALE! FOR AN ANSWER?

  348. 848
    Menyambal

    That’s lovely wet sand, there, Algis. Where’s the nutrition in it, and why does it make my calves hurt to run on it?

    Your crime isn’t liking the wading hypothesis, your crime is acting like a raving fucktard of a troll all over PZ’s blog. You’ve sneered, insulted, lied, whined, ignored, acted lofty, acted martyred and just generally been a conspiracy crank for much, much too long.

    Then you deny your assholery, even though it’s up there in plain text. PZ gave a conditional, “Next time someone brings up the soggy monkey story, I’m just going to reply with “Space Ape!” You started with a conditional in all caps, “SPACE APE!” repeated, then went on to claims that it had been said to you many times, in all caps with multiple exclamation marks, repeated many times, and repeated that in many different comments. This is you, Algis: “…then anthropologists get all in a panic and start lashing out irrationally. (“SPACE APE!! SPACE APE!! SPACE APE!! SPACE APE!!) What’s your problem? Why are you guys all so hydrophobic?” Then you, Algis, pretend you’ve never done any such thing.

    Seriously, dude, this is the most creatively-insulting blog I know—I come here partly for the sheer poetry of it—and you have been getting off very easy. Very easy. But you snarl out puny insults, and claim to be a martyr because this comment section of a blog isn’t doing lofty scientific discourse.

    If you don’t like it here, go the fuck away!

    And now you admit you are just trolling to get what you want. You said, “I will not stop mocking PZ Myers … until he ….” … does what you want him to do. That’s trolling.

    Bring the banhammer, PZ, this kook has crumbled.

  349. 849
    ChasCPeterson

    space ape

    space ape

    spaceape

    spape

    spape

    spape

  350. 850
    algiskuliukas

    Where’s the nutrition in it, and why does it make my calves hurt to run on it?

    Gasp. Over to the right, there are an endless source of highly nutritious fish (perfect diet for brain growth). At low tidy you could pick over shellfish. If (scary, I know) you actually went swimming you’d doubtless find some shellfish attached to rocks in the shallows. Easy pickings. Over to your left, if you walk a few hundred metres would be a fresh water stream, maybe an estuary, maybe a mangrove forest.

    Dunno. Maybe you’re just not fit. How would your calves (not to mention your feet) hold up running across the open savannah, or was that just a straw man Elaine Morgan invented? Walking on the wet beach, right by the water’s edge, it is flat, firm vegetation free – perfect for our striding efficient bipedalism. Why is it crazy to consider that this might have been where it evolved?

    your crime is acting like a raving fucktard of a troll all over PZ’s blog

    How’s that? Chipping in and answering slurs and hostile sneering? Me? I’m the “raving fucktard”? Not you and your sad pals like “Nerd… ” et al?

    The rest is just the usual biased, ignorant, lynch mob hostility.

    Algis Kuliukas

  351. 851
    Michael Clark

    LOLZ You guys think you’re debating the AAX, donchya. No, you’re feeding K’s psychosis. At some point you’ll realize this and either a). play along or b). shitcan his ass. Personally, I’d go with “b” since you really don’t want this place to become a playground for lunatics. Or do you?

  352. 852
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    I see the anti-scientist AK is still being a CRANK/LOON. Nothing but bullshit, backed by arrogance.

  353. 853
    Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao

    @AK:

    Fish are low in fat, which is essential for brain growth. This was mentioned no less than three times in the last fifteen posts.

    As per this part of your rant:

    Apart from the notable exception of Chas Peterson here the other day, I’ve never witnessed any significant criticism of Jim Moore’s contribution in a public place like this from people who pretend to be critical thinkers. So, either this guy has written work that is just perfect, or he tends to attract a gang of sheep like followers who are so biased they cannot bring themselves to say one word against him

    Or, we haven’t read it. Option c.

    I can take apart (some of) your AAH arguments without being a paleoanthropologist, paleontologist, paleobotanist, evolutionary biologist, or any of those. I’m a Management: Information Systems major (it’s business and computers together.)

    The reason I can do it is because I’m paying attention, I’m reading arguments. I’m seeing numerous times people have answered your statements, and seeing you veer off of that statement for a moment and head right back to it later, as if you haven’t learned anything that was stated. You argue exactly like a creationist!

    (Paraphrased)

    AK: Seashores are flat!
    Everyone else: So are paths in the savannah.
    AK: Humans dive and swim better than chimps!
    Everyone else: Chimps are actually better developed for swimming, but don’t have the training.
    AK: Seashores are flat! (repeat)

    RC: Evolution says dogs will give birth to cats!
    Everyone else: That would disprove evolution, actually.
    RC: Microevolution is real, but macroevolution is not!
    Everyone else: The only difference between micro and macroevolution is time, which we’ve had plenty of.
    RC: Evolution says dogs will give birth to cats! (repeat)

  354. 854
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    AK:

    ’ve never witnessed any significant criticism of Jim Moore’s contribution in a public place like this from people who pretend to be critical thinkers.

    Gee, JM isn’t the one making any effort to bully us into believing in their anti-scientific idea. You, AK, are the one who must evidence, not talk, yourself into being scientific. And being scientific has first and foremost the concept your idea can be wrong if there is no evidence for it. And there is no conclusive evidence for your idea.

    You, AK, are the one on trial. Only you the arrogant and ignorant Crank/Loon.

  355. 855
    David Marjanović

    One of the hallmarks of whales is their very dense bones.

    Wrong. Only the very first whales had very dense bones, as hippos do still (maybe that’s the reason hippos can’t run). All later whales have had collapsible lungs. Once the water pressure collapses your lungs, you’re no longer positively buoyant, you’re in fact negatively buoyant, something that is counteracted by very spongy bones – osteoporosis instead of osteosclerosis (and/or pachyostosis) – to reach neutral buoyancy.

    Sea cows are pachyosteosclerotic. They’re easy to recognize by their banana-shaped ribs. They never dive so deep that their lungs collapse.

    Placodonts are pachyosteosclerotic; plesio- and ichthyosaurs are osteoporotic.

    Argumentum ad hominem, all the way to poisoning the well. Still no shame?

    Funny how aquaskeptics are always so sensitive to any criticism of their chosen prophet, anthro”sci”guy.

    *blink*

    Wow, have you missed the point.

    Remember when I wrote he should cite more? It’s near the end of the previous page.

    I point out his outrageous misrepresentation of Dan Dennett –

    I don’t even remember him saying anything about Dennett. I haven’t read all of aquaticape.org in the last few years.

    and David Marjanovic picks this out for his special attention – it “needs to be addressed”!

    You misunderstand. This is not special attention, it is background attention. I have SIWOTI syndrome; not commenting something I can comment requires a deliberate effort of holding back.

    So, either this guy has written work that is just perfect, or he tends to attract a gang of sheep like followers who are so biased they cannot bring themselves to say one word against him.

    Nope. It’s that few people care that much about such a fringe hypothesis.

    That’s exactly why professional scientists other than Langdon don’t write critiques of the AAH, so that “an ex-car mechanic” ends up doing it because nobody else does.

    Ahem. Ever heard of gallery forests – riparian habitats?

    Yes, and I’ve been to some. Most of the year, even such forests don’t have trees standing in the water. You wade out into the water and are attacked by a croc or hippo, you have a problem.

    Mangroves might be an exception, but you aren’t the one who proposes our ancestors drank saltwater…

    See, it’s this kind of thing that really gets my goat. David Marjanovic wheels in here as some “expert” to beat down the silly, amateurish, “aquatic ape loons”

    *blink*

    I’ve never called myself an expert in this thread, have never implied I’m a paleoanthropologist (I’ve specifically said I’m not one instead), and have never called anybody “aquatic ape loons” (not just because those would be ape loons that are aquatic, because of the missing hyphen). I’ve called arguments silly, but I’m pretty sure I haven’t called people silly; and being an amateur isn’t some kind of automatic problem – look up John R. “Jack” Horner, who ended up getting an honorary doctorate –, so I’m quite sure I’ve never implied otherwise; after all, when it comes to paleoanthropology, I’m an amateur, too! I work on 300-million-year-old animals, not 3-million-year-old or 0.3-million-year-old ones.

