Morgan; various

Elaine Morgan (
Thu, 26 Oct 1995 13:38:24 GMT

Comments on four odd items. I'll come back to tears again (sigh) later.

1. Why didn't the first hominids leave shell-middens? For the same
reason that sea-otters don't. They don't collect shell-fish; they eat
them on the spot.

R2. D.L.Burkhead. The source of the "so-called fact" about the
attachment of fat to the skin is quoted both in "The Aquatic Apoe" and
in "The Scars of Evolution. (Try reading them some time) It is :
Professor Wood Jones. "Man's Place among the Mammals", Edward Arnold,
London, 1929, p.309.
You say "Every animal I have skinned had fat fused to the skin."
Personally I
have conducted no autopsies but have done some cooking. To detach the
skin of a pig from the fat layer needs a very sharp knife: that is what
I call fusing. Having made an incision in the skin of a rabbit, you can
easily pull the whole pelt off with your hands, and fat deposits are
visible clinging to the flesh beneath. Reasons why we are at the pig's
end of this spectrum are debatable. But alleging that all mammals are
the same in this respect is like the argument that we aren't really
hairless because we have follicles in the naked parts.

3. Chimp bipedalism. Alex, we have had Rodman and McHenru quoted at us
more than once. Yes, they do indicate that "chimp bipedalism and chimp
quadrupedalism are about equally energetically efficient". But that
only applies to their walking, not to their running. Also the paper
discusses only energy costs, and ignores how much faster they are on
four legs than on two.

4. Pete Vincent. It is interesting that you heard Tobias use the phrase
"the svannah theory of bipedalism" more than once in his talk. It is
sad that so many contributors will not believe you because you can't
give a page number. Tobias's comment that why we became bipedal is "the
64 dollar question" is confirmed by Maeve Leakey in the National
Geographic of September 1995 (page 42) where she says "We do not know
why they became bipedal".