The origin of the savannah hypothesis

Discussions about Waterside Hypotheses of Human Evolution or any other topic related to human evolution.

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The origin of the savannah hypothesis

Postby CEngelbrecht » Sun Aug 17, 2014 7:22 am

I've finally figured out where the savannah hypoethesis of human evolution comes from: Archeological remains of European paleolithic cultures!

It was because science was (and is) dominated by Western European gentleman's clubs in the 19th century, when archeology first unearthed those figurines of fat ladies and cave paintings and mammoth tusk supported tents. Those early discoveries gave birth to the half racist assumption that we all descend from "good white mammoth hunters" from the Eurasian plains, completely ignoring the multitude of the planet's cultures (including aquatic!). And then in the 20th century, when Raymond Dart was so irritatingly persistent about that Taung skull from South Africa (and the Piltdown hoax turned into an embarrasing catastrophe), anthropology reluctantly had to relocate the origin of "man" (hm!) to Africa. But at the same time, anthropology just kept the same assumed big game hunting scenario as much as they could, relocating human origin to the one grassland candidate available down there: The savannah. Anthropology just sent the Flintstones to Africa!
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Re: The origin of the savannah hypothesis

Postby AlgisKuliukas » Mon Sep 01, 2014 8:28 am

This is a good paper on this subject...

Bender, R., Tobias, P., Bender-Oser, N. The Savannah Hypotheses: Origin, Reception and Impact on Paleoanthropology. History of Life Sciences 34:147-184, (2012).

The reconstruction of the human past is a complex task characterized by a high level of interdisciplinarity. How do scientists from different fields reach consensus on crucial aspects of paleoanthropological research? The present paper explores this question through an historical analysis of the origin, development, and reception of the savannah hypotheses (SHs). We show that this model neglected to investigate crucial biological aspects which appeared to be irrelevant in scenarios depicting early hominins evolving in arid or semi-arid open plains. For instance, the exploitation of aquatic food resources and other aspects of hominin interaction with water were largely ignored in classical paleoanthropology. These topics became central to alternative ideas on human evolution known as aquatic hypotheses. Since the aquatic model is commonly regarded as highly controversial, its rejection led to a stigmatization of the whole spectrum of topics around water use in non-human hominoids and hominins. We argue that this bias represents a serious hindrance to a comprehensive reconstruction of the human past. Progress in this field depends on clear differentiation between hypotheses proposed to contextualize early hominin evolution in specific environmental settings and research topics which demand the investigation of all relevant facets of early hominins’ interaction with complex landscapes.
Waterside hypotheses of human evolution assert that selection from wading, swimming and diving and procurement of food from aquatic habitats have significantly affected the evolution of the lineage leading to Homo sapiens as distinct from that leading to Pan. (p118)
Kuliukas, A., Morgan, E. (2011). Aquatic scenarios in the thinking on human evolution: What are they and how do they compare?. In: Vaneechoutte, M., Verhaegen, M., Kuliukas, A. (2011). Was Man More Aquatic in the Past?
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