Re: Social evolution of hominids (long)

Paul Crowley (
Tue, 14 Jan 1997 01:41:44 GMT (Paul Crowley) wrote:

> wrote:

>>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.

>The inborn mechanisms were designed to be *good_enough* for
>our paleolithic ancestors.

Some further thoughts on this -- Wouldn't "falling in love"
for an indefinite period be evolutionarily undesirable? It
the union did not produce healthy offspring, then it is in
the genetic interests of the fertile partner (or both of
them) to break the relationship and form others with new
partners. (The birth of a deformed infant is known to put
great pressures on a marriage.)

Surely this is the situation in all monogamous species?
While I have no good infomation, I do not believe that a
sterile pair or swans or albatrosses or gibbons will stay
together indefinitely. Has anyone knowledge of this?

If this is the case, then it could be argued that, given the
social pressures of small cohesive groups, hominids were
generally as monogamous as almost any other species. Unlike
other species many sterile human couples stay together for
most of their lives. The greater plasticity of hominid
behaviour would have enabled and possibly encouraged social
pressures to replace purely inbuilt instincts.

IOW human "falling in love" was designed to cover the
relatively brief period until a family could get
established. Parental instincts could then take over. But
if healthy infants didn't appear, it had to go.