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Men are overwhelmingly involved in wars, intergroup aggression, and intragroup homicide. Predisposition to violence is linked to masculinity. All over the world, men commit homicide on average twenty-six times more frequently than women and are the victims of homicides in seventy percent of cases. In mid-nineties, about eighty-seven percent of serious crimes in Russian Federation were committed by men. In mid-two-thousands, eighty-five percent in the United States. Such statistical reports are valid for most countries.
Cruelty and animal abuse is another dimension of violence. The male-to-female ration here ranges from thirty-eight to one in beatings, twenty to one in torture, and seventeen to one in burning.
According to a theory by Leonard Berkowitz, men are traditionally educated to perceive fighting as more suitable for themselves. However, parents and the media react to in-part genetically predetermined children's preferences in behavior and play. Experiences of cultures without media, literature, and cinema suggest that the behavioral patterns of boys innately greatly differ from that of girls.
Identification of disruptions in brain areas linked to impulsive aggressive behavior and making ethical judgments may give deeper insight into the neurobiology of violence. Aggressive encounters increase vulnerability to depression and immune illnesses by changing the brains of both aggressors and their victims.
Evolution by natural selection brings change with every generation. Its four principles are overpopulation, variation, inheritance, and fitness. Every generation has more born than able to survive. Random gene mutation allows for variation of genes in the population. The setup of the environment reduces the frequency of unfit variants and increases the frequency of relatively fit ones. A population can store many genetic variants at once to meet changing conditions. Natural selection works only on traits that are heritable. Fitness in evolutionary biology means the probability of surviving and reproducing in a given habitat. Only a tiny part of DNA mutations increases fitness, the rest is harmful. Fitness consists of survival, fertility, and success in raising children and grandchildren. Organisms of certain types survive better in certain conditions than others, and they tend to leave more offspring. Darwin predicted that population would increase until it reaches the carrying capacity of the environment and the limiting resource runs out. The competition for survival would increase. Selective pressures of the environment will determine over time which genes serve for better adaptation. If conditions change, most adaptive characteristics will become predominant in the population. Same principles of natural selection apply to morphological and behavioral traits. If the genes of individuals can influence their behavior, provided the behavior increases fitness, then this behavior can evolve. Beneficial instincts should spread, and maladaptive would be weeded out of the population. Instincts are highly complicated, and humans have a choice to act on them (
Miller 9/20/2022, Orr 2009).
Evolution by kin selection is based on the fact that relatives share genes. It is usually best for one’s fitness to cooperate with the close group and compete with others. We live in a world of shifting alliances, helping one over another. Instincts are getting misapplied. According to the kin selection theory, in which propagation of genes is seen as causal to altruistic behavior in kin over attachment and familiarity, there is a “selfish” motive behind helping kin members. A parent of a child has only half of her genes propagated. Rearing an own child, or a full sibling, or four cousins are equivalent in this regard. Family relationships set up selective pressures. Some species recognize kin (
Miller 9/22/2022, Fellman 1992).
Evolution by sexual selection takes place when sex sets selective pressures and pushes individuals and further generations to adopt. The fitness goals are the same for females and males - to create a healthy independent child, but their parental investment is different - amount of energy and time invested in children. As a minimum, females need to create an egg, perform a risky copulation, gestate during pregnancy, give birth, lactate, and carry the baby. Males only need to create smaller sperms and copulate. However, the competition determines enormous variation in male reproductive success. These differences cause sexual dimorphism. In general, females tend to be choosier, smaller, duller, and males more promiscuous, bigger, stronger, or flashier. Good genes are the only preference for the females in societies where males do not provide any help with young. Females want to have male offspring that are attractive to females to propagate their own genes with more likelihood, even though his genes might not be better for the son’s survival. Some females put more energy in raising sons of attractive males. Females determine the health of the male by his looks, which helps also avoid sexually transmittable diseases. With pair-bonding, parental investments of sexes even out, and the dimorphism decreases. Competency at fatherhood is the most desirable quality in males for females (
Miller 9/22/2022, Sapolsky 2001).
- Dr. Lynne Miller, lecture notes, September 2022.
- Allen Orr, Testing Natural Selection, 2009, Scientific American. Jan2009, Vol. 300 Issue 1.
- Bruce Fellman, Looking out for number one, 1992. National Wildlife, World Edition, Vol. 30 Issue 1.
- Sapolsky 2002 - What Females Want
Mammals came to existence roughly one hundred million years ago. Mammal females make much larger investments into offspring and are choosy about mates. Males tend to be competitive for the access to receptive (ovulating) females and therefore to be bigger and stronger. Earliest primates evolved about fifty million years ago with major changes: having eyes on the front, which allowed for depth perception, and opposable thumbs, which made it possible to grab and hold things.
