The human primate body probably evolved due to a freak island accident

Allan Krill

The human primate body— bald and bipedal, with large brain, nose, and blubber — probably evolved due to a freak island accident. 

Imagine meeting a married couple in a nursing home. They are both in wheel chairs and have grotesque faces, skin, and hair, and are missing some body parts. You might imagine all sorts of medical explanations for their conditions. But the parsimonious explanation is that they were together in a car that crashed and burned. 

Such is probably the case with the human body. All the "grotesque" human features (compared to other primates) can be explained by a single freak accident where a few chimpanzees became isolated on a Galapagos-like island off the west coast of Africa. Their descendants lived on the shores of that island for millions of years, diving for shellfish and sea vegetables. Their main diet was an unlimited supply of sea-turtle eggs on the beaches around the 150-kilometer shoreline. With no predators, competitors, or African viruses on the island, they became a huge population that evolved the unique human traits. 

You can read about this unorthodox hypothesis for human evolution here: A Paradigm for the Evolution of Human Features: Apes Trapped on Barren Volcanic Islands.

To err is humen, but to retract a published error is devine.

Allan Krill

Typo? No, that's an acceptible alternetive spelling!
Too bad more scientists aren't gods, as Phillip Tobias must have been.

New ideas on the possible use and misuse of the Stone Age handaxe

Allan Krill

New ideas on the possible use and misuse of the Stone Age handaxe
Manuscript in preparation, February 12, 2021.


The story of human evolution may be based on fictional fossil evidence

Allan Krill

Manuscript in preparation. 
January 30, 2021

Allan Krill's talk on Laetoli footprints at the 34th Geological Winter Meeting in Norway, 8. Jan. 2021

Allan Krill

This talk was given at the 34th Geological Winter Meeting (Jan. 6- 8, 2021). Organized and recorded by the Geological Society of Norway 
Here is the published abstract for the talk

The earliest human footprints (Laetoli) occur in lake sediments that have been misinterpreted as datable volcanic ash 

 Allan Krill

 Department of Geoscience, NTNU, Trondheim, krill@...

An alternative paradigm of human evolution is the “aquatic-ape hypothesis,” in which our ancestors evolved naked skin, long head-hair, large brain, bipedal gait, subcutaneous fat (blubber), descended larynx, hooded nose, and all other human features, during a period of semiaquatic habitat. This unorthodox theory has been ridiculed in paleoanthropology for 60 years, just as the “continental-drift hypothesis” was ridiculed in its time.

The current paradigm is that human ancestors evolved in the eastern African savanna and were bipedal as early as 3.5 Ma ago. I contend that this history is based on errors — falsifications such as Piltdown Man (e.g. Lucy, Turkana Boy, Little-Foot) — and geological misinterpretations (e.g. Laetoli). Humans may instead have evolved from chimpanzees that became isolated on Galapagos-like volcanic islands: proto-Bioko in western Africa, where fossils could not be preserved. No mammal fossils are known in any of the areas where chimpanzees speciated.

The human footprint track at Laetoli is said to be 3.5 Ma old. That age is probably wishful thinking, and the layer less than 200 000 years old. Calcareous sediments have been interpreted to be volcanic ash, in which K-feldspar and biotite dates give meaningful ages.

18 thin calcareous layers with mud cracks, raindrop marks, and footprint trails from hundreds of savanna animals (and even an insect), are interpreted to be fresh ashfall from 18 volcanic eruptions. The geology professor behind this interpretation thought that enough rain fell after each ashfall to dampen the ash so that it could preserve prints. There was not enough rain to wash the ash away from the flat, horizontal and grassless surface where the animals walked. I claim that this is an unreasonable geological interpretation.

The layers are calcareous, so it was thought that the ash was carbonatite from the Sadiman volcano. But ash of carbonatite is unknown in geology, and no carbonatite is found at Sadiman, or on the Laetoli-Serengeti Plain.

Thin-section photos and chemical analyses of these so-called ash layers have never been published. Mineral grains giving K-Ar dates of 3.5 Ma have been claimed to be the age of the layers and the footprints. Grains giving inappropriate dates were discarded.

To protect the footprints from vandalism, the layer was covered over by soil and blocks of rock, before the exciting results were published. This cover-up kept visiting geologists from suggesting that these were lake sediments that cannot be dated using detrital minerals. A lake-sediment hypothesis has never been mentioned.

I am hoping to publish a paper exposing these errors. You can read the manuscript, with pdf references, here:  See also


The earliest human footprints (Laetoli) occur in lake sediments that have been misinterpreted as datable volcanic ash

Allan Krill

Re: Evolutionary tree showing areas and habitats

Allan Krill

This evolutionary tree includes baboons. Both baboons and humans went from the trees to the ground. The baboon shows a normal evolution, whereas the human shows a weird evolution. I think that is like the ground-dwelling iguana on Galapagos. The tree-dwelling iguana rafted from South America to Galapagos, and was trapped there, with no trees to live in. It adopted a marine habitat, and its body changed dramatically like the human body changed. Then it became ground-dwelling, with a weird body that shows its earlier marine habitat. Read about this iguana on Wikipedia.

