Re: Bipedalism and theorizing... was Re: Morgan and creationists

Richard Foy (
Fri, 5 Jul 1996 14:26:51 GMT

In article <>,
Wallace Neslund <> wrote:
>I take it you mean by ventral/dorsal that the infant is holding on by
>itself, while carrying in arms means the mother is activly carrying the
>infant. I also take it that by infant you mean a very young chimp, i.e.
>less than several months old. A baby chimp can grasp its mother's chest
>hair and hold on by itself in only a few days time. This was readily
>pointed out in the movie "People of the Forest" that studied a chimp.
>"family" for several years. If we assume that early hominids were as
>hairy as the present day chimps, then chimp. carrying practices would be
>a good model for early homids.
>If, OTOH, early hominids were as hairless (and by hairless, I mean
>absence of long thick chest hair in females,lets not go counting hair
>follicles) as present day Hss, then the chimps are not a good model. If
>the infant can't hold on to the mothers chest hair, then the mother must
>hold on to the infant until it can walk on its own. In present day Hss,
>that's well over a year in the best of cases. This means that the mother
>would be carying the infant around in her arm(s) for well over a year. In
>Hs, and probably any Homo, this year is the period that the infant shows
>the most brain growth in a very soft disjointed skull. Since only Homo
>has the large brain, rapid skull growth, and extended period of near
>absolute helplessness, this might leave "some" trace in anatomy.
>Which brings me to the speculation I set out to make. There is a part of
>Hss anatomy that is different from the chimps and may directly relate to
>infant carrying, and that is the female breast. In chimps, gorillas,
>monkeys, and most all other primates the breasts are almost non-existant.
>Evan a nursing mother chimp. only has enlarged nipples and very little
>breast development. The amount of milk produced, though, seems in no way
>insufficient for the infants growth. Hss female breasts are much larger,
>even when the female has never had any children. When a female Hss
>becomes pregnant, the breasts swell even larger. There should be some
>survival value for why Hss females have far larger brests than other
>Now comes the speculation. During the first year or so of Hss infant
>growth, the infant is helpless. It has a large head and a weak neck,
>unable, even, to lift its own head. The mother caries the infant around
>in the only usable position, one arm crooked around the infant with its
>head against her breast. This leaves the other hand free for eating,
>carrying, etc. If Hss had the same hard muscled chest of a chimp. the
>infants soft head, wobbling on its weak neck, would be banged against the
>mothers chest with every step she took. A constant head beating cannot be
>good for rapid and safe brain development. Due to this, Homo females
>early on developed a large soft breast to act as a shock absorber to
>cushion the head and brain. Children of these mothers were less brain
>damaged and therefore more able to survive. In a feed back loop of larger
>breasts and better brain growth, Hss females developed the large breast
>seen today. Since there was no use for this in males, they continued to
>have no breast development. When a positive survival trait is visible, it
>also becomes a mate selection criteria. This might explain Hss male
>interest in female breast even though they are not sex organs and play no
>functional role in procreation. (OK, the last sentence is pure
>speculation :) )

This is a very interesting speculation. It is the only speculation
about human breasts that I have heard that doesn't seem to be a

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He was a man and men don't ask directions." --Nun in the play Nunsense

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