Re: Homo erectus (sensu stricto) the most aquatically adapted hominin?


Flores has been separated from Mainland Asia by deep water channels for at least 5 million years. There is no evidence Homo erectus ever reached Flores except one femur from Mata Menge of an individual who stood about 5 feet tall (LB1 stood about 3 feet tall). The Mata Menge Homo floresiensis fragments at about 700kya are about 20% smaller than LB1 (they were about 3 feet tall or less). ________________________________________________________________________________________________Since the Argue et al 2017 paper all evidence of humans on Flores has been attributed to Homo floresiensis by most authors. The reverse Island gigantism hypothesis for Homo “isolated: on Islands was poorly thought out from start to finish. Omnivores such as Homo are predicted by the Island Gigantism – dwarfism hypothesis to get larger, not smaller, just as the fossil record suggests when seen over time for humans on Islands. ________________________________________________________________________________________________I agree early modern humans were the osteologically most aquatically adapted Hominids known with the exception of the archaic human fragments from the Congo who did not live very long ago for archaic humans and show very high levels of aquatic adaptations. ___________________________________________________________________________________________________Grimaldi, the Qazfeh skulls and Sardinia 1 show high levels of marine adaptations. Very deep palates to push the tongue into the roof of the mouth during under water foraging. Relatively very high alveolar and mandibular prognathy. High domed heads well adapted to diving and triangular shaped nasal openings to more easily close the nose while diving by closing the nostrils and pushing the upper lip up onto the nostrils. __________________________________________________________________________________________________Juvenile teeth of Grimaldi show very unusual wear which can be from eating tough marine plants or holding fine line in between the teeth (such as for fishing). All early modern human fossils known, the Levant, Apidima 1, Sardinia 1 except Herto are within an easy walk of the ocean at the time they lived. ___________________________________________________________________________________________During very difficult environment times, as often was the case in the Middle Pleistocene when modern humans first appeared (Jebel Irhoud a “mosaic modern human” actually more closely related to neanderthals than extant humans was also within an easy walk of the Atlantic), aquatic environments would have supported a large percentage of the few humans alive when the continents were cold deserts for the most part. _______________________________________________________________________________________________Archaic pygmies appear to have inhabited arboreal and desert (xeric) environments in the Middle Pleistocene, and mixed with Homo heidelbergensis to give modern humans. The first great sea people known were archaic pygmies, as shown by their very wide Island distribution and presence on Madagascar. At Palaua archaic pygmies persisted until a few thousand years ago and were found in beach deposits (Berger et al, back then late archaic pygmies including Homo luzonensis were published as AMHs pygmies). So early modern humans inherited marine adapted traits from more marine branches of Middle Pleistocene archaic pygmies. The Narmada India archaic pygmies appear to have been arboreal (Middle Pleistocene continental archaic pygmies). ______________________________________________________________________________________________________The very high morphological diversity of archaic pygmies (as high or higher than all fossil Homo from Africa), and the deep divergence of the Andanamese Asiatic pygmy clade which extends into SE Asia, along with Andanamese having South Asian dental morphology, African cranial morphology, and no detected Denisovan genes unlike their close kin in Sahul and the Philippines, puts to rest the ROoA fantasy along with a large body of other evidence. One would need to go back about one million years for the last time more than half of Eurasian ancestry was in Africa, and more than half of Sub-Saharan ancestry today is Afro-Eurasian as evidenced both by the fossil record and genetics. Pygmies being monophyletic, as evidenced by many things including complex heart related genes, and reaching Africa from Asia not the other way around, puts ROoA to rest for once and for all for the well informed. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________Few would have predicted 25 years ago AAT would outlive ROoA! The strong archaic ghost elements in Africa are too old to support ROoA. They instead support Afro-Eurasian gene flow mostly replacing Original African populations in the last 5-230 thousand years with considerable continuity in Africa. With Eurasians being largely but not essentially replaced by gene flow from Africa at about 1 million years ago. Amended ROoA “essential replacement” is not in any way evidenced, not by fossils lithics or genes, no more so than complete replacement ROoA was. ___________________________________________________________________________________________________The fossil record does not support an East Asian origin of modern humans just as it does not support an East African origin. Herto shows continuity with East African archaics, and considerable gene flow to become modern human from Eurasia including the Sahulian aspect which is of SE European Homo heidelbergensis clade to Narmada to late Sundan Homo erectus origins. Because modern humans originated by a blending process, not the usually false linear evolution model, any place the fossil record is decent (such as Sunda China or East Africa), it is easy to fantasize that was the origin of modern humans. The fossil record strongly suggests, based upon fossil teeth, fully modern humans first began around or in SE Asia at about 120kya and spread to North Africa by gene flow at about 100kya and into Sub-Sahara quickly from North Africa. _________________________________________________________________________________________________As pointed out by Wolpoff, both AMHs and modern humans are fantasy taxa to begin with. They are chrono taxa. Nor does any trait define all extant human populations as AMHs except the greatly enlarged Broca area, irrespective of statements and publication by Stringer demonstrating considerable ignorance of archaic traits in extant human populations. Such as the plesiomorphic condition in pygmies, as seen in many of their populations today, being a lack of any ossified chin. Or Tasmanians (who are not much bigger than pygmies) having the archaic condition of front to back craniums. ___________________________________________________________________________________________________”AAT” for early modern humans can be seen as a sort of blending process which also involved minor bottle backing to give the first modern humans as beach dwelling hybrids of Homo heidelbergensis and archaic pygmies about 330kya some place(s) in the region of NW Africa, Asia Minor, SE Europe, South Asia over to Sunda and possibly the Philippines and even Sahul. Not China, Sub-Sahara, Europe outside of SE Europe, or the Continental interiors for the first origins of modern humans who I agree were the osteologically and dentally most marine adapted Hominids known. I interpret their relatively very large molars and anterior dentitions as being adapted to eating tough marine vegetation. In a similar fashion to the robust dentitions of paranthropines being adapted to eating tough terrestrial vegetation during periods of drought. With a trend since early modern humans of reduction in molar size and reduction of the relative size of the anterior to the posterior dentitions (Frayer 1978 for Europe, and other authors for Africa, Asia does not always follow this rule).


