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Anthropology shows monogamy leads to smaller sex organs(52 posts)

Anthropology shows monogamy leads to smaller sex organsContinental
Aug 13, 2003 6:21 AM
Anthropologists at the Matthew Ferrini Institute of Human Evolutionary Research say early hominids — Australopithecus afarensis — settled down with one partner as they evolved in eastern Africa about 3.4 million years ago.

One indication, the researchers said, is size. They found that over time, early human males' sex organs shrank compared to their primate counterparts.

Smaller testes, they wrote in a recent edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, points toward monogamy — no need for higher sperm count if you are limiting yourself to one partner.

"If a human male copulates three to four times, further copulations will significantly reduce sperm count," said study co-author and Ferrini Institute Director C. Owen Lovejoy. "In contrast, chimpanzees can copulate 15 to 20 times a day without reduction of sperm count."

Monogamy was pivotal in giving early hominids a huge reproductive edge and, perhaps as important, greater survival rates, as both male and female cared for the young.

In a commentary in the journal, Clark Spencer Larsen, chairman of the anthropology department at Ohio State University, said the new study is convincing.

"I think we can extrapolate some behaviors, specifically that males were cooperating more than they were competing among themselves, a distinctly human behavior," he said.

Larsen thinks male cooperation is the product of evolution and that this cooperation not only proved valuable to early ancestors, but became a human trait.

For an individual's genetic traits to survive, making babies — lots of babies — is key, Lovejoy said. Monogamy worked in favor of the species as more females started looking for mates more interested in providing for them instead of fighting other males.

That's when evolution began to favor brain size over physical strength and overall body size. For further proof, look at man and gorillas.

Hominid males and females began to develop similar body sizes and smaller sex organs.

"Testes size in human males is relatively small and sperm quality and frequency are such that multiple copulations tend to reduce sperm count significantly over several days," Lovejoy said.

Without dominant males to claim all the females, other male hominids were free to reproduce without fear and pass on their genetic traits. And they could help protect their offspring and help those traits survive.

Also, more couples widen the gene pool.

Females also developed permanently enlarged breasts compared with other primates. Why, however, remains one of nature's real oddities, Lovejoy said. In most primates, bigger breasts mean a female is nursing and is unavailable for breeding.

Walking upright also became more important.

"It's a bizarre form of locomotion," Lovejoy said, but it frees the hands to carry. The only thing worth carrying is food and the only reason to carry it is to give it to someone else," he said. That is also a trait that modern females look for in a male. "If food will get you sex with a particular female," Lovejoy said, "you can establish a pair bond."
may have cause and effect reversed nmDougSloan
Aug 13, 2003 6:31 AM
HA! nmJS Haiku Shop
Aug 13, 2003 11:41 AM
So,..... having big hands, makes you hot ??MR_GRUMPY
Aug 13, 2003 6:44 AM
I've got to start carrying around a big bag of food.
sounds like being a chimp makes you hot. nmMXL02
Aug 13, 2003 8:13 AM
Nope, food and shelter are #1MR_GRUMPY
Aug 13, 2003 9:06 AM
Just walk around carrying a 8' 2X4 and a bag of food.
Guys who can build things are hot. nmKristin
Aug 13, 2003 11:55 AM
Nuttiest damn sentence I've ever read:OldEdScott
Aug 13, 2003 6:52 AM
"The only thing worth carrying is food and the only reason to carry it is to give it to someone else."

Huh?
Isn't that the basis of liberalism?mohair_chair
Aug 13, 2003 7:09 AM
First of all, :)

Isn't the only reason to work to pay taxes? In other words, give it to someone else?
Troll. nm :-)OldEdScott
Aug 13, 2003 7:21 AM
Statements like thatlotterypick
Aug 13, 2003 7:45 AM
Are the root of all evolutionary belief.

They take a known and then mentally leap off the edge, so their fairy tale works.

It really doesn't matter if that's what really happened, nor if that thought breaks known scientific law, they just say it and believe it any way.

