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Aquatic Ape Hardcover – Aug 8 2005

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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Stein and Day; 1st Edition edition (Aug. 8 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812828739
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812828733
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 15.7 x 2.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 431 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,347,653 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 11 reviews
41 of 43 people found the following review helpful
Not the best AAT/AAH book out there. Nov. 24 1999
By Dewi Morgan - Published on
Format: Paperback
I've agreed with some of the other reviewers and rated this book at four stars only because of it's historical and feminist merit. Oh, and because I am biased because Elaine is my grandmother.
If you want this for it's place in feminist history, or the history of the AAT, then go ahead and buy it.
Otherwise, I suggest you buy "the Aquatic Ape Hypothesis" by the same author. While it is of no notable feminist import, it is considerably more up to date for the AAT/AAH, better written, better researched (25 years more research went into it), with more evidence, better references, and so on and so forth. Also see "the Descent of the Child", and "the Scars of Evolution", again by the same author.
Be warned that this is the only significantly feminist work by THIS Elaine Morgan. There is a DIFFERENT Elaine Morgan who has written such books as "Women and Society".
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Simple, consistent explanation of human evolution Nov. 8 1999
By Scott Crosby ( - Published on
Format: Paperback
Blows the savannah theories to smithereens! Explains human anatomy that those cannot (body fur, noses, sweat glands, subcut. fat, hip bones, m/f diffs, etc.). Points out similarities with other, known evolutions. Provides solid alternative to stretched, contrived savannah-based explanations that cannot be substantiated and have no evolutionary parallel. The theory's pieces "fit". The Aquatic Ape Theory only lacks field work that substantiates the theory with findings in the field. The theory is not contradicted to date; findings so far still do not eliminate savannah nor aquatic theories.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Absolutely convincing July 8 1999
By Kristin Ferguson - Published on
Format: Paperback
I was skeptical at best when my mother handed me this book to read. After a few pages I was enthralled. Five years later, I've read it three times and even summarized it for my young daughters. She makes a convincing case that human beings went through some period of semi-aquatic existence (and no, she isn't saying we once had gills or flippers!) Elaine Morgan makes it seem anything but outlandish, and her writing style is inviting. This book is out of print, but read The Descent of Woman, The Descent of the Child and The Scars of Evolution, all by the same author.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Evolution from a Female Perspective Dec 23 2014
By John Richard Schrock - Published on
Format: Hardcover
The Aquatic Ape: A Theory of Human Evolution, by Elaine Morgan; (c)1982, Stein and Day Press, 170 pages hardcover.

Biology textbooks often offer the "just so" story of human evolution: driven from the forests by drought, survival on the savanna by group hunting and scavenging that required language development and promoted tool use─all centering on the man as hunter. "Wrong!" shouts Elaine Morgan, who champions Professor Alister Hardy's aquatic ape theory, a theory that "explains" our unusual hair patterns, our plump babies, our upright stance, even our primordial fears of spider and snake-like critters (crabs and eels?).

"Descent of Woman" is an earlier version, and slightly "heavier-handed." "The Aquatic Ape Hypothesis" was written several decades after this book and incorporates even more data. This intermediate version includes the "diving reflex" of marine mammals that is also found in humans, but is less rigorous, less detailed. Rigor and detail are essential if you are going to debate in the expert science arena; but for popular understanding "Aquatic Ape" is an initial alternative "just so" story for high school students to ponder.

There are additional books espousing the importance of understanding females to understand modern human traits that are based on softer sciences. Some argue that "culture as a symbolic system resulted from an immense social, sexual, and political revolution initiated by women" and that "Culture became established when evolving human females began to assert collective control over their own sexuality, refusing sex to all males except those who came to them with provisions." It is difficult for science teachers in public schools to detail the "sex strike" as a means by which women motivated men to hunt, but this too provides a female-based alternative to the alpha male on the savanna. In comparison, "Aquatic Ape" should allow a teacher to encourage discussion of the role of women in human evolution by remaining in the realm of biology without treading into dangerous sex ed territory.
Better than expected Aug. 1 2013
By Julia Felix - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My book arrived both sooner and in better condition that I expected. I had just watched the Animal Planet "mockumentary" on TV and was left with at least a hundred questions as to the basis of the Aquatic Ape Theory. One quick search on Amazon got me directed to this dealer and within about 3 days I had it in my hands. The TV show was still fresh and this book performed its task of expanding my understanding of how this theory came about. It's on my shelves now, waiting for the next time for the interesting notion that we humans passed through a period in our evolution as creatures living in water.