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The Descent of the Child: Human Evolution from a New Perspective Hardcover – 6 Oct 1994


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The Descent of the Child: Human Evolution from a New Perspective + The Descent of Woman + The Aquatic Ape Hypothesis: Most Credible Theory of Human Evolution
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Souvenir Press Ltd; 1st ed 1st printg edition (6 Oct 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0285632124
  • ISBN-13: 978-0285632127
  • Product Dimensions: 21.4 x 14 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 526,529 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Elaine Morgan was born in 1920 and after studying at Oxford University worked as a television writer. In 1972 she published The Descent of Woman suggesting that human evolution had an aquatic origin. This idea was attacked at first by scientists but the book became an international bestseller. In the decades since Morgan's aquatic ape hypothesis has gained widespread support.


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Review

"It was one of the most outrageous, improbable evolutionary ideas
ever proposed... now the idea... is becoming respectable." -- 'The Observer'

"Part feminist polemic, part evolutionary bombshell." -- 'The Guardian'

"She is more scientific than Genesis, more up to date than
Darwin... and she writes better than Desmond Morris."
-- 'Sunday Telegraph'

About the Author

Elaine Morgan became a household name in 1972 with her first book, 'The Descent of Woman,' an instant best seller that has been translated into nine languages. Since then she has become increasingly absorbed in the subject of human evolution and two further books, 'The Aquatic Ape' and 'The Scars of Evolution,' received glowing reviews in the world's scientific press. She also contributed to 'The Aquatic Ape: Fact or Fiction?' and to a symposium on the Aquatic Ape Theory featured in the British Association for the Advancement of Science annual conference in 1992.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By G. Imroth on 6 Nov 2009
Format: Hardcover
In 'The Descent of the Child: Human Evolution from a New Perspective', Elaine Morgan discusses the evolution, development and growth of children from the perspective of the child.

We take a wrong perspective when we assume that an infant has this or that physical or mental attribute because the adult he grows into will need it. Evolution does not work this way: if there is a cost to producing a large and slow-growing but conscious infant, then adaptationist natural selection requires that the benefit is primarily to the infant and only secondarily to the adult he will become.

Why are babies born with such large brains and so much intelligence? Why is a baby's intelligence switched on so early? The reason is that infants need such attributes, not because adults will later benefit from them.

The writing is lively and fact-filled, showing Elaine Morgan's characteristic genius for finding original common sense interpretations of the facts of biology, anthropology and sociology. 'The Descent of the Child' also adds another facet to Elaine Morgan's major contribution to science, the aquatic ape theory. I highly recommend it.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 8 Oct 2001
Format: Hardcover
Since Darwin and Wallace's articulation of the theory of evolution in 1859 many have used it to explain adult human behavior. As was the case with "The Decent of Woman" and "The Aquatic Ape," Morgan's unique perspective has given us a powerful and useful glimpse into the co-evolution of human parenting, and human prenatal, and infant development. Starting with the evolutionary value of sexual reproduction, Morgan explores fossil evidence and comparative physiology in the process of providing a broad evolutionary context for a deeper understanding of human development. At the end of the book, Morgan uses the platform provided by this deeper understanding to articulate strong arguments against further social investment in criminal justice and prison systems, and in favor of greater social investment in healthy living and educational environments where that investment will do the most good, "at the beginning." An excellent read for parents, scholars, and citizens who would like to find ways to improve the quality of life in our modern world.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ms Joy Kay on 29 Nov 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I chose to follow up this author because I had heard about her from a friend. She is Welsh and now in her 90s and has talked on TED. I am very interested in the question of the Aquatic Ape, which makes a lot of sense to me and so have bought about four of her books. Fascinating. I am interested in any new information as to how we have become who we are as a race.
this one is about how the prebirth and early monthjs of life illustrate this proposal.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Brilliant account of how a new human being is created. The slow beginnings in the womb, the exciting story of the development of the embryo into a fetus and finally a human baby. We have heard of the selfish gene, this is the story of the selfish embryo. It has to be selfish to reach the moment of birth at all. Elaine Morgan takes us through all the steps in this journey and it is like an exhilirating detective story.
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