The Scars of Evolution

by Elaine Morgan

Paperback, 1994




Oxford University Press (1994), 208 pages


In this lively and controversial book Elaine Morgan presents a challenging interpretation to the question of human evolution. With brilliant logic she argues that our hominid ancestors began to evolve in response to an aquatic environment. Millions of years ago something happened that caused our ancestors to walk on two legs, to lose their fur, to develop larger brains and learn how to speak. Elaine Morgan discovers what this event was by studying the many incongruous flaws in the physiological make-up of humans. The human body is liable to suffer from obesity, lower back pain and acne. In support of her aquatic ape hypothesis she points out the flaws in our physiological make-up: the difficulties of erect bipedalism, our hairlessness and fat-layers, our preference for face to face sex and the way we breathe. Are these flaws a record of the history of the species, the ‘scars’ of evolution that are clues to earlier stages of evolution? Morgan establishes the origins of the...… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member jamclash
Morgan argues, among other things, that the vagina (and the monthly menstural cycle) are designed to prevent sperm from reaching the egg. Sperm, in her view, are foreign invaders, and only the strongest get in.
LibraryThing member Devil_llama
If I were to judge this book solely on the writing and the interesting substance, it would get many more stars. Alas, I cannot do that, for this is a non-fiction book and must also be judged on its merits as non-fiction. The author, not a scientist, proposes a hypothesis that sounds fascinating and believable from the evidence she presents. Unfortunately, much of her evidence is simply not factual. The author misrepresents, miscontextualizes, and in some places just plain makes up facts to fit her preferred thesis, known in the scientific world as the Aquatic Ape Hypothesis. She accuses other scientists of ignoring her important new approach, which can be, but is not always, a mark of pseudoscience. In this case, the anthropologists and evolutionists both agree that she is simply wrong. Read it for curiosity, because I think it's fascinating - and important - to know about the ways in which people get science wrong. But keep your mind open to the fact that scientists may actually know the science, and fact check the book thoroughly. Don't be so open minded your brains fall out.… (more)


Original language



Page: 0.1839 seconds