Re: intelligence and female tool use

Thu, 9 Feb 1995 14:00:06 CST

Rob Quinlan poses the question of how female tool use raises female
fitness. A thought from a cultural anthropologist who has spent years
in PNG: females in the PNG Highlands, using tools (in this case digging
sticks) directly enhance the ability of their reproduction (children) to
survive (and to go on to reproduce themselves) by converting planted
sweet potato gardens into food energy for pigs and people. They also,
if they are hard-working and caring women, help their children to go on
to marry and reproduce by contributing pigs to their children's
bridepricesand so on and so forth. Girls are judged marriageable (i.e.
fit to reproduce themselves) on the basis of their hard work in their
mother's gardens, their generosity, their attitudes, etc. All of which
is related in some way to intelligence. As women age, they can become
quite involved in complex pig exchanges with both men and women, on
behalf of their own prestige but also the life chances of future
generations of children, including their own. Cheers, Laura Tamakoshi