Quantcast

«

»

May 13 2013

Aquatic apes and puddin’ elephants

Oh, no. I had just begun to absorb the astounding implications of the Space Ape Theory, when along comes Henry Gee to blow my mind with a new theory of proboscidean evolution.

Q: Why do elephants paint the soles of their feet yellow?

A: So they can hide upside down in bowls of custard.

So, all you need to do is find elephants with yellow feet, and the fun can begin. Elephants have trunks, obviously, which they can use as snorkels while so submerged, and also as navigational aids – the tip of the trunk is very sensitive to touch, which is useful in an opaque medium such as custard. Their thick, leathery skin is quite plainly an adaptation against the heat of the custard. Tusks are devices for forcing an elephant’s way through custard that has started to congeal.

I am sure you can think of more.

You may laugh, but think about it: the whole story hangs together perfectly. Every feature of the elephant can be explained in the context of this theory. Furthermore, it’s predictive and guides future research: as an example, the greater diversity of proboscideans in the past implies that there may have been a more diverse array of puddings available in the Miocene-Pliocene, and different species may have specialized to hide in tapioca or spotted dick. Further, there may have been co-evolution; dare I suggest that perhaps the currants in some puddings evolved to feed the elephants and encourage them to hide in their bowls?

That “I am sure you can think of more” is typical British understatement, but bodes well for the productive future of this powerful theory.

89 comments

Skip to comment form

  1. 1
    Gregory in Seattle

    The theory of custard elephants shall surely be added to the Cannon of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. It is a new revelation!

  2. 2
    ChasCPeterson

    *eyeroll*

  3. 3
    David Marjanović

    I wonder if this is why Gee used to be the chief editor of Nature. :-)

  4. 4
    hyperdeath

    Perhaps this could be generalized to elephant evolutionary psychology? The tendency of elephants to perform handstands is clearly an adaptation to list themselves out of custard bowls. (Anyone suggesting that elephant handstands are not innate behavior is clearly a science denier.)

  5. 5
    richardelguru

    I thought the consensus was that alligators were intimately involved in the evolution of the trunk.

    Does this mean that they too should be yellow and live in custard?

  6. 6
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    @Gregory Seattle

    Will the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and the Custard Elephants be to the Church of the FSM as Mormonism is to Christianity?

  7. 7
    Zeno

    Supporting evidence: I have never found an elephant hiding upside-down in a bowl of custard, proving that their hiding technique is very, very effective!

    (Damn. I like custard. How many elephants have I inadvertently eaten?!)

  8. 8
    Gregory Greenwood

    thumper1990 @ 6;

    Will the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and the Custard Elephants be to the Church of the FSM as Mormonism is to Christianity?

    Beware the custard-y wiles of the schismatic heretic – true believers recognise the beneficient beer fountain as the one true expression* of the FSM’s (may his noodly appendage be upon you) unlimited love for his chosen people, and it is in that holy fluid that the faithful among pachyderms float upside down, and in that holy fluid alone.

    ;-P

    ———————————————————————————————————————-

    * I am assured that the fact that I am a teetotaler is of no consequence, since once I arrive at the pasta gates of the FSM’s noodly kingdom, I shall be magically cured of this heinous affliction…

  9. 9
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    I thought the consensus was that alligators were intimately involved in the evolution of the trunk.

    Does this mean that they too should be yellow and live in custard?

    Only one species: Crocodylus Rudyardensis. The fact that you’ve probably never seen one merely proves how effective the yellow camouflage is.

  10. 10
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    In light of the above:

    I knew I’d bookmarked this for a reason.

  11. 11
    richardelguru

    Daz

    Wow! It doesn’t look photoshopped, but in the Mail…???

    Well, maybe it was just so…

  12. 12
    Marcus Ranum

    That’s some right sophistimacated theology, right there. Yup!

  13. 13
    David Marjanović

    Will the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and the Custard Elephants be to the Church of the FSM as Mormonism is to Christianity?

    So full of win!

    Wow! It doesn’t look photoshopped, but in the Mail…???

    There are photos elsewhere. The issue has made it into Tetrapod Zoology.

  14. 14
    RFW

    A reminder that in England “puddings” are not the custard-y affairs they are in the US and Canada. Custard there is something you pour over (some) puddings, for example over “spotted dick”.

    For those who delight in weird experiences, Heinz “spotted dick” in a can is imported from the UK into Canada and can be found at some Canajun Walmarts, of all places. It’s actually not bad!

  15. 15
    marko

    They are also known to paint their testicles so they can hide in mango trees.

  16. 16
    marko

    The loudest noise in the jungle is a giraffe eating mangoes.

  17. 17
    Argle Bargle

    Elephants paint their toenails red so they can hide in cherry trees.

    Q. Why is it dangerous to walk in cherry orchards between the hours of 4pm to 6pm?

    A. Because elephants are jumping out of cherry trees.

    Q. Why are dwarves and hobbits so short?

    A. They walk in cherry orchards between 4pm and 6pm.

  18. 18
    David Marjanović

    Elephants paint their toenails red so they can hide in cherry trees.

    Liar. Everybody knows elephant have red eyes for that purpose.

    They are also known to paint their testicles so they can hide in mango trees.

    …Perhaps unfortunately, elephant testicles don’t descend. They stay on the inside of the body wall.

  19. 19
    Rip Steakface

    I’m sorry, but I still giggle at “spotted dick.” I think of an elephant hiding upside down in a sea of spotted penises and… well…

  20. 20
    Amphiox

    Now see here. A semi-aquatic phase of elephant ancestry would have preadapted them for survival in custard (as custard is merely a denser fluid than sea water). And this is of course incontrovertible proof for the AAH because humans, like elephants, love custard too.

  21. 21
    Stephen Minhinnick

    Q: Why do ducks have flat feet?
    A: To stamp out forest fires.

    Q: Why do elephants have flat feet?
    A: To stamp out burning ducks.

    Q: That is the difference between and elephant and a grape?
    A: The colour.

    Q: What did Tarzan say when he saw the elephants coming over the hill?
    A: Here come the elephants.

    Q: What did Jane say when he saw the elephants coming over the hill?
    A: Here come the grapes. She was colour-blind.

  22. 22
    Rich Woods

    But which came first, the custard or the elephant?

    My guess is that the elephants just adapted. But how they climbed up the table legs and into the bowl of custard is still an open question.

  23. 23
    keanester

    I don’t think it works. Custard comes in pints. Elephants come by the quart.

  24. 24
    marko

    They stay on the inside of the body wall

    So everything I know about elephants is a lie?

  25. 25
    marko

    …and I always thought that the mango eating giraffe was the weak point in that story.

  26. 26
    Lofty

    *Custard or custard-like substances*

  27. 27
    beardymcviking

    But where are the fish fingers? And what are the elephants hiding from?

  28. 28
    DLC

    I see the comment thread evolved into Elephant Jokes.
    For myself I have invented Elephant Repellant. I haven’t had a problem with elephants in my custard since.
    All things considered I haven’t seen an elephant nearby in a long time. Proof that my elephant repellant works!

  29. 29
    Suido

    Let’s not forget that custard is a non-newtonian fluid, so it’s obvious that elephants’ large, flat feet (as noted by other esteemed commenters) are an adaptation to allow for traversing the vast custard flats of the Miocene epoch.

