Re: Social evolution of hominids
17 Jan 1997 12:54:04 +0200 wrote:

> What is your basis for this recent acquisition of monogamous behavior?

Without a weighed order:
- presence of separate promiscuous cultures.
- staggering performance of human monogamy in normal life throughout
the world.
- scarcity of genetically fixed traits to support monogamy. The
lasting for a year or more of 'fall in love' is definitely a tendency
towards genetically fixed monogamy. It just has not been finished.
- elaborate cultural network of taboos and customs which has been
raised in every culture to support monogamy.
- collapse of monogamy, where cultural demands weaken.
- economy-linked polarity of sexual relations in primitive cultures.
Where women provide much of living, promiscuity prevails, where most
food comes from men, monogamy, in general. This is logical: men
watching after their investments, but it could be as logical where
women earn the living. Why any promiscuity, then, if it was not a
relic from a time where it had other functions.
- obvious importance of economy in marriages in all world. Properties
marry, as did kingdoms.

> I would also hesitate to call any human behavior as "fixed" at any lev
> of genetics. What I said earlier, that the XX chromosome and correlati
> to less promiscuous sexual behavior, is an empirical observation. Ther
> are always the exceptions, it therefore isn't "fixed" but rather the
> behavior does seemingly have a high correlation to individuals with th
> XX chromosome.
> Why don't you think the argument holds? Just because something is
> culturally based and influences our behavior, does not mean that this
> behavior doesn't also have a genetic or biological component to it.
> Another example Sarich used was the comparison of mating behavior of
> homosexuals, of gay men and lesbian relationships. Promiscuous sexual
> activity (esp. pre-AIDS period) predominated in male homosexual
> relationships. Monogamy on the whole largely predominated in lesbian
> relationships. What does this suggest?

Let's go to the basics. A hundred adult men and a hundred adult
women make a population. The men are promiscuous, the women are not.
With whom do the men have that promiscuous sex? Where is the
evolutional advantage of them being promiscuous, when the trait
can never establish itself? What mind is in such a strategy and
what would support it in this kind of society? And how did it
spread into the male population?

For promiscuity to be the smarter strategy for a man, he has to have
more progeny than is his share. Promiscuous women are needed, for
only they can provide the extra progeny. Since these women mate more
often to promiscuous men, their progeny gets advantage of the male
trait (since it is smarter). This means, that male promiscuity tends
to increase female promiscuity and, when in balance, the whole
population will be promiscuous.

Now you say that promiscuity is a smarter strategy for a man in our
society. There must be promiscuous women to support this strategy.
You also say that there is an XX-linked monogamous tendency. That
means, that our population is not in balance, with both of these two
competing female traits present. You say that women probably gain
from monogamy. Then it is obviously the genetically determined
(XX-linked) monogamous tendency which is replacing promiscuity among
women, and our society as a whole drifts away from promiscuity.

This is exactly to be expected, if we have changed to monogamy during
the last whatever-ten kiloyears. I put this 'empirical observation'
as the eighth point in the above list to support my opinion of
monogamy being a relatively recent and half-finished aquisition of
H.sapiens. Greet your professor! <g>

> Another consequence of pair bonding is that, with the help of the male
> parent in providing for the care of his offspring, this enabled the
> hominid female's reproductive cycle to become spaced closer
> together... <snip>

A female chimp is in heat as soon as it is possible after her
pregnancy and lactation. She reproduces quite as often as it is
physiologically possible for her, as does any female of any species,
exept women of the western cultures. There is just heat, pregnancy
and lactation in her life. What period would you shorten to space
childbirths closer?

Did monogamy and help of the male shorten the reproductive cycle
of gibbons?

> Susan
> --

Aila in Finland