Re: AAT reply from Elaine Morgan

Elaine Morgan (
Sat, 17 Dec 1994 14:27:33 +0000

I'm a newbie just catching up on the backlog, This is my second
attempt to respond to a lot of comments in one go, I'm not too sure
how this thing works.

Re Bipedalism. There is a growing realisation that b.p. cannot have
been a response to savannah conditions because it predated the
emergence of the savannah environment as we know it by millions of
years. Tim White's recent discovery of Lucy's ancestor A. ramidus
reinforced this....Recently too K.D.Hunt revealed that among savannah
chimps the occasional bipedal behaviour is only observed in the wooded
areas not on the open grassland....Peter Wheeler's thermoregulatory
hypothesis has had a good innings but his conclusions are challenged
by three other anthropologists in current issue of Journ. Hum.
Evol...Re bipedalism emerging to carry foraged food from savannah back
to trees: what food? Handsful of seeds, nuts, berries? The trek back
would consume more energy than these would supply, and b.p. long
predated hunting....Re b.p. emerging to spot distant predators: it is
also a great way of enabling them to spot you - and they run faster.

Dating: The dating of the ape/hominid split was not invented for the
convenience of AAT. It is supplied by the microbiologists and is not
at issue. Argument is over what triggered it, The most dramatic
environmental event in that period in Africa was the flooding of Afar

Fat. Yes, aging captive overfed apes (esp orangs) will become obese.I
stated this in Scars of Evolution. But the fat adheres to the
underlying tissues, is not bonded to the skin as in Homo and
aquatics. Among primates only Homo has fat babies and infants. Why
should that be?

Diving reflex. Yes, this is found to some degree in all land mammals.
I conceded this decades ago, as soon as it was established. It was
not known in 1972

Eccrines. Yes, apes have eccrines all over their bodies. I stated
this too and it does not constitute a major blunder by Morgan as
claimed. The point is that these glands in apes are not used for
thermoregulation as in humans. America's ace specialist in primate
skin Wm Montagna found that quite inexplicable.

AAT origins. No, I did not originate the idea, nor ever claimed to.
That insight requires genius which I do not possess. I only became its
arch-defender by default. No one else volunteered.

Women's role. No, I did not research the facts of women's role in
provisioning hunter/gatherers. Nor did I ever claim to. The facts were
known to a small circle of academics. All I did was publicise them

Baboon marker. There are strong reasons for believing that the outbreak
of the baboon retrovirus disease occurred between the ape/hominid split
and the Papio/gelada split. Both of these speciations have been roughly

Long-distance running. The classic reference to this is David Carrier's
paper on the energetic paradox of human running, in Current Anthropology
25, 4. Endurance running may have provided spin-off benefits for
highly-evolved bipeds but that advantage would not have accrued to the
shambling two-legged gait of the first ancestors so cannot account for
the emergence of bipedalism.

Elaine Morgan.