Jim Moore's "AAT Sink or Swim?" Web Site
Rhinos, Pigs, and selective evidence


This is one of the newer pages on Jim Moore's web site. Added in 2004 to counter arguments that two of the few mammalian species which are less hairy but terrestrial may have had *more* aquatic ancestry, rather like the AAH postulates for human beings.

Jim doesn't actually refer to that 'more aquatic ancestry' point, however. Instead he makes the rather obvious point that rhinoceroses are not aquatic.

After a brief and interesting introduction to rhinoceros taxonomy, Moore justifies the inclusion of this page on his web site. He writes "some AATers attempt to use them as examples of hairlessness due to an aquatic adaptation." No citation is forthcoming, again, so that the reader might determine if Moore is being accurate here, slightly exaggerating the point being argued or merely making it up.

To my knowledge rhinoceroses entered the debate on hairlessness as they are one of the few mammalian taxa that are associated with significant hair loss and, in addition to large body size, there is a body of evidence that suggests that they might have an ancestry that was, similar to what the AAH is postulating for Homo  sapiens, more aquatic. McFadden et al (1998), at least, offer some arguments that suggest they might have been.

Moore claims that the Sumatran rhinoceros, one of the more aquatic types according to Moore, is actually the hairiest. There's no attempt to back up this assertion with any reference but, even if accepted, there appears to be little difference in either the degree of mud-wallowing (hardly aquaticism) or the degree of hair between the different rhinoceros species. Moore also fails to point out that the Sumatran rhinoceros is the smallest. Size effects clearly have some impact in hair cover in mammalia, as do aquatic factors.

He also goes on to offer evidence that in wild pigs, although both the African Red River Hog and the Babirusa are suidae which are able swimmers, only the Babirusa is sparsely haired. The red river hog is among the hairiest suidae. Moore claims (but does not cite his sources again) "Aquatic ape proponents often mention the sparely haired Babirusa and its propensity for swimming yet never seem to mention 

the extremely hairy African Bush Pig and its similar propensity for swimming. Using only one as an example, as AATers do, is an example of their selective use of evidence, using only evidence which supports them and ignoring equally valid contradictory evidence."

McFadden, Bruce J (1998)
. Tale of two Rhinos: Isotopic Ecology, Paleodiet, and Niche Differentiation of Aphelops and Teloceras from the Florida Neogene. Paleobiology Vol:24 Pages:274-286