Re: reproductive strategies

J. Moore (
Tue, 28 Nov 95 11:16:00 -0500

Pr> : effort to change that. For instance, his idea of a highly
Pr> : sexually dimorphic group-living hominid being monogamous is at
Pr> : odds with all ethology. (Didn't he read anything on the subject?)

Pr> If you read his arguments closely you will see that Lovejoy aknowleges
Pr> that other monogomous primate species do not demonstrate
Pr> sexual dimorphism, <snip>
Pr> ultimately he would want to go to his offspring. Increased male body
Pr> size would be selected for to improve their ability as nutrient
Pr> providers.
Pr> There are many other points that he touches on in his model. It
Pr> important not to disregard the argument based on comparisons of sexual
Pr> dimorphism in other monogamous primate species, because he explains that
Pr> the selecive forces are different. I will assure you, though, that Dr.
Pr> Lovejoy is well versed in other subjects beyond osteology and
Pr> biomechanics.

He hides it well, then. The problem of his views re monogamy not
jibing with the facts is not the only problem, but it is a major one.
Not only in primates, but in other animals, gregarious primates with
substantial dimorphism in body size just aren't monogamous (unless
you'd perhaps come up with some examples?). When you couple that with
the fact that humans are not monogamous (I know, lots of people
juggle definitions to try to make human "monogamous" -- Hrdy,
Fisher, and Konner for instance -- but it just ain't so), it
certainly makes a hypothesis which depends on an extended period
of monogamy for our ancestors particularly weak. In addition,
such claims as "bipedality is useless" in dealing with predators
is also contrary to fact, and, in short, his nuclear family, with
his idea of a stay-at-home female provisioned by a monogamous male
is so unlikely as to be preposterous.

I will say that when I heard him talk at IHO about 7 or 8 years
ago, he had backtracked on his 1981 Science article to the point
where, except for the nonsense about monogamy, he was making
sense. But then, by that point, except for the monogamy bit, he
was saying essentially what Tanner and Zihlman said in their 1976
Signs article. Not that he was the first man to do so; Isaac's
much-cited 1978 "food-sharing" article in Scientific American was
suspiciously like T&Z's Signs article as well (in spite of this,
many newspaper and book accounts of the changeover from a hunting
emphasis to more likely emphases give credit to either Isaac or
Lovejoy, and posit these women's earlier work as being in reaction
to the later work of these two men -- quite a trick, "reacting"
years before the fact :-).

I have to think of Lovejoy's non-bone work as warranting that
great review: it is both original and good; however the parts that
are good are not original, and the parts that are original are not

I realize that, given your address, you may not agree.

Pr> Let's keep this line of discussion going, it is more interesting that a
Pr> lot of the other things discussed here.
Pr> Phil Reno
Pr> Department of Anthropology
Pr> Kent State University

Jim Moore (

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