What happened to the Aquatic Ape Theory?

Here’s a bit of background on the Aquatic Ape Theory of human evolution in case you haven’t heard of it before.

My understanding is that this theory has been largely discredited. Does anyone know why? Is there more support for the Mosaic theory? If so, why?


A staff report on the topic. My understanding is that it’s largely seen as discredited.

aha. Much obliged.

The AAT was never accepted, so discredited is perhaps not the right word. It went down for the usual reason: a total lack of actual evidence for it. Just lots of speculation based on ifs and maybes and possiblys. Scientists also know more about more human ancestors by now as well. Morgan’s first book was in 1982 (and the first mention of the theory was in 1960) and several more species have been found since. Fitting in an aquatic ancestor becomes more difficult all the time.

I looked at the page you linked to and I don’t understand what the Mosaic theory is supposed to be, or how it’s a hypothesis.

Here’s a good page that examines and debunks the claims of the AAT. On preview I see that the staff report also linked to it, but a direct link is also useful.

As **bibliophage’s ** report indicates, at the time the hypothesis was first formulated, in the 1960s, there was a 10-million-year gap in the fossil record of humans. This allowed for a lot of speculation about what might have been going on during this time.

As bib notes, since that time most of the gap has been filled in with new fossil discoveries, and there is not a shred of evidence has been found to support the hypothesis. This is probably the most decisive factor in why it is now discredited. However, the Staff Report gives a good analysis of why the hypothesis was pretty much bogus to begin with.