The Aquatic Ape Story

Michael Hyson, Ph.D.

July 14, 2004


The Aquatic Ape Story


There is a 6.5 million year gap in the human fossil record, during which time, we evolved many of our human characteristics, such as upright gait and a large brain. How did this occur?

A British biologist, Sir Allister Hardy, noted this gap [between our swamp dwelling Bonobo chimpanzee-like forebearers, and the next fossils of Homo erectus] and our evident adaptations to water, and suggested part of our evolution occured in a watery environment.

Elaine Morgan, in her books The Ascent of Woman ( a pun on Darwin's The Descent of Man) and The Aquatic Ape, notes that humans have little hair, like other marine mammals, like the Cetacea, (dolphins and whales), walruses, manatees, dugongs, and even elephants (who have been seen swimming some 25 miles at sea crossing between islands).

We have noses that trap air and allow us to swim and dive, subcutaneous fat, salt tears and other characteristics of marine animals -- including a large brain. The largest brains belong to the Cetacea. There is also the fact that we are among the few primates that swim at all!

Until recently, all this was mostly speculation. Now we know that in addition to the above features, we must have enough eicosanoic acid (a 20 carbon oil) for proper brain and body development. While 2% of the population can make enough of this oil, 98%of us MUST have it supplied by the diet. The ONLY source of this oil is fish and seafood. People in the Faroe Islands that eat a lot of fish have the heathiest babies --

Dr. Michel Odent has demonstrated that the omega 3 and omega 6 and eicosanoic oils are especially required during fetal developement. These oils are so crucial that the fetus will take what it needs from the mother -- sometimes leading to a formerly puzzling disease of pregnant mothers called pre-eclampsia.

Pioneers like Dr. Michel Odent, M.D., Igor Tcharkofsky, Gowri Motha, M.D., and Estelle Meyers have shown us that babies can be born underwater. Many women now choose this gentle and easier delivery method for their babies, and find it joyful. Both mother and baby are happy and smiling during the birth. And the babies born in water and raised in it and around it develop 6 months faster over their first two years and have about 150 grams more brain weight.

It is my hunch that along with our aquatic nature, we have also been close to the dolphins for centuries. They still feed tribes in Africa, along the Amazon and in Australia -- by chasing fish into the nets. They have guided our ships, rescued people from drowning and generally been a loving companion to humans throughout history. I feel we are co-species -- that we have lived together and helped each other for a long time.

Now, the dolphins are showing us that they can even assist in underwater births. And with their high power, high frequency sounds, and their friendship and love, they have helped restore wellbeing in cases of autism, cerebral palsy, Down's syndrome, head, neck and joint troubles and other conditions as well.

So now we know many missing links in our evolution. We are aquatic creatures, and the dolphins have often been our companions in the sea. This new knowledge of our origins will lead to greater appreciation for our water connections, the value of gentle water birth, and a new point of view on our companions, the dolphins and whales -- marine mammals like ourselves....


Dr. Michael T. Hyson
Sirius Institute


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