Aquatic Ape

aquatic ape

The aquatic ape hypothesis (AAH), an alternative explanation of some characteristics of human evolution, theorizes that the common ancestors of modern humans spent a period of time adapting to life in a partially-aquatic environment. The theory is based on differences between humans and other great apes, and apparent similarities between humans and some aquatic mammals. First proposed in 1942 and expanded in 1960, its greatest proponent has been the writer Elaine Morgan, who has spent more than forty years discussing the AAH.

While there are theories suggesting protohumans underwent some adaptations due to interaction with water, the sort of radical specialization posited by the AAH has not been accepted within the scientific community as a valid explanation for human divergence from related primates. It has been criticized for possessing a variety of theoretical problems, for lacking evidentiary support, and for there being alternative explanations for many of the observations suggested to support the theory.

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