    When danger threatened, they stopped moving and sank out of sight. Being accustomed to travelling with feet in contact with the surface of the custard, they could then continue their movement upside down, soles of the feet activating the non-newtonian properties of the custard from below, and allowing them to walk rather than swim. Inevitably, this lead to elephants painting their soles yellow, as noted in the OP. Truly a remarkable animal.

  30. 30
    Henry Gee

    Encouraged by this response to what the esteemed Dr Myers calls a ‘powerful new theory’, as well as all the wonderful, imaginative and thoroughly unfalsifiable ideas in the comments, I shall now organise a two-day conference in London entitled ‘Elephants: Evolution In Custard’. I shall invite PZ to give the keynote, plenary lecture, and the rest of you to present your ideas from the platform, replete with serious-sounding titles and Powerpoint slides (those who want to make elephant jokes will each get a poster.) I shall invite the world’s press, especially the Guardian, to write up the proceedings. I shall then pretend to be very hurt by comments made therein by the disbelieving public, responding with much self-righteous tutting and notes of the none-who-are-so-blind-as-who-will-not-see variety. That’s how science works, right?

  31. 31
    David Marjanović

    So everything I know about elephants is a lie?

    Exactly. They’ve been lying to you all your life. *sage nod*

    And what are the elephants hiding from?

    Xenosmilus, the cookie-cutter cat of Florida. Like all predators*, it can’t swim.

    * Source: any dinosaur book from before 1975 or so. The younger ones are all corrupted somehow.

  32. 32
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    @Gregory Greenwood #8

    Beware the custard-y wiles of the schismatic heretic – true believers recognise the beneficient beer fountain as the one true expression* of the FSM’s (may his noodly appendage be upon you) unlimited love for his chosen people, and it is in that holy fluid that the faithful among pachyderms float upside down, and in that holy fluid alone.

    … So the bottom of Elephant’s feet are actually white and fluffy, so as to effectively blend in to the delicious foamy head of the sacred fluid?

    Question: If blessed by Bobby Henderson, does beer become the Sacred Ragu of the Holy FSM (mhnabuy), or is it merely representative of it?

  33. 33
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    By the way, if you read the comments on the original article one commenter mentions a website called “No Answers in Genesis”. I am currently reading their selection of quotes from loving Christian hatemail (“Creationism is not the alternative to Evolution, ignorance is”) and it’s hilarious :)

  34. 34
    Dr Marcus Hill Ph.D. (arguing from his own authority)

    You can’t really swim in spotted dick, you’d have to burrow. That’s why you often see moles on a spotted dick.

  35. 35
    Sili

    What utter bollocks. Everyone knows that the natural habitat of elephants is strawberry patches.

    Yellow toenails would stand out like sore thumbs.

  36. 36
    SteveV

    Elmer
    Invalid argument.

  37. 37
    anthrosciguy

    The ignoring of custard as the key element in elephant evolution by paleontologists is a scandal of Piltdown proportions.

  38. 38
    eversbane

    Custard, being viscous and colloidal, requires great suction in order to snort it (why powdered coke is so much more popular). Thus the specific adaptations seen in elephants.

  39. 39
    Amphiox

    Custard, being viscous and colloidal, requires great suction in order to snort it (why powdered coke is so much more popular). Thus the specific adaptations seen in elephants.

    But wait! Suction of viscous material is maximized if the orifice is wide and the tube is short! The trunk must therefore be an atavism from the pre-custard era!

  40. 40
    algiskuliukas

    Re 30

    It’s encouraging for those of us open minded to the idea (crazy I know) that some differential in selection from wading, swimming and diving might explain the remarkable phenotypic differences between humans and chimps to see such respected authorities as PZ Myers and Henry Gee exchanging childish sneers like this.

    When Daniel Dennett commented that the arguments against Elaine Morgan’s work were “thin and ad hoc” in “Darwin’s Dangerous Idea” in 1995 he was commenting on the astonishing truth that the field of anthropology had done practically no science but a huge amount of eye rolling in response to Hardy’s ideas. It seems that the de rigeur response has now got even worse.

    PZ Myers has, for years, backed the obsessive nit pickings and gossip of a totally unqualified ex car mechanic (claiming its the “definitive web resource” on the idea) and when I asked him for clarification… Had he even read it? How can he excuse the fact it contains an order of magnitude more about old discredited ideas than the really major ones like the wading hypothesis of bipedal origins etc, had he considered looking at a counter critique? … http://www.riverapes.com/AAH/Arguments/JimMoore/JMHome.htm, his retort is like that of an 8 year old. “You’re an idiot!”

    Henry Gee recently posted a blog demonstrating that he cannot discriminate between the plausibility of this simple, evidence-based, plausible and absolutely Darwinian idea of human evolution and the notion that the entire universe was created in six days, just for us! When I challenged him to explain this position…. Nothing.

    Brilliant response, guys.

    Seriously, you’re letting the side down. Where is the intellectual argument against the idea that some selection from moving through and procuring food from water might have been responsible for the human condition, at least in part?

    Don’t tell me… “I’m a loon” right?

    Why encouraging? Clearly, if this is the intellectual level of the aquaskeptic response after all these years, people like me can only be left concluding that it is more likely that Hardy and Morgan mit have had a point after all.

    Algis Kuliukas

  41. 41
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ Sili

    Poppycock! Everyone knows that the natural habitat of elephants is cherry trees.

    Red toenails would stand out like sore thumbs.

  42. 42
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Don’t tell me… “I’m a loon” right?

    Right, you have no evidence, honesty, or integrity. Back to the old “put up or shut up”. You don’t have the evidence that isn’t imagufactured bullshit to put up. Ergo, if you had honesty and integrity you would shut the fuck up until you do have that evidence. That is how a scientist who expects to be taken seriously has to operate. Cranks and loons just can’t/won’t shut up. TrueBelievers™ like you are cranks and loons.

  43. 43
    ChasCPeterson

    Don’t tell me… “I’m a loon” right?

    something like that, yeah.
    You’re a crackpot with a hobbyhorse and some grudges.

  44. 44
    Amphiox

    might explain the remarkable phenotypic differences between humans and chimps

    When the very judgment that the phenotypic differences are “remarkable” is homo-centric, purely emotional, and absolutely not supported in any way by objective evidence when the breadth of animal diversity is examined with the I-am-human-therefore-humans-must-be-special blinkers taken off, and when the existing evidence already demonstrates that those phenotypic differences each evolved separately over distinct and discrete time frames spanning the entire history of human evolution as a separate clade, from 10,000 years ago to 7 million years ago, trying to attribute it all to a single episode of “differential selection” is pure folly.

    Algis, you have not even successfully established that there is even a problem here for something like an AAH to solve, let alone that the AAH is a worthwhile solution to consider.

    The fossil record already shows that the time frames do not match. You have no hypothesis, no argument at all, unless the time frames match.

    NO FOSSIL NO TALK.

  45. 45
    algiskuliukas

    43 – See, that’s just name calling. It’s what eight year olds (and PZ Myers) does.

    Come on, Chas, you can do better than that, surely.

    Algis Kuliukas

  46. 46
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    See, that’s just name calling. It’s what eight year olds (and PZ Myers) does.

    Come on, Chas, you can do better than that, surely.

    Gee, and you are mocking Chas futilely because he doesn’t and won’t agree with your loon idea and crank ideology.