Early hominins, directly ancestral to humans, appeared about five million years ago in Eastern Africa and lasted about three million years. They ate primarily fruit and nuts. They were bipedal - walked upright, which was energy efficient and helped to spot food, mates, competitors, and predators. They also were slow, small, vulnerable to predation, and formed social groups, though with limited cooperation. Their brain size was one-third of the modern human brain weight, and they left no stone tools. They had high level of sexual dimorphism: males were twice as big, which was driven by male-male competition. They did not pair-bond, and mothers wean kids after five years, letting juveniles be independent with high probability of dying (
The earliest Homo evolved about two million years ago with dramatic differences in brain, body, and behavior. The brain of Homo erectus was three-fourth the size of Homo sapiens, they used elaborate tools. The body was almost identical to ours, shaped for long-distance endurance running. However, bipedality did not allow them to sprint faster than quadrupeds. For the upright position some other defining morphological traits were selected: flexible waist and side-facing shoulder, which aided throwing skills and therefore hunting (
Wong 2014). They added regular meat to the diet, used fire for cooking also fibrous plant foods, and for warmth and protection. They were moving toward pair-bonding with accompanying reduction in sexual dimorphysm and longer care for young - ten to fifteen years. Females care for multiple children at a time with the help of the father, kin, and the highly cooperative group - the alloparents. Cooperative breeding predates the significant enlargement of the brain. Women that lived decades after menopause had likely doubled the survival of the young. Our empathy likely comes from the group care for children, in Homo. They became numerous and migrated all over the Old World.
Anatomically, modern humans emerged one-fifth of a million years ago. However, behaviorally, we exist for less than a tenth of a million years - with complex societies and warfare (
Hrdy 2009) . About ten thousand years ago most human groups turned to agriculture. They settled with larger villages, built sturdier houses, accumulated wealth, had hierarchies, dramatic diet changes and new diseases. Within a few thousand years of agriculture, large cities emerged. And about a hundred years ago technology started to change the environment of evolutionary adaptation, creating new conditions for selection.
Cultural anthropologists study modern traditional societies that live off the land and other foragers did for two million years, like !Kung (South Africa) and Hadza (East Africa) but also in Asia and South America. They are highly mobile, live in simple huts in small groups, have only essential belongings, cooperate, have gender roles, and help together with children. Women gather plant food over large areas, returning over and over to the plants with ripening fruit and bringing them back to the camp every day. Men travel on foot for hunting days long. Women provide sixty to eighty percent of food weight.
!Kung people of Kalahari Desert live in a climate ranging from freezing to 110 degree Fahrenheit. They are the masters of survival in their habitat. They have a self-sufficient economy, except for iron, minimal possessions are owned exclusively by individuals, shared and exchanged. They forage less days than they spend on other tasks, and a lot on leisure activities like composing songs, singing, playing musical instruments, dancing, sewing beaded patterns, telling stories, visiting, thinking or daydreaming, and simply resting. They have no hierarchy, with women equally involved and important, and the leaders take their position because of abilities and respect. They know over five hundred species, and use over hundred kinds of plants for food. Men are loving fathers, they build huts, hunt with poisoned arrows to provide for about thirty percent of animal food, and gather about twenty percent of plant food. Women gather fruits, berries, vegetables, nuts, melons, beans, roots, and prepare food. Mongongo nuts with their outer fruit are abundant and constitute the half of the diet. Their diet is very healthy by modern standards, it is extremely low on saturated fats, salt, and sugar, which saves these people from many diseases. If young !Kung win the fifty-fifty chance to escape deadly infections before they are fifteen, they live till fifty-five on average, dying usually from respiratory diseases and malaria (
Dr. Lynne Miller, lecture notes, September 2022.
Marjorie Schostack, Nisa, 1981.
Competency at fatherhood is the most desirable quality in males for females in pair-bonding species. Females select capable fathers by judging their paternal skills demonstrated in courting. A large study about desirable attributes in partners showed that human females were more likely than human males to consider
This is one of the rare quick studies I made of works by other artists.
Friday night I was at a gallery in Oceanside for the reception of the exhibit opening. Had a good talks with the exhibiting professors.
Carrying enormous brains, bipedal humans colonized the Earth. As usual, acquiring our specific traits was largely the result of maximizing quality of nutrition and efficiency of foraging by natural selection. It seems like changes in food availability influenced our ancestors.
- Goals: learning
- Properties: formal
Humans are the most lethal predators. From primarily vegetarian ancestors, humans might have developed some traits as adaptation to hunting.
- Goals: learning
- Properties: formal
Intersubjectivity, or theory of mind, is a cognitive skill of intuiting mental states and intentions of others. This empathetic ability allows for advanced cooperation. Our capacity for impulse control and language due to highly developed brains enables successful group coordination.
- Goals: learning
- Properties: formal
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