Alternative museums are all the rage these days, from the million-dollar animatronics of the Answers in Genesis Creation Museum to the quaint if ramshackle Genesis Expo in Portsmouth, UK. Lying somewhere between the two is The Museum of the Aquatic Ape, a virtual repository of all your alternative evolution needs. The Aquatic Ape Hypothesis is a fringe evolutionary theory that claims many of our distinct human traits (subcutaneous fat, lack of hair, etc) are best explained by a period of semi-aquatic living. So far it has gained little, if any, traction on the minds of evolutionary biologists.
The Museum of Aquatic Ape boasts a plethora of dioramas painstakingly pieced together by author Jeffrey Rotter and his wife. They show the underwater city of Nautika, the Mediterranean home of the gilled aquatic apes, built in the first century BCE.
You can also go on a virtual tour of the museum, and learn about the ancient Nautikons.
If you hadn't guessed by this point, SPOILER ALERT: the Museum of the Aquatic Ape is simply a playful hoax perpetrated by Jeffrey Rotter to promote his new novel, The Unknown Knowns. Says Jeff:
My main character is obsessed to an unhealthy degree with the aquatic ape hypothesis, and he's intent on building a museum. Instead of doing a boring book website, my wife and I built an online Museum of the Aquatic Ape, complete with an audio-video tour and photos of the dioramas we spent countless hours and dozens of tweezers creating.
Interestingly, you can purchase a rather natty tshirt from the museum gift shop, which makes me think there should be far more of this meta in the book world. How about Darwinian knuckledusters to celebrate the new Richard Dawkins book? Or a Mark Haddon-brand garden fork? The world needs this stuff!
I think that the narrator (which I assume is Mrs. Rotter) is the best part of that video. Her voice was so clam and soothing but deadly serious and she recited the most ridiculous lines. I think that I might actually like that book. :-)
Too bad its a hoax.
My granparents from Innsmouth would have wanted me to visit it.