October Update

Bought a standard poodle puppy.  Bringing him home October 5, so October will be full of housebreaking, and FUN.

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Friday
Oct162009

Was Romance in the Air?

In my last post (October 14) I wrote about “Discovering Ardi,” the tale of a fifteen-year project to uncover, study, and imagine the life of the earliest hominid ever discovered.  Ardi walked upright on two legs that ended in grasping feet with thumbs, and she turned out to have inhabited a forest ecosystem.  This was a big surprise, because biologists had thought humans evolved on savannah.
    As I explained in that October 14th post, the savannah idea made excellent sense until Ardi came along.  Now, her discoverers had to try to explain to themselves and to us what selection pressures created a tree-climbing, bipedal walking hominid.
    They came up with a notion that sounds as reasonable as the old, discredited savannah idea.  The old hypothesis centered around hunting and tool production.  The new hypothesis centers around human reproduction.  
    Unlike apes, human females are sexually accessible all year round.  For a human male, then, one partner is enough to meet his sexual needs.  But the trick is to persuade a female to become and remain his mate for a long time.  For the human female, the problem is that offspring remain dependent for many years, so what the female needs is a mate who can supply plenty of food for her and her children.  In a forest, a male who can climb trees can gather lots of food in the form of fruit, nuts, eggs, and arboreal animals.  Then if he is bipedal, his arms and hands are free to carry the food back to a nest or dwelling maintained by the female.
    So perhaps what we see in Ardi and her kin is an early result of natural selection for the human version of courting and reproduction.  
    At the same time, Ardi’s species may have made a start toward romance.  To allow an upright, bipedal gait, the human pelvis tilts in such a way that humans began copulatiing face to face.  Hominids may have begun discriminating not only according to provision of food and sex, but according to facial characteristics.  Alas, we’ll probably never know.


Reader Comments (1)

Julie, I am newly exploring the site at Shewrites. Thank you for your energetic enquiry. I, too, have an interest in Science/Spirit. Usually finding no contradiction between the two.
Just starting to set up, my blog, site, etc. I will keep following your edifying posts.
Again, thank you.

October 17, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJudith Hope

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