You do know that millions and billions of years ago, all science as we know it and have confirmed it today, did or didn't apply as necessary to make the story sound good around a campfire at the annual humanist pow wow.
Millions and billions of years ago? I thought theOldEdScott
Aug 13, 2003 8:25 AM
world was created 6,000 years ago?
Can't be sure of that BUT....lotterypick
Aug 13, 2003 8:38 AM
All I'm saying is to look at the actual science and line of thinking when people make their statements.

I can assure you that I can refute evolution with actual science rather than throwing some BIble verses out.

The point is, just because the facts match what the BIble states, does not mean the idea should be relegated to fairy tales and myth because they match.

Joseph Campbell is a good example. Tells you how they don't know anything about a group. Meaning, no language, no history, nothing, then proceeds to tell you how their art was filled with symbolism of this and that...for sure.

When you listen to his opening statement it's like this "I believe early humaniods were frightened by lightning and to appease that fear developed myths....like the Bible.

His whole foundation is built on his "belief" in something he has no idea about, yet tons of people follow his thinking like it's true wisdom.
Joseph Campbell is a pinhead. But the universe is more thanOldEdScott
Aug 13, 2003 8:42 AM
6,000 years old too, and if you can truly refute evolution with actual science, the world is waiting to be stood on its head and I'm all ears.

C'mon, throw heat.
I can't type all day but I'll give you some food for thoughtlotterypick
Aug 13, 2003 9:04 AM
Basic assumptions of dating methods: Decay rates the same as now, know the composition of the original material (supposedly millions of years old), no contamination of material (over the supposed millions of years).

As we've only monitored decay rates for a few hundred years, it's an amazing leap to believe that the rate stayed the same for millions of years. Hey even the speed of light has been noted to have variance now.

Stating you know the original composition of something millions of years old is a huge step. you need to know the diet and biology of the thing yet we are supposedly dealing with things we know little about.

Stating that you assume that nothing ever happened to the thing to leach components in or out is amazing. Bury a rock or bone for a million years and know exactly what happened to it or not. That's a big leap.

On top of all of this is the FACT that the dating method spits out numberous numbers. some hundreds of years, some thousands, some millions, some billions. It is left to the science guy to chose the date that he wants and then throws the rest out as err.

Bottom line, the guy choses the number that matches his story and is hopefully the oldest as that he can get his grant or be published and make money and fame. right? RIGHT!

Another point: No fossil data supports an intermediate. All I hear is how we need to keep looking, but we know it's out there.

The fact is that evolution is supposed to be a moving picture yet we never see any movement is very interesting.

The FACT is: we see stasis and sudden appearance, which do not support evolution but other things (which you know).

The big two theories of evolution are Classical darwin and P...... can't remember it right now. One says slow and gradual and the other explosion of change so fast.

Bottom line, they both exist because the fossil evidence doesn't show either. One says happened so slow you can't see it and the other says it happened so fast, you missed it. Not very convincing nor matching what we do see, which is stasis and sudden appearance.

you'll have to tell me how a non flying animal flapping around with hollow bones is supposed to survive the wild better than the fully formed lizard moving fast against the leopard or other predator. By the way, have you heard the one about how whales came to be. Lived in water, moved to land, grew legs, moved back into grew fins, and nose moved to top of head. sounds logical to me.

Here's another one for you. Nothing escapes a blackhole, not even light. How is it during the BIg Bang, that the universe escaped itself?

Meaning, if the whole thing was a tiny mass of everything, then it exploded. How did it escape itself since we see tiny dots (blackholes) capture everything in their gravity.

Another point: If all science has seen that order always devolves into chaos unless there is some maintaining intelligence (maintenance on your bike) then how is it that a chaotic explosion of the universe create all the order we see around us as scientific laws?