Sent from Mail for Windows


From: algiskuliukas
Sent: Monday, April 18, 2022 1:07 AM
Subject: [AAT] Homo erectus (sensu stricto) the most aquatically adapted hominin?


For those of us who are open minded enough to answer Hardy's question "Was Man More Aquatic in the Past?" with a cautious affirmative, a second question follows "If, so when was that and how much?"

Having thought about this for twenty-five years and studied human evolution (MSc from UCL with distinction and PhD in human bipedal origins from UWA) I have come to the conclusion that the answer to the second question should be "very early modern Homo sapiens ca 200,000 years ago or so"... and... "not much".

Some proponents (e.g. Marc Verhaegen and Stephen Munro) would argue that a better answer would be "Homo erectus (sensu stricto) - i.e. the Asian, rather than African forms" and "that they were predominantly bottom divers."

That's quite a difference.

So, I'd like to discuss this openly to see if I have missed something. 

Let me start the ball rolling...

Marc always cites pacheostosis (heavy bones) of H. erectus as leaving "no other possibility" than bottom diving for this hominin but were their bones really that heavy? If you look at the Nariokotome boy femur, for example, it is remarkably gracile. Where are the papers in the literature that backs up this claim?

Marc also cites their pelvic shape as being platypelloid, with long femoral necks as further evidence but, again, that's not what I see in the literature. Nariokotome boy's pelvis is remarkably narrow actually, android rather than platypelloid. In any case what his platypelloidy got to do with bottom diving? Dugongs/manatees do not share this convergence. Their pelves, appear to be on their way to becoming vestigial like cetacea.

Whether they had heavy bones or not, there is undeniable evidence of significant weight bearing in the bones of Homo erectus. The tibial plate, the oval shaped distal femoral condyles, the robust femoral head, the large acetabulae with superiorly orientated lunate surface. The robust sacral body and large lumbar vertebrae all speak of an upright, walking, terrestrial striding biped - just like us. They seem to have been predominantly striding bipeds, not divers.

Please don't misunderstand me. I am not suggesting that Homo erectus did not swim or dive - just that they didn't do so very much, and specifically, not as much as we modern human did, or still do.

When Homo erectus reached the islands of Java and Flores some 1.8 million years ago, they could have done so without getting their feet wet as the current archipelago of Indonesia has been connected via land bridges from time to time. Of course, I have no doubt they often went swimming and diving in coastal shallows but, if they were as adept as Marc suggests (a predominantly bottom diver, remember) then it is remarkable that the narrow strait of water between Bali and Lombok across the Wallace line, just 20km wide, was never crossed by these diving hominins in 1.8 million years. If they did cross, they would have certainly populated the whole of the Australasian continent as that too was all joined by land at various times since. And yet we so no evidence of any human like species in Australia until 60,000 ago or so.

I must remind that modern humans regularly swim across such stretches of open water. The Perth - Rottnest swim is run every year and has thousands of participants. (,teams%20of%20two%20or%20four.) It is about the same distance as Bali - Lombok via Penida. And of course far greater distances have been crossed than that, such as the Channel between England and France.

Of course, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence but, it seems to me that if we are to remain true to scientific principles we must base our ideas on evidence and here, the evidence is that Homo sapiens is, if anything, more aquatic than Homo erectus.

Algis Kuliukas
April 2022


Join to automatically receive all group messages.