Was Man More Aquatic in the Past? Fifty Years After Alister Hardy - Waterside Hypotheses of Human Evolution

Indexed in: Scopus, EBSCO.

The book starts from the observation that humans are very different from the other primates. Why are we naked? Why do we speak? Why do we walk upright? Fifty years ago, in 1960, marine biologist Sir ...
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Littoral Man and Waterside Woman: The Crucial Role of Marine and Lacustrine Foods and Environmental Resources in the Origin, Migration and Dominance of Homo sapiens

Pp. 16-35 (20)

C. Leigh Broadhurst, Michael Crawford and Stephen Munro

Abstract

The ability to exploit and thrive on a wide variety of foodstuffs from diverse environments is a hallmark of Homo sapiens. Humans are particularly well adapted to exploit waterside environments, where they can forage in areas offering protection from both terrestrial and aquatic predators. Humans are able to walk, run, climb, wade, swim and dive, and our research indicates that the most parsimonious explanation for this combination of locomotor traits, and for Man's current anatomy, physiology, nutritional requirements and unique intellect is evolution in a littoral environment. This model is consistent with the location and presumed palaeoecologies of all early Homo fossils and artifacts, and could help explain the rapid dispersal of Homo in the early Pleistocene (2.56-0.78 million years ago (Ma)), the colonization of Australia and Indonesia in the middle Pleistocene (0.78-0.13 Ma), and the rapid dispersal of Homo sapiens in the late Pleistocene (0.13-0.012 Ma). Reliance on the aquatic food chain is also a facile method for providing consistently abundant brain-specific nutrition for all members of a group or society, thus facilitating the development of the technology and culture that is uniquely human.

Keywords:

Homo sapiens, brain evolution, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), aquatic food chain, iodine, selenium, littoral environments

Affiliation:

Department of Environmental and Civil Engineering, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, USA