Re: Bipedalism and theorizing... was Re: Morgan and creationists

Wallace Neslund (
Mon, 08 Jul 1996 23:20:13 -0700

James Borrett wrote:
> Richard Foy wrote:
> >
> > In article <>,
> > Wallace Neslund <> wrote: Due to this, Homo females
> > >early on developed a large soft breast to act as a shock absorber to
> > >cushion the head and brain. In a feed back loop of larger
> > >breasts and better brain growth, Hss females developed the large breast
> > >seen today.
> Elaine Morgan suggested in "The Descent Of Woman" in 1972 that the human
> female breast shape evolved because we lost our hair, so the babies could
> no longer hold on and pull themsleves to the nipple when being
> breast-fed, so the breast shape gives them something to hold onto and
> makes the nipple more accessible. (She then went on to compare the breast
> shape of humans with the breast shape of dugongs).

I looked up the reference you made to E. Morgan's book. I couldn't find "The Descent of
Woman", but I did find the reference on page 47 of her book "The Descent of the Child", Oxford
University Press, 1995. She is referring to the descent of the nipple position on Hss compared
to other primates. She states Hss's nipples are lower on the chest, allowing easier access to
the nipple by the infant. She goes on to say that the nipple is also no longer firmly anchored
to the chest, allowing the breast to be "more manoeuvrable". She does not say that the breast
is shaped for holding on to.

In fact, a baby, while nursing, does not hold onto the nipple with its hands, but with its
mouth. Nor does it hold onto the breast with its hands to support itself. The supporting is
done by the mother holding the infant. While nursing, the mother would sit down and hold the
infant up to her breast. This is probably true in all primates, Chimps and Hss. I would
imagine that an infant holding onto a breast to support itself would be difficult for the
infant and painful for the mother.

But this is beside the point I made in the original post, quoted in part above. It is not
during nursing that a large breast is needed, but during movement while the mother is carying
the infant. The shock absorber qualities cushion the constant swaying and pounding a babies
developing brain and head would take while the mother is walking along with the infant crooked
under one arm.

I can repost or mail you the original post if you have not seen it.


God knows, I don't. - Thomas Aquinas

He's so dumb, he not only doesn't know anything,
He doesn't suspect anything. - unknown