    Do you have some kind of inferiority complex because I’ve defended my doctoral thesis and you haven’t yet? I don’t get it.

    (Oh, and, I’ve been a regular on this blog for seven years now. You are the one who has wheeled in; you weren’t even here when this thread started, FFS – you only arrived when Marcel Williams was leaving.)

    open minded fellows like me, who are reluctant to go along with sheep-like mentality

    Open-minded? Frankly, you come across as treating your hypothesis as dogma. Any time you see a counterargument, you either ignore it and shout “we swim and dive better than chimps”, or you ignore it and shout “unqualified”, or you shout “misinterpretation”, or you ignore it and shout “SPACE APE! SPACE APE! SPACE APE! SPACE APE! SPACE APE!” the same way other people shout “LALALALALALA I CAN’T HEAR YOU”.

    Don’t you notice that you are the one who keeps chanting “space apes” as a mantra???

    Not me, m’lud. PZ Myers started this whole blog with it! He’s the one who said “mockery is good”. Nothing to say about that? No, I didn’t think so. A bit biased, aren’t you?

    WTF? PZ said it once. You say it, like, once per hour. That’s why I wrote “keeps chanting [...] as a mantra” instead of simply “says” or “writes”.

    I generally mean what I say!

    Magical, in the sense that it is supposed to have made us optimal terrestrial bipeds, like we are today, from day one, before we’d even started stepping out onto open ground.

    If not, how come Crompton et al’s work on the A. afarensis gait (that they walked like us) has not been criticised?

    …Because it’s fully consistent with the bipedality observed in gibbons, orang-utans, Oreopithecus, and apparently Afropithecus and Pierolapithecus? Gibbons walk bipedally on horizontal branches even if they never step out onto open ground.

    And what do you mean by “optimal terrestrial bipeds”?

    The current fashion to brush the whole bipedal origins debate under the carpet and say “Hey, we were always bipedal. Problem solved” is just yet another palaeoanthropological absurdity that Elaine Morgan would have ripped into if she had written “Descent…” today.

    Would have, could have, didn’t. So you need to do it. Begin already. We’re fucking waiting!!!

    An appeal to hypothetical authority as an excuse for not discussing the evidence. The intellectual dishonesty boggles the mind.

    It’s so parsimonious not to assume that n. s. might explain the difference in swimming and diving abilities between humans and chimps and, instead, to insert whatever just-so special pleading is seen as cool today.

    Why do you write comment 846 without addressing 844?

    It’s so parsimonious to imagine that the very vertical climbing preadaptation that led to bipedalism was the very thing not needed for the great ape that became optimally bipedal, but those geat apes that still vertically climb today became quadrupedal.

    *sigh* First, no, I’ve always talked about brachiation, not about vertical climbing in general; second, no, orang-utans are not quadrupedal, they’re semibipedal. You haven’t been paying attention, your rage has clouded your eyes.

    Or, it could have just been a tiny mistake by her typesetter.

    It could have been. That would be a very odd mistake for a typesetter to make, but it could have been. However, in that case, Morgan would still be responsible for overlooking this when she corrected the proofs. In science, cutting stuff out of a quote without indicating this is not a “tiny” mistake, it’s a really grave one.

    Hey, let’s not give the witch any slack, eh?

    Hey, let’s put sexist slurs in my mouth, eh?

    Asshole.

    She missed an ellipsis out. In 40 years work, and she missed an ellipsis out, once. Shock horror. Sling her up, eh?

    Once in 40 years? What do you say to comment 840?

    …Apparently you don’t say anything. You even went on to write comment 850 without so much as mentioning it.

    It was a popular science book, not an article in a scientific journal.

    Translation: “I’m allowed to be sloppy to the point of flat-out lying to the general public. Only when talking directly to the scientific elite do I need to be honest. No point in disclosing the whole truth to the unwashed masses, I’m just trying to separate them from their money, LOL.”

    That’s how you come across when you say such things.

    Let that sink in for a while.

    I thought the wading idea was a pretty good one and couldn’t understand why the field had ignored it for 50 years.

    Try harder. :-)

    So irrelevant, you picked it out for your special attention because, as you say, “it needed addressing”.

    1) Again, not special, background; 2) what I’ve commented on wasn’t who said something, but your obsession with it.

    I will not stop mocking PZ Myers for backing Jim Moore’s shitty, misrepresenting, masquerading web site until he either writes here and defends, in full, Jim’s methods or disavowes his support of it.

    Good luck, then. I’m sure he isn’t reading this thread. He has a whole blog to manage, never mind his time-consuming day job (teaching at a university) and all those conferences he goes to.

    It’s a shocking indictment on a field of science that rather than cite the peer reviewed literature, people are recommended such sleazy rubbish.

    …That’s because there is no peer-reviewed literature, other than Langdon’s outdated paper, on this subject. :-| It’s a bit difficult to cite something that doesn’t exist.

    http://www.aquaticape.org (!) is an exercise is shady journalism. It’s hardly better than News of The World. Have you read it yet?

    I still don’t understand why you call it journalism. It’s informal science writing, much like a blog post or a popular science book.

    I’m discussing the substance and I’m mocking the tone. Both.

    I only see you complaining about the tone and getting outraged by the substance.

    The fact that a bunch of pseudoskeptics have to be so hostile

    See? Complaining about the tone again.

    whose only crime is to take Hardy’s idea seriously

    Taking it seriously means trying to disprove it. You’re not trying to disprove it; you see any attempt at disproving it as an attack on yourself, and then you try to respond in kind.

    You’re not getting it.

    Why was Sir David Attenborough publicly sneered at for going to the recent London conference, if nobody cares about such things?

    Because – he – was – wrong! And laughably so.

    We scientists care about ideas. We do not care about the people who talk about them. That’s what you’re somehow not getting.

    Who cares what Dennett said?

    Clearly Jim Moore does

    If he does, that’s his problem. He shouldn’t care who said anything, you shouldn’t, and I don’t either.

    Are you endorsing Jim Moore’s misrepresentations of Dan Dennett’s views, or not? Why are you trying to brush this under the carpet?

    You misunderstand. I haven’t bothered looking up either what Dennett said or what Moore said about whatever Dennett said. Not knowing it, I can’t endorse or defend it. This thread takes enough of my time already.

    Moore’s character, or Dennett’s character, is simply not the issue! I don’t care about that! The issue is whether our ancestors waded for a living.

    What nonsense. Dennett isn’t even a scientist…

    But unqualified (in science) ex car mechanics… wow, they’re really important, right?

    …what… no. People, no fucking matter how qualified, are unimportant. What’s important are hypotheses and evidence. Stop trying to tie people to that! Stop this useless distraction!

    Dennett isn’t automatically right because he’s a philosopher, and Moore isn’t automatically wrong because he once was a car mechanic. I don’t understand why this isn’t sinking into your skull.

    When it’s a playwrite or a marine biologist or a philosopher or a documentary presenter – who cares what they think, they’re not proper anthropologists, like we are.

    Quite the opposite. It’s simply that people aren’t important. It’s not “who cares what they think”, it’s “who cares what they think”, “who cares what anyone thinks”. I’m sorry, I could probably have made this clearer.

    Hypotheses must be evaluated on their own merits. Who came up with them doesn’t count among their own merits.

    All remaining respect evapourates.

    Good. Respect for people is a distraction when discussing hypotheses. It only leads to argumenta ad verecundiam and ad hominem.

    We’re not discussing you or me here. We’re discussing what the evidence says about the hypothesis that our ancestors waded for a living.

    Oh, good argument that.

    What? The fact that I mention it in this thread doesn’t mean I think it’s an argument! :-D It fits your pattern of superficial reading, though.

    English should be like Lithuanian where all the words are spelt phonetically, in my opinion.

    Oh, I agree. I love this page.

    Uh, that makes it completely useless

    Well not really. It illustrates a simple scenario where a regime of selection could result in the remarkable difference between human and chimp infant/mother phenotypes.

    It is useless, because you can’t determine the outcome by just thinking about it. You can’t simulate a chimp, or 100, in your brain. That’s my point.

    it would not surprise me if the chimpanzees would EASILY outperform humans at diving… seconded

    Wow, are you a lazy citer. Let’s try again:

    [...] it would not surprise me if the chimpanzees would EASILY outperform humans at diving [...]

