When I was at university, I remember being told about a book - The Aquatic Ape. I remember reading it and being taken in and thinking, wow, without necessarily thinking deeply about the assumptions and certainly not (as a psychology student) pulling out books on evolution and animal behaviour and such to verify the standing of what was being said.

So, my question is, is The Aquatic Ape, by Elaine Morgan, just a good read - 'pop science' or is there (or was there) any credibility or validity to what she was talking about? Did this theory ever really stand, or has it been since disproved or is this actually cutting-edge, live research?

Hi Jonathan,

The Aquatic Ape hypothesis was very much pop science - the author was good at providing examples of convergent characteristics between human adaptations and adaptations seen in aquatic animals that apparently supported the theory, but unfortunately many of these examples don't stand up to rigorous inspection.

Overall it was an interesting and novel hypthesis, but there simply isn't the evidence to support it.