The Scars of Evolution
Welsh writer Elaine Morgan cut her teeth as a screenwriter for the BBC when her growing frustration of the "man the hunter hypothesis" she wrote the Descent of Woman (1970), a book that presented the equal role of woman in human evolution. She followed that up with The Aquatic Ape (1982), The Scars of Evolution (1990), The Descent of the Child (1995) and The Aquatic Ape Hypothesis (1997). In The Scars of Evolution, Elaine Morgan takes on the theory that humans evolved when apes climbed down from the trees and began hunting on the savannas of Africa. She reviews the fossil record and then delves into several issues that the savanna theory has problems explaining. It is difficult to explain walking erect in Darwinian terms for a savanna ape due to numerous disadvantages such as the issues with our spine caused by walking erect, issues with blood flow, varicose veins, hemorrhoids, and hypertension. Morgan suggests that evolving in an aquatic environment better explains bipedalism. It also better explains other features of modern humans such as naked skin - unlike other apes we have no fur, how our sweat glands function, the layer of fat under our skin, our fat babies, how we breathe - which allows us to talk, and even how we have sex. Her screen writing experience makes Morgan an engaging writer and she has the ability to accurately and simply explain complex information while holding the reader's attention. This is a fascinating, entertaining and important book that helps us understand how we became who we are. I highly recommend it.