    You are trying to convince us you are right, not the other way around. We don’t have to refute you at all. Your opinion on that is irrelevant. Science says sell your idea with real evidence. Failure to provide said conclusive evidence means your idea can and will be dismissed as unscientific drivel. Which has been the case, and nothing is changing on that. Your ego can’t make us ignore your lack of evidence. So, lose the egotistical attitude you must be right. Only then can you calmly look at your lack of evidence and give up the idea as any serious non-crank scientist would do.

  47. 47
    ChasCPeterson

    well, the hobbyhorse and grudges parts I take as empirical.
    So by ’8-yo name-calling’ you mean ‘crackpot’? Because that’s not name-calling, it’s a concise description.
    I tried to talk to you about physiology, and then I gave up.
    Now I am simply communicating my observations to others, over here on this different thread.

  48. 48
    Menyambal

    You’re a crackpot with a hobbyhorse and some grudges.

    That’s not “just name calling”, Algis, it’s an accurate description. He could have gone a bit more clinical, perhaps, but the popular terminology is quite apt.

    He didn’t call you names like “doody-head”, he just briefly stated that you fit every criteria of an obsessed person—a “crackpot”—with a fixation you expound at every opportunity—a hobbyhorse—and some long-held resentment toward people who don’t value you as highly as you value yourself—grudges.

    You, Algis, respond by calling him a child. Even though you don’t phrase it as a name, you’ve described his actions as those of a child … in two ways. While pretending to be polite and superior, yourself.

    We see creationists and Christians do that a lot.

  49. 49
    algiskuliukas

    Re 47

    Well I accept it is my hobbyhorse and that I have a bit of a grudge that something so blindingly obvious as the evidence from extant great apes in favour of the wading hypothesis of bipedal origins has been dismissed so stupidly by so many otherwise intelligent people for so long.

    Guilty, as charged there, but “a loon” – in the sense that a big foot guy or a proponent of intelligent design is? Really? Can’t you tell the difference?

    Chas, talk to me about physiology. Some people here think (and you yourself too) say you’re a real expert. Anthro “sci” guy seems to think I’m afraid of discussing the subject with you because you will finally, after all these years, tell me why waterside hypotheses of human evolution are stupidly wrong.

    I really can’t wait. I promise, if you have one winning argument, I’ll drop the idea like a stone.

    Algis Kuliukas

  50. 50
    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 and talking about your ideas at professional meetings

    Gee, five out of five. Typical

  51. 51
    algiskuliukas

    Re 50 – Ok, “Nerd….” I see you have been trying really hard to draw me into an argument with you.

    Regarding your list.

    1 “brightest etc” On the contrary, it is Hardy/Morgan who are the bright ones. I’m just trying to do some of the science they hoped would be done. I quite often goof up and am happy to admit it when I do.

    2. The idea I have (wading as a factor in hominin bipedal origins) has LOTS of 3rd party evidence.

    3. I think I have taken more explicitly personal insults than anyone on this topic over the past 13 or so years. And yet, I’m still here arguing with you because I think the evidencce is as strong as for any other idea. The arguments against are, as Dan Dennett put it, always “thin and ad hoc”.

    4. I have repeatedly, EXPLICITLY, stated this: If anyone can produce unequivocal evidence that chimp infants are as likely to survive near drowning incidents (assuming the mother is close by to attempt a rescue) as human infants in the same circumstances, I will drop the idea like a stone in a pond, never to return to it.

    5. I have a masters degree (from UCL, passed with distinction) presented papers at several scientific conferences (e.g. AAPA 2009) and published several papers and chapters in the peer-reviewed literature. I have a web site of my own and set up a discussion forum which allows anyone to provide their feedback.

    PZ Myers started this thread by openly sneeering at a perfectly plausible, evidence-based, Darwinian idea (“Mockery is good” “SPACE APE! SPACE APE! SPACE APE! SPACE APE! “) It is to his credit that he allows people to criticise him openly here but please do not expect me to sit by and let him spout such ignorance without comment.

    Gee, typical – your bias made you give a 100% wrong score. 0 out of 5, actually.

    I predict you’ll now change the rules, or do some other anthro-slur-guy-style distortion so that you can retain your ignorant belief, just like a creationist would.

    Algis Kuliukas

  52. 52
    John Morales

    Algis,

    PZ Myers started this thread by openly sneeering at a perfectly plausible, evidence-based, Darwinian idea (“Mockery is good” “SPACE APE! SPACE APE! SPACE APE! SPACE APE! “)

    Well, yes. PZ obviously doesn’t think your idea is perfectly plausible, does he?

    I think I have taken more explicitly personal insults than anyone on this topic over the past 13 or so years.

    Nobody can accuse you of not being indefatigable, but you should be aware you were supposedly responding to a conditional: “If you take criticism as personal insults instead of criticism of the idea”.

    (You do realise you are implicitly acknowledging that you take criticism as personal insults instead of criticism of the idea, no?)

  53. 53
    David Marjanović

    Well I accept it is my hobbyhorse and that I have a bit of a grudge that something so blindingly obvious as the evidence from extant great apes in favour of the wading hypothesis of bipedal origins has been dismissed so stupidly by so many otherwise intelligent people for so long.

    The fuck is it obvious, blindingly or otherwise.

    How many more times do I need to explain that there’s a much simpler explanation for why we’re bipedal?

    The arguments against are, as Dan Dennett put it,

    Yet another attempted argument from authority! Have you no shame? You’re insulting everybody’s intelligence with such blatant fallacies, first and foremost your own!

    I have repeatedly, EXPLICITLY, stated this:

    Never before on this blog, though. I’m not going to burrow through the rest of the Internet for everything you’ve said.

    If anyone can produce unequivocal evidence that chimp infants are as likely to survive near drowning incidents (assuming the mother is close by to attempt a rescue) as human infants in the same circumstances,

    That would be a blatantly unethical experiment to do. Try to get the grant proposal past an ethics committee, I dare you.

    perfectly plausible

    Massively unparsimonious.

    I have a masters degree (from UCL, passed with distinction) presented papers at several scientific conferences (e.g. AAPA 2009) and published several papers and chapters in the peer-reviewed literature.

    So? That doesn’t make our ancestors wade for a living.

    Besides… it looks like you’re lying about peer review again.

    Nobody can accuse you of not being indefatigable, but you should be aware you were supposedly responding to a conditional: “If you take criticism as personal insults instead of criticism of the idea”.

    (You do realise you are implicitly acknowledging that you take criticism as personal insults instead of criticism of the idea, no?)

    A very important point.

  54. 54
    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

    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/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

    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

    You are a crank/loon if……

    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

    20/20 as a crank/loon, 0/5 as a true scientist. Well AK, the lurkers will make up their own minds, but with a perfect record as a crank/loon, and nothing supporting you as a scientitst, the obvious thing to do is to shut the fuck up. Why can’t you? Think about that for a week before responding.

  55. 55
    algiskuliukas

    Re 52. I am very disappointed with PZ Myers. Before I read his support of Jim Moore’s gossip I always saw him as a bit of a hero. It was rather like reading Sam Harris had several guns. But get this, being well respected and popular doesn’t make you right, does it?

    It’s funny how the argument from authority is fine as long as its against the damned “aquatic ape”.

    Re the other point, that is why I included the caveat “explicitly”. Can you deny that even in the brief time I’ve contributed here most of the “criticism” has been personal?

