Solution Paper

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Kayla MarquesMay 18, 2014ENC1102Mr. GarciaThe Aquatic Past of HumansThe evolution of humans is constantly in question. The most common evolution theory that scientists and most people believe is the "savannah" model. It declares we derived from primates because of the shared similarities such as flexible fingers and toes, opposable thumbs, and more. These features are supposed to be adaptations from the savannah region mammals, but most of the animals living in this area are covered in hair and walk on four legs. None of these adaptations are seen in humans. The Aquatic Ape Theory of evolution states that humans evolved from the sea and had an aquatic era. Basically, it is the idea that our ancestors were trapped in a semi-aquatic environment and over time, altering their bodies to be more effective in the water. Physiologically speaking, our features are rare in comparison to land mammals yet closely resemble those of aquatic mammals. The evidence gathered proves that our earliest ancestors were living in this semi-aquatic habitat for quite some time. Nothing in the fossil record is inconsistent with this theory and the geological proof also supports this hypothesis.Some might think it would've been impossible for humans to make the change from terrestrial to marine but we aren't the only mammals who have done so. All cetaceans, which includes porpoises, dolphins, and whales are descendants of land-living mammals. That means that their terrestrial ancestors morphed over millions of years into the whales and dolphins we know today. DNA studies and the anatomy of other living animals have concluded that whales are part of a mammalian group called the Artiodactyla. Modern animals that are also part of that group include giraffes, camels, cows, and pigs. Whales and dauphins have forelimbs that have modified into flippers. But not all marine mammals have fins. Others possess webbed feet, similar to that of a fin. Looking closely at when a human spreads out their hands and feet, you will notice that we share that same feature with ducks, beavers, and platypuses. All the animals mentioned also share the ability to voluntarily hold their breath. There is not one land mammal that has this ability, with the exception of humans. Seals can also do so since they guess how much air to inhale in and exhale out, for however deep the dive may be. This task is being done consciously by the animal. Another peculiarity of the human respiratory system is what scientists call "the descended larynx." A large number of land mammals are able to breathe through their noses since their windpipe passes through the back of the throat and the top end of it, the larynx, is stationed at the end of its nasal passages. This trait is even seen in human babies, only a couple months after birth. The larynx in a newborn will move down into the throat, right down below the back of the tongue. Charles Darwin, the father of evolution, found this bewildering because in turn, that would...

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