Not From Tall Trees Did We Descend
But From Deep Seas Around The Earth
Did we have our Birth and End.
By M.L. Squier
I just penned---or rather typed---these lines because I have been thinking about some intriguing ideas in a book called Water and Sexuality (an intriguing title in itself) by Michel Odent.
Last year in one of my English classes an idea surfaced (as so many do).
The subject was evolution.
Did humans really "come from" Chimpanzees and Monkeys...
Or might they have "come from" Dolphins and Whales?
To whom are humans most closely related?
No answers have been definitively given, but below are some intriguing thoughts that I found in Water and Sexuality.
"For many thousands of years the countless philosophers and scholars who pronounced on human nature did so without seeing that man is first an aquatic primate. The time has come for a radically new vision of man."
"To the voices of those who wonder whether man is destined to return to the sea, one can add the voices putting this question the other way round: was man more acquatic in the past? Might it not have been in the sea that man learned to stand up? Might it not have possible that the direct ancestor of man, the missing link, was a primate spending some of its life in water?"
"There are one hundred and niney-three living species of monkeys and apes. One hundred and ninety-two of them are covered with hair. The exception is a naked ape self-named Homo sapiens."
"With his layer of fat under the skin, man is an exception among the primates. Apes also have some fat; however, it is not under the skin but mostly around the internal organs of the abdomen. This fat's only function is to serve as an energy reserve."
"On the other hand, a layer of subcutaneous fat is common to all mammals that are adapted to water. This layer of fat protects them against the cold. It also makes them more buoyant. Their bodies are streamlined, more 'aquadynamic'. This characteristic of human beings appears at a very early age. Compared with the chubby human baby, the baby ape is thin and bony."
"When you look at the human being as a primate adapted to water, the meaning of nakedness and subcutaneous fat ceases to be mysterious. The skin and subcutaneous fat of the Hippopotamus amphibius together weigh 450 kg!"
"Generally speaking, whether in an upright or horizontal position, the spine of sea mammals is aligned with hind limbs. Here is an essential point in common between humans and cetaceans. Adaptation to water goes with great flexibility of the spine, which is another point in common between humans and cetaceans. Thanks to the great flexibility of the spine, some humans can cover a distance of a hundred metres in less than a minute by swimming in a butterfly style, using the legs in a dolphin-like kick. There is no example of an ape that can bend backwards."
"Once more, what makes man an exception among the primates is the rule among cetaceans. From the many descriptions of sea mammals mating, it seems that always happens face to face, with exception of seals and sea-lions when they are on the shore."
"Man is the only primate who floods his eyes to express certain feelings. Although a chimpanzee can express a wide range of emotions, you'll never see a tear in his eye."
"There are several skin disorders that occur only in humans. Examples of these are acne, seborrhoea and sebaceous cysts."
"Overactivity of the sebaceous glands is so common among adolescents that it could be considered as a normal stage in the development of human skin. What is this process all about? Why have we this ability to cover our skin with a thin film of fat? Is it evidence of adaptation to water? One might add this fact to the property fish oils have to reduce the permeability of skin to water."
"...although whales and dolphins belong to an order of mammals very distant to primates, they share with man a huge cerebral development, which is apparently of the same scale. One could even put forward the claim that the degree of encephalization of the dolphin is greater than that of man, if you just compare weight and size. It is worth noting that 95.9 per cent of the human brain is covered by the neocortex, whereas it covers 97.8 per cent of the dolphin's brain."
"It has been calculated that the dolphin can receive at least ten times more information through its sense organs than we can. But the dolphin does not have hands, and the hand can be considered a true sensory organ, with it immense zone of projection on the brain."
"Despite all this, the greatest part of the cortex in the dolphin, just as in man, has much more to do than simply to analyse the information given to it by the sensory organs. It is as if, set free from practical worries, humans and dolphins have time to think."
"How has it been possible, for so many thousands of years, that countless philosophers and scholars, who were pronouncing on human nature, did so without seeing that Homo sapiens is above all Homo aquaticus?