    Seconded.

    Was that so hard?

    It would surprise me, considering the anecdotal evidence shows thousands of humans diving and zero (or is it one?) chimp(s) doing so.

    Trouble is, you have no idea if that’s just due to lack of motivation and opportunity.

    Practically every human above a certain but tender age can learn to read and write. Yet, writing was only invented a few thousand years ago, and it has generally not spread to hunter-gatherer cultures: such cultures simply have little to no use for it. Indeed, all great apes can learn to recognize a few hundred abstract symbols; and yet, in the wild, they don’t. Gray parrots can learn to speak and read, and yet, in the wild, they don’t.

    But how do you know that? You don’t. What you mean is… there are lots of us clever scientists who all think he is wrong.

    Oh no, it’s pretty obvious to myself that he was wrong, independent of what other people think.

    Why are you so sure that these facts are irrelevant in the debate on human evolution and that something else (and who cares what) as long as it’s something other than some selection from wading, swimming and diving – is all that needs to be considered?

    Easy: those other things can easily explain it all on their own, and they have no problems explaining the size and shape of our feet, for example.

    Will you finally stop these arguments from authority?!?

    Hypocrite! You just told me his opinions are irrelevant because he’s only a philosopher.

    You misunderstand, because I said two things at once. Let me separate them:

    You said that Dennett is some kind of famous thinker about evolution and implied that therefore he’s more likely to be right.

    I said that:
    1) that’s an argument from authority and thus a fallacy;
    2) it’s also, as it happens, an argument from false authority, because there’s no reason to expect Dennett to know more about paleoanthropology than Moore does. This little fact is irrelevant because of 1), but it’s still a fact, so I point it out. It’s also a little funny: you’re not even doing your fallacies right.

    One or two mutations in 5-7Ma since the Pan-Homo LCA. The fact that such mutations caused the “net charge” affect to go one way or another is likely to be random.

    Not in a protein that’s under such strong stabilizing selection.

    How can I tell it’s under strong stabilizing selection? From the fact that it’s identical in all apes, ourselves included, except for the slight deviations in chimps and (to an even lesser extent) orang-utans.

    Clutching at straws, I think. So, only Sirenia, out of all the Mammalia have this special “low metabolic rate” now?

    Please explain.

    :-) Yes, only Sirenia, out of all of Mammalia, has these special low metabolic rates. They’ve been called “essentially reptilian”. This is well known among people like me who have been following the discussion about the metabolic rates of Mesozoic dinosaurs – sorry, I should have explained that.

    Or, y’know, you could have read comment 792, which puts actual numbers to this, though the quote in it is misleading in implying that these low metabolic rates are only unique among marine mammals.

    Yes, it’s all down to me. Proper scientists just don’t do the “a” thing, right? That’s for kooks.

    Not even. The burden of evidence is always on the people who propose a new hypothesis.

    Please don’t peddle the Jim Moore cheap slur that I should also have done the swimming studies, the infant adiposity (corrected!?) studies, the olfactory receptor studies etc etc and also gone to Eritrea to look for fossils.

    …If you don’t have time or money to test your hypotheses, I’m not surprised you can’t get them published in peer-reviewed journals.

    The first thing to do when you have an idea is to try to disprove it; when you fail, you write a manuscript about it and see if the reviewers manage to disprove it; when they, too, fail, it gets published, so that everyone else can try to disprove it.

    We are adapted, most of all, to efficient striding bipedalism. Ideally, that works best on the sorts of substrates we have made for ourselves – carpets, lawns, pavementts etc.

    Have you tried to walk on a pavement barefoot? I often walk on pavements while wearing shoes with too little padding under the heel. I have to be careful at every step; if I’m not, I get a headache, and if I somehow ignored that, I’d end up with a concussion.

    A savanna that has recently undergone rain and grazing should be considerably less of a problem.

    Now, where in the natural world, do you find substrates like that?

    Note the complete absence of trees in that photo.

    And now you admit you are just trolling to get what you want. You said, “I will not stop mocking PZ Myers … until he ….” … does what you want him to do. That’s trolling.

    No. Trolling is to try to make people angry so you can laugh at them when they lose their shit. This is just narcissism: our friend here thinks he’s so important he can make PZ keep up with this thread. Actually, it’s a deeply pathetic attempt at bullying, pathetic on several levels and in several ways.

    Gasp. Over to the right, there are an endless source of highly nutritious fish

    How are you gonna catch them? With your bare hands? In this environment?

    Over to your left, if you walk a few hundred metres would be a fresh water stream, maybe an estuary, maybe a mangrove forest.

    So, our ancestors needed to walk pretty far every time they needed to drink…

    Why is it crazy to consider that this might have been where it evolved?

    It’s not crazy. It’s just massively unnecessary. We’ve been explaining this for weeks now, and you’ve hardly tried to disprove it – you just repeat your position instead.

    At some point you’ll realize this and either a). play along or b). shitcan his ass. Personally, I’d go with “b” since you really don’t want this place to become a playground for lunatics. Or do you?

    1) “We” can’t shitcan his ass, only PZ can.
    2) What do you mean by “playground for lunatics”? There’s one, on one thread; he’s not disrupting the blog as a whole, he’s not threatening people, he’s not a problem. He provides entertainment and collateral knowledge.

  356. 856
    David Marjanović

    This was mentioned no less than three times in the last fifteen posts.

    I think that, because he’s so obsessed with persons, Algis reads one comment, replies to it, and only then – if ever – reads on to see if some other comment has something enlightening to say about that. It looks like he believes he’s fighting a series of duels instead of engaging with a list of arguments and facts. He wrote 846 replying to my 836 without, evidently, having read 844… and that’s far from the first time he did that.

    You, AK, are the one on trial.

    He’s not. His version of the AAH is.

    (Actually, all versions are, but nobody’s defending any but his anymore.)

  357. 857
    anthrosciguy

    Magical, in the sense that it is supposed to have made us optimal terrestrial bipeds, like we are today, from day one, before we’d even started stepping out onto open ground.

    If not, how come Crompton et al’s work on the A. afarensis gait (that they walked like us) has not been criticised?

    Algis has long had difficulty with the concept of phrases meaning somewhat different things depending on the context. It has been said that australopithecines “walked just like us” and “didn’t walk just like us” and both are true outside of rigorous scientific speech. The first is an answer to the question of whether they walked with bent over style like pop science often suggested — no, they didn’t, they walked like us. The second is an answer to “did they walk exactly like we do with no differences at all?” – no, their gait was slightly different and this continued through early homo.

    The current fashion to brush the whole bipedal origins debate under the carpet and say “Hey, we were always bipedal. Problem solved” is just yet another palaeoanthropological absurdity that Elaine Morgan would have ripped into if she had written “Descent…” today.

    Yes, the current fashion, much like earlier fashion in paleoanthropology, is to use the best available evidence. I’m sure Morgan would’ve ripped that notion to shreds if she were writing yet another book, but why you’d consider that a good thing…

  358. 858
    anthrosciguy

    Or, it could have just been a tiny mistake by her typesetter.

    Hey, let’s not give the witch any slack, eh? She missed an ellipsis out. In 40 years work, and she missed an ellipsis out, once. Shock horror. Sling her up, eh?

    It was a popular science book, not an article in a scientific journal. The missing words didn’t change the context one jot. If they had, and if she’d done this more than once, then you’d have a point.

    But as you know, even in my brief set of examples she did so more than once. And what her typesetter (her acolytes used to say it was her publisher who did it) was doing changing her newsgroup posts between the time she typed them and hitting “send” will no doubt always be one of those mysteries that surround the AAT/H.

  359. 859
    anthrosciguy

    Who cares what Dennett said?

    Clearly Jim Moore does

    Only insofar as Morgan claimed it as support and ignored, for instance, what he said about why he brought it up in Darwin’s Dangerous Idea (“as an illustration of a deeper worry”, that deeper worry being the use of just-so stories in evolutionary theorizing). And to point out that what he had asked people to do in that book re the AAT could not be done by most people for ideas widely accepted as pseudoscience. I gave a few examples, such as Chariots of the Gods and several pseudoscience books that Morgan’s then publisher advertised alongside her book. In fact, I asked Algis to try to do so (provide a detailed, off the cuff outline of “exactly why [it] must be wrong”) and he naturally failed miserably. This is not an indictment of him; most people couldn’t do it unless they had spent a good deal of time specifically looking at the book(s) in question.

