2001: A Space Odyssey Wiki
2001: A Space Odyssey Wiki

Old One is a man-ape, the father of Moon-Watcher,[1] mentioned in Arthur C. Clarke’s 2001: A Space Odyssey and screenplay.[2]

2001: A Space Odyssey

Old One is among the inhabitants of Africa—3,000,000 years ago, during the Pleistocene.[1] He ran a tribe of twenty[2] to fifty man-apes[1] until his death. He dies in the middle of the night (either from hunger or old age), in his cave, and is carried out by his son, Moonwatcher. Moonwatcher does not truly comprehend the capacity of having a father much less a relationship with him, but nonetheless, “felt dim disquiet that was the ancestor of sadness.”[1] He takes his father’s body down to a little valley fanned out into the savanna and places it under a small bush[1]—where it lies in wait to be fed by the hyenas.[2] Upon returning to his tribe, Moonwatcher never thought of his father again.