current (March/April 2014) issue of Evolutionary Anthropology is rare in that
it contains two papers specifically critiquing the so-called “aquatic ape
hypothesis” (abbreviated “AAH”, but better labelled, in the plural, “waterside
hypotheses of human evolution.”). The first (Foley & Lahr, 2014) is a general assessment of the
authors’ interpretation of the AAH and the second (Rae & Koppe, 2014) is a particular rebuttal of one
specific idea—the sinuses for floatation hypothesis. This short paper is a
response to both. It is argued that the first uses a straw man’s argument to
characterize the so-called “AAH” as arguing for exclusively more aquatic
adaptations than waterside proponents have in the past. Foley & Lahr’s
paper is also unscholarly in that it does not draw upon the latest scholarly
work. One chapter of that work re-defines and re-labels the “AAH”, which was of
key importance to their paper. Rae & Koppe’s paper is harder to criticize
but still contains some problems which the authors overlook in their strict
rejection of the sinuses for floatation hypothesis. If one understands that
waterside hypotheses of human evolution are simply postulating that major
phenotypic differences between humans and chimps are the result of a (perhaps
slight) differential in the selection from wading, swimming and diving, they
cannot be ridiculed as belonging in the same “crazy box” as creationism as
Henry Gee recently argued and must take their place within mainstream physical
Cite this paper
Kuliukas, A. (2014). Removing the “Hermetic Seal” from the Aquatic Ape Hypothesis: Waterside Hypotheses of Human Evolution. Advances in Anthropology, 4,
164-167. doi: 10.4236/aa.2014.43020
 Foley, R. A., & Lahr, M. M. (2014). The Role of “the Aquatic” in Human Evolution: Constraining the Aquatic Ape Hypothesis. Evolutionary Anthropology, 23, 56-59. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/evan.21405
 Gee, H. (2013). Aquatic Apes Are the Stuff of Creationism, Not Evolution. The Guardian Online, 7 May 2013.http://www.theguardian.com/science/occams-corner/2013/
 Hardy, A. (1960). Was Man More Aquatic in the Past? New Scientist, 7, 642-645.
 Kuliukas, A. V. (2011). Langdon’s Critique of the Aquatic Ape Hypothesis: It’s Final Refutation, or Just Another Misunderstanding? In: M. Vaneechoutte, M. Verhaegen, & A. V. Kuliukas (Eds.), Was Man More Aquatic in the Past? Fifty Years after Alister Hardy: Waterside Hypothesis of Human Evolution. Bentham (Basel).
 Kuliukas, A. V., & Morgan, E. (2011). Aquatic Scenarios in the Thinking on Human Evolution: What Are They and How Do They Compare? In: M. Vaneechoutte, M. Verhaegen, & A. V. Kuliukas (Eds.), Was Man More Aquatic in the Past? Fifty Years after Alister Hardy: Waterside Hypothesis of Human Evolution. Bentham (Basel).
 Langdon, J. (1997). Umbrella Hypotheses and Parsimony in Human Evolution: A Critique of the Aquatic Ape Hypothesis. Journal of Human Evolution, 33, 479-494. http://dx.doi.org/10.1006/jhev.1997.0146
 Moore, J. (2005). www.aquaticape.org
 Morgan, E. (2005). Personal Comment. I Spent Many Hours Discussing These Matters with Her. We Co-Authored a Chapter Basically Trying to Clarify This Very Issue.
 Rae, T. C., & Koppe, T. (2000). Isometric Scaling of Maxillary Sinus Volume in Hominoids. Journal of Human Evolution, 38, 411-423. http://dx.doi.org/10.1006/jhev.1999.0357
 Rae, T. C., & Koppe, T. (2014). Sinuses and Flotation: Does the Aquatic Ape Theory Hold Water? Evolutionary Anthropology, 23, 60-64. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/evan.21408
 Rhys Evans, P. H. (1992). The Paranasal Sinuses and Other Enigmans: An Aquatic Evolutionary Theory. Journal of Laryngology Otology, 106, 214-225. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0022215100119115
 Roede, M., Wind, J., Patrick, J., & Reynolds, V. (1991). Aquatic Ape: Fact of Fiction. Proceedings from the Valkenburg Conference, London: Souvenir Press.
 Royal Marsden Hospital Conference (2013) Human Evolution Past, Present & Future: Anthropological, Medical & Nutritional Considerations. London, 8-9 May 2013.