THE DESCENT OF WOMAN by Elaine Morgan

THE DESCENT OF WOMAN

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A kinky distaff view of evolution which won't satisfy Darwin's male progeny but does compellingly suggest that the whole ""androcentric"" science may need revision. Ms. Morgan's major target as she traces the descent of the ""fruit-eater, She"" is Robert Ardrey's aggressive, weapon-wielding Primal Hunter whose contribution to the evolution of Homo Sapiens is ingeniously undermined by her contention that hominoid development passed through an ""aquatic"" age during which we acquired everythink except a snorkel and flippers. While swimming around in those ancient lakes She lost her fur, first used pebble tools, first cried through tear ducts, learned to frown and pis aller switched over from rear-mounting to ventro-ventral sex. The evolution of She links us to some pretty exotic creatures including the sea cow, the dolphin, and the mantee, but although her ethnology (and prose style) is rather free-wheeling it is more than just good sport. Morgan offers some highly intriguing hypotheses on the evolution of the nuclear family, male pair-bonding, monogamy, and language supported by deft citations of current research on the social behavior of primates and others. Among her conclusions: Daddy (who was never the great provider anyway) ""horned in on the matrifocal family group"" because he needed the economic security of home and hearth more than she did. A fruitful mating of Women's Lib with the (still highly conjectural) science of ethnology which may make even the Naked Ape in professorial garb sit up and take notice.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1972
Publisher: Stein & Day