"The point is that even with the current technological advances, fossil specialists cannot build one single satisfactory theory of the genesis of man. There is a blank of several million years to fill."
"The belief that water was the beginning of all things persisted in the teaching of Thales of Miletus, whose philosophy marks the transition in Western thought from mythical forms to scientific speculations about the origins of the world."
"The probability that the sea covered a part of East Africa for a period might be a key for comprehending the emergence of man; it may also be a root of cross-cultural myths and legends. It adds support to the growing conviction among evolutionists that the emergence of man was accomplished more rapidly than was once imagined. It adds powerful support to the theories of Alister Hardy. And it makes us think twice about the limitations of an approach that is based exclusively on fossils. What are the chances of finding fossils that can be used by scientists? This difficulty is not insurmountable. Some whales are known only by their fossils. La Lumiere noticed that most hominid remains have been found in rocks that seem to have been formed in lakes and estuaries."
Was Humanity Born in the Water?
"We have seen that most of the features that distinguish man from the apes can be interpreted as signs of adaptation to an aquatic environment. We have drawn attention to the fact that the missing link probably corresponds to the time when part of the African continent was covered by sea. But there is still one stage to be considered before the aquatic theory can be accepted as a serious basis for reflection and study. This stage is a toing and froing between land and sea, which is a well-known and common phenomenon in the process of evolution."
"Going back to the sea is an ordinary evolutionary process, involving birds such as penguins and reptiles such as crocodiles and snakes. When one thinks of the mammals who returned to the sea, cetaceans such as whales, dolphins and porpoises come first to mind. Like all mammals, they are warm-blooded animals; they breathe air, develop in the uterus before birth, and go through a period of breast-feeding. It is generally agreed that these mammals started to go back to the sea about seventy millions years ago, and that they derive from two or three different terrestrial species."
"It is important to realize that every known order of mammal has cousins in the water. The dugong and the manatee are the descendants of vegetarian hoofed animals; seals, sea-lions and walruses are the descendants of carnivorous animals; beavers are the cousins of purely terrestrial rodents. So why is ti impossible that a primate temporarily followed the same route? This primate is man."
"The skeleton of an extinct variety of aquatic primate, the Oreopithecus, has been found in Italy. The bones were preserved because they sank into the mud. This primate, adapted to life in the swamp, had many points in common with man, such as the short, broad pelvis and the elbow of an upright walker, as well as a flattened face."
"Since the passage between sea and land is possible in both directions, and since some animal species are amphibious, there is no a priori reason why certain mammals adapted to water should not go back to dry land. This might have been so in the case of the elephant. The elephant has many things in common with aquatic mammals. It has practically no hair and has webbing between its toes. The opening in the skin for nostrils is above the eyes, as in sea mammals (in the elephant this is hidden because the air canal continues down inside the trunk). The elephant is an excellent swimmer and expresses emotions by shedding tears. At the birth of the baby elephant, there is always an 'aunt': an experienced female that plays the role of the midwife. The presence of a midwife might be a point in common between sea mammals, elephants and humans."
Towards the Ocean
"The authentic Homo sapiens will turn more and more towards the water, the sea, the ocean. He will look to the element as a feminine symbol---water as a symbol and sexuality cannot be dissociated---and this will help him to become reintegrated into nature."
"He will also turn his attention towards the water in the search for new sources of energy. He will be inspired by the process of photosynthesis that plants have used for billions of years. He will try to meet the challenge of solar hydrogen, and split water into hydrogen and oxygen by electrolysis. Water might become the fuel of the future. And if one day we learn how to fuse the nuclei of two types of hydrogen, it will be another chapter in the story of hydrogen, which is a component part of water."
"Man will turn also towards the ocean to bring to an end the burning of the planet. He will learn to master the infinite energy oceans can offer to man. Can he do that without making the ocean a new colony? Can he do that and maintain an ocean as a respected universe?"