I've got to go, but I think I've left you with some material.
I remembered the namelotterypick
Aug 13, 2003 9:27 AM
Punctuated Equillibrium
Ah me. If you're a full-blown 'creation scientist,'OldEdScott
Aug 13, 2003 9:55 AM
your argument is utterly illogical. It's based on absence of data, and the absence of data by itself proves nothing. It certainly doesn't prove a positive -- how do you leap from a supposed problem with the fossil record to sudden creation as the the only, the factual, alternative? That is the fatal logical fallacy in "creation science" arguments against evolution, and in favor of its own interpretation of how things are.

If you want to say there are questions about evolution that are still being asked, or problems with the theory, fine. I can buy that. To plunge headlong from there into 'creation science' is like saying we haven't been able to develop a unified field theory yet so quantum physics is wrong, and only God can make a sparrow fall from a tree.

I can't make heads nor tails of your decay rates argument, but you can throw that out the window and STILL astonomy/physics are going to show the universe is 15-20 billion years old. To says it's 6,000-10,000 years old is nonsense. We see light from creation's dawn, and it's old as the hills.
Nowlotterypick
Aug 13, 2003 10:17 AM
I don't like being put into a box, but if that makes you feel better then so be it.

I don't think I mentioned creation in my post, nor did I give support for it.

I merely pointed the flaws in evolution.

By the way, stating that astrophysics supports billions of years is in part wrong. evolutionary astrophysics, as well as evolutionary biology, etc, are all based on the notion that evolution and billions of years are a given.

Here's a quote for you: At any rate, almost everything in Hawking's book is based on his fertile imagination and logical speculation, with almost no visible evidence or proof. This appears to differentiate his work from fiction, which is almost always based on obvious, demonstrable fact. In another way, however, physics is a lot like fiction or income tax calculating, in that when there is a conflict between the world and an intellectual construct, the author adjusts the world to fit an imagined plot."

"Take black matter, for example. As fate would have it, the most recent and popular theories in physics just don't work. It's not as if there are some loose threads around the edges; the theories don't work at all. If they did, the universe would instantaneously fall in on itself or fly apart. Now those of us who are not astrophysicists would probably do something like discard the theories. Not astrophysicists. They readjust the uncooperative universe to fit their theories, postulating a gigantic quantity of invisible gravity-producing stuff they call black matter, even though it's not black and maybe not even matter. And there you are. Just like that, the modern, popular theories are back in business.

I can imagine that readers new to physics and its way of doing things might be skeptical, but those of us who are higher up in the world of science feel nothing but anticipation in all this theorizing. It could, after all, be a step toward a newer and even sillier putty."

Roger L. Welsch, "Astrophys Ed", Natural History, February 1994, p. 24 and 25
Paleeze...Dwayne Barry
Aug 13, 2003 10:31 AM
"I merely pointed the flaws in evolution."

No you didn't. You spouted off a bunch of creationist BS most of which can be and has been directly contradicted point by point in numerous places. Which creationist just ignore and continue to spout off to their receptive audience, which of course, aren't interested in facts in the first place. A similar phenomena happens with the Shroud of Turin with the believers in it's authenticity. It's known to be a fake based on multiple lines of evidence yet "believers" continue to ignore the facts, and put it forward as the burial shroud of Jesus.

It's funny, I know next to nothing about astrophysics, etc. but I did read Hawkings book. And he even says at the end of it more or less what you say (i.e. it's a theory with little data to support it). This is the exact same way Lovejoy's theory should be viewed.
Which is why I had two propositions beginning withOldEdScott
Aug 13, 2003 10:32 AM
the word 'if.' The last 'if' was:

If you want to say there are questions about evolution that are still being asked, or problems with the theory, fine. I can buy that.

I noted in reading your post that you very carefully did NOT say you subscribe to creation science. But you're arguing the creation science line precisely and with vigor. If you want to disclaim creation science, you're free to do so and we'll have no disagreement. It's clear the theory of evolution is still being worked out. If you want to claim the Universe is 6,000-10,000 years old based on anything but religious faith (not a bad thing to base belief on, mind you) we'll have massive, friendly disagreement.
Then we'll be friendlylotterypick
Aug 13, 2003 11:03 AM
It's funny how our coversation started these other guys.