    PZ himself has pretty much EXCLUSIVELY made personal attacks on me. (“Idiot”, “loon”, “kook”.)
    With intellectuals like this, who needs playground bullies?

    As to criticisms of the ideas themselves, I have absolutely NOT taken them personally and welcome them.

    Algis Kuliukas

  56. 56
    algiskuliukas

    Re 55 … I knew it was a mistake to try to debate anything with you. I won’t make that mistake again in a hurry, time waster.

    Algis Kuliukas

  57. 57
    algiskuliukas

    Re 52… You’re a bit hostile, David. Why is that? Did I swear at your mother or something?

    Please explain that “much simpler” explanation, where it was promoted in the literature, and where the other 30+ ideas were rejected.

    Today you castigate me for arguing from authority, tomorrow you, or one of the pseudoskepics here will do the same. PZ Myers did it himself the other day re ChasPeterson! Hypocrisy is a hallmark of aquaskeptic ism so I am not surprised.

    Yes, I know it would be unethical to do in such stark terms but there are potential ways through computer simulation etc. Chimp and human infants can be CT scanned and detailed information regarding density could be deduced. Anyway, the material point is that this would be a show stopper for me. Can you point to a proponent of some “pseudoscience” that would do that? Can you point to anyone in orthodox paleoanthropology!?

    Please explain why you think it is “massively unparsimonious” that a swamp-dwelling LCA who’s locomotion was dominated by climbing and wading, evolved through a stage of living in seasonally flooded gallery forests, clinging to forest Refugia as they shrank, by permanent water courses such as rivers, to a stage that they lived on coasts where food was more easily procured and less vulnerable to seasonal change.

    It’s waterside all the way. It’s more parsimonious than the vertical climbing already Bipedal LCA that stopped vertical climbing became an obligate biped whereas The already bipedal LCA that continued climbing became quadrupedal.

    The nerdy guy was arguing that I was a crank because I didn’t publish or give talks at scientific conferences. I note that when I show this is false, rather than change you position, you dig for more dirt.

    I am not lying about peer review. But I note that you casually adopt the anthro-lie-slur approach as if it was fine and dandy to do so.

    The point about criticism was answered above.

    Algis Kuliukas

  58. 58
    David Marjanović

    Re 52… You’re a bit hostile, David. Why is that? Did I swear at your mother or something?

    I explained in on the other thread why I’m losing my patience. Thanks for finally starting to engage the arguments there instead of continuing to parrot yourself.

    Please explain that “much simpler” explanation

    Did so on the other thread. Many, many times.

    where it was promoted in the literature,

    Your job.

    and where the other 30+ ideas were rejected.

    Each for different reasons.

    but there are potential ways through computer simulation etc. Chimp and human infants can be CT scanned and detailed information regarding density could be deduced.

    o_O

    What are you proposing? That our sinuses are not only larger than those of chimps, but large enough to keep our nose out of the water, which we already know isn’t the case? That our lungs are larger? What?

    Can you point to a proponent of some “pseudoscience” that would do that? Can you point to anyone in orthodox paleoanthropology!?

    Why would anybody waste time on that? The livelihoods of most scientists depend on their impact factor. Disproving one aspect of some crank hypothesis that already fails on so many other counts isn’t newsworthy enough for most journals, let alone grant agencies. Time and money are tightly constrained.

    Please explain why you think it is “massively unparsimonious” that a swamp-dwelling LCA who’s locomotion was dominated by climbing and wading, evolved through a stage of living in seasonally flooded gallery forests, clinging to forest Refugia as they shrank, by permanent water courses such as rivers, to a stage that they lived on coasts where food was more easily procured and less vulnerable to seasonal change.

    You postulate

    – swamp-dwelling in the LCA, for which there is no (other) evidence, when instead there are adaptations to climbing all the way to Homo habilis;
    – wading in the LCA, for which there’s no (other) evidence either – as I just mentioned on the other thread, our toes have become shorter instead of longer, which fits walking but not wading at all;
    – shrinking seasonally flooded gallery forests – show me what the fossil record says on them;
    – “a stage that they lived on coasts” when their fossils are instead found far inland, including such places as caves and fissure fillings – you don’t get more terrestrial than a fissure filling;
    – that “food was more easily procured” on coasts, which you have yet to demonstrate;
    – and that it was “less vulnerable to seasonal change” there, which you have yet to demonstrate, too.

    It’s more parsimonious than the vertical climbing already Bipedal LCA that stopped vertical climbing became an obligate biped whereas The already bipedal LCA that continued climbing became quadrupedal.

    See the other thread.

    The nerdy guy was arguing that I was a crank because I didn’t publish or give talks at scientific conferences. I note that when I show this is false, rather than change you position, you dig for more dirt.

    I am not lying about peer review.

    You’ve claimed your chapter in the book you edited was peer-reviewed. None of the chapters in the book look peer-reviewed at all; they all contain basic errors about facts and logic, and none of them mentions any reviewers – most don’t have any acknowledgment section at all. What can I conclude?

    Can you give us your complete list of publications?

  59. 59
    Amphiox

    Please explain why you think it is “massively unparsimonious” that a swamp-dwelling LCA who’s locomotion was dominated by climbing and wading, evolved through a stage of living in seasonally flooded gallery forests

    If you walk back the “aquatic” part of the AAH any more than this, you end up with something almost indistinguishable from the standard savannah scenarios, seeing as how savannah’s are criss-crossed by seasonal waterways which nearly all savannah species have to congregate around to drink, and cross by, yes, swimming and wading.

    At which point it is not reasonable to call it an “AAH” anymore.

  60. 60
    ChasCPeterson

    tell me why waterside hypotheses of human evolution are stupidly wrong.

    There’s nothing wrong–not, at least, ‘stupidly wrong’–with the hypotheses.
    The problem is with testing the hypotheses against others.
    They don’t seem to suggest any unique predictions that could, even in principle, distinguish them critically from others (others that everybody except for you regard as more plausible, more parsimonious, and better supported).

    The observation that chimps and gorillas wade bipedally in waist-deep-+-water explains why we wade bipedally in waist-deep-+-water. It does not explain why we walk bipedally and upright on dry land.

    The kinds of physiology that I can claim to be expert on–thermoregulation, water balance and osmoregulation, and energetics from a research standpoint and general and comparative physiology of other systems from teaching–do not point in any way, shape, or form to a more aquatic ancestor, in freshwater or in seawater.

    Therefore I reject the more-aquatic hypotheses.for lack of evidence. In short, there is no good reason to accept the hypotheses. Until there is, I reject them in favor of what I (and everybody else except you) find more reaonable.

    And this is the last time I’m going to try to explain anything to you.

  61. 61
    Amphiox

    It’s more parsimonious than the vertical climbing already Bipedal LCA that stopped vertical climbing became an obligate biped whereas The already bipedal LCA that continued climbing became quadrupedal.

    The bipedal LCA BRACHIATED.

    To misconstrue brachiation with “vertical climbing” is a mistake that speaks either to gross incompetence and unfamiliarity with the subject that renders one unqualified to comment on the subject in a serious fashion, or of deliberate intellectual dishonesty in trying to fiddle with terms.

  62. 62
    Amphiox

    The observation that chimps and gorillas wade bipedally in waist-deep-+-water explains why we wade bipedally in waist-deep-+-water. It does not explain why we walk bipedally and upright on dry land.

    It’s funny but other AAH proponents have been making this same argument against a variety of savannah hypotheses for years.