"The ocean provides Homo sapiens with a focus for the rediscovery of the central metaphor of an old and forgotten wisdom. It is the vision of the ocean where every wave, apparently distinct, is intrinsic to the whole. Every being is a temporary and fleeting form that is absorbed in an amorphous and unlimited whole."
'The sage who wants to change the world will have to look towards the water,' said the Taoist Tchouang-Tsu. The sage who wants to change the world must look at the new-born baby. 'Civilization will commence on the day when the well-being of the new-born baby prevails over any other consideration,' said Wilhelm Reich. Let us combine these two prophecies at a time when the advent of an authentic Homo sapiens is the only chance for the planet to survive. May such wisdom, such sapience, be the prime accomplishment of man."
The following is a commentary on the human-dolphin connection involving little known facts. As the result of scientific research, it is becoming more convincing that dophins are the "other humans" that share the planet with us.
Seem like a far-fetched idea? Many of the commonly accepted world views of today were not so common nor accepted at one time. A shift in world opinion first begins with the first few pioneers who bravely introduce a new thought that often meets with great resistance and disbelief ...at first.
The ancestral connections between dolphins and humans is based on continuing research and other convincing evidence. You may find it quite thought provoking.
by Paula Peterson
Earthcode International Network
The aquatic ape theory was first put forward by Alister Hardy, research scientist and Professor of Zoology, Oxford University, back in 1960.
Hardy suggested that many of the characteristics that make humans so very different than the apes can be accounted for if humankind passed through a semi-aquatic phase a very long time ago.
An increasing number of anthropologists and other scientists are considering the aquatic ape theory more seriously.
Our aquatic phase is theorized to have taken place between nine and three million years ago, at a time which corresponds with the emergence of the dolphin of today.
Mounting evidence suggests that human's are more closely related to dolphins, far more than they are related to apes. Some of you may be laughing and scoffing right now. However, if you've studied the latest scientific research, you would be impressed.
Continuing research increasingly supports that humans, dolphins, and apes evolved from a common ancestor.
Why hasn't any of this research been made more public? Obviously, it clashes with the versions set down by academic institutions throughout the world: humans evolved from the apes - and few have challenged it. Darwin did a good job of convincing us, and largely, his theories laid the foundation for all subsequent research studies involving human origin. Studies on human-ape correlation seem endless.
There are fewer studies comparing humans and cetaceans (dolphins and whales). These studies have been restricted to the similarities of the brain, especially the neocortex. In this regard the cetacean brain is nearly identical, and may even be superior to the human brain according to the latest research. But there are many more similarities as follows.
Research into the skeletal structure of Cetaceans shows vestiges of toes (fingers?) and dewclaws (thumbs?). These evolved into powerful flippers and tails, indicating that dolphins and whales once lived on the land. But that research is pretty common knowledge these days.
What are lesser known, and far more interesting characteristics, are those that point to some fascinating connections with humans. In the works of theorist Sir Alister Hardy, award-winning writer Elaine Morgan, and in the studies of Dr. Michel Odent---world famous surgeon and pioneer into human water births - dolphins, humans and apes are likely to have evolved from a common ancestor millions of years ago.
One of the most noticeable differences between human and ape is the lack of hair. Humans do, indeed, have hairs all over the body. However, the hairs are short, fine and less conspicuous. The argument for this difference is that our early ancestors had to stay cool from the heat of the Savanna deserts where early humans are said to have first appeared. But that makes no sense. Even in the hottest countries, apes and other animals still have hair. In fact, the hair provides insulation and protection from heat as well as the suns rays.
And why did the hunting male, who was likely to over heat in the course of the hunt, retain more hair than the slower-moving female waiting back home?
Aquatic ape theory points out that virtually all hairless mammals are either aquatic or wallowers. The longer an animal has been in the water, the more complete the hair loss. Dolphins still retain a few vestigial bristles around their snout, but otherwise, their silken skin is entirely naked.