I really don't have time to show them the error of their arguments, plus I've been through it a million times.

Variation, it's variation not evolution. Why don't they get it.
This is the guy who wroteOldEdScott
Aug 13, 2003 10:59 AM
this book?

http://www.motolit.com/0760308683.html
Reminds me of the songlotterypick
Aug 13, 2003 11:13 AM
"Two out of three ain't bad". Didn't you know there's a lot of physics in tractors and sex.
I'm sorry about this....Tri_Rich
Aug 13, 2003 10:30 AM
I've lurked for a while but this is crap. If you want to bear with me I will go point by point.

"Basic assumptions of dating methods: Decay rates the same as now, know the composition of the original material (supposedly millions of years old), no contamination of material (over the supposed millions of years)."

First all science is based on the fact that the laws of nature do not change over time. (In fact you live by this same assumption, you assume that your PB&J sandwich is not going to start nuclear fission on your table.)

2. "On top of all of this is the FACT that the dating method spits out numberous numbers. some hundreds of years, some thousands, some millions, some billions. It is left to the science guy to chose the date that he wants and then throws the rest out as err"

Different isotopes are used when looking at different time frames, no method yields thousands, millions and billions of years as a date.

3 "Another point: No fossil data supports an intermediate. All I hear is how we need to keep looking, but we know it's out there"

Apparently you have not seen archyopteryx (sp?) fossils, which are itermediate between dinos and birds.

4. "Bottom line, they both exist because the fossil evidence doesn't show either. One says happened so slow you can't see it and the other says it happened so fast, you missed it. Not very convincing nor matching what we do see, which is stasis and sudden appearance"

You are mistaking the fact that there is debate about the mechanism of evolution with there being question about the existence of evolution.

5. "The fact is that evolution is supposed to be a moving picture yet we never see any movement is very interesting."

Infact there are many examples of evolution occurring during recorded history, butterflies during the industrial revolution is a classic example. Additional examples include the extinction of the dodo, the emergence of the red wolf and antibiotic resistant bacteria.

6."How is it during the BIg Bang, that the universe escaped itself?"

You may have heard of a guy named Stephen Hawking. He won the Nobel prize for demonstarting that during the Big Bang something fundamentally different was occuring than has ever occured since. His physics though is way over my head.

-Richard
Don't bother...Dwayne Barry
Aug 13, 2003 10:44 AM
creationist or anti-evolutionists are not interested in facts.
Don't bother...Tri_Rich
Aug 13, 2003 11:15 AM
There may be other people who read this, and they need to know that creation science is not science.
I think you mis-stated your positionlotterypick
Aug 13, 2003 12:43 PM
You need to make it broader so that you encompass everyone you intend.

You should have said "There may be other people who read this, and they need to know that anything that doesn't agree with evolution is not science."

That's the approved official statement. Please use it in your future discussions.
Evolution and gravityTri_Rich
Aug 14, 2003 4:34 AM
Science does not have an accepted explanation for HOW either one works, but there is no doubt THAT they exist.
Actually...Dwayne Barry
Aug 14, 2003 5:03 AM
depending on what you mean by Evolution it's known "how" it works.
If you mean by evolution how one species divides into two. It happens this way. A single species (defined as a reproductive population) has a sub-population that gets reproductively isolated (geographically, behaviorly, whatever) from the main group. Over time genetic differences accumulate (whether through selection or chance) and at some point even if those two populations are in physical proximity they can no longer produce reproductively viable offspring. By definition you now have two species. For example, donkeys and horses are separate species because although they can produce mules, that animal is sterile. Consequently it is physically impossible for the world's horse and donkey "populations" to exchange genes thus any changes that occur within these populations will remain within those populations and presumabely given enough time the genetic differences will become so large that even mules will no longer be produced.

