Re: reproductive strategi

Philip Reno (
20 Nov 1995 21:08:52 GMT

J. Moore ( wrote:

: HS> primate reproductive strategies. I was largely inspired by some of
: HS> Lovejoy's proposals. I would appreciate any assistance with more current
: HS> work, or knowledge concerning the reproductive strategies of PA's their
: HS> effects on bipedalism and culture.
: HS> Thanks,
: HS>
: HS> Hogan M. Sherrow
: HS> University of Oregon

: I wouldn't place much stock in what Owen Lovejoy says when he's
: not talking about bones, and esp. when he talks about reproductive
: strategies. He just doesn't know what he's talking about when he
: wanders off into that realm, and hasn't seemed to have made any
: effort to change that. For instance, his idea of a highly
: sexually dimorphic group-living hominid being monogamous is at
: odds with all ethology. (Didn't he read anything on the subject?)

If you read his arguments closely you will see that Lovejoy aknowleges
that other monogomous primate species do not demonstrate
sexual dimorphism, but he explains that there are different selective
pressures on early hominid reproductive pairs than those of other
species. Other monogomous species that demonstrate little dimorphism
tend to be territorial (ie. gibbons) and the females equal the size of
males tohelp in territorial defence. In his model the early hominids
did not defend
territories so there was not reason for the females to increase in
size. In fact there was a selective advantage for decreased female
size, because she would utilize fewer resources that the male provided
that ultimately he would want to go to his offspring. Increased male
body size would be selected for to improve their ability as nutrient
Interestingly, lack of sexual canine dimorphism is also a
trait of monogamous species, which the early hominid do in fact
display. This is for a different reason than for gibbons, for
which female canine size is increased to male sizes, while hominid
male tooth size is feminized as a sexual display which may indicate a
male's ability as a provider (I'm a lover not a fighter, type thing).

There are many other points that he touches on in his model. It
important not to disregard the argument based on comparisons of sexual
dimorphism in other monogamous primate species, because he explains
that the selecive forces are different. I will assure you, though,
that Dr. Lovejoy is well versed in other subjects beyond osteology and

Let's keep this line of discussion going, it is more interesting that
a lot of the other things discussed here.

Phil Reno
Department of Anthropology
Kent State University

: Jim Moore (

: * Q-Blue 2.0 *