Human evolution theory utilizing concepts of neoteny & female sexual selection
An etiology of neuropsychological disorders such as autism and dyslexia, and the origin of left handedness.

twitter / andrewL9

 Library of Excerpts

Dance, Song and the Origin of Culture: Heterochronic Patterns


"In an auditory or musical task, subjects made pitch recognition judgments when the tones to be compared were separated by a sequence of interpolated tones. The left-handed subjects performed significantly better than the right-handed and also had a significantly higher variance. Further analysis showed that the superior performance was attributable largely to the left-handed subjects with mixed hand preference." (Deutsch, D. (1978) Pitch memory: An advantage for the left handed. Science 199: pp. 5590

"The Jesperson scenario begins with people devising individual courtship and battle songs, using in them as wide a variety of sounds as their vocal equipment and their inventiveness would allow them. To the members of a familiarity group, each of these personal songs came to be associated with its singer, as a kind of Wagnerian leitmotiv. With the group, one person could refer to another imitating his song. The song, thus, became a proper name -- and what, Jesperson asks, could be more concrete and specific than a proper name? Once this naming relationship got established within a group, it became possible for people to use a proper name to refer to some trait of the owner of that name, or to remind the group of some event in that individual's history. On this base, then, the processes of analogy and simplification did their work." (Filmore CJ (1976) Frame Semantics and the Nature of Language in . Origins and evolution of language and speech. Harnad, S., Steklis, H., & Lancaster, J. (eds.) New York Academy of Sciences: New York pp. 22)

"If Whole-body co-ordinated activities such as dancing can influence not only emotional but also hormonal states, this may provide a clue to why dancing takes up so much of the leisure time of so many hunting and gathering people, and why is is so often linked symbolically with the moon. It might also throw light on the mechanisms through which women eventually succeeded in preserving their ancient traditions of synchrony [menstrual] far from coastal shores in the course of the Upper Palaeolithic revolution. It could be that they danced. Moreover, if dancing influenced the timing of ovulation and/or menstruation as well as of sexual intercourse itself, a further consequence may have followed. By scheduling each type of dance so as to coincide with a specific lunar phase, women could have helped ensure that their cycles were not only socially in step, but also in step with the moon. Alternatively, it may have been that by using the moon as a clock, and by dancing in time with it, women succeeded in keeping in synchrony with one another." (Knight, C. (1991) Blood Relations; Yale Univ. Press, New Haven pp. 350-1)

“The notion that man’s first language was primarily gestural, carried on with hand and arm signals rather than vocal sounds, has been supported by a distinguished line of scholars: Condillar (1746), Tylor (1868, 1871), Morgan (1877:35n), Wallace (1881, 1895), Romanes (1988), Wundt (1912), Paget (1944, 1963), and Johannesson (1949, 1950). The gestural theory seems to be the most attractive of the many glottogonic hypotheses advanced so far, and receives support from recent studies of chimpanzees and other primates, such as Gardner and Gardner (1969, 1971), Premack (1970a,b, 1971), and Menzel (1971), as well as from other sources. The fact that this evidence was unavailable to earlier proponents of the gestural theory explains some of the weaknesses in its former formulations.” (Hewes GW (1973) Primate communication and the gestural origins of language. Current Anthropology 14: 5)

"He learns how to relive the Dream Time through the ceremonies. Eventually he shall be completely immersed in the sacred history of his tribe; that is to say, he shall know the origin and understand the meaning of everything from rocks, plants, and animals to customs, symbols, and rules. As he assimilates the revelation conserved i the myths and rituals, the world, life, and human existence become meaningful and sacred--for they have been created or perfected by Supernatural Beings." (Eliade, M. (1973) Australian Religions. Cornell Univ. Press, Ithaca p. 64)

"Or should be perhaps compare the whale's brain to the peacock's tail, a scintilating mental display organ for the purpose of attracting a mate and enhancing the pleasures of courtship: the whale who provides the most stimulating entertainment having the best choice of mates?" (Lovelock, J (1979) Gaia, A New Look at Life on Earth. Oxford Univ. Press: Oxford. p. 141"

“Musical composers, instrumentalists, and painters were compared with nonmusicians from a student and from an nonstudent population on testosterone levels in saliva. This steroid served as a marker for physiological androgyny. The ANOVA showed a significant group by sex interaction. Male composers attained significantly lower mean testosterone values than male instrumentalists and male nonmusicians; female composers had significantly higher mean testosterone values than female instrumentalists and female nonmusicians. Painters of both sexes did not differ significantly from controls. Spatial ability was assessed in the five groups. Significant differences on spatial test performance were not reflected in differences on salivary testosterone. Our results showed that musical composers of both sexes were physiologically highly androgynous. Creative musical behavior was associated with testosterone levels that minimized sex differences.” (Hassler M (1991)Testosterone and artistic talents. Int J Neurosci 56 (1-4): 25)

"One single gene disorder, fragile X, has recently been discovered that is X-linked, is found predominantly in males, and appears to have a specific association with autism. The clinical features are somewhat variable, but in its most severe form, the affected males are mentally retarded after puberty, have enlarged testicles. They tend to be hypotonic and to have somewhat long faces and large ears, but as children they do not appear particularly dysmorphic (Brondum-Nielsen, 1983). This syndrome of X-linked mental retardation was clinically recognized before the discovery of its association with fragile X and was known as the Martin-Bell syndrome (Martin & Bell, 1943)" (Folstein SE, Rutter ML (1988) Autism: Familial aggregation and genetic implications. J Autism and Developmental Disorders 18: pp. 16-17)

