Michel Odent's new book -- Planet Ocean: Our Mysterious Connections to Water
Michel Odent's pioneering work has been mentioned by this AAT discussion group dozens of times in the past 20 years. One of his recent books, The Birth of Homo, the Marine Chimpanzee, is mentioned on Francesca's Aquatic-Human-Ancestor web site. Recently Marc notified us that Odent has a new book. I bought Amazon's kindle version of it, and wrote the following customer review:
Planet Ocean: Our Mysterious Connections to Water, by Michel Odent
No matter what you know about humans and the sea, you will gain new understanding, insight, and inspiration from reading this book.
In the first chapter, Odent writes: "It is significant that the small groups of scientists who raised questions about the dozens of traits humans share with sea mammals, but not with other primates, have been marginalised."
Elaine Morgan, author of The Aquatic Ape, was one of those marginalized researchers. I am another. Some of the aquatic traits that Odent is referring to are: bald streamlined human bodies, protruding noses, large brains, blubbery buoyant babies that enjoy floating and swimming in seawater, reduction of primate canine teeth and alpha-male tendencies, frontal sex, menopause, loss of estrus, … The list of human physiological and social/psychological traits that can be explained by semiaquatic evolution goes on and on.
Here is a sample of Odent’s writing, with new insight for me, already in the first few pages:
"The significant fluctuations of sea levels during the palaeolithic ages are already studied by small groups of highly specialised experts. When these fluctuations become common knowledge, we’ll realise the narrow limits of what can be learned from fossil hunting. If most of our ancestors were living in areas that are now underwater, we’ll probably never find their fossils. Studies of archaic humans – either Neanderthal or Sapiens – as skilled long-distance navigators cannot be dissociated from studies of the evolution of the oceans and of the climates. Furthermore, it is probable that, in the near future, population genetics will become the most authoritative discipline to understand how our ancestors have colonised the whole planet.
In a renewed scientific context, we’ll learn to raise unusual questions."
Odent is raising unusual questions throughout this book, and encouraging us to raise more. He has always been a pioneer, and now at the age of 91, this may be his last book. (Then again, it may not — he is still traveling and lecturing at international meetings.) In any case, this latest book teaches us, and guides us, to all sorts of new and unusual questions. I think you will enjoy reading it.