Sir Alistair Hardy's Aquatic Ape Theory

             There are many debates about how Homo sapiens came to be. Different people have different theories or ideas about the evolution of man. There is the Christian belief that a spiritual power put humans onto the earth, this view is shared by many religions throughout the world, this is not strictly evolution but is called the creationism theory. The theory of evolution was first brought to scientists' attention by Charles Darwin one hundred and forty years ago, where he speculated that man evolved from earlier life form. Since then scientists have been trying to solve the mysteries of mans origins. There is a period of time before approximately five million years ago that has no fossil evidence to prove the step from ape like primates to hominids, the theories of evolution all ponder on this period to try and find "the missing link”. There are many theories of human evolution, although just two are widely debated by scientists today. The savannah hypothesis is a theory that man evolved from the primates that were forced down from the trees in the African rainforests to the dry African savannah and thereby had to adapt to this new way of life. The other is the aquatic ape theory. This theory says that man evolved some of its distinctive features such as bipedalism and relative hairlessness in an aquatic environment and that ancient human ancestors spent more time in this aquatic environment than its present day descendants. This essay will explore the aquatic ape theory in depth and show the arguments for and against this theory. .

             The aquatic ape theory was demonstrated by Sir Alistair Hardy in his original paper "Was man more aquatic in the past?”. It puts across the idea of a more aquatic primate that lived near water, using it more readily than modern humans do today. This theory followed the proposal by Max Westerhofer's that some modern human physiological features indicate an aquatic type adaptation.

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