“This primary or social interaction seems to derive directly from an older system and, like all animal systems of communication, is restricted to “between you and me, here and now.” The secondary communication interaction, speech, is subjects to no such limitations in space and time. ... Though sign languages are onomatopoetic, the signs represent quite arbitrary features of any referent; each Australian sign language, for example, uses quite different signs for familiar animals. Aborigines find signing faster than speaking and more effective at distances, and some groups consider it more elegant than speech. A deaf Aboriginal grows up with access to every aspect of his culture, and joins freely in any conversation. The human facility for mime and its appreciation and our ready grasp of the symbolism in dance, myth, dreams, and art require some explanation. A similar talent is seen in the emergence of natural sign language in every institution for the care of deaf children. These talents would be explicable if speech had evolved through long periods of mime and signing. Natural sign languages are found among the Plains Indians, among all Australian Aborigines, in India, and in many regions around the Mediterranean. They seem to have been studied seriously by only one man, La Mont West, whose conclusions have never been published. He is known to have believed that all of the sign languages had the same syntactic form. If this is so, then it becomes a reasonable evolutionary hypothesis that the deep structure of modern languages is closely related to that of natural sign languages. Perhaps this hypothesis could provide a test of speculations on the evolution of human language.” (McBride, G (1973) Comments on ... Primate communication and the gestural origins of language. Current Anthropology 14: 15)


“Experts disagree as to whether or not this chimpanzee “babbling” should be considered homologous with human babbling (Gardner, Hayes, Kellogg, Lemmon, personal communications; Hayes 1952), but this makes no difference to my argument. According to Hayes (1952), chimpanzee babbling fades away when the baby starts to crawl. Since leopards do hunt and kill chimp babies and youngsters, at least occasionally (Ursula Rahm, personal communication), it seems plausible that selection pressure has produced a special inhibition of babbling in chimp babies at the age when they start crawling around. Under such conditions, of course, speech could never evolve. With man, the situation is quite different. Humans everywhere show an almost fanatic tendency to exterminate all the large beasts of prey in their environment. Thus we may assume that ever since the development of the spear (i.e. since the Mindel-Riss Interglacial, at least) human children have grown up in relative safely from predators. Domesticated animal species show a marked evolutionary trend toward increased frequency of vocalizations. We may be pretty sure, therefore, that the tendency to babble, prattle, and talk that is so predominant of human children can have evolved only after the achievement of sophisticated hunting technologies and strategies, i.e. after the evolution of a fairly elaborate gestural language (see also Kortlandt 1968).” (Kortlandt A (1973) Comments on ... Primate communication and the gestural origins of language. Current Anthropology 14: 13-14)

“Aside from some work on standardized sign languages, such as those of the Plains Indians of North America or the Aborigines of Australia, not a single reference to studies of gestural communication across language boundaries was encountered by me in the compilation of over 5,000 titles dealing with language origins, gesture language, and related topics (cf. Hewes 1971a). There has been some study of gesture within particular ethnic or cultural groups.” ... It may be that the ability is not only an older innate character of man, but one which is shared, in rudimentary form at least, with the Pongidae. Manual communication may thus come closer to representing the deep cognitive structure on which not only language but all of our intellectual and technological achievements rest. ... The earlier scripts are mostly sets of little pictures of tools, animals, plants, etc., but it is worth noting that in at least two of them, Egyptian hieroglyphs and Chinese writing in its most ancient form, there are numerous representations of hand and arm gestures, often holding or wielding tools or weapons (cf. Wieger 1964 for Chinese examples).” (Hewes GW (1973) Primate communication and the gestural origins of language. Current Anthropology 14: 11)

"As early as the first day of life, the human neonate moves in precise and sustained segments of movement that are synchronous with the articulated structure of adult speech. These observations suggest a view of development of the infant as a participant at the outset in multiple forms of interactional organization, rather than as an isolate. ... In contrast, microanalysis of pathological behavior -- for instance, that of subjects with aphsiac, autistic, and schizophrenic conditions -- reveals marked self-asynchronies. Delayed auditory feedback also markedly disturbs this self-synchrony. ... For example, as the adult emits the KK of "come," which lasts for 0.07 second, the infant's head moves right very slightly (Rvs), the left elbow extends slightly (Es), the right shoulder rotates outward slightly (ROs) the right hip rotates outward fast (ROf), the left hip extends slightly (Es), and the big toe of the left foot abducts (AD). These body parts sustain these directions and speeds of movement together for this 0.07-second interval. This forms a "unit" composed of the sustained relation of these movements of the body. ... This 2-day-old infant displayed segments of movement synchronous with the adult's speech during the entire 89-word sequence. In other words, this is a sustained and precise occurrence. Another 2-day-old infant sustained similarly synchronous movement throughout a series of 125 words of tape-recorded female speech. ... This study reveals a complex interaction system in which the organization of the neonate's motor behavior in entrained by and synchronized with the organized speech behavior of adults in his environment. If the infant, from the beginning, moves in precise, shared rhythm with the organization of the speech structure of his culture, then he participates developmentally through complex, sociobiological entrainment processes in millions of repetitions of linguistic forms long before he later uses them in speaking and communicating. By the time he begins to speak, he may have already laid down within himself the form and structure of the language system of his culture. This would encompass as multiplicity of interlocking aspects: rhythmic and syntactic "hierarchies," suprasegmental features, and paralinguistic nuances, not to mention body motion styles and rhythms. This may provide an empirical basis for a new approach to language acquisition." (Condon, W.S. & Sander, L.W. (1974) Neonate movement is synchronized with adult speech: interactional participation and language acquisition. Science 183: pp. 99-101)

