crying as a reaction

SIMMS at vmd.cso.uiuc.edu SIMMS at vmd.cso.uiuc.edu
Thu Aug 5 15:38:36 EST 1993


In article <1993Aug5.132030.1 at uwovax.uwo.ca>
35002_4206 at uwovax.uwo.ca writes:
>I'm quite certain that 4 million years of gender differentiation -- both
>in terms of physiology and the development of strategic roles -- have something
>to do with it. [crying, that is]
At the risk of sounding sexist, men -- owing to our physique
>and disposability (no big deal to the perpetuation of the species if our
>numbers drop) -- have been sent by Mother Nature to do a lot of the `field
>work' (whatever the hell that means). So what's this got to do with tears?
>Well, image a group of proto-human men going out to hunt. Unbeknownst to the
>rest of the party, the newest member of their proud brotherhood is a `crier'.
>It wouldn't take long for this guy to turn on the tapworks. Hunting is ripe
>with causes to cry: fear, confusion, embarrassment, anger, exhaustion, tragedy,
>disappointment are all part of the ritual. Having a guy around who cries would
>be extra baggage. (This would explain why men are often so insensitive)
>You can add to this the fact that doing `field work' uses up a lot of adrenalin
>-- which would also negate the need for tears.
 
I haven't had much time to give your "man- the-big-game-hunter" hypothesis
a lot of thought, so I'm not really equipped to comment on it here.  However,
I would like to point out that men really are important to have around for
two reasons:
1.  If the numbers of one sex drops dramatically, it doesn't really matter
how many of the other sex are around in terms of "effective population size".
Sure you can keep producing babies (assuming you don't wear the poor guys
out), but the gene pool drops because half the genes being put into the
next generation (from those poor guys) are really just the same genes
over and over again.
2.  Humans have a pretty complex social structure.  Drop the number of
males in a small population by half and would you really still have all
the females getting all the matings they "need" to produce the next
generation?  Or would only half the females get mated?
 
I'll still be thinking about the main hypothesis that you presented.  If I
have any ideas on it I'll let you know (assuming time allows).
                              Laura Simms
P.S.  I just love this sort of parlor human evolution ramblings.  Everyone
can come up with any old theory and not worry too much about proof.
Fortunately or unfortunately (depending on your viewpoint) there seems
to be more data accumulating to the point where we won't be able to do this
so freely anymore.  Oh well, better get in on the sport while there's still
time.



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