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

White Hair,[1] or One-Eye,[2] was a tribal leader of man-apes, 3 MYA in Pleistocene Africa, who is briefly mentioned in Arthur C. Clarke’s novel, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and the screenplay.

2001: A Space Odyssey[]

Clarke sets the environment of what life may have been like 3 million years ago in Pleistocene Africa. He describes an attack on White Hair’s tribe by a leopard. White Hair was described as being “old”, possibly of the same generation as Old One. Kubrick calls him “One-Eye”.[note 1]

Leopard attacks were frequent, even amongst members of Moon-Watcher’s own tribe. One of his own mates had been injured by a leapord, but survived the attack, and was given a “berry-covered branch” in hopes of helping.

Snippet from Arthur C. Clarke’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, called “Night Terrors” in the screenplay.


“Over the valley, a full moon was rising, and a chill wind was blowing down from the distant mountains. It would be very cold tonight - but cold, like hunger, was not a matter for any real concern; it was merely part of the background of life.

Moon-Watcher barely stirred when the shrieks and screams echoed up the slope from one of the lower caves, and he did not need to hear the occasional growl of the leopard to know exactly what was happening.

Down there in the darkness old White Hair and his family were fighting and dying, and the thought that he might help in some way never crossed Moon-Watcher's mind. The harsh logic of survival ruled out such fancies, and not a voice was raised in protest from the listening hillside. Every cave was silent, lest it also attract disaster.

The tumult died away, and presently Moon-Watcher could hear the sound of a body being dragged over rocks. That lasted only a few seconds; then the leopard got a good hold on its kill. It made no further noise as it padded silently away, carrying its victim effortlessly in its jaws.”


  1. In Kubrick’s screenplay under subsection “Night Terrors”, the attack on “One-Eye” was by a lion. The lion, would serve as a thread throughout the introduction of the screenplay. However, any potential lion scenes were ultimately scrapped from the final cut of the film.