“Recent hunting peoples present dances consisting of remarkably accurate imitations of the movements of animals, and animal mimicry is also employed in narration of hunting exploits. “Animal dances” are a staple of ethnographic dance literature, and some Upper Palaeolithic paintings seem to represent such mimicry. If such animal mimicry, not necessarily in the form of standardized dances, goes farther back in the past, it would have provided a kind of feedback from the motor habits of other species which would have formed a gestural or mimed domain of animal “names,” a kind of motor onomatopoeia. If, as some early prehistoric sites indicate, osteodontokeratic remnants from hunting or scavenging were available to the early hominids, these could have served as props or costume elements for animal reenactments, in which vocal imitation would have added verisimiltude, provided the neural mechanisms for its production were sufficiently evolved.” (Hewes GW (1973) Primate communication and the gestural origins of language. Current Anthropology 14: 8)


“The Gardners and Fouts noted that Washoe learned signs which involved touching parts of her own body faster than signs traced in the air, possibly because of the tactile reinforcement from the skin touched. ... The peculiarly human association of right-handedness and left-hemisphere dominance for both language skills and precise manual manipulations could well be the outcome of a long selective pressure for the clear separation of the precision grip from the power grip, combined with manual-gesture language exhibiting a similar (and related) asymmetry. ... The manual-gesture language model for glottogenesis has the virtue of following the line of least biological resistance, in that it demands no changes -- at least for a very long period -- in neural of buccolaryngeal anatomy or function, other than in the direction of greater precision of control. Other glottogonic theories are vulnerable on this point, since the movement from a language-less hominid to a speaking one is much more difficult to understand than the movement from a gesture language, with cerebral lateralization already in being, to a vocal transformation. Jakobson (1964, 1967) has observed that noises, apart from speech sounds, still have a low communicative value, a fact first clearly realized in the era of radio drama with sound effects. .... Fortunately, we may turn to the mouth-gesture hypothesis, first elaborated by Paget (1963 and many previous publications) and Johannesson (1950, also with numerous earlier publications) and first suggested by Wallace (1881, 1895), for a way in which vocal sounds could have come to be systematically linked with elements of a manual-gesture language. These authors believed that lips, mouth, and tongue roughly “imitate” hand and sometimes other body-part movements, particularly when the latter are engaged in communicative or manipulative activity. This notion is unlike the “bow-wow” or onomatopoeic theory in that the sounds produced by mouth gesture and accompanying vocalization do not bear any acoustic resemblance to the manual signs or their external referents (if acoustic similarity were even possible). With the interjectional of “yo-he-ho” theory it shares only the idea that vocalization may accompany strong emotion or physical exertion. Because of their articulate character, sounds produced in mouth gesture would not closely resemble normal primate calls. Some could be clicks, which are audible without outflow of air from the lungs, and which some linguists claim are archaic (Stopa 1968).” (Hewes GW (1973) Primate communication and the gestural origins of language. Current Anthropology 14: 9-10)

“Although it is often stated that man is the only primate that can talk, it is rarely noted that he is also the only one that can sing. Since singing is a simpler system than speech, with only pitch as a distinguishing feature, I suggest that he could sing long before he could talk and that singing was in fact a prerequisite to speech and hence language. Marler (1970a) has used the terms call and song to distinguish innate and learned signals in birds, and while the alarm or danger signal is usually a call, the territorial or mating signal is most frequently a song and is also more often uttered with non environmental stimulus. The learned nature of the territorial/mating song had resulted in more rapid evolution and in the evolution of bird dialects, which can be isolating mechanisms (Nottebohm 1970). Birds can also recognize individuals by vocal signals, and Thorpe (1968) has stated that some nesting birds can recognize their own family in a group of 2,000; this seems to imply an open semantic system. Haldane (1955) suggested that naming of persons and objects was the function of human vocalization that led to the development of language and symboling. Thus, it would seem that songs as group or personal names may have been the function of human vocalization that resulted in the opening of the call system. ... Much of primate vocalization occurs during territorial displays or encounters, and Rowell and Hinde (1962) do suggest that there may be rhesus dialects that are learned.” (Livingstone, FB (1973) Did the australopithecines sing? Current Anthropology 14: 25)

“Adaptation to this learned, open signal system of territorial songs preadapted the hominids to both speech and symboling. ... However, terrestrial primates that inhabit the savanna do seem to communicate more by gesture than their jungle counterparts (Altmann 1967), so early man probably had many gestures.” (Livingstone, FB (1973) Did the australopithecines sing? Current Anthropology 14: 26)

