AAT Blast from the past.

Elaine Morgan (Elaine@desco.demon.co.uk)
19 Jun 1995 11:43:25 +0100

Sorry my pc has been kaput for some weeks. I'd like to reply
to a contemptuous side-swipe from Jim Moore some weeks ago.

Re AAT he began with "Why go with yet another just-so-story?"
Oh Really! Are you still trotting out that old cliche? The
savannah just-so-story is looking a bit sick since the
paleo-ecologists pulled out the rug from under it, so what
paradigm are you advocating?

He says says my theory "insists that wading upright would
somehow leave us with hair on top while walking on dry land
would not" . WHO "insisted" this? When? Where? I never heard
such rubbish in my life.

He says AAT (which he repeatedly calls my theory as if I had
invented it) "also runs counter to Caroline Pond's findings
on fat, which Morgan tried to use as support for her theory

I used this quotation from Caroline Pond in one of my
books:"However we compare them, Homo is clearly the odd one
out, In proportion to body mass, we have at least ten times
as many adipocytes as expected from this comparison with wild
and captive animals." I used it as an excellent summary of
the anomaly that needs to be explained. No-one has ever
challenged its authenticity. Lest anyone think she was a
supporter of AAT, she explicitly dissociated herself from the
idea as she has every right to do if she doesn't believe it.
However there is nothing in any of the discoveries she has
made (they are numerous and brilliant) which is incompatible
with AAT. I do not understand why she has taken to putting
quotation marks around the phrase "subcutaneous fat" as if it
were a mythical tissue dreamed up by supporters of AAT. It is
simply an indication of location, like perirenal fat, and she
doesn't put quotation marks around that.

The nose - yes, I did once make the mistaken assumption that
the nasal spine was in evidence prior to H. erectus. That was
about twenty years ago and was never repeated. You really are
scraping the barrel.

Body hair growth on humans. No. Pater Wheeler was wrong about
that. I let him have the last word on it because the subject
is a very grey area and it had become obvious nobody was
going to prove anything of any value.

JM ended by recommending "The Aquatic Ape: Fact or Fiction?"
as a valuable corrective. I am delighted that he did so. I
was instrumental in getting it published, and have several
times given it a plug on this newsgroup.

Other matters: salt water or fresh for the aquatic ape? I
tend to think that initially it must have been salt, (a)
becasue of anomalies in human regulation of salt balance (b)
because of tears (c) because there was extensive sea-flooding
of the relevant area at the relevant time. That does not mean
it was "sea-shore". The flooded area was part of the forest
belt. It was prbably more like coastal mangrove swamps in the
initial period, as in probosis-monkey habitat. Later, I
agree, when the Sea of Afar evaporated, the hominids lived by
fresh water - the Rift Valley lakes and rivers.

On the matter of crocodiles .. Instead of all these
hypothetical crocodiles, read what really happens when the
extant tribesmen in the Danakil area need to cross a
crocodile-infested river today. They wade across it, with
their cattle. The apparent reason is that the river is
swarming with tilapia fish. Your average croc will not go
through the strenuous business of grabbing the leg of a large
mammal and threshing and twisting around to tear it off, if
he is full of tilapia and simply not hungry. (Source:
Africa's Rift Valley, in the World's Wild Places series by
Time/Life books)

Elaine Morgan

Elaine Morgan