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

Elaine Morgan (
Mon, 15 Jul 1996 23:01:24 GMT

In article <> wrote...

> 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.

No, I never imagined it did. It does, with nipple in its mouth, often
hold its hands around the breast. When it is very young the mother guides
the nipple into its mouth. When it is somewhat older it has enough nous
to steer the nipple into its own mouth. That is what I meant by manoenvrable.
You have to remember that even today in some primitive tribes the
suckling goes on for three or four years

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.

Yes, and as it grows bigger,holding it there can get very tiring. Mothers sit
(or used to) on low "nursing chairs" so that the baby can lie down on
her lap, which takes the weight. Or she sits in an armchair with a
cushion behind the baby's head. In the wild she might sit or squat
cross legged on the ground with the baby lying in her lap. If she
were shaped like a chimp, a baby with a great heavy head and the inertia
of a young baby compared to a young chimp would find its mouth was
nowhere near the nipple. It can't even hold its head up. It's got
no fur to climg to. If Mohammed can't go to the mountain then the
mountain must go to Mohamed; more comfortable for both of them if the
nipple starts a bit lower and is not so tightly fastened to the chest
so it's as it were a bit extensible. This extensibility leaves room
inside the skin which in the virginal and well-nourished may be filled up
with adipose tissue. May even become an epigamic feature eventually,
as anything might which is eloquent of youth and gender.

But to say it originally evolved to allure males is a misconception.
Males of all species are attracted to the females of their species
the way they are. The male which passes on its genes is the male which
likes what it sees, not the one that roams around looking for an
entirely new shape, as if it was a Paris designer
How else would the wart hog have survived so long?

The other thing which gets overlooked is that in primitive tribes
and malnourished
ones and almost certainl;y in our earliest ancestors the breast is/was
not the luscious hemisphere beloved of Playboy. It was a skinny thing.
There have been plenty of famine pictures showing kids holding onto
it and wondering why it doesn't work any more. In stone age people this is common except in primipara mothers.
If suckling goes on for years you don't easily recover that hemisphere.

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.
>The whole point is that chimp babies do not need to hold on to the
breasts or the nipple to keep their head in the right position.
They can cling on to their mother's fur. Ours can't.

I feel like I'm the only one on this thread that's ever fed babies.