  360. 860
    anthrosciguy

    metabolic rate

    Clutching at straws, I think. So, only Sirenia, out of all the Mammalia have this special “low metabolic rate” now?

    Please explain.

    I was going to reply to Algis here, but instead think it’s best to just use this as an illustration of his methods. He’s had this paper for a few days now, says it’s “excellent” and “brilliant”, and of course it’s highly apropos to the idea he claims is “potentially one of the best ideas in human evolution since Darwin” (that’s the longest, most nuanced version; he started by just calling it the “best idea since Darwin”). Yet he could not ask this question if he’d actually read the paper through. He apparently reads by skimming for keywords related to water. At least that is the only explanation we’ve managed to come up with that doesn’t involve him simply being completely dishonest on a conscious level. (His past indicates an extremely effective Morton’s Demon at work.)

  361. 861
    anthrosciguy

    How about you test those hypotheses?

    Yes, it’s all down to me. Proper scientists just don’t do the “a” thing, right? That’s for kooks.

    I’ve been looking at bipedal origins. I did a thorough lit review of 30+ models and evaluated them all. I found some weaknesses in the wading hypothesis, as reported to date (ca 2000) in the literature, and I attempted to do some scientific testing there.

    That took years. Please don’t peddle the Jim Moore cheap slur that I should also have done the swimming studies, the infant adiposity (corrected!?) studies, the olfactory receptor studies etc etc and also gone to Eritrea to look for fossils.

    Or any of it. Instead it’s none of it. The context here is that Algis has spent, by conservative estimate, around 4 years or more of 40-hour work weeks arguing online instead of doing any of this work. One excuse he’s given is to say that getting permissions to do, say, a swimming study would take several years work of 40-hour work weeks.

    One of the things that indicates the worth of the AAT/H is that, in over 50 years, it has generated virtually no primary research; the proponents of the idea have done virtually nothing on it, nor have they funded any (Morgan had best-selling books and at least one large cash prize yet, AFAIKJ, has not funded any primary research; Hardy endowed a trust to fund research after his death, but not on the AAT. He left his money to study the paranormal).

  362. 862
    anthrosciguy

    Where’s the nutrition in it, and why does it make my calves hurt to run on it?

    Gasp. Over to the right, there are an endless source of highly nutritious fish (perfect diet for brain growth). At low tidy you could pick over shellfish. If (scary, I know) you actually went swimming you’d doubtless find some shellfish attached to rocks in the shallows. Easy pickings. Over to your left, if you walk a few hundred metres would be a fresh water stream, maybe an estuary, maybe a mangrove forest.

    A) folks who studied this — non-AAT folks who understand evolutionary theory — found that while DHA is certainly present, sufficient DHA is available in terrestrial settings, and it’s easier to get the required overall food energy in terrestrial settings.

    B) fish are not all that easily come by outside of after floods when they’re stranded

    C) brains contain rather large amounts of DHA, and a recent paper found that not only were our ancestors hunting and butchering small ungulates a couple million years ago, they were taking skulls. This, BTW, is an activity that one of the dietary wing of the AAT/H has repeatedly claimed was nonsense to suggest. Yet we know it happened.

    And note the ZING!ability, the way these beasties have everything they need at all times. Loads of saltwater fish but plentiful fresh water. This ability of the beasts to be wherever and whatever they need to be to slip the bounds of valid criticisms is an old AAT/H method, hence my coming up with the term ZING!ability some years ago.

  363. 863
    anthrosciguy

    Apart from the notable exception of Chas Peterson here the other day, I’ve never witnessed any significant criticism of Jim Moore’s contribution in a public place like this from people who pretend to be critical thinkers. So, either this guy has written work that is just perfect, or he tends to attract a gang of sheep like followers who are so biased they cannot bring themselves to say one word against him

    Or, we haven’t read it. Option c.

    I can take apart (some of) your AAH arguments without being a paleoanthropologist, paleontologist, paleobotanist, evolutionary biologist, or any of those. I’m a Management: Information Systems major (it’s business and computers together.)

    The reason I can do it is because I’m paying attention, I’m reading arguments. I’m seeing numerous times people have answered your statements, and seeing you veer off of that statement for a moment and head right back to it later, as if you haven’t learned anything that was stated. You argue exactly like a creationist!

    Algis has a hard time with the fact that so many people can independently come up with the same objections to the AAT/H that he has fixated on the idea that everyone somehow gets infected by my website. At times he’s taken this so far he writes things that suggest I infected folk decades before I first looked up the first thing about the AAT/H.

  364. 864
    anthrosciguy

    Trouble is, you have no idea if that’s just due to lack of motivation and opportunity.

    A few years back a couple or primatologists set up some tests of several of the common “reasons to be bipedal” as applied to chimps. They used chimps in a zoo, and a couple were food-getting and carrying (which BTW has consistently been the one thing that is most often correlated with bipedalism in apes) and observing. For the observing test they set up a wall and something on the other side to look at. Not all that much action on that one, but they recognized and mentioned that one thing they couldn’t determine is if they simply hadn’t given the chimps something compelling enough to look at.

  365. 865
    Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao

    @ASG:

    Maybe it’s through some kind of Internet osmosis. We’re on the same blog page arguing and even though I haven’t read any of your page, you’ve transmitted all the information as datas through the Internet to my brain.

    Or maybe I realize it takes more than a “maybe that’s plausible” to be science.

  366. 866
    anthrosciguy

    :-) Yes, only Sirenia, out of all of Mammalia, has these special low metabolic rates. They’ve been called “essentially reptilian”. This is well known among people like me who have been following the discussion about the metabolic rates of Mesozoic dinosaurs – sorry, I should have explained that.

    I was wondering something about this as I was looking for info online the past few days. I notice (in the Wikipedia article for instance) that hyraxes are said to have a low metabolic rate. Do you know how this compares to the sirenia? (For that matter, are there any synopses of metabolic rates among a whole lot of mammals?)

  367. 867
    anthrosciguy

    How are you gonna catch them? With your bare hands? In this environment?

    Hardy said we were spear-hunting porpoises during the fossil gap. :)

  368. 868
    anthrosciguy

    I think that, because he’s so obsessed with persons, Algis reads one comment, replies to it, and only then – if ever – reads on to see if some other comment has something enlightening to say about that. It looks like he believes he’s fighting a series of duels instead of engaging with a list of arguments and facts. He wrote 846 replying to my 836 without, evidently, having read 844… and that’s far from the first time he did that.

    Over at TRF we’ve found that, besides the Morton’s Demon problem and demonstrated dishonesty, Algis has a genuinely poor memory even for short-term matters.

  369. 869
    anthrosciguy

    Maybe it’s through some kind of Internet osmosis. We’re on the same blog page arguing and even though I haven’t read any of your page, you’ve transmitted all the information as datas through the Internet to my brain.

    Or maybe I realize it takes more than a “maybe that’s plausible” to be science.

    Couple funny things popped into my brain when I read your comment. One is Alister Hardy’s work on evolution, which was that he thought the paranormal, specifically telepathy, played a major role in evolution, via “the psychic pool of existence”. The other was when Algis, for some time, conflated the word “conceivable” (which a genetics expert had used) with “plausible”.

  370. 870
    Vicki, duly vaccinated tool of the feminist conspiracy

    David Marjanovi&cacute; @855:

    Gray parrots can learn to speak and read, and yet, in the wild, they don’t.

    Can you point me at more information on parrots reading? I can find discussions of their use of language (including articles claiming that it’s a Clever Hans effect) but that’s all about spoken language, not written.

    (I knew there was a reason I was still looking at this thread, I just didn’t know it was to learn about avian intelligence.)

  371. 871
    David Marjanović

    At times he’s taken this so far he writes things that suggest I infected folk decades before I first looked up the first thing about the AAT/H.

    :-D :-D :-D

    hyraxes are said to have a low metabolic rate. Do you know how this compares to the sirenia?

    No, but it’s probably much less extreme, or I’d have heard about it… sirenians and hyraxes are sister-groups, though.