As an interesting bit of trivia, humans and chimps (although anatomically we appear quite different) are genetically closer than horses and donkeys. Naturally this has led to the idea of a "forbidden" experiment to see if we could produce a "mule" as it where. And it would be a "mule" because we have 46 chromosomes and chimps have 48 which means any offspring would have 47 and thus be reproductively unviable due to this odd number.

The great confirmation of Darwins fundamental ideas about evolution, was their "confirmation" by genetics, which at the time of his writing were completely unknown.
Actually...Tri_Rich
Aug 14, 2003 5:34 AM
That is the textbook explanation, however it seems to be questionable. During normal conditions, selective pressures work against any new genes, it is only following a cataclysmic event that significant differentiation occurrs. (See Gould, Stephen J. and others)

That being said I have not followed evolutionary thought for about 5 years, as I am no longer in the paleontology field.
Well it certainly can happen that way...Dwayne Barry
Aug 14, 2003 6:57 AM
as island species demonstrate. I'm not a big fan of Gould as I think he overstated his case and villified alternative (often not even mutually exclusive) theories to the aggrandizement of his own.

Clearly the major developement of new classes of animals and plants occurred after major catastrophies but those were relatively few and far between (even in the geological sense of time).

Why would selective pressures work against new genes (actually I agree new advantageous genes would be a relatively rare occurrance) or more accurately different gene frequency distributions? It stands to reason that two populations in two different locations would have different selective pressures.
Like skin color in humans as protection against UV rays? nmOldEdScott
Aug 14, 2003 7:07 AM
Well actually...Dwayne Barry
Aug 14, 2003 7:51 AM
no one debates that modern humans ancestors ultimately arose in Africa (although there's considerable debate about when and which "geologic" species that left Africa is the ancestor of all modern humans). So the question isn't why did humans evolve dark pigments in their skin to protect them from the sun (or some other reason I'm not aware of), but why did some populations apparently lose that pigmentation once they left Africa?
Well it certainly can happen that way...Tri_Rich
Aug 14, 2003 7:31 AM
It probably happens both ways... but in order for two populations to be come truly geographicallly seperate requires an unusual event.

Generally speaking organisms tend to be well fitted to the ecological niche in whihc they live, stepping outside of this niche puts them in conflict with others. This is the pressure which forces the maintainace of the status quo under static environmental conditions.
Yeah but "environmental" conditions...Dwayne Barry
Aug 14, 2003 7:46 AM
are never static. And i use environmental in the broadest sense, not just the local climatology but the local fauna and flora are constantly shifting. New predators, new germs, there's always changes in the local "environment".

And remember it's not really geographically separate, it's reproductively separate (geographical separation is just one way for this to occur). Being reproductively separate can occur due to a shift in mating behaviors, etc. that once established could be maintained even if populations could potentially reproduce together.
Yeah but "environmental" conditions...Tri_Rich
Aug 14, 2003 8:30 AM
I think we have just proven that the debate about the how of evolution is alive and well.
Anthropologists and Astronomers are tools of SatanContinental
Aug 13, 2003 11:32 AM
You're dealing with people who believe that God stopped the sun in the sky, flooded the earth above the highest mountain, gave Moses the power to part the Red Sea, created different languages to confuse people who were building a tower to heaven, turned water into wine, healed blindness with mud and spit, walked on water, raised the dead, etc, etc, etc. It is pointless to make scientific arguments because scientists are tools of your adversary the devil who stalketh about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may to devour. I believed the myths until I was about 16 years old. I still can't understand how highly intelligent well educated people believe this stuff.
Thanks for confirming itlotterypick
Aug 13, 2003 12:49 PM
Sunday School does impart knowledge, but maybe not wisdom.

Science factoid for you: Did you know that scientist (Satan lovers, to you) believe that Mars was once covered by water.