    “Chimps and gorillas will stand upright to look over tall grass, but then go back to knuckle walking to move around, so seeing over the tall savannah grass cannot explain why we walk bipedally.”

    But suddenly when the same logic is turned around against them, it somehow doesn’t apply anymore.

  63. 63
    algiskuliukas

    Re 60

    There’s nothing … ‘stupidly wrong’–with the hypotheses

    The great man speaketh. We plebs sit back in awe!

    The problem is with testing the hypotheses against others.

    Welcome to the world of paleoanthropology! Please name one other idea (can you even articulate one – other than your unscholarly belief in the Hylobatian model?) which does not have this problem?

    Why is this suddenly a show stopper for waterside ideas, but wasn’t a problem for 30+ shite ideas that made it into the text books, no problem?

    Predictions:

    Humans should swim and dive better than chimps (tick)
    Chimps should be most bipedal in waist/chest deep water (tick)
    Human infants should be less vulnerable to drowning than chimp infants (the jury is still out but anecdotal evidence suggests it is true. If proven false I, for one, will drop the idea like a stone)

    Several others could be listed here but I know you’ve already rejected them even before I’ve written them because you just know any science that openly considers the Hardy/Morgan idea MUST be pseudoscientific bullshit and so you’ve already got your thumbs in your ears and are singing “la la la!” at the top of your voice.

    It does not explain why we walk bipedally and upright on dry land

    It helps. How the hell does the “vertical climbing”/”orang-utan tree wobbling”/”developmental mutation at the time Morotopithecus” help explain it? We just magically started walking “long distances”, right? Why? Where?

    …do not point in any way, shape, or form to a more aquatic ancestor

    Some of us are arguing for a very slight differential.How about the differential in infant
    adipocity, how do you explain that? Long distance walking right? Mmmm that makes sense. (Mockery is good, though, right?)

    …Therefore I reject the more-aquatic hypotheses.for lack of evidence

    Bull shit

    Humans swim and dive better than chimps.

    You could not manufacture a better piece of evidenc than that if this were a Hollywood script.

    You are an evidence denier, if you reject this.

    Algis Kuliukas

  64. 64
    Michael Clark

    I should probably note here that Mr. Kuliukas has been known to frequent drinking establishments and stay late. This is probably one of those nights when Mrs. Kuliukas just goes to bed and leaves the lights on. Meanwhile, ol’ Algis is downtown, poundin’ ‘em down and posting furiously on the internet. This post, and many more like it, by the same author, could be plucked from anywhere among a half-dozen discussion boards over the past 15 years. Be advised ~ this will last as long as you let it.

  65. 65
    Amphiox

    Humans swim and dive better than chimps.

    You could not manufacture a better piece of evidenc than that if this were a Hollywood script.

    You are an evidence denier, if you reject this.

    If you think this alone counts as evolutionarily valid evidence, then you don’t understand the first thing about evolutionary theory and what kinds of evidence it requires.

    But we already knew that.

  66. 66
    Amphiox

    The anatomic features that make modern humans better swimmers than chimps do not definitively appear until the time of H. erectus/ergaster. There is absolutely nothing in the fossil record to suggest that Australopithecus, Ardipithecus, Sahelanthropus, Ororrin and co. could swim any better or worse than modern chimps.

    So, once again, the time frames do not match up, which makes the argument completely invalid for Algis’ version of the AAH.

  67. 67
    David Marjanović

    The great man speaketh. We plebs sit back in awe!

    Mock him all you want. He’s right, and you’re not even trying to show otherwise. :-|

    your unscholarly belief in the Hylobatian model

    By what criteria is it “unscholarly”? (Do you mean unscientific? But that still wouldn’t answer the question.)

    Predictions:

    1. Actual adaptations to wading, if not swimming or diving. Not there.
    2. Evidence for the regular consumption of waterside food. Quite the opposite (the four papers I just cited in the other thread).
    3. Presence of fossils along certain watercourses, but absence from places that can’t be reached by following a watercourse. Instead, Australopithecus ranges from Olduvai to Chad and to caves in the mountains of South Africa.

    I’m sure you can find more! I won’t bother, it’s half past 2 am over here.

    We just magically started walking “long distances”, right? Why?

    Because we could? Because we had to, as food sources were more thinly spread than in a continuous forest? Because doing so kept us out of having to compete with chimps or gorillas?

    Where?

    All along the edge of the rainforest, from South Africa to Chad.

    the differential in infant adipocity [sic]

    Tell me more about that.

    Humans swim and dive better than chimps.

    You could not manufacture a better piece of evidenc than that if this were a Hollywood script.

    You are an evidence denier, if you reject this.

    Parsimony. One piece of evidence doesn’t outweigh all the evidence to the contrary.

    …Besides, do we swim and dive better than chimps of the same size, or do they just never try?

    The anatomic features that make modern humans better swimmers than chimps

    What would those be, longer legs? Wouldn’t the longer arms of chimps compensate?

  68. 68
    Menyambal

    Humans fly spaceships better than chimps.

    You could not manufacture a better piece of evidence than that if this were a Hollywood script.

    You are an evidence denier, if you reject this.

    (Yeah, should be in the Space Ape thread.)

  69. 69
    algiskuliukas

    Re 64 – This is the typical sort of slur post you have to put up with when you are open minded to the idea (crazy, I know – as bad as believing in SPACE APES, right, PZ?) that human ancestors might have waded, swam and dived a little more than chimps since the LCA.

    Intellectual cowardice is the hallmark of the aquaskeptic response.

    Algis Kuliukas

  70. 70
    Menyambal

    So how good are humans as instinctive swimmers?

    How good are chimps as trained swimmers?

    Humans have to be taught to swim, and the default for most folks is a panicked drowning. We currently have a culture of recreational swimming, and we see examples to learn from—we know swimming is possible, and have some idea of strokes.

    How do chimps do after a few swimming lessons? Which chimps have they seen swim? How quick are they to learn from seeing someones else swim?

    (I didn’t figure out how to swim until I was 21 or so, and mostly copied what I’d seen people do. I still can’t breathe right in a crawl.)

  71. 71
    Ichthyic

    Intellectual cowardice is the hallmark of the aquaskeptic response.

    tell me, do you dream of being Galileo?

  72. 72
    algiskuliukas

    Re 70 Good questions.

    Here’s another crazy thought. Maybe some science should be done on these research topics. Then, shock horror, some hard evidence might actually be generated to throw some light on the plausibility or otherwise of waterside hypotheses, rather than what’s happened for the past 53 years… no science but a huge amount of sneer pressure.

    Algis Kuliukas

  73. 73
    David Marjanović

    I still can’t breathe right in a crawl.

    I’d need a clamp on my nose to crawl. I have a very strong reaction to getting water in my nose, even if it just gets in 1 mm. I dive just fine, just not with exposed nostrils.

    …Incidentally, why can’t we close our nostrils? We can make them very narrow, but we can’t quite close them. Wouldn’t there be selection pressure on this if we entered the water for a living?

  74. 74
    algiskuliukas

    Re 73

    I’d need a clamp on my nose to crawl. I have a very strong reaction to getting water in my nose, even if it just gets in 1 mm.

    Oh well, that’s it then. Hardy must have been wrong after all. It’s like listening to an old codger saying his grandad smoked twenty a day and never had cancer.

