Reply to DLB and Alex

Elaine Morgan (
Wed, 13 Sep 1995 09:30:32 GMT

DLB: Sorry my reply to you turned into a tirade to which Alex has
understandably retorted in kind. I sometimes log on at the fag end of
of a raggedy day and post e-mail which on paper which have harmlessly
let off steam and been torn up next morning.

It is confusing when correspondence comes in on such different levels.
There are, thankfully, half a dozen people who offer me a level
playing-field, and give constructive and enlightening criticism; some
sound like crusty old die-hards and one or two seem to be uttering
cat-calls. I feel like one of those music-hall (vaudeville?) artists
who juggle with a cannon-ball and a balloon and a quail's egg. It must
take a lot of practice to get it right.

I had the impression on a quick reading that you were being
patronising, and envisioning all supporters of AAT as an
undifferentiated bunch of eccentric and gullible nerds living in their
own impenetrable mental universe with no understanding of what real
science is about. If this idea was unfounded I sincerely apologise.
Even if it wasn't I didn't use the best way of countering it.

Alex. "This is getting tiresome.." Okay, sorry. It won't get tiresome
any more on that front. I solemnly swear never again to use the words
"savannah theory" without clear and specific indication that the idea
is obsolete. You can't imagine how strange it feels to be saying that.
I fought the thing for twenty years, and it was like fighting Godzilla.
I fondly imagined that if ever it was counted out, somebody might
raise my arm skyward and say "The winner." Of course nothing of the kind
happened. It was not me they conceded to, it was the new facts.
Suddenly it wasn't there any more, and I was hitting the wind. May it
rest in peace. I hope you will as freely concede that the image of a
dolphin-shaped aquatic ape mermaid is equally defunct.

Could you please give me a firmer idea of what has now replaced the
late savannah theory? These are not catch questions. I genuinely want
to get it clearer in my mind.

1. Do you think the last common ancestor was or may have been bipedal?

2. If not, do you think the first hominids became bipedal before or
after the open spaces began to appear? If after, do you think the
open spaces caused the bipedalism?

3. Is it your understanding that bipedalism was the only one of the
species-specific human features to appear by 4+mya, and that other
changes e.g. in skin and respiratory canal emerged later or much later?
Do you think they emerged simultaneously or serially? If you think
they came later than bipedalism, since neither of us has been able to
produce conclusive evidence one way or other, what is it that inclines
you to
think they came later?