“My original “mechanistic approach” to brain size and language should be somewhat modified. I had earlier assumed that symbolic thoughts and their vocal expression could be equated. Now it appears that the two phenomena are separable to some degree, in that phonetic speech may be a late development, whereas in earlier times symbols were communicated, but less efficiently.” (Krantz, G. S. (1973) Comments (on The evolution of brain size, speech, and psychosexual development by A.E. Mourant) Current Anthropology 14 (1-2): 31)

[abstract] "In the current investigation an approach has been made to explore possible relations between musical talent, left-handedness, anomalous dominance for verbal materials, and immune vulnerability. Fifty-one young adult musicians and non-musicians were tested with Wing's Standardized Tests of Musical Intelligence, with a handedness questionnaire, a dichotic listening task, and with a questionnaire assessing asthma/allergies, migraine and myopia. In addition, IgE, Ig total, beta-endorphin, testosterone, and estradiol were measured in blood serum. Musical talent was related to left-handedness and to anomalous dominance; immune vulnerability was found in female musicians, and in subjects with reversed dominance for language functions as well as in male left-handers, independently of musical talent." (Hassler M, Gupta D (1993) Functional brain organization, handedness, and immune vulnerability in musicians and non-musicians. Neuropsychologia 31(7):655-60)

"A few decade ago Otto Jespersen, the Danish philologist, even speculated that early human courting sounds stimulated the evolution of language. "Language," he said, "was born in the courting days of mankind; the first utterances of speech I fancy to myself like something between the nightly love-lyrics of puss upon the tiles and the melodious love-songs of the nightingale."25 This sounds farfetched. There were probably several reasons why early men and women needed advanced communication. But love songs, like national anthems, can certainly "stir the blood." (Fisher, H. (1992) Anatomy of Love: The Mysteries of Mating, Marriage, and Why We Stray. Simon & Schuster, New York, 1992. pp. 36)

"The hypothesis is proposed that these problems are related both to each other and to the speciation event that gave rise to modern Homo sapiens 137,000 or more years ago. A genetic change allowed the two hemispheres to develop with a degree of independence: the capacity for language (with a dominant focus in one hemisphere) evolved as a result of selection acting upon a dimension of variation generated by a single polymorphism plus a random component. Psychosis is the element of the variation associated with failure to establish dominance for language in one or other hemisphere (hemisphere indecision')" (Crow TJ (1996) Language and psychosis: common evolutionary origins. [received from author without publisher name on document] p. 105-109)


"And the beat goes on. When friends are hooked up to electro-encephalographs, which measure brain activity, the resulting tracings show that even brain waves get "in sync" when two people have a harmonious conversation. In fact, if you sit at the dinner table and watch carefully, you can conduct the conversation with your hand as family members talk and eat. Stressed syllables usually keep the beat. But even silences are rhythmic; as one person pats her mouth, another reaches for the salt--right on cue. Rests and syncopations, voices lowered, elbows raised, these mark the pulse of living as well as of love. Our need to keep each other's time reflects a rhythmic mimicry common to many other animals. On a number of occasions primatologist Wolfgang Kohler entered the chimp enclosure in a primate research center to find a group of males and females trotting in "a rough approximate rhythm" around and around a pole. Kohler said the animals wagged their heads as they swung along, each leading with the same foot. Chimps sometimes sway from side to side as they stare into one another's eyes just prior to copulation too. In fact, nothing is more basic to courtship in animals than rhythmic movement. Cats circle. Red deer prance. Howler monkeys court with rhythmic tongue movements. Stickleback fish to a zigzag jig. From bears to beetles, courting couples perform rhythmic rituals to express their amorous intentions. To dance is natural. So I think it reasonable to suggest that body synchrony is a universal stage of the human courting process: as we become attracted to each other, we begin to keep a common beat." (Fisher, H. (1992) Anatomy of Love: The Mysteries of Mating, Marriage, and Why We Stray. Simon & Schuster, New York, 1992. pp. 31)

"On the other hand, his sense of aesthetic appreciation, based on the pleasure which man can receive from the construction and matching of musical patterns involving the interaction of rhythm, melody, and harmony and visual patterns resulting from the interaction of form and colour, has also resulted from the freeing of his association areas from the more rigid relationship with the lower centres and with the more stereotyped, amorphous symbol patterns which constitute the inner reality of all other animals (Koestler 1964). Aesthetic appreciation, therefore, is a foetalised form of the continuous search for congruity or matching between models of the environment, models which the animal constantly constructs in its brain by processing its perceptions and the stereotypes retained in its memory store." (Crombie, Donald L. (1971) The group system of man and paedomorphosis. Current Anthropology 12(2): pp. 163)

"The observation that well-articulated and linguistically accurate words are often produced by otherwise aphasic patients when they are singing has, in the past, seemed paradoxical. There is often a dramatic contrast between the efficient lip-service production of the non-propositional language of well memorized popular songs and the inefficient quality of propositional language which requires encoding of even the most basic thoughts. Many well-intentioned speech and music therapists in the past presumed that the non-propositional language skil required for singing could be useful as an adjunct to language therapy for aphasic patients. Unfortunately, there seems to be no evidence that improvement in communication skill occurs as a result of this form of therapy or any other which puts emphasis on the preserved nonpropositional language skills of many aphasic patients. Needless to say, the morale value of "sing-along" activities is not questioned." (Sparks, R., Helm, N., & Albert, M. (1974) Aphasia rehabilitation resulting from melodic intonation therapy. Cortex 10: pp. 303)