    Incidentally, why can’t we close our nostrils? … Wouldn’t there be selection pressure on this if we entered the water for a living?

    Why? presumably because humans were never that aquatic.

    Erika Schagatay and the Swedish diving research team would tell you that downward pointing nostrils are a clear adaptation for diving. As long as the head is anteriorly orientated they prevent water going down the airways. Not so in other apes.

    There’s always this tendency for binary thinking here. Either we were aquatic or we weren’t. So either the traits should be like true aquatics or they should absent completely.

    The middle ground here is that if humans were just MORE aquatic than chimps – and that there was just a little more (perhaps only very little) selection from wading, swimming and diving in our lineage than chimps’, then one would predict a largely terrestrial species with a peculiar set of traits that seem bizarre except in the context of waterside habitats where some movement through water would have occurred. No more, no less.

    Algis Kuliukas

  75. 75
    PZ Myers

    Erika Schagatay and the Swedish diving research team would tell you that downward pointing nostrils are a clear adaptation for diving.

    That is simply ridiculous. On what grounds? Where are all the known aquatic mammals with “downward pointing nostrils”?

    This is why you’re a kook. You blithely state such absurd hypotheses with no consideration of their credibility — all that matters is whether it fits your preconceptions.

  76. 76
    algiskuliukas

    That is simply ridiculous. On what grounds?

    On the grounds that whilst the head is submerged, but orientated anteriorly, the external nose forms a hood-like structure around the nostrils and the air is trapped within.

    You should write to Erika Schagatay about this if you want better answers. I’m just repeating her considered opinion that she told me a few weeks ago. She has been researching human diving physiology for many years. I guess you must think she is a “kook”/”idiot”/”loon” too, right?

    It is only ridiculous if one cannot bring one’s self to imagine that humans might have swam and dived more than chimps.

    And, on that point…

    Where are all the known aquatic mammals with “downward pointing nostrils”?

    That you ask such a question demonstrates that you have misunderstood the whole idea. Why am I not surprised?

    No wonder you think the idea is crazy if you imagine the “aquatic ape theory” is really proposing an “aquatic” ape in the usual zoological sense of the term.

    The term “aquatic ape”, coined by Desmond Morris, was meant to be ironic. Of the apes, that we know are not aquatic in any sense, we are just the most aquatic. It seems the irony flew right over your head, PZ.

    I do sympathise with you, though. The term “aquatic ape hypothesis” has not helped at all in my opinion. This is why I’ve been trying to relabel it (them) and define them carefully to avoid this sort of confusion and misunderstanding.

    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)

    Anyway, back to nostrils… The human nose is different from that of chimps and gorillas, mainly, in that the nostrils are posteriorly orientated and that the upper lip has a peculiar structure, the philtrum, which, I am told by divers, can be used to block the nostrils with a bit of training. If humans swam and dived more than chimps – but not to the extent of becoming aquatic mammals any any real sense – these are exactly the sort of minor adaptations that one would expect to see as it would be unlikely that there would be any counter selection on land, and they might help a little whilst swimming and diving.

    Why not? What is your non-ridiculous explanation?

    This is why you’re a kook.

    Why? Because I am open minded to the idea that humans might have moved through water more than chimps since the LCA and that, as a result, some slight selection might have resulted from this?

    Can you really not discriminate, in terms of plausibility, between such ideas and the idea that the entire universe was created in six days, just for us? Or Von Daniken, Big Foot, Homeopathy etc? Daniel Dennett can, but the guy you gave uncritical backing to (backing that has gone right to his head) has been trying to twist his (and everybody else’s) words on this for over 17 years.

    I suppose I should be grateful that you are, at least, this time offering some kind of argument on top of your usual insult.

    You blithely state such absurd hypotheses with no consideration of their credibility — all that matters is whether it fits your preconceptions.

    Well “absurd” is only your opinion, PZ. If you are closed minded to the idea that humans got their feet wet more than chimps, I can understand how the concept might seem incredible, but seriously, what is your problem with the idea? Why do you hate it so much?

    * Humans do swim and dive better than chimps.
    * Thousands of fossils have been attributed to hominins from deposits close to permanent water courses, compared to a tiny number attributed to Pan/Gorilla.
    * There are a whole host of human traits that are consistent with some (perhaps only slight) selection from wading, swimming and diving.

    So, why is it not credible?

    I think you’re wrong on the last point too. All that matters in science is that an open mind be kept and that all plausible competing explanations are evaluated dispassionately according to their evidence, by the scientific method, rather than the kind of ignorant group-think sneering you, Henry Gee and others have been gloating about recently.

    On bipedalism, I’ve analysed all 30+ and found wading ideas to be the best, overall. Do you find that absurd and incredible too?

    From what I have been able to gather, the same seems to be true for most of the other human-chimp differences.

    Put it this way, can you name one human trait (that is diferent from the chimps) which is not potentially better explained in a waterside context than somewhere definitively away from the water’s edge?

    Algis Kuliukas

  77. 77
    algiskuliukas

    Good response again, PZ.

  78. 78
    David Marjanović

    Erika Schagatay and the Swedish diving research team would tell you that downward pointing nostrils are a clear adaptation for diving.

    That’s nothing short of silly.

    A longer nose could be an adaptation to dry air: it minimizes the loss of water. The other apes can get away with extremely short noses because they live in rainforests.

    Nostrils are almost always as close to the mouth as possible, so you can smell if anything’s wrong with your food before you actually put it in your mouth. The exceptions to this can be counted on a hand or two and have easy explanations.

    It could also be an adaptation to the stresses of chewing. I forgot the reference, though. FEA has shown that you need either brow ridges or a projecting nose to deal with them… we lost one and apparently grew the other.

    that there was just a little more (perhaps only very little) selection from wading, swimming and diving in our lineage than chimps’, then one would predict a largely terrestrial species with a peculiar set of traits

    Yes, first and foremost nostrils that can be fully instead of nearly fully closed.

    What we would not expect are large feet with short toes.

    I’m just repeating her considered opinion that she told me a few weeks ago.

    …So she hasn’t published?

    Where are all the known aquatic mammals with “downward pointing nostrils”?

    That you ask such a question demonstrates that you have misunderstood the whole idea.

    *eyeroll* Fine! Where are the vaguely semiaquatic mammals with “downward-pointing nostrils”?

    It looks like you’re trying to evade the question.

    the upper lip has a peculiar structure, the philtrum, which, I am told by divers, can be used to block the nostrils with a bit of training

    Show me.

    the scientific method

    That’s falsification and parsimony. It’s… strange that you bring up the scientific method after disregarding parsimony so much on the other thread.

  79. 79
    David Marjanović

    Nostrils are almost always as close to the mouth as possible

    I mean, this explains why we don’t have Pinocchio noses with nostrils at the end, or something.

  80. 80
    Menyambal

    Algis:

    Put it this way, can you name one human trait (that is diferent from the chimps) which is not potentially better explained in a waterside context than somewhere definitively away from the water’s edge?

    Sweating, Algis, sweating. Sweating as a method of cooling works better in a non-humid environment. Tropical beaches are very humid.

    Humans have ten times as many sweat glands as chimps do, and we sweat. Those of us that live in warm, humid places can tell you it isn’t much good there by the ocean.

    Humans have just as many hair follicles as chimps, do, by the way, we just grow the body hair a bit finer … most of us. Our head hair puts the chimps to shame, of course.

