rjohara.net

Search:  

Darwin-L Message Log 2:58 (October 1993)

Academic Discussion on the History and Theory of the Historical Sciences

This is one message from the Archives of Darwin-L (1993–1997), a professional discussion group on the history and theory of the historical sciences.

Note: Additional publications on evolution and the historical sciences by the Darwin-L list owner are available on SSRN.


<2:58>From LANGDON@GANDLF.UINDY.EDU  Mon Oct 11 10:01:48 1993

Date: Mon, 11 Oct 1993 10:01:48 -0500
From: "JOHN LANGDON"  <LANGDON@GANDLF.UINDY.EDU>
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: Re: WATER BABIES

In message <01H3Y3V4S4428WZIC4@VAX2.CONCORDIA.CA>  writes:
>  A few years ago I saw a program on television (PBS I think) which was
> called WATER BABIES. It dealt with a theory conceived by an Englishman to the
> effect that homo sapiens had spent a few million years of its evolution
> living near and virtually in shallow water. This supposedly accounted for
> some of the major differences between us and the other primates such as our
> relative hairlessness, our swimming abilities, a reflex (I've forgotten the
> name) that kids have that enables them to stay underwater quite a long time
> without drowning, etc. I remember seeing at least one baby born underwater in
> that program.
>  I don't remember the Englishman's name unfortunately but I do recall
> that he had kept this hypothesis under his hat for most of his life for fear
> of being ridiculed and perhaps losing his job. I also remember that he found
> a staunch supporter in a woman whose name was Morgan I think. A few books
> were written on this topic by the two of them but I've never been able to get
> my hands on one to see if his thesis holds water, so to speak.
>  Can anybody out there furnish the name of this Englishman and comment on
> the validity of his ideas?

I believe you are referring to Sir Alistair Hardy, who published his ideas in
New Scientist (March 17, 1960, pp. 642-645) in an article called "Was Man More
Aquatic in the Past?" This was in a series on the relationship of man and the
sea, past, present, and future; thus I doubt it got much notice among
anthropologists at the time. When I first tracked down the reference, I assumed
it was an example of British humor. However, Morgan's extensive acknowledgement
of Hardy in her two books (single-authored) makes it clear that he was not
joking.

JOHN H. LANGDON      email LANGDON@GANDLF.UINDY.EDU
DEPARTMENT OF BIOLOGY    FAX  (317) 788-3569
UNIVERSITY OF INDIANAPOLIS   PHONE (317) 788-3447
INDIANAPOLIS, IN 46227

Your Amazon purchases help support this website. Thank you!


© RJO 1995–2016