INTRODUCTION : Most of the
scientists lean toward the point of view that humans are the
result of some rapid evolutionary changes from a rather
recent quadrupedal ape-like ancestor.Yet, in the XXth
Century different researchers expressed individual opinions
about the origins of man and the evolution of the mammals,
dissenting from the current cliché of a
reptilian tetrapod ancestry.
The German anatomist Max Westenhöfer ( 1926 ), the Dutch obstetrician
Klaas de Snoo ( 1937 ), and the Belgian zoologist Serge Frechkop, were
the main proponents of the Theory of Initial Bipedalism, in
the first half of the XXth Century.
Quadrupedalism is indeed not
foreseen in the primitive Mammalian disposition ; therefore it
developed itself ( like also in the Reptiles ) as
specialization in food occurred, while remodelling teeth,
jaws and skull. Thus, the big-headed embryo of the
quadrupedal mammals still shows an organization superior to
that will be achieved in adult age, passing through the
stage of a biped ( with potentially increasing brain
capacities ! ), at the beginning of its in utero
As the French-Belgian zoologist
Bernard Heuvelmans emphasized ( 1954 ), the encephalon is
compressed in quadrupedal mammals between snout and
vertebral column, and consequently does not preserve a shape
and a relative volume, like in the foetal stages. The head
is then carried in a way that demands re-adapting of the
whole skeletton, and supporting of the body by the
As a matter of fact, the today
quadrupeds were initially, but transitorily, bipedal in the
course of evolution. Man, as far as concerned, has retained
the embryonic disposition. He remained an upright biped
thanks to his well preserved archaic big brain ! Thus, the
different types of fossil or contemporary ( so-called
relic ) hominians and ape-men, appear to be forms
which evolved from our direct ancestry, progressing parallel
to the humans, and at the same time branching out
( dehumanization, i.e : loss of traits that characterize the
Homo sapiens ). Most of them kept the bipedal gait, although
quadrupedalism turned out to be a best adapted feature for
them, especially if they lived in forest.
Therefore : plantigrade foot,
vertebrae and legbone disposition are hindering a faster
evolution of the hominians, up to a four-footed stage that
seems more convenient for them ! Evolution never goes
backward ( Law of Dollo ). So the French palaeontologist
Yvette Deloison ( 1999 ) claimed in a recent article that :
<< It becomes obvious that the ancestor of the
australopithecines, apes and man, had hand and foot without
specialization : the primitive hand of man induces that his
ancestor was neither arboreal nor quadrupedal, he was
The aim of the now following article is to
summarize what we mean under the global name of Initial
Bipedalism. It begins with the explanation of mans big
brain inherited from a former marine creature, and continues
with the signification of dehumanization, as an
MARINE-MAMMAL PHASE IN HUMAN EVOLUTION
We humans are fundamentally the
same creature which once lived and left the oceans by
entering the land.
Was man more aquatic in the past ?
asked biologist Alister Hardy in 1960. Thus, an ancestral
ape that waded in shallow water could not have fitted for
making a human, as Hardy suggested !
Apes are indeed tree-living
primates with high specialized features : foot as a lower
hand, insert of the vertebral column at the back of the
skull, and knuckle-walking on ground which reflects
increasing quadrupedal habits. This is the evolutive level
obtained by the monkeys of the Old World ( Catarhinia ) and of
the New World ( Platyrhinia ).
Alister Hardys Aquatic
Ape Theory is actually dealing with a phantom ( de Sarre 1997 ).
The large globular brain of man is not an
indication for simian ancestry... As a matter of fact, it is
a real primitive ( plesiomorphic ) feature that once developed
in a marine creature, a long time before the first arborical
primates ( apes and monkeys ) ever existed !
From an embryological point of
view, indeed, the brain comes before the skull ( brain-pan ).
That is what makes very unlikely that the big
head of the Homo sapiens is the result of some
swelling process in a simian brain ( that is
confined in a rigid bony superstructure ! ), in the horizontal
prolongation of the ( quadrupedal ) body axis... It does not
suit for both a tree-dwelling ape ( = current theories in
anthropology ), nor for Alister Hardys hypothetical
marine ape !
Nevertheless, a former aquatic
phase in mammalian evolution really accounts for our being a
big-brained biped. At this time, first terrestrial mammals
once made the decisive steps towards a conquest of the land.
And they already did walk on their two feet, like we !
At early stages of their embryonic
development, the quadrupedal animals possess the same big
head as people do, and they also present the typical bending
of the skull basis, like in adult men [ fig. 1 ]. The
quadrupedal mammals are then potentially biped, but they
afterwards carry on developing beyond the point where the
human embryo has become complete... They continue to grow
into four-legged animals, winged birds or apodal ( = without
legs ) whales...