    But the wet-ape crowd blatters on about our “hairlessness” as if it were a major evolutionary change, instead of something that varies through humanity and even through our individual lives, and ignores the sweat dripping from our most un-chimplike pores.

    So there’s an answer to your rudeness, Algis. Sweating. Something you could easily have thought of, if you bothered to think about this stuff. But no, you sneeringly assume that we are the ones who don’t think, and you never break a sweat examining your own assumptions.

  81. 81
    Menyambal

    As for the downward pointing nostrils, you once again need to define your terms clearly. In the Aquatic Ape book I read, many years ago, the overhanging shape of the nose was of use in “diving”, as in jumping headfirst into water from a height. There was even something about not ramming water up into the head. And that makes sense. It even comes in good when swimming fast on the surface, in a crawl.

    But “diving” can also mean swimming underwater, like scuba-diving or skin-diving. Skin-diving is usually done with the object of getting something off the bottom of the water, and often involves swimming straight down, and ends with the head and arms down to scrabble about the bottom. Swimming head-down means our nostrils are pointed up (no matter how many fancy words Algis uses poorly) and a chimp’s nostrils would be pointed down. We’ve swum it, and we know it, and we all use nose clips when we can get them. (Hey, the human nose evolved to fit nose-clips on!)

    Now, on the way back up, our nose shape is nice, but that’s when a good swimmer starts bubbling out some air, so as to be ready to inhale on the surface. A chimp nose isn’t a handicap, then.

    Of course, the Proboscis monkey (I’ve been misspelling that), the most aquatic of the primates, has a huge honker along with its webbed toes, so the above proves nothing. It’s just a way to show that imagining a scenario is just the start of the discovery process.

    I imagine that a chimp’s extra hands would be handy for moving around on the bottom, and for holding things on the way back up. Our walking-adapted feet are little help in swimming underwater, and with our hands full, we’re dead in the water, just floating back up. A chimp, on the other hands, could hold his aquatic acquisitions securely beneath him, and use his long arms and huge hands to swim back up (or in any direction), bubbling out a bit of air, and grinning a chimpy grin at our underwater awkwardness.

  82. 82
    Amphiox

    But the wet-ape crowd blatters on about our “hairlessness” as if it were a major evolutionary change, instead of something that varies through humanity and even through our individual lives, and ignores the sweat dripping from our most un-chimplike pores.

    At any rate the timing does not match. The genetic evidence from head and pubic lice shows that our ancestors did not “lose” their hair until after 3.3 million years ago, while the fossil evidence shows that our ancestors were bipedal well before 5 million years ago. You cannot shoehorn both adaptions into any single aquatic or semi-aquatic phase.

  83. 83
    David Marjanović

    a chimp’s extra hands would be handy

    aquatic acquisitions

    + 1

  84. 84
    algiskuliukas

    Re 78

    That’s nothing short of silly. A longer nose could be an adaptation to dry air: it minimizes the loss of water. The other apes can get away with extremely short noses because they live in rainforests.

    Why is it [downward pointing nostrils and a hood-like nose trapping air whilst under water] silly? Personal incredulity of the thought that human ancestors might have ever gone swimming and diving aside.

    Yes, it could be. It could also be for cold air (the usual ‘explanation’ for neanderthal noses. It could also be due to sexual selection – the last resort.

    As always, the waterside explanation is always the very last one to consider. Why? well, it’s just silly.

    Ditto everything else… we swim better than chimps because we’re bipedal, large brained, fat, have brachiating arms etc etc – natural selection? That’s silly.

    It’s a bit of a weak counter argument, don’t you think? In 50+ years, though, it’s got worse, not better.

    Yes, first and foremost nostrils that can be fully instead of nearly fully closed. What we would not expect are large feet with short toes

    You are projecting your (rather extreme) view of what an “aquatic ape” should look like and rejecting it on that basis. I, on the other hand, am looking at human and chimp phenotypes and asking: Could this have occurred due to some slight selection?

    The answer, clearly, is “yes, it could.”

    So she hasn’t published?

    Not on this speculation, apparently not. Who could blame her? considering the ignorant sneering response anyone gets for being open minded about the idea.

    *eyeroll* Fine! Where are the vaguely semiaquatic mammals with “downward-pointing nostrils”? It looks like you’re trying to evade the question

    Where are the walking, talking savannah/slightly-more-open woodland/super-duper environmental generalist/whatever-the-hell-it-is-today examples?

    Suddenly, having analogues is not important, I expect.

    I’m not trying to evade the question at all (unlike PZ, who seems to disappear from his own blog whenever I ask him anything about his sneering or about his support of that crappy web site – are you going to criticise him for that? No, didn’t think so.)

    It’s yet another really, really weak argument, in a series of really weak arguments.

    Show me

    http://aquaticapehypothesis.com/pics/07.jpg

    That’s falsification and parsimony. It’s… strange that you bring up the scientific method after disregarding parsimony so much on the other thread

    That’s your opinion. In my opinion aquaskeptics disregard parsimony every time they prefer any just-so story exaptation rather than natural selection to explain why humans are better at swimming than chimps. They disregard it how they claim that vertical climbing was a sufficient pre-requisite for bipedalism even though the great ape species that stopped being vertical climbers were the ones that became obligate bipeds and the ones that carried on vertically climbing became quadrupeds. They disregard it in how they’d rather cling to any number of (often contradictory) just-so explanations for human traits a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h, i … rather than one that explains all of them in one fell swoop (or at least with greater economy of assumption.) They disregard it how they imagine taphonomic bias somehow argues against waterside hypotheses for human evolution. etc etc.

    The material point here is you and your aquaskeptic friends sneer at this idea when almost no serious science has been done to test it. You just know it’s silly.

    That is a very ignorant, irrational and basically tribal approach.

    Re 80

    Sweating, Algis, sweating.

    Thank you for answering the question.

    Unfortunately, you didn’t notice that my question asked “can you name one human trait (that is diferent from the chimps) which is not potentially better explained in a waterside context than somewhere definitively away from the water’s edge?

    Humans can dehydrate very quickly, thanks to our profligate sweat cooling response.

    Not a good evolutionary strategy if you live well away from reliable sources of water. Makes perfect sense, though, if you do. As we are not able to drink gallons of water like, say, horses, sweat cooling makes most sense as a waterside adaptation – as a kind of adjunct to the very best way to keep cool – similar in mode of action – going for a dip.

    Humans have just as many hair follicles as chimps, do, by the way, we just grow the body hair a bit finer … most of us. Our head hair puts the chimps to shame, of course.

    Oh that old one! Sure, we have just as much hair as they do really, it’s just finer and almost non-functional. Pull the other one.

    Do you know where the hair follicles are the most dense? On the forehead.

    So there’s an answer to your rudeness, Algis. Sweating. Something you could easily have thought of, if you bothered to think about this stuff. But no, you sneeringly assume that we are the ones who don’t think, and you never break a sweat examining your own assumptions

    What rudeneess?

    Well it is an answer. I’ll give you that. It’s just not a very good one. I’ve heard it many times before (and easily answered it) so please don’t imagine that this is anything new.

    Re 81

    Swimming head-down means our nostrils are pointed up (no matter how many fancy words Algis uses poorly) and a chimp’s nostrils would be pointed down. We’ve swum it, and we know it, and we all use nose clips when we can get them

    Swimming head down? See how this works: Aquaskeptics get to exaggerate the idea to the point that it doesn’t work so that they can sneer at it.

