Elaine Morgan and Her Challenge to Darwin’s Theory in the 1970s

Morgan, a white woman in her 70s, was a part-time nurse and a mother of two. She was not an anthropologist by trade, but she had been reading about the debates over modern human origins. In 1972, she read “The Descent of Woman” by British anthropologist Lewis Henry Morgan and the book convinced her that Neanderthals were the ancestors of Homo sapiens.

In her research, she found that many fossils from Neanderthal man were being uncovered at the time. Morgan wrote to Charles Darwin’s son George to consult him on this matter and he replied to her with a letter detailing his thoughts on this issue.

In 1975, a friend showed Morgan a program about how scientists pieced together a Neanderthal skeleton from bones found in France

Elaine Morgan is a Welsh-born author, who has written about the theories of evolution, especially about how humans evolved from aquatic apes. She lives in London.