    For that matter, are there any synopses of metabolic rates among a whole lot of mammals?

    Probably. Chas? Can you recommend a vertebrate physiology textbook?

  372. 872
    David Marjanović

    Can you point me at more information on parrots reading?

    Admittedly, I haven’t heard about reading a text for understanding or suchlike. All I’ve seen on TV is pronouncing arbitrary words as written.

    The researcher is Irene Pepperberg. Ask Google. You’ll find some amount of controversy.

  373. 873
    Menyambal

    I see that someone has pointed out that fish are damned hard to catch without spears or nets or traps.

    I want to emphasize that crawling around on sea-side rocks is not easily done barefooted by us club-footed humans. I’d try it, though, if I had hand-like back feet … like a chimp. And digging for clams sounds like chimp work to me.

    I’ll also say that the striding along on sand that Algis loves is going to be desperately needed just to get to the food. See, a beach is a linear thing—savannah is an area. If you evolve to walk twice as far in a day, you double your sustainable-harvest area, up or down the beach. Out on the savannah, walking being able to walk twice as far quadruples your harvest area.

    On a beach, walking and sweating are needed, but don’t pay off well. Out on the savanna, walking and sweating are greatly advantageous.

    Tsunami.

    I can barely type this for the memories it brings back, but a sea-side ape is going to be wiped out by a tsunami sooner or later. The entire population, along a thousand miles of coast, is going to ….

  374. 874
    Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao

    Another thing about the beach is fucking seashells, goddammit I hate them. Why would you walk along the seashore and step on all those goddamned seashells! Razor clams have required more than enough band-aids.

  375. 875
    Amphiox

    What do you mean by “playground for lunatics”? There’s one, on one thread; he’s not disrupting the blog as a whole, he’s not threatening people, he’s not a problem. He provides entertainment and collateral knowledge.

    Not dissimilar to txpiper, who, let us not forget, was left to fester on various threads for years and years before PZ finally lost patience with his insipid boringness and confined him to Thunderdome (not even banned, though it may be that it will be effectively a ban if txpiper persists in refusing to go to Thunderdome)

  376. 876
    Amphiox

    Traditional human hunter-gatherers who harvest shellfish generally avoid wading into the water. They wait for low tide, WALK out on the now TERRESTRIAL terrain, gather the shellfish, and WALK back before the tide comes back in. And the ones that miscalculate their timing and end up forced to wade back? Not infrequently, they don’t come back at all.

  377. 877
    Amphiox

    Algis has a hard time with the fact that so many people can independently come up with the same objections to the AAT/H that he has fixated on the idea that everyone somehow gets infected by my website.

    My only exposure to you is what you have written here on this comment thread.

  378. 878
    Amphiox

    Wrong. Only the very first whales had very dense bones, as hippos do still (maybe that’s the reason hippos can’t run).

    See? David happily SIWOTI’s all sides of any given conversation he participates in.

  379. 879
    Amphiox

    Admittedly, I haven’t heard about reading a text for understanding or suchlike. All I’ve seen on TV is pronouncing arbitrary words as written.

    The researcher is Irene Pepperberg. Ask Google.

    Wasn’t it just the late Alex, though? (Who seems to have been something of a genius among parrots). The other parrots in Pepperberg’s study tend to not even come close to what Alex managed to do.

    Though there are anecdotal reports among pet owners of pet parrots achieving similar feats to what Alex had been described to do in the literature.

  380. 880
    Menyambal

    David Marjanović, thanks for catching my errors, and thanks for all the great info. As for spelling reform, yeah, it’d be nice. I like Indonesian for the phonetic pronunciation, but some of the word-building is just insane—my moniker is the first one I figured out (it’s “making sambal” (chili sauce)).

    I think a nice beach would be a great place to be a knuckle-walking chimp. Aside from all the advantages in clamming and crabbing and climbing as a quadruped, I mean.

    And I also haven’t gone off to ready anything related to this, except this thread. I read the AAT long ago, but otherwise, it is just the arguments presented here, and Algis’s bizarre behavior. Which I’ve said a few times already.

  381. 881
    anthrosciguy

    I like Indonesian for the phonetic pronunciation, but some of the word-building is just insane—my
    moniker is the first one I figured out

    I always thought the ease of Indonesian was overstated*, because while the beginning is, by the time you get to the end of a beginning course of instruction you’re into some mighty strange goings on, as you say in word-building. One of the things that English is awfully good at is that you really can jumble things together pretty ungrammatically and still get the point across. “Restaurant eat you they me evening” is horrible structure but pretty clear. Spelling not so much, although in helping out a Swiss guy learning more English some years back I was surprised that he found homonyms easy to deal with; it was words with close but not exact sounds he found problematic (he gave the example of “do not” and “doughnut”; by the time he realized someone wasn’t talking about doughnuts he’d have lost the thread of the conversation. Homonyms he found easy because of the context.).

    *OTOH, try learning Thai — for speakers of most languages it’s incredibly difficult.

  382. 882
    algiskuliukas

    Re 856

    I think that, because he’s so obsessed with persons, Algis reads one comment, replies to it, and only then – if ever – reads on to see if some other comment has something enlightening to say about that. It looks like he believes he’s fighting a series of duels instead of engaging with a list of arguments and facts. He wrote 846 replying to my 836 without, evidently, having read 844… and that’s far from the first time he did that.

    Nice slur, thanks. Why, if I’m the one “obsessed” with persons, is it that you are the people who throw slurs all the time?

    The fact of the matter is that I am in a minority here (as usual). It sucks, but what is one supposed to do? Rip out one’s pre-frontal lobes, stop any critical thinking and become one of the sheep who all nod along and say the same things? I don’t think so.

    I do not have infinite time to read through, and reply to, all the posts here.

    But, equally, I see it as a kind of duty to be a voice of reason on this idea, and to be critical of the incredibly weak arguments against, so I feel obliged to pop in and see what people have written today. I notice that 31 posts have been made since my last one, and I am not going to be able to answer them all. Sorry.

    My strategy, therefore, has to be selective.

    Unlike David Marjanovic, who sifts through all the posts and picks out random, cherry picked micro quotes to rail against (without a clue as to who wrote them), I find it more helpful to pick one or two, put in a “h ref” link back to their post, so people can ensure my comment is not misrepresenting them.

    I have to make a decision as to who to reply to, as I do not have all day.

    So, what I have been doing is pick one or two posts (or people) that I think are deserving of a reply.

    This immediately precludes posters like “Nerd…” who just posts ignorant insults and who I doubt has any understanding of anything. Michael Clarke has also proven himself to be a nasty piece of work elsewhere, so I don’t have much time for him either. I thought “Amphiox” was another typical ignorant gang member until he posted a link to the excellent Mirceta et al paper, so he’s definitely gone up in my estimation.

    There’s always anthro-slur-guy, of course, and I try to find time to point out his daily hypocrisy – but, to be honest, that’s getting very boring.

    What I am really looking for is some evidence of a slightly lowered level of bias against the dreaded ‘a’ factor and a cappacity for two-way critical thinking. It is incredibly rare in debates on this subject, which quickly become polarised into slanging matches, but I keep looking.

    So far, here, only Chas Peterson has shown something along those lines, but even then he made sure that ,in addition to his remarkably open criticisms of Jim’s web site, he was quick to add even stronger ones of my critique. Better than nothing, I guess.

    Just have to finish with one point, before going to work… re 853

    Fish are low in fat, which is essential for brain growth. This was mentioned no less than three times in the last fifteen posts.

    WHAT!? It could have been mentioned a hundred times, it doesn’t make it any more true. (Incidentally, WHERE was it mentioned? I can’t remember reading one.)

    Fish are rich in all the essential fatty (e.g. DHA) acids and many of the micronutrients (e.g. Iodine) required for brain growth.

    (Look at table 3 here)

    Algis Kuliukas

  383. 883
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Still no conclusive evidence by AK. His idea is scientifically dead, and nothing can revive it short of an evidence transplant. AK can’t talk his way out. He must shut the fuck up and point to evidence from legitimate sources (peer reviewed scientific literature) outside of himself and his sycophants. That is science AK, not the bullshit you think is science.