"Experience soon showed that when sentences were adapted to already linguistically loaded melodies the patient would revert to the lyrics closely associated with the song. This prompted the development of a method which avoids any distinct melody even reminiscent of a popular song or jingle. The resulting method, now referred to as Melodic Intonation Therapy, has a limited range of pitch variation. Each sentence-item is "composed" so that the inflection pattern, rhythm, and stress are similar to the speech prosody of that sentence." (Sparks, R., Helm, N., & Albert, M. (1974) Aphasia rehabilitation resulting from melodic intonation therapy. Cortex 10: pp. 304)

"The contrast between non-social and social selective forces was reflected in Darwin's idea that, whereas natural selection would more or less grind to a halt in a constant environment, sexual selection was, in principle, capable of continuing indefinitely on its giddy spiral of ornamental exaggeration: 'In regard to structures acquired through ordinary or natural selection, there is in most cases, as long as the conditions of life remain the same, a limit to the amount of advantageous modification in relation to certain special ends; but in regard to structures adapted to make one male victorious over another, either in fighting or in charming the female, there is no definite limit to the amount of advantageous modification; so that as long as the proper variations arise the work of sexual selection will go on.' (Darwin 19871, i, p. 278) (Cronin, Helena (1992) The Ant and the Peacock: Cambridge Univ. Press, Cambridge p. 233)

"Fisher argued that choosing an attractive mate can be adaptive for a female because she will have attractive sons. In a population in which there is a majority preference for anything whatsoever, a female would do best to follow the fashion, however arbitrary, however absurd, because the next generation of daughters will inherit their mothers' preference whilst her sons will inherit their fathers' attractive feature." (Cronin, Helena (1992) The Ant and the Peacock: Cambridge Univ. Press, Cambridge p. 201)

"But what reinforces such a fashion, why does it spread? And why does it ever catch on in the first place? The fashion is fuelled by a tie between the preference gene and the ornament gene. Consider a female who has genes for preferring a long-tailed mate. Her offspring will inherit both her preference genes and her mate's long-tail genes, although the preference will be expressed phenotypically only in her daughters and the long tail only in her sons. So her union solders a connection between preference genes and long-tail genes, a closer connection than would arise form random mating. (A measure of this tie is called the coefficient of linkage disequilibrium.) And the same will happen in subsequent generations. It is this connection that fuels the fashion. The more the females exercise a fashionable preference for long tails, the more the fashion is reinforced, each choice of long-tailed mate automatically being likely to select in favour of copies of genes for that very choice." (Cronin, Helena (1992) The Ant and the Peacock: Cambridge Univ. Press, Cambridge p. 202)

"Creative musical behavior, musical intelligence, and spatial ability were investigated in relation to salivary testosterone (T). In a cross-sectional study with 117 adults and in an 8-yr longitudinal study with 120 adolescents, composers, instrumentalists, and nonmusicians of both sexes were compared by analyses of variance. Results indicate that an optimal T range may exist for the expression of creative musical behavior. This range may be at the bottom of normal male T range and at the top of normal female T range. In addition, musicians were found to attain significantly higher spatial test scores than nonmusicians, both, in an 8-yr-period of adolescent development and in adulthood." (Hassler, M. (1992) Creative musical behavior and sex hormones: musical talent and spatial ability in the two sexes. Psychoneuroendocrinology 17 (1): pp. 55)

"...primary hypogonadism, a condition resulting from the lack of increased production of androgen (testosterone) hormones in the interstitial Leydig cells in the testes at puberty. Because of this condition, emasculated singers may have been blessed with voices sweeter than a woman's, but burdened by an infantile penis, an underdeveloped prostate, "eunuchoid" (disproportionately long) arms and legs, beardlessness, pubic hair distributed in the female opposed to the male pattern, and fat deposits on the hips, buttocks, and breast area." (Margulis, L & Sagan, D. (1991) Mystery Dance, On the Evolution of Human Sexuality: Summit Books, New York pp. 67)

"In humans and other primates, many intersexual limb proportions are simple allometric correlates of smaller female body size (Wood, 1986). For example, males have longer legs relative to trunk length simply because males spend a longer time in the prepubertal growth phase, when legs grow relatively faster than the trunk (Harrison et al., 1988). Many other female traits, the more gracile skeleton, narrower joints, and so on, are also simple correlates." (McKinney, M.L. & McNamara, K.J (1990) Heterochrony: The Evolution of Ontogeny: Plenum Press, New York p. 322)

"Sperm of both the octopus and the dogfish shark is packed with serotonin---a simple compound related to the ubiquitous amino acid tryptophan. Serotonin transmits nerve impulses, acts as a muscle stimulant, and cunningly induces powerful uterine contractions. Serotonin thus effectively short-circuits any female choice after copulation; it elicits an unconscious physiological response. Zapped by serotonin, the uterus contracts, "swallowing" the sperm." (Margulis, L & Sagan, D. (1991) Mystery Dance, On the Evolution of Human Sexuality: Summit Books, New York pp. 41)

Note: a fat women, with increased levels of estriodol, would likely guide an embryo in a neotenous direction. This would make sense. A fat women suggests abundant resources. Abundant resources suggest less aggression in males is necessary. Were women fed the fat from meat in ancient cultures?

