Re: Social evolution of hominids (long)

debra mckay (
Sat, 11 Jan 1997 20:18:38 GMT wrote:
> wrote:
>> Comparing orangs, gorillas, chimps and bonobos isn't particularly usef
>> since we have very little evidence of social behaviors of protohominid
>> and the common ancestor of humans and apes.
>> The degree of sexual dimorphism between a human male and a human femal
>> would at least suggest that differences in size between the sexes nowh
>> near approaches that of modern apes such as the orang and gorilla. Wha
>> would this suggest to you?
>This is a hypothetical succession of events, based on what I know :
[speculation snipped]

>6 The human line appears in sight in flesh and blood in the !kung
>san. Full humans, definitely our species, but still retaining the
>ancient promiscuous social structure. They have been pushed to the
>edge and probably still need group cooperation more than any other
>people. There may be other people who have retained such strategy,
>but anthropologists seem to have difficulties in presenting these

Could you please provide a reference to support this notion you
have that the !kung somehow are prehistoric remnants? *And* that
they retain some kind of "ancient promiscuous social structure"?
I have looked for evidence of this in my own references, but I haven't
found any evidence of the latter, and I *know* they are not the former,
because *no* extant people are, no matter what their lifestyle might
*look* like.

>7 The main part of our species has left open promiscuity, and
>tries to stick to pair forming with varying success. Life-long
>pairing is largely a cultural trait, for there is no inborn
>mechanism supporting it, similar to the altruistic reflex. We have
>just 'falling in love', a prolonged remnant from what originally was
>mere mating behaviour, and it is not near that old or it would be
>more long-lasting.
>Why do most cultures favour permanent pairs? Probably because such
>cultures have survived. But before such cultures could appear, life
>had to become easier, so that the group was no more crucial for
>survival. New tools and methods, maybe better climate.
>How old are the pair-favouring cultures? From before the pair-
>favoring hunter-gatherers radiated? But there are remnants from
>maternal societies around the world, mainly primitive
>agriculturalists, among paternal hunter-gatherers. Did all these
>evolve independently from a preceding promiscuous base? It could
>be so. Then pair-favouring could be a much younger trait than we
>do think.
>> Susan
>> --
> --
>Aila Korhonen in Finland