Re: Social evolution of hominids

T&B Schmal (
Tue, 07 Jan 1997 23:19:20 +0000

In article <>, wrote:

> The whole pair system of humans seems to me new and learned.
> Such deep, instinctive devotion to the selected mate which could be
> expected if this was a very old trait, and which is present in many
> birds, does occur for short periods only, in the beginning of pair
> life. After that, the pair is bound together mainly by social
> pressure, or economy, or decision, or good company, but the
> instinctive feeling of 'falling in love' seldom stays longer than
> two three years, if even that.

One of the researchers of this idea and lead proponent in the literature
is Helen Fisher at Rutgers' Anthropoloyy dept. She has studied many
societies and finds strong evidence of a four-year
attraction-attachment-dissatisfaction cycle in today's human lovers. Your
two years estimate would probably correspond to the "attraction" stage.

The chemicals and hormones that produce the cycle would be a vestige of a
pairing strategy that benefited ancient homo; the idea being to stick
together long enough to get the child born and weaned and then be free
(perhaps "driven") to select another, possibly better, mate.

Tom Schmal
Whatever we see or feel or do is the effect
of whatever we have seen or felt or done.