"Contrary to some sociobiologists' assumptions, human traditional dancing is rarely reducible to courtship behavior - at least, not in the sense that this term conventionally implies. If there is 'courtship' taking place, it is between whole groups, not private individuals. Almost always, the dancing is collective and ritualised. As noted in Chapter 9, it is in fact quite rare for marital partners to dance together as couples, or to publicise their physical bond. Rather, women dance with women and men with men. Even when the two sexes are dancing simultaneously and on the same dance-ground, and even when the dancing culminates in wild sexual abandon, the overall design of the dance is one of gender groups relating to one another as groups, not individuals. This is true of virtually all African dancing, all Australian Aboriginal dancing - and indeed, of folkoristic or traditional dancing just about everywhere. Modern western dancing which celebrates coupledom is in this context an aberration." (Knight, C. (1991) Blood Relations; Yale Univ. Press, New Haven p. 349)

Australian myth with origin of language, dance and connections to the rainbow serpent.(Knight, C. (1991) Blood Relations; Yale Univ. Press, New Haven pp. 462-3)

"In Aboriginal Australia, then, the 'Snake' is nothing other than women's culture-creating, menstruation-synchronising dance. 'A dance ground is a snake's body', writes Warner (1957:274) as if in confirmation, 'and it is usually thought of as having the women and children inside it'. But although mythology knows that 'the Snake' and women's 'dance' are one and the same, male initiation ritualism, as we have seen, inverts all this, attempting to exclude women from their own dance, which must now be monopolised by men. Aboriginal men who dance themselves into a 'Snake' know that they first learned to do this when they 'stole' women's secrets long, long ago in the mythological past - and they know it with quiet confidence because such things do not change, and they are still doing it today." (Knight, C. (1991) Blood Relations; Yale Univ. Press, New Haven p. 477)

"I am indebted to Dr. Anthony Forge for a quotation from Isadora Duncan: "If I could tell you what it meant, there would be no point in dancing it."" (Bateson, Gregory (1972) Steps To An Ecology of Mind. Ballantine Books: New York p. 137)


"Coiling and uncoiling spiral dances must certainly have been performed in deep prehistory, definitely in the days when this beautiful spiral-decorated pottery was produced. A Greek Crane Dance is known which, according to Plutarch, Theseus introduced into Delos; it was performed around a horned alter and represented the circles that coiled and uncoiled in the labyrinth (Graves 1972: 233)." (Gimbutas, Marija (1989) The Languages of the Goddess. Harper: S. F. p. 282)

Ring dance description and portrayal on 5th century B.C. vase. (Gimbutas, Marija (1989) The Languages of the Goddess. Harper: S. F. p. 312)

"The parietal association areas are especially important for coordinating information from the several senses, as would be expected from their position between the somatosensory, visual, and auditory areas. The parietal cortex immediately posterior to the somatosensory strip is concerned with keeping track of where the limbs are located in space, as essential basis for the planning of new movements. Next to this area is a region that is especially responsive to visual stimuli that are within reach for grasping. These findings by Mountcastle and his colleagues (Mountcastle, Lynch, Georgopolous, Sakata, & Acuna, 1975; outlined in Kolb & Winshaw, 1980) confirm that parietal cortex is involved in the coordination of behaviors of hand and eye. The enlargement of parietal areas in the human brain was presumably a prerequisite for the development of human technological skills. The angular gyrus seems to be necessary for connections to be made between visual and auditory inputs (Geschwind, 1979). This areas is especially large in man and is one of the last to be myelinated during individual growth. In learning to read and write, the coordination of information about how words look with how they sound is presumed to depend on this organ." (Annett, Marian (1985) Left, Right, Hand and Brain: The Right Shift Theory London: Lawrence Erlbaum pp. 30) [note connections to dance; late myelination etc.]

"Furthermore, drummers apparently know by intuition the most potent brain-stimulating rhythms. According to Neher, the predominant drumming rhythm used in a number of African dances as well as in Haitian voodoo dances is a fast 7 to 9 beats per second---and that happens to be about the same rhythm produced naturally by "brain waves" in the auditory cortex itself, groups of neurons charging and discharging in electrical unison. It seems that properly synchronized drumbeats drive the brain, force it into heightened activity. They work in phase with brain waves, amplifying them the way timed pushes impart more and more momentum to a swing, creating hallucinations and intense feelings of dissociation." (Pfeiffer JE (1982) The Creative Explosion. Harper & Row: New York p. 212)


"There are a number of suggestions that musical abilities might be associated with non-right-handedness. Oldfield (1969) found that almost 20% of staff and students of university schools of music answered yes to the question "have you ever had any tendency to left handedness?" --but found a similar response rate in his psychology student controls. Byrne (1974) reported a higher incidence of mixed-handedness in instrumentalists. Deutsch (1978) found that mixed-handers (mildly rather than strongly left-handed as assessed by questionnaire) made fewer errors than strongly right- or left-handed subjects on a test of pitch identification. The advantage was confirmed in a second experiment (Deutsch, 1980). Craig (1980) found left-handers superior to right-handers for identifying rhythms when beats were presented in both ears simultaneously." (Annett, Marian (1985) Left, Right, Hand and Brain: The Right Shift Theory London: Lawrence Erlbaum pp. 95-6)


"The prevalence of twilight-state thinking, our very susceptibility to the condition, argues for its [drum dance] evolutionary importance. In extreme cases it results in pathology, derangements and delusions, persisting hallucinations and fanaticisms. But it is also the driving force behind efforts to see things whole, to achieve a variety of syntheses from unified field theories in physics to blueprints for utopias in which people will live together in peace. These must have been an enormous selective premium on the twilight state during prehistoric times. If the pressures of the Upper Palaeolithic demanded fervid belief and the following of leaders for survival's sake, then individuals endowed with such qualities, with a capacity to fall readily into trances, would out-produce more resistant individuals." (Pfeiffer JE (1982) The Creative Explosion. Harper & Row: New York p. 213)

<99(34)> Anatomically modern humans appeared in Europe with "skill in music, as excavated bone whistles and flutes from the early Upper Palaeolithic indicate, hinting at ceremony, ritual, and perhaps, dance."

