The UCL meeting

Elaine Morgan (
Sat, 18 Nov 1995 14:10:18 GMT

I have now heard a bit more about what happened and been given
permission by Chris Knight to quote his e-mails to me. He said:

(I recap the first sentence)

(1st message)
"Elaine, I expect you have heard that Philip Tobias did an
extraordinary thing at UCL on Tuesday, making a grand apology to you on
behalf of himself and all his colleagues. Much of the world was present
at the grand ritual occasion. One of my research students was
carefully watching Pete Wheeler's face as he sat there listening. My
reading of Tobias' announcement is that the paradigm change, with your
work at the centre, is now well under way. I am so glad I stuck my neck
out and predicted all this in my review of Scars in the JRAI. They can't
admit that they got four million years of hominid evolution wrong,
utterly wrong, without just about every stone in the establishment
edifice coming loose and starting to collapse. My warmest
congratulations, Elaine!"

(2nd) "The Tobias thing really is very big news .Pete Wheeler was
visibly sinking lower and lower as he listened, and it all
happened in front of George Williams, Helena Cronin, Leslie Aiello and
a constellation of stars from all over the world. Nobody demurred: the
revolution was simply announced from on high. You have made it: that is
the opinion of everyone I have spoken to since..."

(3rd) "He did not quite say he supported the aquatic ape theory. He
did say that your arguments against the savannah theory had now been
vindicated, and that therefore all alternatives to the savannah
hypothesis would have to be taken on board for consideration in an
atmosphere free of preconceptions. He said "we all got it wrong",
himself included, and called for more humility in future, He
specifically termed this a paradigm change, referring to it as
something which had already occurred, and linking it to you."

This is a great relief to me. I can think of a few people - I daresay
we all can - who may want to defend the old paradigm to the death. But
I feel confident that I can now after twenty-three years bow out of
this and let the professionals take over. They will do a far better job
of it than I could. They will get the tone right. They won't have to be
so truculent because they know they will be listened to. I feel
honoured to have contributed to some preliminary clearing of the ground
for whatever edifice they will erect on it.