  384. 884
    ChasCPeterson

    are there any synopses of metabolic rates among a whole lot of mammals?

    a few. (ironic understatement; it’s a gigantic literature)
    You’d be most interestied in Brian McNabb’s new book.
    Here are two recent primary references that offer an entry into the rest of the literature:
    2010
    2013

    The other parrots in Pepperberg’s study tend to not even come close to what Alex managed to do.

    They also did not receive anything like the amount of training and practice Alex had. (Irene* never has had much research money.)

    *whom I know through an ornithologist ex-wife /[kwok]

  385. 885
    ChasCPeterson

    from:

    Nice slur, thanks. Why, if I’m the one “obsessed” with persons, is it that you are the people who throw slurs all the time?

    directly to:

    The fact of the matter is that I am in a minority here (as usual). It sucks, but what is one supposed to do? Rip out one’s pre-frontal lobes, stop any critical thinking and become one of the sheep who all nod along and say the same things?

    Nice slur, thanks.
    It’s pretty insulting that you seem to think you’re the only person thinking for her/himself around here.

    even then he made sure that ,in addition to his remarkably open criticisms of Jim’s web site, he was quick to add even stronger ones of my critique.

    I did what you asked me to do read both pages, in the order specified, and compare them. Spining it as ‘I made sure to quickly add’ is disingenuous.

  386. 886
    Amphiox

    Watch Algis disingenously claim that a completely accurate, and essentially value-neutral, description, with an entire thread of Algis’ own output as evidence to back that up, to be a “slur”, and in the very next breath throw out REAL slurs of his own with abandon.

    Pathetic and disgusting.

  387. 887
    anthrosciguy

    are there any synopses of metabolic rates among a whole lot of mammals?

    a few. (ironic understatement; it’s a gigantic literature)

    Thanks. I wondered because, although I figured there would be a lot of info on various beasts, too many times the total doesn’t get pulled together. I’ll check those out.

  388. 888
    Owlmirror

    Chas @884: Your first link is megaborked.

  389. 889
    ChasCPeterson

    oops!
    McNabb

  390. 890
    Menyambal

    Algis:

    ….the sheep who all nod along and say the same things?

    Posted right after some of the sheep diverge into a discussion about language, and a little below another aside about parrots.

    Algis, you remind me of a young person I knew during its early teen years. It was convinced there was a horrible conspiracy against it, and that everyone was picking on it. The conspiracy was proved to its satisfaction because everyone always said the same things to it, and those things were horribly rude.

    The rude things that were so often said were entirely true—the kid WAS a raving asshole, and DID indeed smell like a dead hobo. And the kid behaved worse and worse because it felt it was a martyr, and it refused to change its lack of bathing. So things got worse and worse.

    You, Algis, are in that same situation. You are, indeed, a raving asshole, and your hypothesis stinks like a wet ape. That’s why everyone keeps saying the same things to you.

  391. 891
    Tethys

    Fish are rich in all the essential fatty (e.g. DHA) acids and many of the micronutrients (e.g. Iodine) required for brain growth.

    Seaweed is also rich in those nutrients, and is much easier to catch than fish. Other plant sources are purslane*, and flax. The fatty acid EPA is found in in cold water fatty fish, including salmon, tuna, mackerel, lake trout, sardines, and herring.

    All of these fish live in cold, deep water. There is no way humans ate enough of these fish to affect their brain development. Hypothermia alone makes the idea ridiculous, not to mention lack of proximity.

    *A common and widespead plant. It is similar in texture to watercress with a slightly sour flavour.

  392. 892
    Menyambal

    There’s a nature series on the TV right now, _North America_, which is pretty good. (It has a few too many people and references to the film-making process, for me, but it has lovely images.) In it, the bears getting ready for winter in Alaska are eating fish. To get enough fat from the fish, they catch salmon who are ready to spawn, and they often eat only the belly and the eggs.

    As was just said, these are cold-water fish. They are also jumping into the bears’ mouths, sometimes.

    No primate catches fish, except tool-using humans.

    Humans can dry fish to preserve them because some fish have no fat at all.

    There is a difference between nutrients needed for brain growth, and the fat need for the building of it. Like vitamins and calories, like mortar and bricks, like great greasy globs of fat needed to keep us fat-headed folks functioning.

    Algis, much like the moon-hoaxers and the 9/11 truthers, hasn’t thought through his own arguments at all.

  393. 893
    algiskuliukas

    Re 885

    It’s pretty insulting that you seem to think you’re the only person thinking for her/himself around here.

    Well it shouldn’t be insulting to you as you are the one person here who I pointed out as being the exception.

    I’m only reporting it like it is.

    There have been 892 posts in this thread so far and if you can point me to a post written by someone other than Marcel or me that has shown the slightest evidence of two-way critical thinking on this matter, I’d like you to do so.

    You are a rare exception in that you did actually write a short passage that was critical of Jim Moore’s web site. But, save that, who else?

    Is this your usual experience when discussing science? It’s not mine. I thought people should be their own biggest critics. Here, led by PZ, it’s been like a lynch mob sneering at some poor fellow about to be hung for a crime he didn’t commit.

    I did what you asked me to do read both pages, in the order specified, and compare them. Spining it as ‘I made sure to quickly add’ is disingenuous.

    I’m just going from my experience of arguing about the heretical “aquatic ape hypothesis” in places like this over many years. Mainstream scientists get (understandably) nervous about appearing to be too open minded about the idea.

    Just look at the sneering response to anyone who has.

    I simply cannot believe any academic would read Jim’s web site with a critical eye and not conclude it was a travesty. My critique, at least, is fair and balanced.

    That you felt the need to describe my critique of his gossip in worse terms than you did his stuff, is not surprising considering the context, but it is not, itself, above criticism.

    What do you have to say you about Jim Moore’s complete misrepresentations (hundreds of times over many years) of Dan Dennett’s views on this idea?

    Are you going to sit on the fence about that and say “who cares?” Or do you have the intellectual courage to call a spade a spade. Hundreds of deliberate distortions, note, in contrast to Elaine’s (or her type setter’s) “shock horror” single, irrelevant, missing ellipsis error – to pick his No 1.

    This, is absolutely typical of Jim Moore’s “work”.

    As someone who is able to think for himself, as an academic and a scientist, are you just going to look the other way on PZ’s support of anthro”sci”guy under the carpet? Or dare you criticise him for it?

    Algis Kuliukas

  394. 894
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Nobody here gives a shit about Jim Moore, Dan Dennett, or Algis Kuliukas. Only AK is obsessed with all three, like the CRANK/LOON he is.

    AK, you must evidence you idea, or shut the fuck up about it if you are a scientist. Your inability to do is prima facie evidence you are an irrational CRANK/LOON, nobody to be listened to, and everything you say to be mocked and ignored.

    Try acting professional for a change. Ignore slights, and concentrate on presenting third party evidence, If you have no evidence, don’t post. Welcome to science and rationality.

  395. 895
    David Marjanović

    in helping out a Swiss guy learning more English some years back I was surprised that he found homonyms easy to deal with

    Aside from some artificial ones, all languages have homonyms (as far as known), so he came (consciously or not) with the expectation that English would have some.

    *OTOH, try learning Thai — for speakers of most languages it’s incredibly difficult.

    Yeah, a language with six tones isn’t what I’d pick as the first tone language to learn. And the spelling system is… I’d say a bit like French in terms of its relation to pronunciation.

    I do not have infinite time to read through, and reply to, all the posts here.

    Hang on a second.

    If you don’t have time to read all comments on a thread, you don’t have time to contribute to it.

    If you write a comment without having read all preceding ones, you risk repeating things that others have said, and you risk saying things that others have already disproved.

    …I… can’t grasp the mindset that would lead anyone to writing comments blind, into the blue, without caring what has already been said.

    If you seriously do that, there’s no point in replying to anything you write.

    I have to make a decision as to who to reply to, as I do not have all day.

    Then you need to slow down, so the whole thread can slow down. By commenting at the rate you do, you keep it too fast-paced for yourself!

    Unlike David Marjanovic, who sifts through all the posts and picks out random, cherry picked micro quotes to rail against

    You are the one who cherry-picks. I have read everything on this thread, and I quote everything that I can say something about that hasn’t already been said. It’s not random – it’s comprehensive.