"A significant problem with a neotenic theory of human origins (or later anagenetic transformations within hominid lineages), is that many of our characteristic features are simply not paedomorphic, as Schultz (1969) and others have shown. Among these are almost the entire suite of features associated with bipedal adaptations, perhaps the defining attribute of the hominid clade. .... There is considerable evidence that the adult human skullbase and upper respiratory tract exhibit a number of specializations related to the development of our speech-producing apparatus (e.g. Laitman et al., 1978: Laitman and Crelin, 1980; Laitman and Heimbuch, 1982) [see Lieberman (1984) for discussion]. In this area, human infants resemble adult apes, rather than the converse as predicted by neoteny." Shea, Brian T. (1988) Heterochrony in Primates in: Heterochrony in Evolution: A Multidisciplinary Approach (M.L. McKinney, ed.) pp. 237-266, Plenum Press, New York. p. 259)

"The experience of dancing constitutes something more than a body in motion. There is a release and a replenishment of psychic energy that leaves one with an oceanic feeling of freedom from which all constraint has fallen away, in which the free play of the emotions in disciplined response to the music has its way. One is infused with a lyrical joy. Little wonder that such feelings have been perceived as reminiscent of the nurturance and protection of the prenatal and infancy stages. However that may be, and whether one dances by oneself or with others, it is the positive reinforcements that one receives from this poetry of motion, this feeling of being in tune with the universe, that is so uplifting and constructively beneficial. It would be difficult to think of any activity of greater therapeutic value." (Montagu, Ashley (1989) Growing Young N.Y.: McGraw Hill pp. 192)

"According to Professors W.S. Condon and W. Ogston of Boston University, as early as twenty minutes after birth the human neonate moves in precise and sustained synchronous organizations of change of movement with the articulated structure of its mother's speech. " (Montagu, Ashley (1989) Growing Young N.Y.: McGraw Hill pp. 98)

"Driver and Humphries (1988, pp. 43-4) also report tht human hunters share this strategy: "Australian aborigines capture kangaroos in the open by performing a display which seems to be similar in many ways to these crazy-dances. One individual does a crazy-dance in full view of the kangaroo, the prey apparently being so bemused by the unusual movements that it can be captured by other, non-displaying individuals." To the extent that hunting became important in human evolution, we may have evolved special abilities for generating crazy-dances to confuse and entrance prey animals. Such abilities may have evolved from, or facilitated the evolution of, protean dance behaviors in courtship." (Miller, Geoffrey F. (1994) Evolution of the human brain through runaway sexual selection: the mind as a protean courtship device. unpublished thesis. pp. 332)

"There are some examples of neophilic preferences driving increased behavioral novelty in animal courtship displays. Bird song evolved through female choice and shows complexity and diversity. There is substantial evidence that female birds of some species prefer males birds that demonstrate larger song repertoires (e.g. Eens et al., 1991; Hiebert et al., 1989; Horn et al., 1993). Bird songs involve themes and variations (Podos et al., 1992; Schusterman et al., 1986), with novelties introduced from time to time. The novelties attract female attention and spread through populations of males in complex patterns of appropriation, diffusion, and modification, much like human jokes, melodies, or languages. Songbirds also have brains about twice as large as brains from comparable non-singing species (see Bateson, 1988), probably both so males can generate birdsong and so females can process it. Novelty in behavioral courtship displays is not restricted to birds. The songs of large-brained humpback whales are enormously long, complex, and change during and across breeding seasons, and are also used in courtship (see e.g. Payne, 1983). Courtship among dolphins also includes complex behaviors and sounds (see Pryor & Norris, 1991). And as Darwin (1971) noted, most animals with elaborated secondary sexual traits display them using special movements and dances during courtship. The complexity of many courtship dances seems to have been an object of sexual selection in its own right for many species (e.g. see Bastock, 1967; Burton, 1953, 1976; Eberhard, 1985; Robinson & Robinson, 1980). Thus, an intrinsic perceptual bias in favor of complexity and novelty may have driven the evolution of behavioral courtship displays in some birds and mammals. Of course, this sort of sexual selection for complex behavioral courtship displays is of particular interest in understanding human encephalization. As we will see in the next chapter, the most distinctive human behavioral capacities, including those for language, music, art, dance, and sexual play, can be viewed as mechanisms for generating protean courtship displays that play upon psychological predispositions in favor of novelty, variety, and diversity." (Miller, Geoffrey F. (1994) Evolution of the human brain through runaway sexual selection: the mind as a protean courtship device. unpublished thesis. pp. 379-80)