Re: Evolutionary tree showing areas and habitats

Allan Krill

And here is one more.

Re: Evolutionary tree showing areas and habitats

Allan Krill

Clothes and tools were needed before the human species could survive most places in the world.
Image where in Africa, or elsewhere in the world, a naked human family without tools could survive for a year? 
It was only the large brain that allowed the human body to function in most places. But I think a naked family could have survived on Bioko. 

Re: Evolutionary tree showing areas and habitats

Allan Krill

Here is another:

Re: Evolutionary tree showing areas and habitats

Allan Krill

Here is another evolutionary tree. 
The aquatic ape theory is very simple (parsimonious).
Like the evolution from arboreal to marine to land iguana on Galapagos.

Evolutionary tree showing areas and habitats

Allan Krill

Speciation requires reproductive isolation, for which there can be many causes. Sometimes this is by physical separation, but there are many other possibilities. Gorillas and chimpanzees had an arboreal ancestor in the forests of central western Africa. But gorillas chose a different diet than chimpanzee, so they diverged within the same area. Here is an explanation, from p. 13 of the book: Chimpanzees and human evolution

The fundamental difference between chimpanzee and gorilla diets is that gorillas, because of their large bodies and guts, can subsist on much lower quality food. Both apes prefer to eat fruit when it is available. However, comparisons in the same forests show that, as fruit becomes rarer, gorillas fall back on increasing amounts of pith, leaves, and woody stems, while chimpanzees continue to search for higher-quality food (reviewed in Wrangham 2006; Harcourt and Stewart 2007a).

Here is another evolutionary tree, where I mention the areas and foods of speciation.

A proposed evolutionary tree of Gorilla-Pan-Homo speciation

Allan Krill

Here is a proposed evolutionary tree, showing how humans may have evolved directly from chimpanzees that became isolated on Bioko about 4 million years ago. It is modified from the image on Wikipedia. 

Homo erectus essentially had the same skeleton as the modern human, except that the brain size is less. In the Bioko model, H. erectus evolved its human features on Bioko, and then escaped to other places (Europe, East Africa, Java, China) where bones could be preserved as fossils. The brain was big enough for it to invent tools, shoes, and clothes, necessary for survival in places other than Bioko. 

There are no fossils of Gorilla or Pan where they evolved in central western Africa, because fossils are not possible there. However, three teeth of a chimpanzee and many H. erectus bones have been found in E. Africa, where climate was suitable for fossil preservation. E. Africa was not the place where H. erectus or chimpanzee evolved, but some managed to wander there and leave fossils. 
Chimps, gorillas, and all other primates are not very mobile, and keep to a single range and habitat. H. erectus and H. sapiens, with large brains, wandered far and wide, over the continents of Africa and Eurasia.

Why primate fossils are found in E.Africa, not in the Congo

Allan Krill
On Sun, Dec 13, 2020 at 11:37 AM, alandarwinvanarsdale wrote:
Fossils are concentrated in East Africa because that is where rocks are exposed of the right age to find them.
It is a myth that fossils are concentrated in East Africa because the rocks there are of the right age. Fossils are concentrated in E. Africa because mammal bones thre do not decay rapidly. 

The Congo Basin includes a huge area of rocks that are the right age for primate fossils: Quaternarny (white) and Cenozoic (yellow) on this map. That area is teeming with mammals, yet a mammal fossil has never been reported from there. 

And that is not because people are not looking. Poor and hungry people are digging and looking all the time in those sedimentary rock layers, trying to find diamonds and little nuggets of gold. The artisanal excavations are extensive.  A primate tooth would be worth its weight in gold. You can be sure that if there were fossil teeth there of any mammal, people would report them and get paid.

Hypothesis of ape evolution, Miocene to present

Allan Krill
On Mon, Dec 14, 2020 at 04:25 AM, Marc Verhaegen wrote:
No, Allan: all hylobatids/pongids/hominids lived along the Ind.Ocean.
All hominoids incl.hominids split & dispersed along the Ind.Ocean->Rift (Gorilla) or ->S.Africa (Pan) or ->S.Asia (Homo).
Do you really believe chimp & gorilla ancestors separately flew from E.Africa to your Bioko, and then separately flew back to the Afr.continent??
Hi Marc
Thanks for asking. Here is my hypothesis.
I think that there were lots of ape species in the Miocene. They were not very mobile, and each had its limited range, like apes and monkeys do today. (Homo became the only mobile primate, and that was after it evolved its big brain on Bioko.) 

