and this was taken up by the screenwriter Robert Ardrey in his 1961 best-seller African Genesis.Another screenwriter Elaine Morgan responded to this bloodthirsty vision in her 1972 Descent of Woman which parodied the conventional picture of "the Tarzanlike figure of the prehominid who came down from the trees, saw a grassland teeming with game, picked up a weapon and became a Mighty Hunter" and pictured a more peaceful scene of humans by the sea shore.
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So she took out the polemics and rewrote the scientific part publishing it as The Aquatic Ape ten years later with the same results from academia, but with continued support from the public.
The AAH has received little attention from mainstream paleoanthropologists; it is not accepted as empirically supported by the scholarly community, One conference has been held, at Valkenburg, Netherlands in 1987.
Paleolithic man is traditionally thought of as living on the plains, far from the sea, as in this artist's impression, but Alister Hardy's 1960 aquatic ape hypothesis proposes that instead, man spent some time on the sea shore.
The German pathologist Max Westenhöfer (1871–1957) discussed in 1942 various human characteristics (hairlessness, subcutaneous fat, the regression of the olfactory organ, webbed fingers, direction of the body hair etc.) that could have derived from an aquatic past, quoting several other authors who had made similar speculations.
It was not followed up except by Elaine Morgan, a script writer, who objected to the male image of the "mighty hunter" being presented in popular anthropological works by Raymond Dart, Desmond Morris and others.
Whilst her 1972 book, The Descent of Woman was very popular with the public, it attracted no attention from scientists, who saw no way of testing assertions about soft body parts and human habits in the distant past.
But in respect of the aquatic theme that is what I got from them - and with few exceptions still get.
That kind of silence is a virtually unbeatable strategy".
She took her lead from a section in Desmond Morris's 1967 book The Naked Ape which referred to the possibility of an Aquatic Ape period in evolution, his name for the speculation by the biologist Alister Hardy in 1960.