Rosio Pavoris a blog

The Naked Ape

The Naked Ape, by Desmond MorrisThe Naked Ape, by Desmond Morris, is about humans, from the perspective of a zoologist.
I mostly read it because my mom loves the guy, but I’d been meaning to read it because I’d been told he touches on the neotenous ape hypothesis too. (Turns out he doesn’t say anything new.)

While the zoologist perspective is refreshing even now, forty years after it came out, most of the actual information in it is either very obvious (to anyone with half a brain) or very outdated.
A lot of religious people were apparently outraged by it, but I’m not convinced most were just because “it places man in nature”. The sections on sex and sexuality were often just gratuitous (and if I noticed, you know it has to be bad), and a much more likely source of outrage.

It really is quite dated, though, and likely to give inexperienced or casual readers completely wrong ideas about a number of things, including some basic facts of evolution.
My copy was a new edition released in 1994, and the preface made it clear Morris thought everything he wrote still applied perfectly, and wasn’t in need of updating, even though his editor had asked him to, so I’m not inclined to cut him much slack on that account. The Naked Ape just isn’t a very good book.

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