Fig. 1 : Bending of the skull basis
( after BOLK 1926 )
above : ( left ) original bending in
( right ) bending of the skull basis in adult
man below : dogs horizontal deck
The study of the human morphology
must consequently be carried back to a very early stage in
the vertebrate lineage, i.e. the time of the passage from an
original full aquatic life ( marine homonculus )
to a terrestrial existence.
The globular form of the human
brain - and of the skull - represents the final evolution of
an ancient sea-creatures floating organ resembling the
umbrella of a jelly-fish. Such a configuration could only
develop naturally in water !
From a scholastic point of view,
what we call evolution does not have to follow any aim : we
humans got consequently our very remarkable
features, such as the globular skull and the big encephalon,
in a simple way, just like a sea-creature, indeed, did it
whilst developing a sustenance organ in water ( that
evidently only could have got a round shape ! ).
So the globular brain precedes any
form of skull or cranian structure among the lineages of
vertebrate animals that followed the homonculus,
i.e. : the arborical and quadrupedal mammals, the winged
birds, the reptiles, amphibians and even the fish !
Evidence, indeed, strongly suggests
that early bipedal mammals have moved out of the oceans, and
have evolved the adaptations in terrestrial life. The big
brain was a sufficient response to the challenge of settling
this new environment : physically, as the volume and weight
of the encephalon locked the skull basis and the
spinal chord into their position where the body got upright
whilst standing or walking ; intellectually, as mental powers
came into action to serve the developing mind
As a matter of fact, humanity did
neither evolve from a branch of the ape-stock, nor from
other quadrupedal antecedents. The genus Homo originated
from a lineage peculiar to himself that came up from the
ocean in remote times [ the palaeontologists use the name
Homo to specify some creatures like H. habilis or H.
rudolfensis : for sure, I will only use this appellation in
Linnaeus mind, i.e. regarding Homo sapiens, with his
big encephalon and erect stature ! ].
Humans are indeed, among the
vertebrates, the least removed from the ancient prototype,
morphologically and anatomically. Man preserved the original
orthograde body position of his lineage. This bipedal,
former aquatic, form was not only mans ancestor, but
also the ancestor of all the today living - and extinct -
mammals, of the birds, reptiles, batracians and of the
diverse water vertebrates.
If classical Zoology is
to continue considering fish as the primordial vertebrate,
then it is simply a matter of usage... !
This old cliché of an
evolution from the fish to us has to be totally overthrown,
and has actually nothing to do with the real phylogenesis of
all the vertebrate groups !
Man, in the rôle of his own
classifier, has set himself at the summit of the hierarchy :
the animals morphologically the closest to him appear as the
different stages through which the humans have
passed to reach their present appearance...
[ what we call : modern man ].
This accounts evidently for the
fact that most of the scientists still believe that we
developed from apes, from quadrupedal reptilians, and
furthermore, from some fish-like creatures that once have
heavily entered land. - This is but grand-pas Zoology !
So, where do we really come from ?
First of all, we have to disregard
the fossil records. Palaeontology only gives us indications
about ancient fauna, and shows no evidence regarding the
chronological order in which the series of vertebrates and
invertebrates should be listed - and how they may have evolved !
Zoologists as professor Wolfgang
Gutmann and his scholars ( Senckenberg-Institut in Francfort )
were always warning against misplaced confidence in the
fossil records. These German zoologists have established a
natural system of all animals without making allusion to the
There are indeed no
lower or higher evolved animals :
they all originated from the gallertoids, which developed
themselves in diverse ways, introducing the numerous
lineages : sponges, polyps, arthropods, molluscs, and even
All these ancestral Gallertoid
forms inhabited once the unique ocean on Earth - or they
might also have lived elsewhere in the Universe, before
being brought onto our planet !
Fig. 2 shows the hypothetical
reconstitution of the headless marine pre-vertebrate that
generated the human line of ascent. It resembled a flat worm
swimming in water.
We notice the important feature of
a dorsal protochorda ( sustaining the body structure ) with
the nervous system included in it, then the disposition of
the muscles, and the abdominal ( coeliac ) cavity in which the
absorbed water from the branchial pharynx poors down to the
branchial and genital porus, after eventually melting with
the genital products ( that are loosened into the sea for
Natatory folds on both sides of the
body allowed an active and regulated swimming, with the
action of the flexible protochorda constricting and whipping
Fig. 2 : Hypothetical
reconstitution of the marine pre-vertebrate
( after de
SARRE 1992 )
above : ( left ) ventral sight
( right ) dorsal sight
Cross section through the middle of
the body showing the disposition of the musculature, of the
abdominal cavity, of the protochorda, of the neural duct and
of the alimentary canal.