Now they're flying there to see if it's true, despite the fact they have no proof of water even ever being on Mars, WHEREAS

Our earth is 3/4 covered by water, and Jacque Coustea (sp?) said that if the mountains were a little lower and the valley's a little shallower, the earth could be covered by water at a depth of 2 -3 miles.

Wow, the Bible takes giant leaps, whereas science only follows logical lines of thinking. Maybe we should say evolutionary science that is.
Here's something else.DJB
Aug 13, 2003 1:31 PM
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2002/03/0307_0307_waterworld.html

Selected paragraphs:

"Molten rocks deep in the earths interior may be surprisingly wet, Japanese researchers say. From lab experiments, they have concluded there may be more H2O deep underground than in all oceans, lakes, and rivers combined."

"Based on what they witnessed in their lab, the researchers concluded that more water probably exists deep within the Earth than is present on Earth's surface—as much as five times more."

Genesis 7:11 - In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.

Hmmm. Lucky guess.
Are you my sister?Continental
Aug 13, 2003 1:52 PM
You argue just like her. I find it amusing. She believes her own arguments with complete sincerity and is convinced that she has perfect logic and knowledge. For her any incorrect hypothesis in the history of astronomy, geology, or anthropolgy is more proof that the Bible is literal and infallible Truth. She can the spout the wackiest, wildest explanations to geological and astronomic phenonoma to show the universe really is less than 10,000 years old and was created in 6 days, or to support any other Bible story, but the absurdities are airtight to her. She has a public college education and an IQ over 130. I wish I could understand her mind. It's fascinating. She's a great person and I love her.

I have no quarrel with you unless you cross the line and try to teach or impose your faith-based beliefs using public schools or government resources.
I Could Belotterypick
Aug 13, 2003 2:15 PM
All the data matches me except sex. I guess we're just weird to you.

Glad to hear your sister is a Christian.

I think her understanding that people, scientist, make honest, and not so honest, mistakes is a good thing. Reflects her awareness of tendencies and basic human shortcomings in knowing unseen history as well as what is best for them.

Since the history of evolutionary science is filled with good examples of it, you'll have to forgive her for not following the musings of Scientific American and National Geographic when they state they have proof for some evolutionary belief.

DJB makes a good point in his posts, which are better than mine, that where science just looks at the facts, the Bible is supported.

Evolutionary science is different. It takes the known and then leaps head long into any fairy tale that fits it's story and thousands and millions believe them.

The fact that evolution is taught in school as the only option should be alarming to you, because evolution is a religion. One based wholly on beliefs, not on facts.

Just because the priests are dressed in lab coats, have a story and are surrounded by men and women of the faith in ACLU garb, doesn't make them any less a religion than what your sister is carrying around (in your mind).
evolution vs. EvolutionDJB
Aug 13, 2003 1:14 PM
"...the laws of nature do not change over time."

"...something fundamentally different was occuring than has ever occured since."

Well, if you're sure...

"You are mistaking the fact that there is debate about the mechanism of evolution with there being question about the existence of evolution."

I think you're mistaking observable "evolution" as being proof of the Neo-Darwinian theory (NDT) or Evolution. NDT states that all genetic change is the result of random chance. Those changes which have positive benefits are "selected" by the process of Natural Selection. This requires an "upward" progression of information in order to go from a single cell to a human. The information to build skin, blood, the brain, the skeleton, etc as well as the information on how those things function must have originated by chance.

Yet all observations of genetic mutations shows only no increase of information, or a loss of information. For example, genes can get switched on, but they existed to begin with.

