Elaine Morgan (
Thu, 24 Aug 1995 15:21:24 GMT

<pb> says:

>>It is risky generalising from a sample of one

> True, but it is even more risky to generalise from a *hypothetical*
sample, such as your purported "aquatic ape" species.

I don't believe I have ever generalised from a hypothetical species.I
may occasionally have written elliptically "when the apes went into the
water" in the same way as STers wrote "when the apes went out on to the
savannah". Strictly speaking all of us should have stuck to the
subjunctive and said every time "at the time when it may perhaps be
surmised that the apes may have..etc. etc." But that is common usage
and seldom ambiguous.

But I have never framed an argument which said or implied; "Since we
know that there was an aquatic ape, we can further conclude that..etc.
etc." That *would* be generalising from a hypothesis. The possibility of
an aquatic phase is at the end of the chain of reasoning in AAT, not the
beginning . It begins with the facts, just as the other side does.

> I think this is abundant evidence that both the thermo-regulatory
>experts and the AAT-sheep don't know as much about the nature of sweat
>glands+fur as they think. (People assume that) adequate background
research has already been done. In this case, it certainly has not.

I totally agree (except of course about which side is more ovine) and
acclaim your acknowledgement of it as a great advance. Exactly the same
is true about a lot of other anatomical structures.

The heaviest cross AAT has had to bear is the complacent assumption that
"We Know all that stuff, the answers are all in the literature, go find
them." They are not there! Until this fact is driven home, it is no
use saying "Wait another 20-30 years or so, then check." No-one is
going to address these questions as long as their mentors encourage
them to assume that there is nothing left to discover.

> You have refused to be discouraged by a lack of study-able material.

There is no lack of material for research into comparative anatomy. We
all walk around with a bodyful of it.

What discourages me about the fossil material is not the lack of it
but the blinkered way in which it is written about. Don Johansen wrote
a whole book about the discovery of Lucy, full of exciting material.
Lots of information, lots of detail. The only detail which was nowhere
mentioned or hinted at in the book was that Lucy died in the sand at
the edge of the water, among crocodile and turtle eggs and crab
claws. I do not accuse him of concealing the fact. It was there in
the paper he wrote, albeit rather parenthetically and in the small
print. I believe he simply did not see it as having any possible
significance. People see what they expect to see. I am trying to widen
the range of their expectations.