1) mouth and buccal
9) branchial and genital
10) natatory fold
3) coeliac cavity
12) neural duct
14) blood vessels
7) alimentary canal
The farther phylogenetical history
of this marine worm, which may have evolved into the first
four-limbed vertebrates with a round skull configuration, is
summarized on fig. 3. Mans large and globular brain
represents the final evolution of a marine animalcules
floating and sustenance organ.
Fig. 3 : Phylogenetical series of
the aquatic pre-hominid
( marine homonculus )
fashioning of the human encephalon and of the
( after de SARRE 1992 )
A-B ) : The floating organ
developed on the apical top of the marine worms body,
just like a bubble at the above part of a straw,
or the umbrella in some medusae, intendedly filled with gas
to facilitate an up and down
C ) : The globular sustenance
organ becomes functional in the same way as, for instance,
the natatory bladder of a fish.
D ) : Here is the consolidation of
the bladder-walls through the insert of a mesodermal
membrane between the inner ectodermal bag and the outer skin
( the mesodermal cells originated in the protochorda ) ; it was
this that shaped the round configuration of mans skull !
E ) : The marine
homonculus with his four limbs, and a little tail that
functioned as a rudder, then started to develop a big brain
( the neural cells originated from the spinal chord medulla )
and the upright posture, evolving into the first, ever
terrestrial, air-breathing vertebrate.
This was also a true mammal, since
the homonculus developed, yet during the marine
phase, typical mammalian characters, such as : hairy coat,
viviparity, lactation and sucking, endothemy...
The mammals are consequently to be
set at the root of all vertebrates !
ARCHETYPE FROM WHICH THE OTHER VERTEBRATES HAVE
The characteristics of a big brain
in a globular skull were obtained, as we emphasized, before
the adaptation of the first bipeds to a terrestrial way of
life became complete.
Even, some of the archetypal water
mammals made the choice to remain where they have ever
existed : i.e., in the ocean... Today cetaceans are indeed so
well adapted to their aquatic habitat that they never could
have left the ocean !
As a matter of fact, the skull of
the cetaceans is being deeply transformed, consistently with
the external fish form. Therefore, the large and
efficient encephalon remained quite undamaged, not far
different of a human brain.
Like the first representatives of
our lineage, the cetaceans once developed directly from the
common marine homonculus-archetype !
The early land-dwelling vertebrates
had, as we emphasized, a natural orthograde body position
that hindered them to run on four legs, even if they should
have liked it. Referring to Louis Bolk ( 1926 ), the
primordial big brain has locked the curved end
of the vertebral column in its original disposition, just
under the basis of the cerebral skull.
Bipedalism was really advantageous
for coming out of the water, for walking long distances on
the ground while carrying a young, food or some objects...
The free hands were required for tool use and
If humans have remained more or
less morphologically and anatomically the same through out
the course of geologic ages, this may be due to
cerebralisation, which is centered in the brain and acts on
a cellular level as regards behaviour and mind, whereas the
( nevertheless ! ) principal evolutive current of
dehumanization tends to reduce and to deform the human
skull, to change the body aspect, and to engage new
locomotory habits ( quadrupedalism, for instance ! ). As
Bernard Heuvelmans claimed, these two antagonistic
tendencies in the evolution of the primates are still
present in the modern Homo sapiens : the second factor
( cerebralisation ) may contribute to the slowing down and to
the restriction of the free development of the first one
( dehumanization ) !
AS AN EVOLUTIVE PROGRESS
The key error of many
evolutionists still consists in assuming that man descends
from quadrupedal animals that resembled monkeys or apes
( Aegyptopithecus, Proconsul, Sivapithecus ).
It inevitably led to the
misconception of the phylogenetical tree of man associating
fossil apes ( like Australopithecus ) and some
ape-men. We should better call the last ones :
pongoid men, i.e. they are only looking
like apes. I mean the erectus-hypodigm, for
The current human fossils from the
Plio-Pleistocene represent dehumanized forms. Like ( perhaps
still living ) representatives of pongoid wild men around the
world, they were sometimes branching off from the central
and chief trunk of our sapiens-lineage.
The evolutive phenomenon of
dehumanization exhibits a progressive loss of the facial and
bodily structures ( then, the mental abilities ) that
characterize the Homo sapiens.
Its major starting-gear may be
after a big natural disaster ( collision between the Earth
and an asteroid ) provoking a break in cultural habits, then
a change in habitat, and a specialization in feeding habits
along with a development of the jaws which become heavier,
and with the whole body bending forward...