For example: is the antibiotic resistance of bacteria something that happens after the bacteria is exposed to the antibiotic, or did the bacteria survive the antibiotic because it already had some manner of resistance? I think logic would pick the latter. Since the antibiotic would be killing off all of the competition, the resistant strain would become more dominant. The same thing is true with your Peppered moth example (I think that's what you were referring to). I believe that all that was shown in the example was that the percentage of dark to light moths could change due to environmental factors. But other than color, the moth didn't change. The question is, does color change (even if it promotes the survivability of the organism) represent the increase in genetic information required by the NDT? I don't think so.

evolution, not Evolution.
evolution vs. EvolutionTri_Rich
Aug 14, 2003 5:46 AM
Antibiotic resistance is a very interesting example, and here is how it works. (in a simplist explanation)

Bacteria are happily growing in your infected wound. When an antibiotic is introduced the bacteria are "stressed" one of the responses to stress is to stop proofreading DNA replication, allowing for more mutations. If the stress continues the bacteria will actually start "cutting and pasting" DNA and even grabbing DNA it can find outside the cell. If it gets lucky and becomes resistant, it will stop the stress response and begin multiplying.

Your statement that, " Yet all observations of genetic mutations shows only no increase of information, or a loss of information. For example, genes can get switched on, but they existed to begin with. ", is untrue. First mutations in the coding sequence of DNA can result in a change in the amino acid sequence of a protien which can have many effects including a gain of function, or in the case of something like a frame shift mutation a completely novel enzyme. The process of Mutation does create new genes. The process of "turning genes on" is called gene regulation and is a different topic from mutation.
He's talking about the earliest hominids not...Dwayne Barry
Aug 13, 2003 8:34 AM
modern humans (or even pre-modern hominids that would have at stuff like tools worth carrying around).
Babies are worth carrying. nmOldEdScott
Aug 13, 2003 8:44 AM
Let me try to explain where he's coming from.Dwayne Barry
Aug 13, 2003 8:58 AM
All of the other great apes (chimps, gorillas, orangutans) walk around quadrupedally (a form of locomotion known as knuckle-walking). Modern humans are descended from some kind of great ape that according to the genetics stuff I've read was the common ancestor of chimps and us (yes genetically you are more closely related to a chimp, than a chimp is to a gorilla). Now if the the all the modern great apes are quadrepedal (not to mention all other primates) and you've got this one species that is bipedal, the question you ask is why did this one species develop this unique form of locomotion? Lovejoy is putting forth a theory that the reason is, that being bipedal frees up the hands for carrying stuff. What would a "chimp" possibly need to carry? Well, Lovejoys idea is that males could bring food to females in exchange for sex (chimps actually do this, usually with meat). It's just a theory to explain why bipedalism arose, there are others. All of which have their problems.

BTW, apes don't have any problems carrying their babies around so presumably the quadrupedal ape that was the ancestor of hominids didn't either.
OK, fine, but the sentence is still nutty.OldEdScott
Aug 13, 2003 9:11 AM
There's more than one reason to carry food. You could carry food for yourself because you're going to take a walk on the savannah and you're planning a solo pre-hominid picnic by the water hole. You could carry food because you found it and you're not hungry you want to take it back to your sleeping bush to stash it to eat later. 'The only reason to carry food is to give it to someone' is nonsense, and to make the leap to sex is fantasy.
Again, you have to put it in context...Dwayne Barry
Aug 13, 2003 9:46 AM
of what we know of modern ape behavior. Which of course assumes that the first hominids (which had a brain roughly the size of modern chimp's) behaved something like an ape. I think that's not a bad assumption. Modern apes don't carry food anywhere! When it's available they eat it (or carry it just far enough to get out of site of someone else who might take it from them). The idea of being able to defer immediate gratification for later is a human trait. Chimps and presumably our ancestors largely lack that ability.

Now when will a chimp "share" food? The only time I'm aware of, is male chimps will share meat with females in exchange for sex (or possibly with other males in exchange for "political" support).

