NeuroDojo: Is the aquatic ape hypothesis fringe science?
This is the aquatic ape theory and although treated with derision by some academics over the past 50 years, it is still backed by a small, but committed group of scientists. From next Wednesday through Friday, they will hold a major London conference when several speakers, including British naturalist and broadcaster, David Attenborough, will voice support for the theory.
Aquatic Ape Hypothesis - Cassiopaea
Clive Gamble is an archaeologist researching the deep history of humans and hominins. He has held positions in the Department of Geography Royal Holloway University of London where he was a member of the Centre for Quaternary Research. He holds a PhD from Cambridge and a DSc from Royal Holloway. He is a Fellow of the British Academy and Emeritus Professor in the Centre for the Archaeology of Human Origins, University of Southampton. His recent projects include the British Academy’s Centenary Project From Lucy to language: the archaeology of the social brain (2004-2011) which brought together archaeologists and psychologists to study when hominin brains became human minds. This is the subject of his two most recent books Settling the Earth: the archaeology of deep human history (2013) and Thinking big: how the evolution of social life shaped the human mind (2014 with John Gowlett and Robin Dunbar). He has recently completed two major projects funded by the AHRC and Leverhulme Trust; the first examines thresholds in Middle Pleistocene hominin behaviour at the site of La Cotte de St Brelade, Jersey, (with John McNabb, Matt Pope, Beccy Scott, Andy Shaw and Marie-Anne Julien) and the second the beginnings of food storage in the late Pleistocene of Europe (with Alistair Pike, Martin Jones and Alex Pryor). He is currently working on a history of the concept of deep human history.
Scientists have since added other human attributes of claimed aquatic origin, including the sinus, said Rhys Evans, an expert on head-neck physiology at the Royal Marsden hospital, London.
Another Look at the Aquatic Ape Hypothesis
Standard evolutionary models suggest these different features appeared at separate times and for different reasons. The aquatic ape theory argues they all occurred because our ancestors decided to live in or near water for hundreds of thousands or possibly millions of years.
TED Talks: Elaine Morgan says we evolved from aquatic apes
It is not just human physiology that reveals our aquatic past, say the theory’s supporters. Our brain biochemistry is also revealing. “Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is an omega-3 fatty acid found in large amounts in seafood,” said Dr. Michael Crawford, of Imperial College London.
TED Talk - Elaine Morgan: The Aquatic Ape Hypothesis ..
“More to the point, we now face a world in which sources of DHA — our fish stocks — are threatened. That has crucial consequences for our species. Without plentiful DHA, we face a future of increased mental illness and intellectual deterioration. We need to face up to that urgently. That is the real lesson of the aquatic ape theory.”
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Dr Camacho is author of 75 research papers in scientific journals and books, as well as of more than 160 papers in scientific meetings. He is currently member of the Editorial Board of the Journals “Aquatic Microbial Ecology” (Review Editor), Polish Journal of Environmental Studies, Limnetica (Associate Editor); and has been reviewer for 22 scientific journals included in SCI.