Re: AAT reply from Elaine Morgan

Phillip Bigelow (
Sun, 25 Dec 1994 03:54:32 GMT

>Elaine Morgan asks:
>>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?

A better question is why didn't you include in your book other
explainations for plump human babies? :)

I can think of at least one plausible alternative explaination for this
condition in infants: Partial protection against famine.
If we assume that hominids went directly from a forest habitat into a more
open, savannah-like environment to secure food, life would get much more
complicated for the hominids. First, they would have to follow their food.
In the case of the great apes, their territory is only a few square
kilometers, and it contains food that you don't have to hunt down; you just
reach up and pull some leaves off the branch you are sitting on. Famine is
much less of a threat to apes who never leave their source of food. On the
other hand, if you have to follow the herds to get your food, you are
dependent on a myriad of variables, none of which are friendly to hominids
wandering on the plain. If the game animals are not there, you may starve.
Babies cannot hunt for themselves, so they would be most suseptable to
immediate death, particularly if the mother stops lactating during the
famine. A fat baby would survive longer than a thin baby during these
stressful times. Frankly Elaine, I think that a savannah-derived
explaination for obese babies is better than the one you provided us in your