Tag Archives | apes

Could Humanity Have Descended From Aquatic Apes?

aquatic apesAre we all on team aqua ape? The admittedly far-fetched theory posits that certain key traits hint that humanity’s ape ancestors spent significant time in the water. Complete Genomics writes:

A controversial theory that humans evolved from amphibious apes has won new support. The aquatic ape theory, whose supporters include David Attenborough, suggests that apes emerged from the water, lost their fur, started to walk upright and then developed big brains.

While it has been treated with scorn by some scientists since it first emerged 50 years ago, it is backed by a committed group of academics, including Sir David. The group will hold a major London conference next week.

One of the organizers, Peter Rhys Evans told the Observer that humans are very different from other apes, as we lack fur, walk upright, have big brains and subcutaneous fat and have a descended larynx – which is common among aquatic animals.

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British Teen Photographs Mysterious Apelike Creature In Public Park

A case of confusion? A hoax? Or the emergence of a new, adorable little cousin to Sasquatch? The Telegraph reports:

Terri Leigh Cox, 17, says that she saw something hunched over and bounding around on all fours from her bedroom window in Dorchester, Dorset, and took a photograph of it on her mobile phone. The teenager said that the park’s visitor, which she insisted was not a dog or cat, then ran up a tree and out of sight. Shaun Bessant, her boyfriend, went out to investigate but found no sign of the “monkey–like” creature.

Miss Cox said: “It was definitely a monkey because you could tell by its hunched back and the way it scampered across the field and up the tree…It could have escaped if someone was keeping it as a pet.”

The park is about 10 miles from the Monkey World attraction in Wool. A spokesman for Monkey World said that all of its monkeys and apes were accounted for.

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Chimps Attacking Humans In Revenge For Habitat Destruction?

Does this portend a future war between apes and humanity? Local media in the Democratic Republic of the Congo are interpreting a spate of chimp violence perpetrated against people as motivated by revenge. Via New Scientist:

Habitat loss may be to blame for an apparent spate of violent attacks by chimpanzees on humans in the war-torn eastern region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Mistrust of chimpanzees has been heightened by local media reports, which suggest that as many as 10 people have been killed and 17 injured by chimps, in acts that were reported as “revenge attacks” for people encroaching on their territory.

Klaus Zuberbuhler, a psychologist at the University of St Andrews in Fife, UK, and scientific director of the Budongo Conservation Field Station in Uganda, says restricting the chimps’ habitat can certainly affect their behaviour, though it is debatable whether the chimps’ aggression towards humans is a form of revenge.

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Chimp ‘Secret Handshakes’ May Be Cultural

Isn’t culture supposed to be what separates us from the animals? Now what does humanity have that sets us apart, just toilets and puns? Live Science writes:

These chimp handshakes, which are seen only among some of the primates, seem to differ from group to group in ways that aren’t dependent on genetics or environment. That leaves cultural differences between groups as a possible explanation.

This behavior was first seen in a group of chimps in Tanzania, and has been observed in at least 15 other groups as well. The fact that the behavior is long-lasting and appears to be passed down through generations suggests that the handshakes may be a rudimentary form of culture.

Two groups [observed over several years] were big into hand-clasping, but there were differences. Group 1 almost always grasped their hands palm-to-palm, while Group 2 hooked their wrists around each other instead. The researchers have also observed young chimpanzees learning the hand clasps from their elders.

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Human Ancestors Were For The Most Part Vegetarian

Looking to free your diet from the perversions of modernity and eat paleo-style? When our ancient predecessors were developing their digestive systems, they did so on a steady ration of plants — which are what most primates eat to this day, writes Scientific American:

An entire class of self-help books recommends a return to the diets of our ancestors–Paleolithic diets, caveman diets, primal diets and the like. But what did our ancestors eat?

A paleo diet is an arbitrary thing. Which paleo diet should we eat? The one from twelve thousand years ago? A hundred thousand years ago? Forty million years ago? I would argue that, IF we want to return to our ancestral diets, we might reasonably eat what our ancestors spent the most time eating during the largest periods of the evolution of our guts. If that is the case, we need to be eating fruits, nuts, and vegetables—especially fungus-covered tropical leaves.

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