The timing of each Last Common Ancestor (LCA) of the living apes is uncertain. But if we use the numbers from
LCA Hylobate-Pongo 19.8
LCA Pongo-Gorilla 15.2
LCA Gorilla-Pan 8.6
LCA Pan-Homo 6.4

Here are possible paleogeographic ranges for each of those LCA. No species needed to wander any great distance or have a large range. The species evolved slightly within their range, sometimes splitting into subspecies. But a few individuals would occasionally get outside of the range. They were reproductively isolated from the original group, and evolved into a new species in the nearby area.  

All these ape habitats were rather similar. The selection pressures were similar. So the apes maintained their physical and anatomical similarities (phenotypes). Those apes were all more-or-less arboreal, none were aqua-arboreal. There were too many crocodiles for that. Some were more upright, more orthograde, more bipedal than others. None had bald bodies and sc fat. None had hooded nostrils. None had multi pyramidal kidneys. None had permanently descended larynxes. Etc. Jack has a long list of features that none of those pre-human primate species had. (If they had them, but lost them by convergent evolution, we should be finding "scars of evolution" to show that.)

Then a few chimps were forced to leave the trees. Just a few. They began to evolve in a completely different environment, with completely different selection pressures. That new habitat was not the African savannah (east of the chimps' forest) but was Bioko (west of the chimps' forest.) 

It is a very simple and logical hypothesis.

Primates are not very mobile. Here looking at typical monkey ranges

Allan Krill

Chimps are our closest relatives, and gorillas next closest. They live along the Atlantic Ocean, far from the Danakil highlands, the Red Sea, and the Indian Ocean. They have been living near the Atlantic Ocean and evolving in the places they are now for millions of years. 

Probably every species of primate (except human) has been where it now is for something like the past million years. Look at the geographic range of monkey species.  Here is a list of over 100 species of Old World Monkeys. 

You can click on any of the species names on that list, and see a map that shows the geographic range of that species. Here are the first 10:'s_Swamp_Monkey_area.png

And here are the geographic ranges of the great apes: chimpbonobogorilla, and orang.

These range sizes must be similar to the range of the primate that was the ancestor of humans (before acquiring the big brain that let our ancestor expand its range to many environments.) That primate probably inhabited a limited range with a single similar habitat, like these others. That range was probably near the chimps. 

Genetics shows that humans are closely related to chimps, and next closest to gorillas. It is not just genetics: the 4 taxa of chimp also look different.  See the table here: Appearance  

Conclusion: The Atlantic Ocean (not the Indian Ocean, Red Sea, or Mediterranean Sea or Tethys) is where the human ancestor got its big brain and then became cosmopolitan. 

Sail Away (Bioko theme song)

Allan Krill

Sail Away, by Randy Newman
(Now sing it with new lyrics for Bioko.)

In the water you'll get food to eat. 
Won't have to hang in the jungle. 
Won't need to compete. 
You'll eat crab and clam, so your brain gets big. 
You're all gonna be the new Sapiens. 

Ain't no lion or leopard. Ain't no crocodile. 
You got no one to fight, you'll get teeth to smile. 
Ev'rybody be happy like no chimp can be. 
So hold on to that raft. Sail across the sea. 

Sail away. Sail away. 
You will cross the 30 miles of Bioko Bay. 
Sail away. Sail away. 
You will cross the 30 miles of Bioko Bay. 

In the water all the food is free. 
Just take care of yourself and your family. 
You'll get naked and fat like no chimp can be. 
You're all gonna be the new Sapiens. 

Sail away. Sail away. 
You will cross the 30 miles of Bioko Bay. 
Sail away. Sail away. 
You will cross the 30 miles of Bioko Bay.

Advertising poster for Bioko

Allan Krill

Hey Chimps!  Sail on over to Bioko!
It's less than 50 km away — a quick trip (if you're lucky) 

You won't be able to leave, and your descendants won't want to leave. 

Relax with plenty of nutritious marine food — great for brain growth. 

No need to look for food in the forest. (In fact, there is no forest.)

You won't need big jaws. The shellfish and marine greens are chewy. 

You'll be the only large animal around!   No leopards. No crocodiles. Always safe.

Bathe completely naked — throw away that wet fur coat forever!
Nights are warm. It's almost always cloudy, so no strong sun to burn your skin.
Learn to swim! Learn to hold your breath in water!   It's not as hard as you think.
Control your breath, then learn how to talk!  Be able to talk with family and friends.

Have sex in the water with the mate of your choice!   No alpha males here.
Males — you won't need those sharp canine teeth to compete!
Females — Your babies will be born with blubber!
Give birth in the water, and let your plump baby float while you are eating or sleeping.
No predators to come and snatch your crying babies.

