The truth behind the real reason that prehistoric man turned to monogamy may surprise you.
A study from the University of Waterloo found that with the dawn of the agricultural age, prehistoric humans found that they need to change their ways.
Research sets out to prove that prehistoric man turned away from polygyny and started favoring monogamy. Polygyny is the practice of having more than one spouse, or mate, at a time. The main way that it defers from polygamy is that with polygamy either spouse can have multiple partners but in the case of polygyny only the man has multiple wives. The lesser known form of polygamy is polyandry. In this version a woman has multiple husbands.
This particular study proposes that the reason for the switch to monogamy surrounds around sexually transmitted diseases.
The study goes on to state that in larger societies sexually transmitted infections (STI’s) became endemic. This, in turn, caused many people to have issues conceiving. As well, it often resulted in forms of punishment thought to be fines or social ostracisation. Those who did not have multiple partners rose in social standing as their numbers also grew.
“A lot of the ways we behave with others, our rules for social interaction, also have origins in some kind of natural environment,” said co-author of the study, Chris Bauch of the University of Waterloo in Canada.
It is unclear if STI’s were truly the only factor that created the shift to monogamy or even if this research is completely accurate.
For one there is little research supporting the prevalence of sexually transmitted infections. “I don’t think it is necessarily wrong but I think the basis for their modelling may be. Looking at modern day hunter gatherers who provide some sort of model for pre-agricultural societies, ie any human society prior to about 10,000 years ago, then polygyny is very rare,” said Kit Opie of University College, London. “Hunter-gatherer marriage is a much looser affair than we are used to and polygyny may be allowed but very rarely is it actually practiced.”
Psychologist Christopher Ryan has a very different view on what Caveman Sex was really like. He purports that a more likely scenario has the woman as more polyamorous. He believes that a caveman would have been sitting in the corner waiting his turn as another caveman had sex with with the prehistoric woman.
Do with that information as you wish but any which way it is pretty darn interesting.
Do you have questions or topics you want covered? List them below or “Ask Dr. Ho” in a private email.
If you find this info helpful, or interesting, please do share.