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Response to Shankapotomus (Reply #32)

Sat Apr 6, 2013, 11:10 AM

48. This is not true

One HUGE problem is that our society doesn't know enough about the actual living arrangements of our closest primate relatives.

Our closest genetic relatives are two species: common chimpanzees and bonobo chimpanzees.

The two have ENTIRELY DIFFERENT cultural arrangements. Common chimpanzees have cultures with male infighting for access to females - but that's about TIMING - not actual access.

Female common chimpanzees mate with multiple partners when they are fertile.

Female bonobo chimpanzees mate with multiple partners when they are fertile - BUT - females also have agency in determining who those males might be. Females have hierarchies that help to determine the viability of their offspring - females can stop aggressive males - and do - i.e. have been observed doing so.

Another huge difference is that bonobos use sex as a way to sooth tensions in the community - their use of sex isn't limited to procreation and isn't divided into "hetero" or "homo" individually - all in a community will engage in sexual actions with all others (except for incest) as a way to work out their problems.

Common chimpanzees have not developed this use of sex to build peace in their communities.

Gorillas, who are less closely genetically related to either humans or chimpanzees, have one male who controls access to multiple females.

We know that humans did not resemble gorillas in their anatomy, early in prehistory. We know humans resembled chimpanzees of one kind or another more than gorillas. What this means in this case is "anatomy is history." i.e. - human anatomy indicates relative equality based upon the relative avg size of male and female, and anatomy indicates human sperm had some competition - i.e. males were not controlling a bunch of females and fighting among themselves for access. So, our anatomy does not indicate male dominance as we understand it now in other primates.

We evolved in communities of anywhere between a dozen and a 100 other humans. We either had males who moved to another community when they reached sexual maturity or females who did - this was how inbreeding/incest was avoided. So, that community of a dozen or so proto humans probably met up with other communities at an especially fertile area with lots of fruit that ripened at a particular time - when food supplies are abundant, there is no need to fight for access to it.

In other primate communities, the way they deal with aggressiveness is to ostracize the aggressor, rather than fight. They cut off the aggressor from the community, from food sharing within the community, and from protection by the community.

So, we also have examples of the way that the power of the group overcomes the power of a bully and keeps communities more egalitarian.

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