No nasty African viruses! No need to carry water — it's nearly always raining.

Pull off an "Evolutionary Bio-Coup"— sail to Bio-ko.
(Your descendants might take over the planet!)


Great apes with small brains were not very mobile

Allan Krill

Including the human, there are now 13 living taxa of great apes. Except for the human, the great apes are not very mobile. We can be certain that each taxon now lives in the isolated area where it evolved. There were once many other taxa of great ape between Indonesia and Central Africa, but they are now extinct.

     (last common ancestor about 6 Ma?)
Western Chimp
Nigeria-Cameroon Chimp
Central Chimp
Bonobo (Pigmy Chimp)
Eastern Chimp
     (last common ancestor about 10 Ma?)
Cross River Gorilla
Western Lowland Gorilla
Eastern Lowland Gorilla
Mountain Gorilla
     (last common ancestor about 15 Ma?)
Borneo Orangutan
Sumatra Orangutan
Tapanuli Orangutan

Genetic studies show that the human is closely related to the chimp, next closely to the gorilla, and next to the orangutan. 

The human, after its evolution, had a remarkably large brain. With that brain, it was able to invent shoes and clothing, and tools for defending itself and carrying water and food. Those inventions enabled it to spread out and populate the entire globe. Because of its current spread, we do not know the area where the human evolved its large brain. Since it was small-brained and not yet mobile, the place was presumably near one of the chimp places.

Fossils show that early humans (Homo erectus, Neanderthals, Denisovans, and Homo sapiens) migrated great distances from where they evolved. Genetic studies of living humans show that the area of their origin was somewhere in Africa.

The story of human evolution is based on fictional fossil evidence

Allan Krill

Manuscript in preparation.
Dec. 8, 2020

This is the same manuscript as August 2020 in Researchgate, but this version includes more details about Java Man and Peking Man, as follows: 

Java Man
Eugène Dubois was a Dutch anatomist and fossil collector. He was the first person to present missing-link fossils that are currently accepted by scientists. Arthur Keith, who had studied Piltdown Man (see below) discussed Dubois and his finds in considerable detail. In 1925 he wrote (9, p.438):

Having finished a training in science and medicine at the University of Amsterdam in 1888, he became a military surgeon, choosing Java for his service. Before setting out for that island, he promised his fellow-students, in all seriousness, to bring home the "missing link." And he made his boast good, for in 1894 he returned with the fossil remains described in the previous chapter. But he also had in his possession then certain other fossil remains of man, of which, for reasons of his own, he said nothing, until May 1920—twenty-six years after his return from Java.

The fossils that Dubois brought back as his missing link were a skullcap, three teeth in a jaw fragment, and a thigh bone. They were found by his workers, and not found 

Nearly all anatomists have agreed that the thigh bone looks like that of a modern human. Curiously, it had been broken and healed while the person was still alive. The jaw fragment, as well as two of the three teeth, were more or less ignored and are now mostly forgotten. Keith (9, p. 439-440) explained that in 1890, the year before those fossils were found, Dubois had collected many fossil bones of modern humans in a nearby Java locality. Those bones were preserved in volcanic ash deposited in a lake, together with bones of animals and mussels. Dubois also had access to other bones in Java. A modern chimpanzee skull was sent to him from Berlin (10, p.56). After returning to Amsterdam, Dubois locked up his missing-link fossils for twenty years, and would not allow other scientists to study them. He mislead scientists in many ways, but the hypothesis of outright hoax has never been considered. His missing-link fossils have not been chemically tested.

Peking Man
Davidson Black was an ambitious Canadian physician and anatomist. He spent part of 1914 at the laboratory in England where the Piltdown Man had been studied. He did not have access to those materials, as they were kept hidden from visiting scientists. He must have been impressed with the international attention given to such fossils.

Black determined to find his own missing link, and in 1919 he went to China to do so. A few years later, two human-like teeth and some chipped stones were found in a cave with other animal bones. Black announced these to be a missing link, and used this evidence for all it was worth. The missing link became known as Peking Man. In 1926, he began receiving generous funding for excavations of the cave. More human-like bones were then found.

Black died suddenly in 1934 at the age of 49. Detailed descriptions of the bones were then published by his successor Franz Weidenreich (14). He concluded that these and the Java fossils were from a race of fully evolved human, like Neanderthal Man. Furthermore, Weidenreich (14, p. 216) was convinced that Piltdown Man was an error, being the skull of a human and the jaw of an orangutan. It may have been his published skepticism that pressured scientists to allow the chemical testing of the Piltdown fossils.

In 1941, all the fossils of Peking Man were mysteriously lost and have never been found. There is no material that is available for chemical testing or dating. Today, Java Man and Peking are generally assigned to the missing-link species Homo erectus.

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