Therefore it must be wrong. This was the reaction of several prominent anthropologists when Chuck Millikan, a California policeman, wrote to them to ask what they thought of the aquatic ape hypothesis, according to Elaine Morgan. Millikan was “a compulsive letter-writer,” said Morgan. He had been impressed by her ideas and wrote her to ask when her next book was coming out. There won’t be a next one, Morgan had replied, I’ve said all I have to say. Millikan’s response to this was to write prominent anthropologists asking them what they thought of her theory. When he sent Morgan their replies, she saw they had no good reasons for ignoring her. Emboldening and irritated, she wrote another book.
Let me invent a verb: to elaine morgan something is to have a big effect on something you shouldn’t have been able to influence. Elaine Morgan elaine morganed the study of evolution. She was far outside anthropology; she shouldn’t have been able to successfully promote a radical new view of evolution, but she did. Chuck Millikan elaine morganed Elaine Morgan; he shouldn’t have been able to persuade her to start writing again, but he did.
A excellent BBC documentary about the aquatic ape theory (part 1 of 6).