Genetic Proof of Historical Polygamy
In September 2014, a study found what many anthropologists and The Red Pill already assumed to be true, that humanity has had more mothers than fathers. The methodology used to arrive at this conclusion was to compare the variances within the genes within the Y chromosome (passed down to boys by their fathers) with the variances within the genes of mitochondrial DNA (passed down from mothers to boys). A study of 623 males from 51 different areas of the world showed more variance in diversity of the maternal genes than the paternal genes. Put simply, if one man fathers 10 children to 10 different women, the younger generation inherits the DNA from 10 different women but only the DNA from one man. For the purposes of this blog, I am going to assume that there were five times as many mothers as fathers as this accords with the more recent research that has been carried out by scientists. There is evidence to suggest that, for the periods of time during which the agrarian revolution was thought to have occurred, this factor was as high as 17 to 1. The big fear of course is that this is proof of female hypergamy. Hypergamy has the power to destroy all of society so it is a very serious matter.
But why would this polygamous tendency have come about?
The predominant theory is that women are resource expensive and some men could not afford to keep one (or more than one) while others could. In the event that there was a resource rich man and a resource poor man, the female could get more resources with the rich man and thus she would choose him. This is important as it helps to explain the massive ’17 to 1′ stat that came about right at the time of the agrarian revolution. This is the one time when the female might have had a choice (if they had a choice) between the resource rich farmer, and the resource poor hunter. When we were hunter/gatherers, it would be foolish to think that one hunter could support 17 wives. But if only some men had developed the means to farm the land, a successful farmer could possibly support 17 wives on a productive farm. After all, women can farm the land very well (in fact, there is evidence to support the notion that women started the agrarian revolution). One farm, one man and 17 wives does appear feasible. One spear, one man and 17 wives appears far less feasible.
The idea that there would be one women, 17 men and one farm doesn’t work. Why? Our DNA utterly refutes the notion. But it also refutes the idea that there was even one man, one women and one farm. It proves that we must have been polygamous. But here is another question. Did the man keep all the other bachelor males away or did the women choose the resource rich man over the bachelors themselves?
Theory of inter male competition
Could a big male have ‘claimed’ all the females as his own and beat up all the smaller males so that they could not reproduce. This theory has form among some other animals, notable gorillas, and it does seem plausible. A big factor that determines whether the male will be involved in fighting off bachelors for exclusive rights to a female is whats called sexual dimorphism. Sexual dimorphism is the relative difference in sizes of the sexes. In humans, males are 1.15 times larger than females. Gorillas however have a dimorphism factor of 2.37, orangutans have 2.23, chimps are much lower at 1.29 and 1.36 for bonobos. For Gorilla’s, it’s all about the big male dominating the tribe and thus he gets all the females. For Orangutans, the female is promiscuous, with some tendency for the larger ‘flanged’ males but the larger males also fights off the smaller males to have exclusivity to the females. But in chimp society, which has a smaller dimorphism factor, everyone shags everyone as this is the same in bonobos. So in summary, it is unlikely that male humans fought each other for access to women as our dimorphism is low, lower even than chimps. We also don’t have antlers, horns, spurs or enlarged canines, all things males in different species use for fighting.
If you need to understand why this is the case, think about this. In a species like humans, we had evolutionary pressures to get bigger. These pressures would have been things like running from predators, climbing trees and lifting would-be-weapons etc. But all theses pressures would have affected male and females alike so both sexes would have evolved to get large simultaneously. But with the gorilla, the male of the species always had one extra pressure to grow larger than the female did. He had to fight off other males as well but the female didn’t. This factor, that would have led the male to grow bigger faster than the female, seems to be lacking in human and thus it is highly likely men didn’t fight each other for women.
Female choice of partners
In species where the female has large litters of kids and she can reproduce often, hypergamy is rare. Humans are not like this. The female human produces (usually) only one child per pregnancy and can only fall pregnant once every nine months as very best (but mostly its more like once every 18 months once you consider postpartum suckling). If you think about it, female humans pay a massive cost in the process of reproducing, sometimes a fatal cost. Their choice of whom to reproduce with in very important as its such a big investment. Because of this, it has been wise for women to be choosy with whom they reproduce. Her choice is even wiser if she chooses the most protective male, with good genes and who has the most resources to share with her. This maximises her chances of having a successful pregnancy and strong children who are well provided for.
The final question that begs asking at this stage is, what does feminine choice really mean? Here we are talking about two different things, Criptic Female Choice and Non-cryptic Female Choice. Lets do the second one first
Non-Cryptic Female Choice
Put simply, the females makes a normal choice of which male she wants just like you would imagine. This would imply that she has some capacity to control males so that she can choose at all. This isn’t all that rare and is often known as the ‘call-and-wait’ approach. That is, the males exhibit some masculine feature (like the call of the Orangutan or the tail of a Peacock) and the female make her choice of male and approaches him. I think factors that would allow her to make this choice would be;
- obliging males who cared about her choice
- physical size and strength to resist males if they were unobliging
- female weapons that males didn’t have
- highly organised female groups that could mount a co-ordinated defense of any one female
I think only (a) and (d) have any real merit. But this might start to make more sense once we examine Cryptic Female Choice
Cryptic Female Choice
Cryptic female choice (CFC) is an amazing discovery that shows that in many species of animals the females might not have been able to choose who was able to have intercourse with them but they can still control which of the males they were force to have intercourse with would actually be successful in conceiving a child with. They could do this by having reproductive organs that could facilitate post-copulatory choice. What does this mean? It means after sex, the female body can destroy, store or expel the male swimmers so that they cannot conceive a child. The male goes away thinking he has a chance of creating a child with this female, but little does he know he has exactly zero chance due to the females amazing biology. When the female eventually meets a male she would like to mate with, she ‘disarms’ her reproductive organs so his swimmers survive and conception can occur.
CFC is most likely to occur when the female does care whom she mates with but is unable to fulfill this choice through sexual harassment. In a species where CFC has not evolved but the females have a strong sense of choice around their partners, like it is in humans, one would have to consider that large scale sexual harassment is not a given fact and doubt must exist about its presumption.
Visible Estrous Cycles
Another factor which helps us understand human reproductive behavior it the presence of estrous cycles. Only female animals have estrous cycles and they represent the ovulation cycle. Intercourse when the female is ovulating is most likely to produce children and so knowing a female’s estrous cycle is most helpful in successfully reproducing. Not all species have the ‘call-and-wait’ scenario. Others have (not my words) ‘sneak-and-rape’ as their MO for reproduction but this later method has caused evolution to favor those females that show some highly visible sign that they are ovulating and thus resources are not wasted in reproduction with her. Human females have little or no sign of a estrous cycle and thus this would imply the ‘call-and-wait’ version of events was the human way of doing things.
Based on all we’ve learnt here, the following conclusions are likely:
- 80% of men didn’t not get to reproduce;
- Big men didn’t fight off small men over women like gorillas did;
- Something stopped 80% of men from reproducing that wasn’t male-male conflict;
Conclusion: Possibly it was female choice that stopped 80% of males reproducing.
- Pregnancy is a big risk for women and thus it would only be entered into after careful choice of partner;
- Women didn’t need to evolve CFC in order to conceive children to the best men and so the choice of partner must have manifested some other way;
- Women haven’t evolved to exhibit obvious signs of ovulation and thus men knowing when women were ovulating was never an evolutionary trait;
Conclusion: Females picked men, not the other way around
I accept that none of this is hard science, but it does seem plausible. However, there is some evidence of late that provides a more complete picture of what might have happened but that will be the subject of another blog.