Was Man More Aquatic in the Past? Fifty Years After Alister Hardy - Waterside Hypotheses of Human Evolution

Indexed in: Scopus, EBSCO.

The book starts from the observation that humans are very different from the other primates. Why are we naked? Why do we speak? Why do we walk upright? Fifty years ago, in 1960, marine biologist Sir ...
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Just Add Water: The Aquatic Ape Story in Science

Pp. 199-212 (14)

Tess Williams


Science theory argues that all ideas are contextualized in their disciplines and also reflect historical and current cultural and social values. This chapter looks at the origins of the aquatic ape hypothesis (AAH) and its development over fifty years, focusing on the particular contributions of Elaine Morgan. The hypothesis had its genesis in a gendered debate on human difference and has connections with anthropology, primatology, palaeontology and other disciplines. More radically, it has a complex relationship with scientific method, gene-centered neo- Darwinism and theories that advocate multiple agents of biological change. Analysis of the AAH reveals much about the history of various genres in science writing, and constructions of scientific authority and knowledge.


Human evolution, feminist science theory, cultural studies, genre


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