Pseudo-scientist most well known for his proposal that men like the appearance of breasts because of their ressemblance to genital flares on apes indicating periods of fecundity.

Why I call him a pseudo-scientist? It's encapsulated in the above, but I will decrypt my thought compression: in my (admittedly brief) anthropological career, I was taught that Mr. Morris was good at getting lots of press for hypotheses not because they were likely or proveable but because they dealt with topics interesting to the general public such as evolutionary gender roles and, well, sexy stuffs. From what I know of him (having only read the book which is your namesake) he's definitely a good speculator, responsible for increasing the profile of the field of anthropology in the public eye and perhaps ultimately benefiting the field through the increased interest, but contributing little fact to its body of knowledge himself.

Were it not for persons such as himself paleoanthropology and primatology would be virtually unknown fields; hard scientists view paragons of the fields such as Jane Goodall and Dian Fossey as well-intentioned mascots but also not particularly scientific. It is also true that without the benefit of a time machine much of paleoanthropology, the study of extinct possible-human-ancestors, will forever be mere speculation; this is not a reason not to study it, but it is a reason to view its results as less scientific than, say, non-quantum physics.

I believe the correct thing for you to do, apey, is to refute me and convince us that he -is- a scientist and therefore deserving of our belief.

Zoologist turned anthropologist, Desmond Morris was made famous by his book The Naked Ape, which was one of the first to deal with the idea of the human race observed from a completely objective viewpoint.

In a second book, Manwatching, he talks about his methods for finding out about his fellow man; observation of all aspects of body language, facial expressions, eye movement and displays of dominance and submission. The ideas are not new, but everything is very thouroughly explored, and in addition related to the ideas proposed in his first book.

And in The Human Zoo, Morris talks about modern society, and how it is in essence a warped and adapted form of more primitive societies. He looks at work, sports, war, politics, gender roles and even religion, comparing each to facets of primitive life. The significance of the title lies in the fact that he compares the stresses of modern society, and their symptoms, to similar stresses of animals who find themselves in the unfamiliar habitat of a zoo.

While definately thought provoking and groundbreaking (at least outside the strictly scientific circle), his theories were sometimes a little farfetched.
I would agree with Pseudo_Intellectual in calling him a `pseudo-scientist'. However, that doesn't make his ideas any less valid, only less researched.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.