Hi Algis and everybody.
It is great to have a new platform to discuss topics around "water and human evolution".
I am a 49 years old Brazilian sportteacher, specialized in swimming. I am living in Switzerland since 1988. Since 1998 I am working part time as sporttherapist with drug addicted people. The rest of my time I dedicate to research. My topics are history of science, history of paleoanthropology (e.g., history of the savanna and aquatic hypotheses), primates interaction with water and implications for early hominin evolution. I wrote a diplomawork in 1999 on these topics. Since 2009 I am doing a PhD at the Witwatersrand University, under supervison of Phillip V. Tobias and Andrew Gallagher. In this PhD I focus on the use of convergence as a tool to reconstruct evolutionary events (which I call convergence approach), with special emphasis on primates interaction with water.
For the people who do not know my work (most of my early thoughs are written in German), it is probably useful to say that my research is difficult to be categorized within the classical discussion "savannah versus aquatic hypothesis". For instance, although I recognize the explanatory potential of some arguments exposed by Westenhöfer, Hardy, Morgan and others, I am very skeptic about the lack of empirical evidence and historical awareness on the similarities between the classical and alternative scenarios of hominization. Together with my wife Nicole I am trying to fill this gap by conducting historical research and by collecting data on non-human hominoids interaction with water. Contrary to the predictions of the savannah and aquatic hypotheses, we found 4 common chimpanzees and one orangutan able to swim over short distances in deep water. If you are interested in more information see http://www.aquatic-hypothesis.com
I will probably not have the time to regularly participate in all discussions, but I will regularly check this new forum.
I am looking forward to follow the development of this group. Algis is a smart guy and he is really interested in a fruitful discussion. I am sure he will be a great and neutral moderator. I like very much his invitation to educated criticism and I hope that his wish for a respectful interchange will be fulfilled!