The only ocean mammals that have fur are those who get out of the water to spend time on land in cold climates such as seals or otters. It's interesting that human's have most of the hair on their heads, which is the part of the body that is above water while swimming. The aquatic ape theory suggests that humans kept the hair on their heads for protection and to give their offspring something to hang onto while the parent spent time wallowing in the water.
Having no hair on the body makes human skin very sensitive and pleasurable to touch. Lack of body hair, sensitive skin, and sensuality is a common trait humans share with dolphins and other cetaceans.
Male apes mount the female only from behind during copulation. The most frequent position during copulating humans is face to face. The only position of copulation for dolphins is face to face. Dolphins, like humans, have sex even when they are not in heat which is unusual in the animal kingdom.
It has been hypothesized that the larger brain and expanded neocortex - which is a common trait shared between humans, dolphins and whales - is correlated with increased sexual activity which is unconnected with reproductive goals. Homosexual contact is common among dolphins and is rarely found elsewhere among animals (although there are studies in which this behavior has been observed in other animal species).
There is a fatty layer beneath the skin of all humans that makes us different than all other apes, which have no such fatty layer. The human infant's extra fatty tissue gives them natural buoyancy. This fatty layer is found in dolphins and all ocean dwelling mammals.
Although most apes have a fear of water, humans are highly attracted to water and will swim for pleasure. Human infants can swim before they can walk. These traits are uncommon among the apes. Humans are also equipped with a diving reflex. This is not found among apes. When a human dips his face in water, the heart rate immediately slows down. This kind of reflex is found in dolphins, whales and all animals that dive.
The infamous freestyle diver, Jacques Mayol, was able to plunge to a depth of over 100 meters during a single held breath. Mayol believes that dolphins were a source of inspiration to him.
Humans perspire as a response to heat. Apes do not. Humans shed tears. Apes do not. The interesting thing about tear glands is that it is commonly found among sea mammals as an adaptation to the marine environment.
When comparing humans and apes, the mechanics of human births are difficult - and among the apes it is not. There is no pelvic cavity in apes and the infant's head is always smaller than the mother's skeleton which makes birthing easy. In humans, birth is painful and often difficult because the infant's head - from the frontal lobes to the back - is larger than the mother's pelvic floor. The shoulders are larger, too, making it necessary for the baby to advance through the birth canal in a spiral motion in order to come out. Dolphin infants also spiral out through the birth canal.
Apes give birth alone, without help, usually in the dead of night, and they eat the placenta. Human births often require help from at least one other and only in certain rare, remote cultures does a human mother eat the placenta. Unique among mammals, dolphin births require an experienced female to be in attendance to help and the placenta is never eaten.
In an upright or horizontal position, the spine of sea mammals is aligned with the hind limbs, as it is in humans. Adaptation to water requires that the spine be very flexible, as it is in both dolphins and humans. This is not so with apes.
And then, of course, there are many studies comparing the similarities of the human and dolphin brain. Dolphins and humans both have huge cerebral (neocortical) development, which is apparently on the same scale. On the other hand, the brain of the ape is very small, with very little neocortex development. Dolphins are amazingly intelligent; there is no question about it. However, how researchers go about determining intelligence is through human perspective. It is not only possible, but highly likely that dolphins have an intelligence that goes well beyond our ability to measure it, and that they use their intelligence in a very different way than we do.
For instance, inside the dolphin brain is a chamber that baffles researchers: recent studies imply that this mysterious area of the brain may serve in achieving meditative states, contemplation or abstract thought. A favorite theory is that this chamber is not only responsible for all these activities, but that it additionally serves in telepathic communication and in visualizing in holographic fashion.
Among the apes, there has been a steady, adaptive increase in brain size throughout their evolutionary period. Yet the prehistoric development of the human brain does not follow this trend: it takes an unprecedented leap forward.
The human brain has become greatly different from the mammals to an extent shared only with the bottlenose dolphin.
