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The Descent of the Child: Human Evolution from a New Perspective

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  83 ratings  ·  7 reviews
Why are chimp babies skinny, while human babies are so fat they float? As humans developed greater intelligence--and increased cranial capacity--how did babies and mothers adapt to increased fetal brain size? And how did humans develop our unique intelligence. Elaine Morgan, an internationally
bestselling science writer known for her iconoclastic take on evolutionary theory
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published April 27th 1995 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 1994)
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Aug 23, 2007 rated it it was ok
This book has some interesting ideas, but it is almost pure speculation with no supporting research of either the library or experimental kind. It is chock full of hypotheses without enough evidence to elevate them to the level of theories.
Simon Slidders
Aug 13, 2020 rated it liked it
I read Elaine Morgan's Descent of Woman over 30 year ago and found it amazing. So I had high hopes for this. However while her account of the development of the child from conception through the growth of the foetus into early childhood, constantly comparing it with the development of primates and other mammals is fascinating (the growth and dissolution of the lanugo - complete body hair and development of the sebaceous layer and glands is particularly interesting), Morgan has no great new theo ...more
Chad Steele
May 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I read this years and years ago and have given it away several times and find myself recommending it more than most any other book. Everybody, but especially every parent should read this book. Lots of great insights about humanity, parenting, and especially the genius of your child.
Ginger Heskett
Dec 28, 2016 marked it as to-read
I registered a book at BookCrossing.com!
Jan 16, 2009 rated it really liked it
I just finished this and it is quite short (always encouraging). Ms Morgan and I go back a long way. I read 'The Descent of Woman' in the '70s. She's an excellent writer and she seems to effortlessly explain quite complex stuff, including tossing in references if you want to go verify what she says. This makes her highly readable.

Then there is what she says. This is about why human children are the way they are. She's arguing against the generally accepted notion that pretty much everything we s
Aug 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
Re-reading actually. I love to delve into Elaine Morgan's early mankind world. The explanations are understandable and intriguing. In the chapter interacting I saw first hand the behaviors Ms. Morgan was using in her theory. Were the parenting chapter I would say is from a time of Grandparental vision, believing men to believe babies is a thing women have and their care a woman's responsibility. Not saying that there aren't a few men today that epitomise the old version of father, but my experie ...more
Sep 12, 2008 rated it liked it
I first read this book a couple of years ago for a physical anthropology class. I picked it up again and thought it was even more interesting the second time through. It is a book about human evolution, but it looks at evolution of the child not merely the human adult. In addition it includes a new theory that human evolution might have included an aquatic phase. Many of the characteristics that seperate us from other apes are often found in mammals that spend a lot of time in the water, such as ...more
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Welsh feminist and proponent of the aquatic ape evolution theory, which claims that mankind evolved from sea-based apes.

Morgan was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2009 Birthday Honours for services to literature and to education.

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