© AFP/Getty ImagesA controversial theory that humans evolved from amphibious apes has won new support
A controversial theory that humans evolved from amphibious apes has won new support.
The aquatic ape theory, whose supporters include David Attenborough, suggests that apes emerged from the water, lost their fur, started to walk upright and then developed big brains.
While it has been treated with scorn by some scientists since it first emerged 50 years ago, it is backed by a committed group of academics, including Sir David.
The group will hold a major London conference next week featuring several speakers who will voice support for the theory.
Peter Rhys Evans is one of the organisers of Human Evolution: Past, Present and Future.
He told the Observer
that humans are very different from other apes, as we lack fur, walk upright, have big brains and subcutaneous fat and have a descended larynx - which is common among aquatic animals.
According to evolutionary theories, these features appeared at separate times, for different reasons.
But the aquatic ape theory says they appeared because our ancestors decided to live in or near water for millions of years.
British biologist Sir Alister Hardy first theorised that we were descended from aquatic apes.
He wrote that apes came down from the trees to live in the food rich creeks, river and seas.