Re: AAT Questions...

Elaine Morgan (
Mon, 17 Jul 1995 10:35:09 GMT

Reply to Burkhead:

>name one aquatic mammal that became bipedal"

Nobody can name any nonhuman animal aquatic or otherwise that became
bipedal so that's a bit pointless-

> name one aquatic mammal that weeps for grief and I will eat your

I can't let you do that: I have enough trouble with in its unmasticated

But Steller, the one that Steller's seacow was named after. reported
that when he separated a sea otter from its cubs, so that it could see
them but not reach them, it wept. You may say that is anecdotal but you
can't deny it is an experiment that could very easily be repeatd

Reply to Nicholls.

You say our nostrils point down (a) because we are catarrhine. Every
higher primate east of the Atlantic is catarrhine. Why don't all their
nostrils point down?
(b) because of loss of facial prognathism. This is an old story, which
says it wasn't the nose that stuck out, it was the rest of the face
that shrank back. --as if that explained anything. So why didn't the
nose shrink back when everything else was doing it?
(c) early hominids did't have nostrils like ours. Nobody knows what
they were like. You only know they didn't have an ossified nasal spine.
Neither does a sea elephant, but it's got quite a remarkable appendage
all the same.

Reply to Alex Duncan.

You say there is plenty of evidence in the current literature of
savannah-mosaic adaptation but I have ignored it

Quite untrue. What there is in the current literature is a great deal
of speculation about why a savanna/mosaic habitat might have led
to bipedalism. I have not ignored it. I have a paper in press listing
the front-running theories and saying why I disagree with them. They
also of course disagree with one another.

You mention credibility. Suppose you establish your credibility by
telling us which of these mutually contradictory theories you believe;
then I can defend mine by giving my opinion of it. This request is
usually met with with "Oh but there are so many of them.." You are
doing this again. It is a blatant cop-out. Stand up and be counted.
Then we have a meaningful discussion.

Reply to Holloway.

I will name no more names of people who think I am not a crackpot. I
won't even betray the one who figured on your proffered list of the
great and good. In your book they instantly become non-persons, and I
know that even when the non-persons have become the majority, you will
still be faithfully flying the flag for the flat-earthers.

You keep reiterating that there are many brilliant and illustrious
people (I don't deny the brilliance) who despise AAT. You seem amazed
that that doesn't make me roll over and play dead. Well, if they opened
their lips and gave their reasons I might be swayed by their arguments.
But the tactic of silent contempt, while it may impress their
students, leaves me cold. Brilliant people have backed the wrong horse
more than once in scientific history.

Thank you for confirming my hunch that you haven't read my last two
books. It must make it a lot easier to condemn a theory out of hand
when you don't confuse the issue by finding out what it actually says.

You said "Nothing's been disproved, Elaine." Does this mean that the
savannah theory in all its pristine glory, has not been abandoned after
all? That is odd, because recently on this thread someone who referred
to the torrid-heat scenario was rebuked for contructing a straw man to
attack, on the grounds that nobody believes in that any longer. Could
you perhaps tell us what kind of habitat you personally believe
Afarensis lived in? That would be really helpful in clarifying the