    See comment 878!

    So, what I have been doing is pick one or two posts (or people) that I think are deserving of a reply.

    Ooh, *large air quotes* “deserving”. Milord believeth his replies are worth their cyber-weight in gold, and writing one constituteth a most exalted honour. Milord believeth he can judge, forsooth, which comments are worthy of a reply even though he hath not read all of them. Milord believeth he can, verily, conduct a scientific discussion as if it were a feud, a duel – beweaponed with honour and nobility instead of evidence and logic.

    Methinketh I shall whip out the Shakespeare Insult Generator to properly mock this laughable arrogance. Nothing less would do it justice.

    This immediately precludes posters like “Nerd…” who just posts ignorant insults and who I doubt has any understanding of anything. Michael Clarke has also proven himself to be a nasty piece of work elsewhere, so I don’t have much time for him either. I thought “Amphiox” was another typical ignorant gang member until he posted a link to the excellent Mirceta et al paper, so he’s definitely gone up in my estimation.

    There’s always anthro-slur-guy, of course, and I try to find time to point out his daily hypocrisy – but, to be honest, that’s getting very boring.

    Two paragraphs, all about persons, with not even a mention of evidence.

    Why do you have time to write about such irrelevant topics? Perhaps if you cut that crap, you’d have more time to read!!!

    So far, here, only Chas Peterson has shown something along those lines, but even then he made sure that ,in addition to his remarkably open criticisms of Jim’s web site, he was quick to add even stronger ones of my critique. Better than nothing, I guess.

    Another paragraph about a person instead of about the topic.

    You’re just wasting everyone’s time, including yours.

    There have been 892 posts in this thread so far and if you can point me to a post written by someone other than Marcel or me that has shown the slightest evidence of two-way critical thinking on this matter, I’d like you to do so.

    What would that even mean? Concluding that everyone is equally wrong?

    What do you have to say you about Jim Moore’s complete misrepresentations (hundreds of times over many years) of Dan Dennett’s views on this idea?

    Nothing, because I’ve never read what he wrote about Dennett’s views on anything – and I simply don’t see a point in changing that.

    (Indeed, the only thing by Dennett himself I’ve ever read is the essay Quining Qualia.)

    What’s important is what Jim Moore writes about the evidence. Views are not evidence, facts are.

    You keep trying to evade this point. That’s shameful.

  396. 896
    algiskuliukas

    Re 895

    …I… can’t grasp the mindset that would lead anyone to writing comments blind, into the blue, without caring what has already been said.

    You are just exaggerating in order to make a slur just like the Jim Moore school of science would recommend.

    I said I didn’t have time to read through and reply to all the posts. I usually flick through most of the posts, apart from ones written by people like “Nerd…” from whom I am yet to read a single post that is not just ignorant name calling.

    You’re also a bit hypocitcal. You and others have made points here contra to evidence of reading ones I’ve made previously, indicating that if you had read my posts, you didn’t do so very thoroughly.

    I have also made several points that you either haven’t read, or just conveniently ignored. I’m not sure which is worse.

    Then you need to slow down, so the whole thread can slow down

    I do not dictate the pace of this, or any thread. I reply to those that need replying to most.

    None of us have infinite time. I spend far too long in places like this as it is.

    You are not being very generous here.

    It’s not random – it’s comprehensive

    Not so. You ignore bits you’d rather not address. You can’t possibly address everything either.

    deserving

    Your sneering interpretation is not very helpful here. I meant it in a less ‘superior’ tone than you image. Even you, who claim to be “comprehensive” do not reply to everything. To do so would be a collosal waste of time.

    Two paragraphs, all about persons, with not even a mention of evidence.

    It might have escaped your notice but some people tend to post insults, whilst others tend to argue more rtionally and using evidence. I’d rather debate with the later than the former.

    It might have also escaped tyour notice but this whole thread started when PZ Myers openly sneered at the idea and people who are open minded about it.

    what would that even mean?

    Two-way critical thinking is when you are critical both of an idea and the arguments used against it. I thought it was supposed to be what scientists did all the time.

    I have seen very little evidence of it here, or anywhere when this idea is discussed.

    You seem proud of the fact that you corrected someone on the density of whale bones here once. That’s good, but compared to the crap against this idea that you say you ‘ve read and haven’t said one word about… it’s a bit paltry.

    I repeat: It’s like a lynch mob.

    Nothing, because I’ve never read what he wrote about Dennett’s views on anything – and I simply don’t see a point in changing that.

    What’s important is what Jim Moore writes about the evidence. Views are not evidence, facts are.

    So, the guy PZ Myers says wrote the “definitive web resource” on this idea totally misrepresents someone’s view hundreds of times for years and you admit you have nothing to say on the matter.

    That’s shameful.

    If it’s all about evidence and nothing about opinion how come the evidence that humans swim better than chimps, or that the one place great apes are most predictably bipedal (waist/chest deep water) are flicked away as nothing?

    Suddenly, your (and other aquaskeptic) opinion trumps that, right? It’s silly.

    The fact of the matter is that to get anything published in a peer reviewed journal, it has to be reviewed by people like Henry Gee (who apparently cannot discriminate between the idea that humans might have been exposed to some selection from wading, swimming and diving and the idea that the entire universe was created in six days just for us). That’s opinion, whether you like it or not.

    You keep trying to evade this point. That’s shameful

    No I don’t. The fact that you need to try to peddle such a slur is the thing that’s shameful.

    I have critiqued what he writes about the evidence too, not just opinions. As with all his writings, he is highly selective. He cherry picks the bits he thinks makes the idea look silly and ignores the bits that make it sound reasonable.

    How come the key fact in the whole debate – that humans swim and dive better than chimps – cannot be found on his “magnum opus”? It’s the most pertinent piece of evidence imaginable on the subject and yet Jim Moore would rather cite snippets about “penguin colonies”, “frog jaws” etc.

    How come, on Jim Moore’s “evidence based” web site, he does not have a single page about the wading hypothesis and it hardly gets a mention, but it has an order of magnitiude more about relatively minor points he can more easily sneer at, such as the salt tears argument, that Elaine disavowed support for herself 16 years ago? Straw man, is being kind.

    I expect you not to evade these points. I expect you to show critical thinking here.

    Algis Kuliukas

  397. 897
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    I expect you to show critical thinking here.

    Considering you show no critical thinking, no scientific thinking, nothing but slavish attempts to rationalize a CRANK/LOON position on a scientifically untenable idea?
    BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAA.

    Funny are you AK.

  398. 898
    David Marjanović

    You are just exaggerating in order to

    No. I repeated what you had written. If that’s not what you actually meant, that’s your problem.

    I usually flick through most of the posts

    See, you just did it again: you flick through most of the posts – instead of reading all of them.

    Is that not what you mean?

    You’re also a bit hypocitcal. You and others have made points here contra to evidence of reading ones I’ve made previously, indicating that if you had read my posts, you didn’t do so very thoroughly.

    I have also made several points that you either haven’t read, or just conveniently ignored.

    Examples, please.

    I do not dictate the pace of this, or any thread.

    Think before you write. With you on one side of the discussion and everyone else on the other, you can slow this thread down as much as you want. We can only reply to your latest comments when those comments actually exist!

    I reply to those that need replying to most.

    And you judge this without knowing if those points, or your counterarguments, have already been addressed.

    Does it never occur to you how stupid this is?

    None of us have infinite time. I spend far too long in places like this as it is.

    You are not being very generous here.

    That’s because there’s nothing to be generous about here. I repeat: if you don’t have time to read this thread, you don’t have time to write in it. If that’s not searingly obvious to you, your priorities are massively fucked up.

    You ignore bits you’d rather not address.

    Examples, please.

    You can’t possibly address everything either.

    I don’t address stuff that other people have already addressed to my satisfaction. Everything else I do address.

    I meant it in a less ‘superior’ tone than you image.

    Oh, it’s entirely possible that you’re not aware of your attitude. That’s exactly why I spelled it out in such detail.

    To do so would be a collosal waste of time.

    A very subjective thing to say!

    It might have escaped your notice but some people tend to post insults, whilst others tend to argue more rtionally and using evidence. I’d rather debate with the later than the former.

