Marc Verhaegen

Marc Verhaegen
Study Center Anthropology · anthropology

MD

About

52
Publications
36,785
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261
Citations
Introduction
Aim: promoting & refining the "Coastal Dispersal" or "Littoral Theory", based on comparative biology. Wikipedia "Aquatic Ape" is outdated & biased. Our ancestor was NO savanna hunting endurance-runner: low renal power! water+salt needs! poor olfaction!... Anatomy/fossils/paleo-milieu/archeo-/embryo-/physiology/nutrition... all data show: early-Pleistocene archaic Homo followed African & S-Eurasian coasts/rivers/wetlands/islands (Flores, Luzon, Crete, Cyprus...), bipedally wading, walking, diving, beach-combing for shallow-aquatic/waterside foods: shellfish (rich in DHA, iodine, taurin..., opened with stone tools), ungulate carcasses, stranded whales, palmnuts, rice, waterside plants. Seafood=brainfood. Breath-hold diving & suction of seafoods were preadaptative to speech origins.
Additional affiliations
December 1999 - present
Study Center Anthropology
Position
  • Managing Director
Description
  • Study and publications on the aquarboreal theory of hominoid evolution and the waterside theory of human evolution and speech origins.
Education
September 1968 - June 1975
Universities of Antwerp and Leuven
Field of study
  • medicine

