Re: Social evolution of hominids

debra mckay (
Thu, 16 Jan 1997 19:33:08 GMT wrote:

>Well, I'm not well informed of the terminology. I mean by monogamous
>cultures the equivalent of ceramic cultures, in other words, cultures
>where monogamy is practiced. They have been succesful, since there
>are but odds and ends of other types of cultures.

>> I'm confused. I got the impression in earlier posts that you didn't
>> think that monogamy was natural. Now it seems that you do. Could
>> you clarify your position,
>I still believe that modern humans are not naturally monogamous - you
>point the importance of culture in your post, and I agree. But what
>was before these succesful monogamous cultures? We can not ever know
>it, but there are not too many chances, either :

I think (and you will correct me if I'm wrong, of course) that you
seem to be confusing *polygamy* with *promiscuity*. They are two
entirely different things. The term "promiscuous" is culturally-loaded
and really has no meaning in this kind of discussion. A person can
be considered promiscuous in either the monogamous or polygamous marriage
pattern, if this person breaks the socially-constituted, generally
understood rules of proper sexual activity. It depends upon how the
*culture* defines the concept. Therefore it also is meaningless when applied
to bonobos or any non-human creature.

In this sense, my own opinion is that (whatever a "ceramic" culture is--
lots of cultures made ceramics) because the dominant marriage pattern
in existence today is polygamy, it may well have been the dominant pattern
in the past. Monogamy wasn't common, and i don't know what you mean by
"successful". I don't think that the mating patterns of extant apes
can help us much in this reconstruction, because they all seem to do
something different.

But this is only my opinion, because there ain't a whole lot of hard
evidence for this kind of behaviour...(-:

[some good points snipped]

> --
>Aila Korhonen in Finland