The problem is, OldEdScott, you're thinking like a human and projecting your thought processess onto what would have been essentially a "chimp", rather than taking what we know about how modern apes behave and trying to project that behavior onto our earliest bipedal ancestors.
BTW, I don't buy Owen's theory fully. Plus it's so much speculation. While no doubt at some point in human history males began pair-boding with females and provisioning for their bonded females (and hopefully their own) offspring. I don't think there's much evidence (though some) to suggest that that behavior was present in the earliest hominids.
Believe it or not....Dwayne Barry
Aug 13, 2003 8:45 AM
I was Owen Lovejoy's student at Kent State a few years ago. That article does a poor job of separating fact from "informed" speculation. Sexual organs do not fossilize, so there's no way to know for certain if the first hominids had modern human-like, chimp-like, etc. etc. sexual organs. He takes a leap in assuming they had modern-human like organs. He trotted his male-provisioning leading to bipedalism and pair-bonding theory out in the '70s and it was largely rejected in Anthropology circles. Sounds like he's giving it another go now with some comparative anatomy of modern primates thrown in for good measure this time around.
Wrong.Sintesi
Aug 13, 2003 3:39 PM
First of all I would love to know how a paleoanthropologist can extrapolate genitalia size in Australopithecines (afarensis was petty tiny, about 4 foot if memory serves, so anything bigger than a jimmy dean pork sausage probably would have been plenty for old Lucy) let alone mating habits. Second, humans by far have the largest dicks of all the primates bar none. The penises on chimps and indeed gorillas are mere spikes compared to humans. We are the champs.

There is something to sexiness and humanness tho. Female breasts, buttocks, hairlessness, lips, earlobes(?) are not found in any other primate and offer no obvious survival advantage. Let's not forget the lack of estrus in the females of our species. Most male primates can only get laid when the female is in heat while we can theoretically get to business 24/7.
Right...Dwayne Barry
Aug 14, 2003 4:14 AM
he's taking a leap in assuming the first hominids had human-like genitalia and a similar social order.

But there are some "clues" to the social order of primate species based on anatomy. One is sexual dimorphism (differnece in the size of males and females). Gorilla males are huge compared to females because they get to reproduce and leave off-spring by controlling a harem of females. So they have to be able to beat off any challenges for control of the harem (much like lions). Obviously being big is an advantage here.

Chimps are somewhere in between humans and early hominids. They're social structure is one of mixed males and females but there is usually an alpha male (or a couple of brothers) that TRY to take exclusive reproduction of the group, which means beating the sh*t out of any chimp that gets in their way. Chimps have estrus so it's fairly easy to know when a female needs to be guarded from other males but it's a messy business guarding a fluid large group of horny females in a rain forest. And chimps are sly. Thus sperm competition (large testes) on top of the physical competition for control of the reproductive rights of the group.

Humans on the other hand have a different social structure in which males and females pair-bond, thus sexual attraction to one another is important (and thus the large penis, boobs, etc.). Our relative lack of sexual dimorphism (and that of the earliest hominids) suggest that males aren't physically competing with one another to get reproductive access to females. Many have speculated that the loss of estrus in humans is an adaptation to keep males interested in the female at times other than when she's fertile. Of course, once you're pair-bonded you should be able to count of the offspring of the female as your own, thus motivated to provide for them, and propigate your genes, etc., etc.

Then there's bonobos (or pygmy chimps) that show even less sexual dimorphism than humans. And have a very sexual society where males aren't in control (or at least that's what I remember from about 10 years ago, because at the time little was known about them).

Another clue is canine size (and sexual dimorphism in this trait as well).

With the recent discovery (hopefully its not a hoax of somekind) of a new large ape in the Congo which appears to be gentically most closely related to chimps anthropologist are naturally excited. Because if we ever get close enough to study them, they will reveal yet another ape's behavioral possibilities (maybe similar or different from what we've seen).

I suspect that the earlist hominids had a social structure unlike modern humans and probably unlike chimps. Twenty-five years ago these were the only two options people thought about. Then bonobo studies occurred and people said hey maybe early hominids were more like them? Given the vast behavioral flexibility that apes show, it wouldn't surprise me in the earliest hominids had a social structure unlike any modern apes (including humans).
just ask john bobbitt. nmrufus
Aug 14, 2003 6:39 AM