Publications

Publications (52)
Presentation
Full-text available
Professor Lee Berger and his team, who discovered the hominid fossils in the Dinaledi or Rising Star cave system near Johannsesburg, South Africa, assigned the fossils to Homo naledi species nova. Berger claims naledi were distance runners and tool makers, and believes they deliberately buried their dead. Here we argue that deliberate burial is an...
Presentation
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Conference Paper
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Early-Pleistocene archaic Homo spread intercontinentally following African and Eurasian coasts and rivers, feeding predominantly on shallow-aquatic foods, especially shellfish, which are extremely rich in brain-specific nutrients: DHA, taurine, iodine, oligo-elements etc. Most anatomical innovations in Homo erectus (versus earlier hominids such as...
Presentation
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Traditional paleo-anthropologists generally assume (1) that Plio-Pleistocene human ancestors in Africa became bipedal when they left the tropical forests for the open plains, and (2) that the African apes gorillas, bonobos and chimpanzees have no or almost no fossil ancestors or relatives, and that Homo had australopithecine ancestors to the exclus...
Presentation
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Pleistocene Homo were -no endurance runners, -no exclusive carnivores, -no open plain dwellers.
Presentation
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1) Apes differ drastically from monkeys in evolving a larger body, a centrally-placed lumbar spine, complete tail loss (incorporation of the coccyx into the pelvic bottom) & a vey broad pelvis, sternum & thorax (with dorsal scapulas), which suggest that early hominoids were vertical aquarboreals (e.g. climbing arms overhead & wading bipedally in sw...
Presentation
Update of ape and human evolution: I. aquarboreal theory of Mio-Pliocene hominoid including australopithecine evolution, II. littoral theory of Pleistocene archaic Homo along African and Eurasian coasts and rivers.
Presentation
Full-text available
2018 update of the Coastal Dispersal Model or Littoral Theory. (1) Homo erectus = Homo litoralis: intercontinental dispersal of early-Pleistocene archaic Homo along coasts and rivers. (2) Homo neanderthalensis: European neandertals as wetland omnivores, who possibly seasonally followed the river to the sea. (3) Homo sapiens: late-Pleistocene evolut...
Presentation
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Biological reconstruction of ape and human (hominoid) evolution, mostly based on comparative, fossil, paleo-environmental and DNA evidence. Schematically: (I) arboreal to aquarboreal: The evolution from monkey to ape body-plan is best explained by a transition from tree-dwelling to living in flooded forests (Mio-Pliocene). (II) aquarboreal to lit...
Poster
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Explaining the so-called ”aquatic ape theory” in simple terms. Human ancestors during the Ice Ages (Pleistocene Homo after +-2 Ma) did not disperse intercontinentally running over open plains as popularly assumed, but followed African & Eurasian coasts & rivers, where their diet included shallow-aquatic & waterside foods, which are rich in brain-sp...
Presentation
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Comparative data suggest that various preadaptations to human speech evolved at different times for different functions, especially adaptations (a) to an aquarboreal lifestyle in Mio-Pliocene hominoids and (b) to a littoral lifestyle in Pleistocene Homo (early-Pleistocene coastal dispersal model), e.g. (1) descent of the larynx relative to the hyoi...
Presentation
Full-text available
Discoverers of the naledi fossils (Gauteng, southern Africa, first descrivbed in 2015) assume that naledi (1) belonged to the genus Homo, (2) buried their dead in caves, (3) were tool makers, (4) ran over African plains. Comparative anatomy shows these assumptions to be wrong, and suggests that naledi (1) belonged to the genus Pan or Australopithec...
Technical Report
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BBC Radio 4 (Sept.2016) broadcast a 2-part series "The Waterside Ape" which asked: How long have humans and our ancestors been habitual users of aquatic and marine resources? Have we adapted physiologically and cognitively to a littoral environment, in which we depended on those aquatic and marine resources? What evidence from the last fifteen year...
Research
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Rae & Koppe (2014) on paranasal sinuses (PNSs) use comparative data to test the so-called Aquatic Ape Theory (AAT), concluding that it is not compatible. However, their (excellent) data on PNSs – as opposed to their interpretations of those data – are in full agreement to the coastal dispersal view of human evolution. We, very briefly, first give a...
Data
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Data
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Presentation
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General introduction to waterside vs savanna hypotheses of African ape & human evolution. Different lines of evidence show that Pleistocene Homo were no savanna dwellers as commonly assumed, but followed the African & Eurasian coasts & rivers, where the littoral foods were rich in brain-specific nutrients: DHA, taurine, iodine & oligo-elements.
Article
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According to biomolecular data, the great apes split into Asian pongids (orang-utan) and African hominids (gorillas, chimpanzees and humans) 18–12 million years ago (Mya) and hominids split into gorillas and humans–chimpanzees 10–6 Mya. Fossils with pongid features appear in Eurasia after c. 15 Mya, and fossils with hominid fossils appear in Africa...
Article
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While some paleo-anthropologists remain skeptical, data from diverse biological and anthropological disciplines leave little doubt that human ancestors were at some point in our past semi-aquatic: wading, swimming and/or diving in shallow waters in search of waterside or aquatic foods. However, the exact sce-nario — how, where and when these semi-a...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
While some paleo-anthropologists remain skeptical, data from diverse biological and anthropological disciplines leave little doubt that human ancestors were at some point in our past semi-aquatic: wading, swimming and/or diving in shallow waters in search of waterside or aquatic foods. However, the exact scenario—how, where and when these semi-aqua...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
There are still a lot of misconceptions about our semi-aquatic evolution (the so-called AAT), not only by AAT opponents, but also by some proponents: “it” did not happen 6 Ma or more (as Elaine Morgan thought) and “it” has nothing to do with apes or australopiths, but “it” is about pre-sapiens archaic Homo during the Pleistocene, e.g. most erectus...
Conference Paper
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Nutritional, physiological, anatomical, fossil & paleo-environmental data suggest the traditional savanna "theory" is impossible.
Article
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Marc Verhaegen - Human Evolution papers 1987-2013 2013 HE 28:237-266 The Aquatic Ape evolves: Common Misconceptions and Unproven Assumptions about the so-called Aquatic Ape Hypothesis 1996 HE 11:35-41 Morphological Distance between Australopithecine, Human and Ape Skulls 1994 HE 9:121-139 Australopithecines: Ancestors of the African Apes? 1992 H...
Article
Fossil skeletons of Homo erectus and related specimens typically had heavy cranial and postcranial bones, and it has been hypothesised that these represent adaptations, or are responses, to various physical activities such as endurance running, heavy exertion, and/or aggressive behavior. According to the comparative biological data, however, skelet...
Article
Full-text available
The great (orangutans, gorillas and chimpanzees) and lesser apes (siamangs and gibbons) are significantly different to monkeys, yet the evolution of the apes is rarely discussed in detail, especially from a human evolutionary perspective. Assuming that the early primates were arboreal and that human ancestors were semi-aquatic, human predecessors i...
Chapter
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Compared to the skeletons of all other primates, including Homo sapiens, the crania and postcrania of Homo erectus were typically massive, displaying extremely thick bones with compact cortices and narrow medullary canals. Even outside the primate order, examples of animals displaying such massive bones are rare. Although this feature is sometimes...
