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Apech

The Waterside Ape

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An interesting programme on this alternative evolutionary theory that man evolved close to water and not on the savannah.

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07v0hhm

 

Sir David Attenborough considers whether new evidence will help a once widely ridiculed theory of human origins move towards to mainstream acceptance.

 

In 1960, the eminent Oxford marine biologist Sir Alister Hardy proposed a revolutionary idea - our human ancestors had started their existence not on the wide savannahs of Africa, but had become accustomed to living alongside water, swimming and diving in the shallows, collecting the abundant food and learning to use language and fashion tools. Hardy asserted that this adaptation to living at the waterside would also account for a whole range of peculiarities about the human form, including the layers of fat beneath the skin, the relative lack of body-hair, the development of language and speech, and what has been called our 'runaway brains'.

 

Perhaps surprisingly, it was a screenwriter rather than a scientist, Elaine Morgan, who took up Hardy's theory and, for over 40 years, progressively refined the evidence for the idea. Most mainstream paleo-anthropologists ridiculed and rejected the Hardy-Morgan thesis for decades, but some influential scientists asked for the proposal to be approached with an open mind.

 

Sir David Attenborough first considered the controversial theory on Radio 4 in 2004. In this new series of two programmes, The Waterside Ape, he brings us up to date with the story and the evidence put forward since then - both for the hypothesis and also for its continuing detractors.

 

Back in 2004, Sir David asked Elaine Morgan how long it would take for the aquatic adaptation theory to become a mainstream account of human origins. She answered, "I'll give it ten years." As we review the new evidence, has she been proved right?

 

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Thanks I've been intrigued with this theory for years.  That we lost our fur and grew our brains by being water apes for an eon or two early in our evolution.   Which means the Japanese Macaque (snow monkeys) are following in our footsteps. 

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I read about it in Desmond Morris's "The Naked Ape" many years ago, and thought that not only was it very plausible, but that it was not even part of "evolution."  In parentheses -- I am not a believer in either evolution or creation, I am a believer in co-creation, a natural process of unfolding and self-correcting as you go, in our case thwarted by intervention, an unnatural process of domestication of one species by another.  This idea, by the way, I also picked up many years ago, from Konrad Lorenz, whose mentioning in passing of the "abnormal and pathological process of domestication of humans" struck me at the time as a bolt of truth lightning.  I've found much to corroborate that instant and painful "enlightenment by lightning" since then. 

 

So, I don't think we "evolve" anymore than a chrysalis "evolves" into a butterfly.  We "unfold."  And then someone or something came along and folded us into a different shape to meet its own specs.  I've been trying to guess at the original shape for quite a while.  I think we must have been adapted to the predominant features of the habitable parts of this planet -- which is to say to everything, and were not necessarily aquatic creatures but creatures a whole lot more aquatic than at present.  Most of this planet is, after all, water.

 

I remember my first trip to the Caribbean.  The warmth and the beauty of the ocean blew my mind.  I spent most of my time immersed in water, savoring the ocean.  But coming back to the hotel I saw nearly everybody else, and definitely all American tourists, sitting or lying around or swimming in the chlorinated swimming-pool, happily dazed by the fumes, all of them facing the swimming-pool and all their backs turned on the ocean, their faces indicating to me...  ...  ...don't even ask what.  

 

We've been dragged a long way, baby.  

Edited by Taomeow
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I read about it in Desmond Morris's "The Naked Ape" many years ago, and thought that not only was it very plausible, but that it was not even part of "evolution."  In parentheses -- I am not a believer in either evolution or creation, I am a believer in co-creation, a natural process of unfolding and self-correcting as you go, in our case thwarted by intervention, an unnatural process of domestication of one species by another.  This idea, by the way, I also picked up many years ago, from Konrad Lorenz, whose mentioning in passing of the "abnormal and pathological process of domestication of humans" struck me at the time as a bolt of truth lightning.  I've found much to corroborate that instant and painful "enlightenment by lightning" since then. 

 

So, I don't think we "evolve" anymore than a chrysalis "evolves" into a butterfly.  We "unfold."  And then someone or something came along and folded us into a different shape to meet its own specs.  I've been trying to guess at the original shape for quite a while.  I think we must have been adapted to the predominant features of the habitable parts of this planet -- which is to say to everything, and were not necessarily aquatic creatures but creatures a whole lot more aquatic than at present.  Most of this planet is, after all, water.

 

I remember my first trip to the Caribbean.  The warmth and the beauty of the ocean blew my mind.  I spent most of my time immersed in water, savoring the ocean.  But coming back to the hotel I saw nearly everybody else, and definitely all American tourists, sitting or lying around or swimming in the chlorinated swimming-pool, happily dazed by the fumes, all of them facing the swimming-pool and all their backs turned on the ocean, their faces indicating to me...  ...  ...don't even ask what.  

 

We've been dragged a long way, baby.  

 

 

I watched a dolphin display at a zoo in Lisbon the other day.  And while I really don't like to see animals in captivity - it was oddly moving to see the interaction of the dolphins and the human swimmers.  Obviously they trained them to do various tricks and so on and fed them copious fish - but I was struck by the reciprocal relation of mammal with mammal.  In fact I had a kind of daydream in which the dolphins were humans who a long time ago had decided to stay in the water - while we emerged onto land.

 

I buy the evolutionary theory partly because it is kind of unformed and open ended.  Clearly there are mechanisms at work which we do not consciously engage with but have special outcomes.  Like eating lots of fish with fatty acids and so on and ending up with big brains.  But of course I also know, from knowing myself, that we have will, intent and purpose.  So we are not entirely passive products of biological mechanisms.  In fact I see two rotations - one in a worldly plane which is evolution in the scientific sense and another perpendicular to that which is our spiritual life.  That these two interweave in subtle ways, some conscious and some unconscious.

 

Going back to the zoo, it is interesting to speculate that in looking at the dolphins, constrained to act out what is needed in an environment to entertain and please a human audience, then are we looking at a reflection of ourselves?  Who is acting for who?  And is there some other kind of audience?

Edited by Apech
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The there is the 'eye thing'.  If a modern human from a young age is learnt to dive underwater and play and hunt, their eyes develop differently, and many islander kids have this; they can see clear , not blurred, under water, as if they had goggles on. And just as clear when they surface as their eyes change with the pressure on them. If they dont this , their eyes loose the ability, and you cant get it back .  - So I saw on some tv doco ... ? 

 

 

The 'stories' I have been hearing recently have started to change .... 'Old Man Dreaming '   "used to be a whale " ... huh !  and  ' Really, we came out of the ocean . "   "We are water people "    and other stuff  (  traditional 'teachings' are given via stories, in levels, most of what we hear, or is  told and recorded ,   is virtually kindergarten level / kids  'fairy-tale', then they change and get more complex and inter related as the levels rise .) 

 

ancient people, calling the dolphins up with song so they herd fish to shore for them or doing a 'crippled limping  dance' on the shore at sunset with a fire behind so the killer whales would  see 'the injured old man' and hear his song calling for help  and drive fish into the shore for him .... 

 

http://www.abc.net.au/local/audio/2013/10/29/3879462.htm

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Anyone ever study this fluid bodywork?  Don't know much about it - looks sort of like moving like a starfish or jellyfish?

 

Emilie Conrad:

Susan Harper:

Cass Phelps:

 

 
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