    Chimps don’t have superiorly facing nostrils. (ones that face up) so this really is silly.

    Re 82

    The genetic evidence from head and pubic lice shows that our ancestors did not “lose” their hair until after 3.3 million years ago, while the fossil evidence shows that our ancestors were bipedal well before 5 million years ago. You cannot shoehorn both adaptions into any single aquatic or semi-aquatic phase.

    “Single … phase” is a misrepresentation.

    Some of us have moved on from the Hardy/Morgan (single phase) U-turn hypothesis.

    My model is a two-phase idea specifcally to meet the fossil evidence. River Apes … Coastal People.

    Algis Kuliukas

  85. 85
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    AK still repeating his fuckwitted attempts to explain why he has no evidence, showing that the “evidence” exists only in his mind. Poor delusional fool. He shows himself to be the anti-scientist. No real scientist look at his word salads, as they are bullshit. His third party evidence is non-existent. Any real scientist would have dropped the idea of aquatic apes as so much unevidenced bullshit years ago.

    NO SALE! TAKE YOUR IDEA ON THE ROAD BULLYBOY.

  86. 86
    Kevin, 友好火猫 (Friendly Fire Cat)

    This was a post about elephants.

    Q: How do you put four giraffes in a Mini?

    A: Open the doors, put the giraffes inside.

    Q: How do you put four elephants in a Mini?

    A: Take the giraffes out first.

    Q: How can you tell if an elephant is in your refrigerator?

    A: There are footprints in the butter.

    Q: How can you tell if two elephants are in your refrigerator?

    A: There’s giggling when the door closes.

    Q: How can you tell if four elephants are in your refrigerator?

    A: There’s a Mini parked in the driveway.

  87. 87
    David Marjanović

    Why is it [downward pointing nostrils and a hood-like nose trapping air whilst under water] silly?

    Because where are all the other diving tetrapods with such noses?

    Because how difficult or unlikely can it be to evolve nostrils that can close completely? Ours are almost there.

    Because such a whole new explanation for something that falls out as a byproduct of biomechanics is simply not necessary.

    It’s a bit of a weak counter argument, don’t you think?

    If you think parsimony is a weak argument, go back and learn science from scratch.

    I, on the other hand, am looking at human and chimp phenotypes and asking: Could this have occurred due to some slight selection?

    I, on the other hand, ask: did it occur due to some slight selection for wading, swimming and diving in our ancestors? Is there any reason to think it did happen?

    The mere possibility is not enough – and that’s wholly apart from the fact that you overstate its probability.

    So she hasn’t published?

    Not on this speculation, apparently not. Who could blame her? considering the ignorant sneering response anyone gets for being open minded about the idea.

    I must fully blame her for not publishing in PLoS ONE. That’s a journal that is peer-reviewed but does not ask if a manuscript is newsworthy, it assesses it purely on its merits.

    And why would a scientist be afraid of an ignorant sneering response!?! If you can’t stand the heat, don’t set the sandbath to 400 °C, open the hood and stick your head in.

    Where are the walking, talking savannah/slightly-more-open woodland/super-duper environmental generalist/whatever-the-hell-it-is-today examples?

    The so-called bushmen used to come pretty close.

    PZ, who seems to disappear from his own blog

    What a moronic thing to say. Have a look at the front page. PZ writes several new posts every day, 7 days a week, posts in them to warn trolls and other assholes, and all that’s on top of his day job.

    whenever I ask him anything about his sneering or about his support of that crappy web site –

    I have no reason to believe he has even seen your questions.

    http://aquaticapehypothesis.com/pics/07.jpg

    I can’t do that. My lips are about half the size of that man’s.

    In my opinion aquaskeptics disregard parsimony every time they prefer any just-so story exaptation rather than natural selection to explain why humans are better at swimming than chimps.

    Not true. We explain all these features without needing to assume a whole extra habitat – we win.

    They disregard it how they claim that vertical climbing was a sufficient pre-requisite for bipedalism even though the great ape species that stopped being vertical climbers were the ones that became obligate bipeds and the ones that carried on vertically climbing became quadrupeds.

    Oh, thanks for the reminder that you’re an asshole who doesn’t read every comment on the threads he posts on.

    Brachiation. Remember? Or did you fail to read that several times?

    Orang-utans. Remember? Or did you fail to read that several times?

    you and your aquaskeptic friends

    “Friends”? By what definition? “Known to me and not personal enemies”?

    You just know it’s silly.

    Nope. I conclude it’s silly.

    As we are not able to drink gallons of water like, say, horses, sweat cooling makes most sense as a waterside adaptation – as a kind of adjunct to the very best way to keep cool – similar in mode of action – going for a dip.

    Well, that’s it: if you stay close to the water at all times, you can just take a dip and don’t need to sweat at all.

    We can walk over land from one water source to another.

    A: There are footprints in the butter.

    :-) Liar. As everybody knows, they’re in the yoghurt, even though that doesn’t make sense.

  88. 88
    Amphiox
    PZ, who seems to disappear from his own blog

    What a moronic thing to say. Have a look at the front page. PZ writes several new posts every day, 7 days a week, posts in them to warn trolls and other assholes, and all that’s on top of his day job.

    Yet more pitiful and disgusting ad homs from Algis.

    Oh, thanks for the reminder that you’re an asshole who doesn’t read every comment on the threads he posts on.

    Brachiation. Remember? Or did you fail to read that several times?

    Orang-utans. Remember? Or did you fail to read that several times?

    More standard intellectual dishonesty from Algis. Very akin to many creationist trolls we’ve seen.

    Well, that’s it: if you stay close to the water at all times, you can just take a dip and don’t need to sweat at all.

    That would be the parsimonious explanation. Remember though, Algis no grok parsimony.

    In my opinion aquaskeptics disregard parsimony every time they prefer any just-so story exaptation rather than natural selection to explain why humans are better at swimming than chimps.

    Not true. We explain all these features without needing to assume a whole extra habitat – we win.

    Again, Algis no grok parsimony. To think that natural selection is automatically de facto more parsimonious than exaption is a vivid demonstration of utter incomprehension of that very idea.

    To think that the available exaption hypotheses, some supported by extensive fossil evidence, are “just-so stories” is a vivid demonstration of utter incomprehension of that very idea.

    To utterly fail to comprehend both parsimony, the relationship of natural selection and exaption, and what a “just-so story” actually is is to vivid demonstrate an utter incomprehension of the basic tenets of evolutionary theory itself.

    Someone who does not understand (or cannot honestly admit to or describe or use) the BASIC tenets of evolutionary theory has no business proposing evolutionary hypotheses of any kind.

    On the other thread Algis faps a lot about authority, and ad homs a lot about a perceived lack of such. But authority is more than just titles, degrees, or vocation. Authority can be demonstrated. An amateur, with self-education, can demonstrate just as much if not more authority of a given subject than any credentialed expert.

    Jim Moore, apparent ex-car mechanic, has vividly demonstrated far more authority and credibility on this subject than Algis on these threads.

  89. 89
    ChasCPeterson

    sweat cooling makes most sense as a waterside adaptation – as a kind of adjunct to the very best way to keep cool – similar in mode of action – going for a dip.

    All I can say is that if you think that convection and evaporation are similar mechanisms of heat loss, you really have little business talking about thermoregulation.

Comments have been disabled.