Chapter
Full-text available
Compared to the skeletons of all other primates, including Homo sapiens, the crania and postcrania of Homo erectus were typically massive, displaying extremely thick bones with compact cortices and narrow medullary canals. Even outside the primate order, examples of animals displaying such massive bones are rare. Although this feature is sometimes...
Article
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In this paper we present comparative data, suggesting that the various elements of human speech evolved at different times, and originally had different functions. Recent work by Nishimura [1-6] shows that what is commonly known as the laryngeal descent actually evolved in a mosaic way in minimally two steps: (a) a descent of the thyroid cartilage...
Article
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Why do humans evolve external noses that don’t seem to serve any useful purpose – our smelling sensors are inside the head. Our nose is vulnerable to damage, and the majority of primates and other mammals manage with relatively flat faces. Traditional explanations are that the nose protects against dry air, hot air, cold air, dusty air, whatever ai...
Article
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That humans evolved as a result of a move from forests to more open plains is still the prevailing paradigm in anthropology, and researchers often assume that this transition influenced the origins of human bipedalism, omnivory, tool use, large brains, and even speech. Here, we argue that there are no scientific grounds on which to base such a hypo...
Article
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Recent approaches to human evolution consider not only arboreal and terrestrial but also waterside paleo-environments, and not only the fossil record, but also anatomical and physiological comparisons with other animals.
Article
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Human language is a unique phenomenon and its evolutionary origins are uncertain. In this paper we attempt to explore some of the preadaptations that might have contributed to the origin of human speech. The comparative approach we use is based on the assumption that all features of a species are functional, and that all features can be compared w...
Article
Full-text available
According to biomolecular data, the great apes split into Asian pongids (orang-utan) and African hominids (gorillas, chimpanzees and humans) 18–12 million years ago (Mya) and hominids split into gorillas and humans–chimpanzees 10–6 Mya. Fossils with pongid features appear in Eurasia after c. 15 Mya, and fossils with hominid fossils appear in Africa...
Article
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We attempt to reconstruct the evolutionary history of apes and humans by using the available biomolecular, geological, fossil and comparative data. Our hypothesis is that wading-climbing hominids in coastal forests near the Arabian peninsula evolved during the Ice Ages into wading-diving Homo species along the Indian Ocean. From the seashores, diff...
Article
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It is traditionally believed that human ancestors evolved in a warm and dry environment. The available evidence, however, favours the vision that it happened in a warm and wet environment. The paleo-environmental data suggest that the early australopithecinesAustralopithecus anamensis, afarensis andafricanus lived in warm, moist, and wooded landsc...
Article
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We are convinced that human bipedalism is better accounted for by the Aquatic Ape Theory than by the hypotheses, now commonly accepted, that the vertical gait is part of an adaptation for life in the savannahs. The advantages of the upright gait are easily understood by the versatility of this locomotion in a semi-aquatic mode of life. Early homini...
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This paper attempts to quantify the morphological difference between fossil and living species of hominoids. The comparison is based upon a balanced list of craniodental characters corrected for size (Wood & Chamberlain, 1986). The conclusions are: craniodentally the australopithecine species are a unique and rather uniform group, much nearer to th...
Article
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Humans and apes show clear differences in brain anatomy. In the human cerebral cortex, for instance, the areas that control the fine movements of the hand, the areas that control the breathing and speech musculature, and the association areas have strongly expanded. It will be argued that these differences are best explained by the aquatic ape theo...
Article
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Since australopithecines display humanlike traits such as short ilia, relatively small front teeth and thick molar enamel, they are usually assumed to be related toHomo rather than toPan orGorilla. However, this assumption is not supported by many other of their features. This paper briefly surveys the literature concerning craniodental comparison...
Article
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This paper begins by comparing anatomical and physiological features of humans and other groups of mammals (apes and arboreal mammals, open-country dwellers, fully aquatic mammals, and semi-aquatics), in order to establish the nature of the environment where Homo originated. It concludes that the evidence completely invalidates the savanna theory a...
Article
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While most older palaeo-anthropological studies emphasise the similarities of the fossil hominids with modern man, recent studies often stress the unique and the apelike features of the australopithecine dentitions, skulls and postcranial bones. It is worth reconsidering the features of Australopithecus, Homo erectus and Homo neanderthalensis in th...
Article
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It is commonly believed that the australopithecines are more closely related to humans than to African apes. This view is hardly compatible with the biomolecular data which place theHomo/Pan split at the beginning of the australopithecine period. Nothing in the fossil hominid morphology precludes the possibility that some australopithecines were an...
Article
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The Aquatic Ape Theory claims that human ancestors once lived in a semi-aquatic habitat. Some human diseases might be explained by our aquatic past. Such problems include hyperventilation, periodic breathing, laryngo- and bronchospasm, vasomotor rhinopathy, seborrhea, dandruff, male pattern alopecia, rhinophyma, osteoarthritis, inguinal hernias, va...
Article
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Most authors discussing language origins try to explain our speech capacity by an enormous improvement of vocalizing abilities that already existed in rudimentary form in pre-human primates, but fail to explain how exactly this could have occurred. In my opinion, most of these problems are readily solved by the application of the aquatic theory to...
Article
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Thesis (M.A.)--California State University, Long Beach. Abstract preceding title page. Includes bibliographical references. Photocopy of typescript.
Article
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Much more than other primates, man has several features that are seen more often in aquatic than terrestrial mammals: nakedness, thick subcutaneous fat-layer, stretched hindlimbs, voluntary respiration, dilute urine etc. The Aquatic Ape Theory states that our ancestors once spent a significant part of their life in water. Presumably, early apes wer...

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Projects (3)
Project
Update of ape and human evolution: I. aquarboreal theory of Mio-Pliocene hominoid including australopithecine evolution, II. littoral theory of Pleistocene archaic Homo along African and Eurasian coasts and rivers.
Project
Many traditional paleo-anthropologists still believe that, because apes are quadrupedal in the forests and human are bipedal on the ground, we became bipedal when we adapted to running in the African savanna. This is unscientfic anthropocentrism. It is clear that Pleistocene Homo dispersed intercontinentally (as far as China, the Cape & England) and even reached islands far overseas (Flores, Crete & Cyprus) along the seacoasts (Munro 2010), where they consumed waterside foods inc.shellfish, which is richests in brain-specific nutrients (Cunnane 2005). My aim is to decribe more in detail how exactly this coastal & later riverside dispersal happened.