In his famous book about wild men
( Abominable Snowman, Legend come to Life, 1961 ),
Ivan T. Sanderson let us consider with new eyes the condition of
human groups that are rejected into mountains, forests or
other inhospital areas. In Norway, some adolescents who had
grown up in humid valleys that were nearly always deprived
of sun rays suffered from physical degenerations due to the
lack of vitamins E and D ( produced by sun rays ). Suffering
from mental subnormality, they had grotesque hairs growing
on their head and body, their jaws were very large and
irregular. Rejected by the community such people lived in
the mountains and succeeded in eking out an existence by
hunting small animals by hand. These were eaten raw, as well
Within the theoretical
framework of Initial Bipedalism, the relic and fossil
non-sapiens hominids are considered to have issued from the
human line of ascent. They are the representatives of
collateral lineages who have survived, concurrently with
Homo sapiens, during the prehistoric times ( man himself was
confronted with survival problems and forced to return
to the caverns... ! ), or they are still living until
the recent time ( relic hominoids ).
They are perhaps the same forms : so
the Asian cryptids, called Almasty, Kaptar, Barmanu, etc,
may be the modern representatives of Homo neanderthalensis
or Homo erectus, with more or less nocturnal habits.
The typical description is : an
upright-walking, hair-covered creature with an ape-like
face. It might even be fossil-known species, as I
emphasized ; but it must also be assumed that some specimens
of wildmen throughtout the world had retreated for a short
time from the humain main lineage ( i.e., Homo sapiens ) : we
should consider them as recently dehumanized forms. They
sometimes wear clothes and are actually looking more like
Then, wildmen are not an
intermediate between the animal and human : they are just the
opposite ! Most of the wild relic hominoids walk
bipedally, like many fossil representatives ( Oreopithecus,
Ardipithecus, Australopithecus ) also did. They have
apparently some difficulty to get rid of this locomotion
feature, that may cause inconvenience for them, in their
This fact is adduced as a proof for
initial bipedalism, that is retained in the skeleton
structure, as dehumanization goes on progressing !
We are indeed far in mind from the
adherents of the ordinary school of thought, who
are still receptive to the concept of hairy creatures
intermediate between apes and men which
once painfully tried to stand and walk
on two legs...
The wildman, indeed, must still
walk erect, even with a forward inclination of the torso,
putting his nostrils very close to the ground, in order to
follow the scent of some animal, like dogs would do...
Therefore, the wildman cannot put his weight on his hands
simply because of his bodily structure. This could only more
dehumanized descendants realize !
According to witnesses in southern
China, there are creatures that look like terrestrial orang
utans. They are said to stand fully upright. Such an erect
posture may be considered as simply deviant by
researchers, but a bipedally adapted orang utan cannot be
closely related to the normal Indonesian
species, which is quadruped, - and a skilled tree-dweller
with prehensile feet !
There is only one logical
explanation, referring to an initial bipedalism of the both
forms : the insular orang utans are indeed the more
deviant, i.e. they once split from the
terrestrial ancestors and then became the accomplished
tree-climbers and brachiators we know...
In science, the principle of
Ockhams razor demands that the simplest explanation
should always be preferred to the more complicated one. And
this principle surely advises us that bipedal forms have
preceded the today quadrupedal apes, and that the inverse
cannot be true. Anyone who has ever observed apes, would not
deny it !
We do suggest that this assumption
would resolve many aspects of the evolutionary puzzle.
Bipedal locomotion and the upright stance represent an
early, intrinsic, characteristic of the Homo sapiens, that
is preserved at different stages in the post-human
evolution, before it gradually disappears.
VERSION FRANCAISE RESUMEE
BOLK, Louis (1926) : "Le
problème de l’anthropogenèse", C.-R.
Ass. Anat., 1, Paris.
DELOISON, Yvette (1999) :
"L’Homme ne descend pas d’un Primate
arboricole ! Une évidence méconnue", Rev.
Biométr. Hum. Anthropol., 17 : 147-150,
FRECHKOP, Serge (1941) :
"Remarques pour l’embryologie des
mammifères", Bull. Mus. Roy. Hist. Nat.,
HARDY, Alister (1960) : "Was
man more aquatic in the past ?", The New Scientist, 7,
HEUVELMANS, Bernard (1954) :
"L’homme doit-il être
considéré comme le moins
spécialisé des mammifères ?",
Sciences & Avenir, 85, Paris.
SARRE de, François (1997) :
"About early water stages in humanity : a comparison
between the AAT and the Initial Bipedalism Theory",
Bipedia, 15, Nice.
SNOO de, Klaas (1942) : "Das
Problem der Menschwerdung im Licht der vergleichenden
Geburtshilfe", Gustav Fischer, Jena.
WESTENHÖFER, Max (1926) :
"Vergleichend-morphologische Betrachtungen über
die Entstehung der Ferse und des Sprunggelenks der
Landwirbeltiere mit besonderer Beziehung auf den
Menschen", Sonderband : Archiv f. Frauenk. u.
Konstitutionsforsch., Bd. XII, Leipzig.
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