Reply to Jim Moore

Elaine Morgan (
Mon, 31 Jul 1995 14:58:43 GMT

I sais we seem to have no consensus on which nonhuman mammls weep
psychic tears so anecdotes about them can't be evidence. You say "then
why did you present it as such in Scars?"

The only statements on non-human psychic weeping concern cows and
chimps. As for the cows, I frankly didn't and don't believe it. Far be
it from me to claim that the professor was either lying or barking mad.
English was his second language and perhaps he hadn't understood the
psychic/ irritant distinction.

As for the chimp, this is post-scars and from one Net contributor. I
have met many people who work with apes, run zoos, rear apes: Ive
read three books on handreared animals. I have never heard that they
weep. I
have read that a young ape in tantrum diplays all the same symptoms as
a child in tantrum except the tears. To be perfectly honest I wasn't
dead sure whether our contribuor was serious, or just mischievously
demonstrating how easy it is to make an unsupported statment of that
kind. I gave him the behefit of the doubt

The dumb chums I did mention - seagulls etc. - were described in a
scientific paper, not an anecdote. I thought that was different. I only
mentioned mammals with a health warning attached.

You remind me evolution does't have a purpose. You know that I know
that. I could rephrase the question: "Why would natural selection
favour the ejection of water from the eyes as an accompaniment to
sorrow?" You may say it doesn't have to be natural selection..well,
we've had that argument.

You say I believe in some genetic drift affecting Momo and some
seagulls and sea otters. No, no, no. I believe in convergent evolution:
that like causes produce like effects even in totally unrelated

You ask if I think our aquatic ancestors commonly dove from a few
hundred feet up. No. The image in my own mind is of swimming
forward underwater, and the water being deflected to either side of the

Do the proboscis monkeys dive head first? This was hard to check.
Verbal accounts don't specify. I finally found a blurred photograph of
one leaving the trees and you are quite right. Feet first. You win.

Having compared my "reporting of Dennet's work on salt to hs actual
work" you don't trust me. I've met Denton since "Scars" and he didn't
feel he'd been misrepresented. Trust? Quite right. Trust nobodY. check
everything. Best policy.


Elaine Morgan