Marc Verhaegen wrote:
> Sensible talk, Andrew, but not the final solution. I agree apiths might have
> been parttime waders in swamp forests, wetlands etc. But this has nothing
> to do with AAT s.s., which is about our ancestors: about Homo, not about
> apes or apiths.
> AAT says that some time after the Homo-Pan split 7-4 Ma, our ancestors were
> seaside omnivores who collected coconuts, fruits, bird eggs, turtles,
> shell-, crayfish, algae... The theory (based on the behavior, anatomy &
> physiology of living humans compared to other animals) explains many
> typically Homo traits (not seen in apes or australopiths) a lot better than
> dry savanna scenarios do: brain size, diving skills, breathing control,
> vocality, small mouth & chewing muscles, tongue bone descent, longer airway,
> projecting nose, reduced sense of smell, handiness, tool use, late puberty,
> long legs, body alignment, reduced climbing, fatness, fur loss, high needs
> of water, sodium, iodine & poly-unsaturated fatty acids... In the fossil
> & archeological record, this waterside episode is reflected in the
> Plio-Pleistocene dispersals of Homo along the Indian Ocean & African coasts:
> 1.8-Ma Homo remains come from Algeria, Iran, Kenya, Georgia, Java... always
> near lakes or seas (R.Dennell 2003 JHE 45:421); in spite of sea level
> changes (Ice Ages), Homo much more than australopith remains have been found
> amid shells, corals & barnacles, from 1.8 to 0.1 Ma (throughout the
> Pleistocene), in coasts all over the Old World (Mojokerto, Terra Amata,
> Table Bay, Eritrea...), even on islands that could only be reached by sea
> (Flores 0.8 Ma http://allserv.rug.ac.be/~mvaneech/outthere.htm ).
> AAT = Homo littoral diaspora
Inland sites are dated earlier than coastal sites, this implies
dispersal to the coasts, not away from them. Northwest Africa is poorly
dated, but obviously much younger than the inland sites (Clark
Fossilization is a very rare event and preservation is biased by the
availability of water, so it is hardly surprising that Homo fossils are
found near former water sources, since without it bones would seldom be
fossilized at all (Verhaegen et al. 2002:213). Since fossilized remains
account for only a tiny minority of the total amount of evidence left
behind by homo, the fact that fossils are found near water sources is a
meaningless observation and can not be used to draw inferences as to
bias waterside use by Homo.
Artifacts found amid shells, corals & barnacles is another observation
that can not stand up to careful scrutiny.
First, like fossilized bones, these sites are rare and make up only a
tiny fraction of the total number of Homo inland-savanna sites found.
Second, a typical example of stone tools found with shells comes from
Morocco. Clark (1992:22): "Here, a heavily abraded Pebble Culture
Stage IV with pointed, bifacially worked cobbles is found in gravel
with marine shells and sands."
Is there any relationship between the shells and the tools? No. Clark:
"Unfortunately, most of these stages are represented by artifacts in
secondary context so that little can be said about behavioral
Heavily abraded is a clue that the artifacts were washed downstream, by
freshwater action, onto the beach from higher on the plateau.
Clark: "Stage III is found in an adjacent quarry-called S.T.I.C.-and is
in a primary context. The artifacts occur with vertebrate fauna in a
limestone layer overlying the regressive Maarifian beach gravel. The
activity area is associated with a freshwater stream that drained onto
the beach nearby. The faunal remains all come from large terrestrial
mammals and there is no indication, at this or any other site in
Morocco, that marine fauna was made use of."
In Algeria, site called Ain Hanech (near a once large lake), contains
the remains of "extinct elephants, the three toed horse, early pigs,
bovids, giraffe and hippo" all associated with a Oldowan/Pebble
Culture says Clark. Again, no marine utilization present.
Clark, J. Desmond, 1992 The Earlier Stone Age/Lower Paleolithic in
North Africa and the Sahara.
New Light on the Northeast African Past
Africa Praehistorica 5
Edited by: KLEES, Frank & Rudolph Kuper
Heinrich Barth Institut, Kööln.
The same tools demonstrated to be associated with savanna butchery
sites earlier inland are found near coastal/large lakes in northwest
Africa and associated with savanna fauna, not clams.
Associations between these tools and the butchery of savanna fauna are
proven by cut marks on the bones and spirally fractured bones. No such
evidence exists that these same tools were used to exploit marine
resources (at least until much later in time when such associations
become irrelevant to our biological evolution).
Gamble (1994:128) Dmanisi in the Caucasus mountains of Georgia: "Simple
stone tools and a rich fauna with ostrich and extinct bears, wolves,
rhinos, and horses were also found." Dated 1.6 My ago (another words,
late and after the fact in Africa).
Mojokerto, lots of controversy and no substance.
Deer on the menu, not clams.
"The coprolites found in and around the dwellings were analyzed to
determine the components of the diet of the occupants of Terra Amata.
There were many seeds found in these samples that grow in the late
spring to early fall." And: "Judging from the size of the bones found,
the smaller, less dangerous of these animals were most frequently
taken. In addition to these larger food sources, there was an abundance
of smaller, but more agile animals. Remains of deer, stag, rabbit, and
wild boar were all found at the site."
All the sites offered by AAT (always near lakes or seas (R.Dennell 2003
JHE 45:421) as associations for marine utilization are in fact
evidence for terrestrial fauna utilization, just the opposite of what
would be predicted by using the comparative data of AAT. In short,
there is no fossil or archaeological evidence that backs up AAT