Aquatic Ape Theory - What is it?
A Brief Summary of AAT - key arguments
A Brief History and Key Proponents of AAT
Current Aquatic Evolution Theories
Alternative theories of human evolution
Wikipedia and the scientific community
. Anatomical Evidence
... Birth and babies
... Breath control
... Fingers, toes and feet
... Hair and baldness
... Olfactory sense
... Paranasal Sinuses
... Sexual features
... Surfer's ear
... Underwater vision
. Language & Song
. Sleep (USWS)
. Waterside environments
. Sea Gypsies
. Homo erectus - shallow diver
. Fossil evidence
. Paleoecological evidence
A call to scientists...
Recent News and Updates
Books and publications
WATER AND HUMAN DISPERSAL
Water helped in the distribution of humanity across the face of the planet: along seashores, lake margins and river
banks. This would have accounted for the prehistoric peopling of most of the Old World, from Africa to Europe and
mainland Asia. Strolling or swimming along the beach would have been sufficient to carry mankind from the Horn
of Africa to the Peloponnesos, from the Levant to the Korean Peninsula, from Singapore to Siberia. When much
water was bound up on land as glaciers in the Ice Ages, sea levels were lower than they are today, and previously
submerged land-bridges appeared. At such times, it would have been possible to walk dry-shod from Tripoli and
Tunisia to Malta and Sicily, from South Korea to South Japan, and from the Sakhalin Peninsula to Hokkaido, North
Japan, from Malaysia to Sumatra, Java and Bali. These temporary land-bridges helped the spread of humans into
vast new areas of the Earth.
Between Siberia and Alaska there was a broad land-connection known as Beringia: it was more than a ‘bridge’ as it was
over 500 kilometers wide, from its northern to its southern shore. Deepsea corings show that this dry land connection
between Asia and America appeared and disappeared (with falls and rises of the sea level) many times over the last few
hundred thousand years. The southern flank of Beringia must have had a mild and balmy climate, because the landconnection
cut off the icy Arctic current to the North, while the warm Japan current played upon the South coast.
Beachcombers would have had a tolerable life on the southern flank and that was the path they probably took to people
the New World, perhaps originally more than 100 thousands of years ago (ka) and probably on several excursions.
At some stages and in some places, humans learned to cross the water, even without a land-bridge. Java and Bali
were periodically connected to the Asian mainland, so that animals, including humans, could easily gain access to
them. However, the Indonesian island of Flores, part of what was named Wallacia (after Alfred Russel Wallace),
could be reached only by sea crossings, even when the sea level was at its lowest. Yet stone tools and fossil bones
on Flores show that humans (probably Homo erectus) and archaic elephants (Stegodon) must have crossed this deep
oceanic channel 0.9 to 0.8 Ma [1, 2]. We have no evidence to suggest that they knew how to make boats so early.
Either they floated across using tree trunks, rafts of detached vegetation, or logs, or they paddled holding floats, or
they swam. Somehow or other, humans could cross a stretch of water, which, at lowest sea level, was 19-20
kilometers wide nearly a million years ago [3-6]. Morwood et al. [1, 2] have concluded that Homo erectus was capable of repeated water crossings using water-craft, by the beginning of the middle Pleistocene, 0.7-0.9 Ma.
[Philip Tobias. Was Man More Aquatic in the Past? p.4]
How the upright ape conquered the world
Some 6 million years ago we split from a common ancestor with chimps. Fossils found at the key sites shown on the map below reveal that hominins then diversified into many species and spread far from their ancestral home in Africa. Click on each site to learn more about what we've found there.
An evolutionary perspective on coastal adaptations by modern humans during
the Middle Stone Age of Africa
Manuel Will, Andrew W Kandel, Katharine Kyriacou & Nicholas J Conard 2015
Quaternary International in press doi 10.1016/j.quaint.2015.10.021
The MSA of Africa documents the earliest & longest record of marine
resource use & coastal settlements by Hs.
Here, we provide a long-term & evolutionary perspective of these behaviors.
We propose a definition of "coastal adaptations" rooted in the principles
of evolutionary biology as a workable analytical device,
we review the MSA archaeological record from Africa, to characterize the
specific nature of coastal adaptations by Hs,
we evaluate current models, addressing the importance of coastal
adaptations for human evolution,
and we formulate new hypotheses within the larger framework of
evolutionary causality by linking these behaviors directly to reproductive
The current archaeological record suggests that Hs occasionally consumed
marine resources during the late-Mid-Pleistocene,
but systematic & optimized gathering of a variety of marine food items
dates to MIS-5 & -4.
Archaeo-zoological studies show that people exploited marine resources in
a methodical manner on the Atlantic, Indian & Mediterranean coasts of
Africa during this time frame.
Despite the similarities in coast-lines, mobile huntergatherers also
integrated these variable coastal landscapes into their settlement
strategies for >100 ka, as shown by evidence for stable, repeated &
Elements of complex material culture (bone tools, shell beads) occur
particularly often in (near)coastal MSA sites.
The specific nature of coastal adaptations by Hs can thus be characterized
by their systematic nature, long duration & verifiable impact on the
overall adaptive suite.
By combining archaeological data with ethnographic, nutritional & medical
studies, we propose several evolutionary scenarios for how Hs could have
increased survival & fecundity rates by their specific adaptations to
To test these hypothetical scenarios for the selective advantages of
coastal adaptations for Hs, we need
- more data deriving from an expanded spatio-temporal archaeological
- more formal evolutionary models & research strategies.