Re: AAT reply from Elaine Morgan

Phillip Bigelow (
Tue, 27 Dec 1994 20:49:26 GMT

Troy Kelley <> writes:
>So, following this logic, hunting dogs, lions, cheetahs, leapards,
>hyenas, and a host of other carnavoirs should give birth to plumb babies
>because they all have to follow game animals around on the savannah for
>food. This is not the case. The fat deposits of these animals is not
>similar to the fat deposits in man. I doubt if any of the animals I
>listed, as newborns, could float in water the way a human baby can.

>Troy Kelley

Here is even better data on how obsesity offsets death in infants:

The Ethiopian famine of 5 years ago and the present famine in the
refugee camps in Zaire are creating orphans by the droves. Whenever you
get a large group of humans congregated in a small area with limited
resources, famine and death occur. If you take a look at the statistics put
out by UNICEF (United Nations Childrens fund), the demographics of death are
rather clear-cut: The greatest proportion of early deaths are in the
elderly and in the smallest children, particularly those children who are
not _naturally_ "large" (read _fat_) to begin with. The survivors are
people from about 20-45 years old, presumably because they are in their
physical prime, _AND_ young children who are obese (or _were_ obese until
the famine hit). There are always more orphaned children in refugee camps
stricken by famine than there are parents who lost children. Fat babies and
children survive famine better, according to UNICEF. Note that when I say
"fat", I am referring to those _genetically_ predisposed to being fat.
*It it also interesting to note that nearly all of the Ethiopian victoms of the
famine were savannah dwellers!* They were farmers/sheep-herders in the
savannah-environment of southern Ethiopia, as well as the sheep-herders and
nomads of the sub-desert region of northern Ethiopia.
As far as carnivoran predators on the savannah: they are all termed
"hypercarnivorous" in their diet. They only eat meat. When a drought hits,
the first casualties are the large herbivores, which die off slowly (in
stages). A large herd of antelope or wildebeast will stay intact for many
seasons of dought, and the weak animals will die off and provide plenty of
food for the carnivores.
In the case of early hominids, they were not hypercarnivorous: instead
they ate vegatable matter in addition to scavenging carcasses. Hominids
were more sensitive to drought than are carnivores, because when the drought
hits the savannah, the first things to dissappear from the hominids diet
would be the vegetation. Scurvy is one outcome of not having enough
vegetable matter in a human's diet.
The present death-profiles of famine victoms in Africa clearly show a
survival advantage for fat babies. When discussing the evolutionary reasons
for infantile obesity, it is always preferable to discuss _all_ possible
explainations, not just the conclusion-driven motives of Ms. Morgan.