Special kinds of lipids, known as the essential fatty acids, are the building blocks for brain tissue. These acids – the omega-6 fatty acids from leafy green and seed-bearing plants and the omega-3 fatty acids from marine phyto-plankton and algae – are used in the human brain in a balance of 1:1 and is shared only with the dolphins which have the same ratio. Biochemicaly, dolphins are still land mammals living in a marine environment.
The list goes on and on, and only a few points of comparisons have been covered: there are many others. Some of you reading this article intuitively know there is truth to these statements and it simply makes sense. Others may need a lot more convincing. However, it's likely that most will agree that dolphins and whales are extraordinary creatures, and it's becoming more difficult to classify them as mere animals. They are, in many ways, the "other humans" who choose to live in the sea.
It's interesting, too, that Jacques Cousteau - legendary ocean explorer - wrote that the original sin was gravity and that we will only achieve redemption when we return to the water - as cetaceans did long ago.
To learn more about the fascinating Aquatic Ape theory, please check out Elaine Morgan's works---author of the highly acclaimed The Descent of Woman and The Aquatic Ape.
If you want to read more on the amazing comparisons with dolphins and humans, read the book Water and Sexuality by internationally acclaimed, Dr. Michel Odent. It isn't really about sexuality: perhaps he gave it that title to attract more readers!
©by Paula Peterson 2003
Humans Genes Closer To Dolphins' Than Any Land Animals
by Seema Kumar
Discovery Channel Online News
For years, marine biologists have told us that dolphins share many traits with humans, including intelligence and friendliness. Now, a comparison of dolphin and human chromosomes shows that the genetic make-up of dolphins is amazingly similar to humans.
In fact, researchers at Texas A&M University have found that dolphins have more in common with us genetically than cows, horses or pigs.
"The extent of the genetic similarity came as a real surprise to us," says David Busbee of Texas A&M University, who published his results in last week's Cytogenetics and Cell Genetics.
This information will not only help researchers construct the genetic blueprint of dolphins, but also bolster conservation efforts.
Aided by the progress made in mapping the human genome, researchers will continue to identify individual genes on dolphin chromosomes. Busbee estimates it will save them 20 years of work, and the similarities and differences will reveal how long ago humans and dolphins branched off the evolutionary tree.
Researchers at Texas A&M University applied "paints," or fluorescently labeled human chromosomes, to dolphin chromosomes, and found that 13 of 22 dolphin chromosomes were exactly the same as human chromosomes.
Of the remaining nine dolphin chromosomes, many were combinations or rearrangements of their human counterparts. Researchers also identified three dolphin genes that were similar to human genes.
Until now, researchers have never been able to do genetic studies of dolphins because they are a protected species, making it difficult to get tissues from them. However, Busbee was able to grow colonies of cells from fetal tissues when a female dolphin miscarried.
"Dolphins are marine mammals that swim in the ocean and it was astonishing to learn that we had more in common with the dolphin than with land mammals," says Horst Hameister, professor of medical genetics at the University of Ulm in Germany.
In the past 15 years, the world's dolphin populations have declined considerably, exacerbated by high levels of PCBs. Researchers speculate that PCBs impair the immune systems of dolphins, leaving them vulnerable to disease.
"If we can show that humans are similar to dolphins, and anything that endangers dolphins is an equal concern for humans, it may be easier to persuade governments to become serious about combating industrial pollution and keeping oceans clean," says Busbee.
By Seema Kumar, Discovery Channel Online News
The monkey or the whale?
Man had muscles in his ears
And somehow wiggled them to show his fears.
Was this creation or evolution?
By M.L. Squier
Many an animal might wish
That it could be a flying fish
Upon the water
Then up and away
Into the blue air.
We watch and wonder how
It ever got up there.
Birds watch, too, and remember
Their watery past.
Fish have become birds
That once were just fish.
I sometimes wonder if
Men were once dolphins
Who left the salty sea---
To become you and me---Homo sapiens?
By M.L. Squier
IT'S ABOUT RENEWABLE RESOURCES AND EVOLUTION