    You’re doing it again. Drop that unscientific attitude. Instead of debating with people, discuss the topic.

    Insults and evidence are not somehow mutually exclusive!

    It might have also escaped tyour notice but this whole thread started when PZ Myers openly sneered at the idea and people who are open minded about it.

    What does that have to do with anything?

    What, in particular, does it have to do with whether our ancestors waded for a living?

    Two-way critical thinking is when you are critical both of an idea and the arguments used against it. I thought it was supposed to be what scientists did all the time.

    Uh, no, because there aren’t always exactly two sides. In fact, there almost never are.

    You make it sound like being critical means being unable to consider anything really improbable, so that one would end up with the fallacy of the golden mean. Is that what you have in mind?

    You seem proud of the fact that you corrected someone on the density of whale bones here once.

    Proud? No. I’d be an asshole if I had left that unaddressed.

    “Once” is also incorrect. It has, somehow, escaped your attention that I’ve also spoken out several times against the hypothesis that long-distance running after prey was a key driver of selection in our ancestry, that I went into a lengthy digression about an off-topic problem on the website Michael Clarke likes to cite, or that Chas didn’t know adult hippos can’t swim (or run) and have osteosclerotic limb bones before I told him in this thread and cited a source.

    That’s good, but compared to the crap against this idea that you say you ‘ve read and haven’t said one word about…

    What is it that you believe I secretly disagree with but shut up about for tribal reasons???

    I repeat: It’s like a lynch mob.

    You decided right at the start that it’s like a lynch mob, and now you try very hard not to let the evidence disprove this hypothesis.

    So, the guy PZ Myers says wrote the “definitive web resource” on this idea totally misrepresents someone’s view hundreds of times for years and you admit you have nothing to say on the matter.

    You misunderstand. I have nothing to say about the question whether that site misrepresents anybody’s views, because I haven’t tried to find out. Not interesting enough for me. What I care about is whether it misrepresents the facts that we’re allegedly discussing here.

    Besides… as I understand it, “definitive” just means there’s nothing better around. Is there?

    The fact of the matter is that to get anything published in a peer reviewed journal, it has to be reviewed by people like Henry Gee

    What a massively ignorant thing to say.

    How many times have you submitted a manuscript to a peer-reviewed journal? Once or never? Seriously, I can’t imagine you’ve tried more than one journal.

    I’ve had two manuscripts rejected. One I reworked (even the reviewer who got really upset about it had a few constructive things to say!) and submitted to another journal; it was published in Contributions to Zoology close to five years ago. The other is on the back burner, but I’m working on it and will submit it to another journal, too. Rejection is a normal fact of life for a scientist.

    You keep trying to evade this point. That’s shameful

    No I don’t. The fact that you need to try to peddle such a slur is the thing that’s shameful.

    I’m not lying. I really believe you keep trying to evade this point.

    …Though maybe I’m wrong and you plainly don’t understand it. That’s really hard to imagine, however, because how hard can it be to understand that ideas aren’t right or wrong because of who came up with them or who agrees with them?

    How come the key fact in the whole debate – that humans swim and dive better than chimps – cannot be found on his “magnum opus”?

    What do I care? I’m not discussing Jim Moore, and I’m not discussing his website. I’m discussing the hypothesis that our ancestors waded for a living!

    You seem to see science as a web of social relationships. That’s why I put “beweaponed with honour and nobility” into my mockery.

    And will you please stop calling it a fact? Nobody knows how well chimps would swim or dive with a decent amount of training and incentive. This has been pointed out several times on this page, and you keep… overlooking it somehow.

    I expect you not to evade these points. I expect you to show critical thinking here.

    These are points about aquaticape.org, which is not the subject of this discussion. The subject is your hypothesis.

    Jim Moore came in to discuss it, and you immediately went off topic and attacked him and his website.

    I repeat: shame on you.

  399. 899
    Tethys

    Speaking of insulting behavior:

    It’s like a lynch mob.

    No Algis cupcake, it is nothing like a lynch mob. Lynched people can’t post blog comments, and you are not being corrected by the horde due to your skin color.

    You are being called an idiot because you clearly ARE an idiot. I’m still waiting for a reply to my fish comment where you claimed that humans developed big brains by eating fish. Not just any fish either, but PELAGIC species that require ocean going boats and nets to catch.

    I am not a scientist of any sort, but I know that Lamarckianism is invalid, and has been in the dustbin of science for centuries. If eating fish drove brain growth, you would expect brown bears and lampreys to also evolve bigger brains.

    Calling you an idiot is being generous.
    ———–

    David Marjanovic

    adult hippos can’t swim (or run) and have osteosclerotic limb bones

    Do you mean that they can’t run on land? Because they certainly can run in the water, and for short distances on land. There is an awful youtube video of an adult male hippo attacking and killing a baby hippo in the water, and the adults are definitely running.

  400. 900
    David Marjanović

    I am not a scientist of any sort, but I know that Lamarckianism is invalid, and has been in the dustbin of science for centuries. If eating fish drove brain growth, you would expect brown bears and lampreys to also evolve bigger brains.

    I don’t think he said that, though; I think he only said this made it possible.

    Do you mean that they can’t run on land? Because they certainly can run in the water

    What do you mean by that?

  401. 901
    Amphiox
    Two-way critical thinking is when you are critical both of an idea and the arguments used against it. I thought it was supposed to be what scientists did all the time.

    Uh, no, because there aren’t always exactly two sides. In fact, there almost never are.

    On most issues, honest critical thinkers do their two-way (multi-way) critical thinking on their own time, BEFORE posting on a forum.

    That’s what I did with ideas like “rape is wrong” for example, so when I post on blogs I do NOT waste time being critical of “the arguments used against it”. Because I’ve already spent the time to do that work, on my own, rather wasting other people’s time with bad ideas and bad arguments.

    So it is with this one.

  402. 902
    Tethys

    Look for the video on youtube David. I’m sorry for not finding it for you, but I do not want to ever watch it again. It is a female hippo with calf, and a male who kills her calf. They are in a pond, and they are all definitely running.

    As far as Algis is concerned, how is saying that eating fish possibly drove brain growth any different from Lamarckianism? He knows better than that, and if he doesn’t than his degrees should be revoked.

  403. 903
    Amphiox

    And will you please stop calling it a fact? Nobody knows how well chimps would swim or dive with a decent amount of training and incentive. This has been pointed out several times on this page, and you keep… overlooking it somehow.

    He will not do that. He refused to do it with his “fossils found in waterside environments must mean the organism lived by the water” lie. He refused to do that with his multiple lies about Jim Moore. He refused to do it with his dishonest “vertical climbing” vs brachiation claim. He has not done it with anything of substance on this issue since he’s been here.

    He calls things “fact” when he wants to and doesn’t care that they are not. He does exactly the same thing with “ad hominem”, “parsimony”, “just-so stories” and the like.

    He thinks that he is personally entitled to change to definitions of words to suit his own preferences, and to hell with what anyone else thinks.

    This is why I lost patience with his intellectual dishonesty and no longer waste my time or effort reading any of his fappings, and only take note of things he writes if they are quoted by someone else.

  404. 904
    David Marjanović

    they are all definitely running

    Are they biomechanically speaking running, or are they just walking fast? Hippos can walk quite fast on land – make sure you never have an angry one behind you.

    saying that eating fish possibly drove brain growth

    Scroll up to your comment 811, where you provide the quote – I can’t get “driving” or anything more than “making it possible” out of it.

  405. 905
    anthrosciguy

    Uh, no, because there aren’t always exactly two sides. In fact, there almost never are.

    You make it sound like being critical means being unable to consider anything really improbable, so that one would end up with the fallacy of the golden mean. Is that what you have in mind?

    Algis follows Elaine Morgan in believing that knocking down mainstream theories makes their idea more likely. This is a longstanding problem in the AAT/H, in virtually all versions of it, and it’s one of the things they do that is like creationists (especially since they don’t knock down actual mainstream theories, but strawman versions).

    Example from Algis (there are many such from Algis and other AAT/H proponents):
    “If there are 4 possible explanations for a human trait and one is damaged
    by a piece of evidence then it makes the case for the other three stronger,
    right?”

    I responded to this with an illustration of why this