"Moreover, the sole instance of group play observed during our study occurred before and at the onset of one of the heaviest storms. First one foal, then another began galloping, turning while galloping, rearing and body-twisting until the entire year-class of ten male and female foals, including some who seldom played otherwise, was actively exercising. They did not appear to be chasing or fleeing one another. Each foal seemed to gallop independently in long arcs or in giant circles. The foals crossed each other's paths frequently at high speeds. Remarkably, they never collided." (Fagen, Robert (1981) Animal Play Behavior: New York: Viking. pp. 305-6) [note relation between this description and Goodall chimp rain dance]

"The arts represent, perhaps, the independent development of vestigial forms of communication, originating with phylogenetically earlier, preverbal affective intraspecies exchange." (Benson and Zaidel (Schweiger) 1985: 360 , The Dual Brain)

"It should be added here that throughout history art has been serving well-defined affective functions in conjunction with social activities, such as religious ceremonies, rituals, the reinforcement of social hierarchy (through music and decorations), the curing of a variety of ailments [referring to source on music therapy], and so forth. Only in the last two centuries have we seen the sprouting of institutions dedicated for the exclusive enjoyment of the arts (concert halls and museums)." Benson and Zaidel (Schweiger) 1985: 361 , The Dual Brain)

"The less strongly lateralized pattern of motor skill would help to account in part for the elevated rate of nonrighthandedness among athletes, in contrast to the common view that this in entirely the result of an advantage in competing against righthanded opponents." (Geschwind & Galaburda 1987: 79, Cerebral Lateralization)

"Chimpanzees do have a wide range of calls, and these certainly serve to convey some types of information. When a chimp finds good food he utters loud barks; other chimps in the vicinity instantly become aware of the food source and hurry to join in. An attacked chimpanzee screams and this may alert his mother or a friend, either of whom may hurry to his aid. A chimpanzee confronted with an alarming and potentially dangerous situation utters his spine-chilling wraaaa --- again, other chimps may hurry to the spot to see what is happening. A male chimpanzee, about to enter a valley or charge toward a food source, utters his pant-hoots --- and other individuals realize that another member of the group is arriving and can identify which one. To our human ears each chimpanzee is characterized more by his pant-hoots than by any other type of call. This is significant since the pant-hoot in particular is the call that serves to maintain contact between the scattered groups of the community. Yet the chimps themselves can certainly recognize individuals by other calls; for instance, a mother knows the scream of her offspring. Probably a chimpanzee can recognize the calls of most of his acquaintances." Followed by description of human non verbal sound communications. ((Goodall,J. (1971) In the Shadow of Man. Dell: New York p. 248)

"All at once Evered charged forward, leapt up to seize one of the hanging vines, and swung out over the stream in the spray-drenched wind. A moment later Freud joined him. The two leapt form one liana to the next, swinging into space, until it seemed the slender stems must snap or be torn from their lofty moorings. Frodo charged along the edge of the stream, hurling rock after rock now ahead, now to the side, his coat glistening with spray. For ten minutes the three performed their wild displays while Fifi and her younger offspring watched from one of the fall fig trees by the stream. Were the chimpanzees expressing feelings of awe such as those which, in early man, surely gave rise to primitive religions, worship of the elements? Worship of the mystery of water, which seems alive, always rushing on, yet never going; always the same, yet ever." (Goodall, Jane (1990) Through A Window. Houghton Mifflin: Boston p. 241)

"Body painting itself is simply a part of the preparation for further ceremony, for dances performed on carefully prepared dance grounds, and that in turn involves another world of rites and things to be remembered. Most of the time life proceeds as uneventfully for the aborigines as it does for the rest of us. Work must be done and they do it, routinely and efficiently, and in general with good humor. They come alive during their dances, however. Life is heightened, dramatized, and more exciting. In Gould's words, "the dreamtime past fuses with the present." The dancers become their ancestors, identifying completely with the spirit and journeys and adventures of totemic beings." "Like the works of rock and body painters, their performances are related directly to the land they live in. They reenact dreamtime episodes along dreamtime tracks, and they also have an extensive repertoire of "design elements," stylized movements derived from the movements of totemic desert species, accentuated and made more vivid by the figures painted on their bodies." (Pfeiffer JE (1982) The Creative Explosion. Harper & Row: New York pp. 162-3)

"The singers, like the dancers they accompany, perform with a control that can come only with frequent drilling. Two groups may sing back and forth to one another, picking up words and cadences in precise timing, or a hundred individuals may sing together in descending tones and is such close harmony that it sound like three or four voices. No one has ever made a complete inventory of how many songs veteran singers hold in memory. As an indication of part of what has been passed along over the years, however, one poetic cycle consists of 188 songs, which investigators have duly recorded in a manuscript of more than 90 printed pages." (Pfeiffer JE (1982) The Creative Explosion. Harper & Row: New York p. 163)

"Gould was baffled when the artists, pointing out a particular design element and identifying it as a waterhole or a track, would add the word for "chest" of "back" or some other body part. The pattern looked nothing like the part mentioned. Did it have a double meaning, anatomical as well as topographical? Only later did he realize what the men had been trying to tell him, namely, that the patterns were also used in body painting, and there were rules specifying position, what patterns should be reproduced on what parts of the body. As a matter of fact, body painting involves a whole complex of specifications, not only where the patterns should be placed, but the number and order of strokes." (Pfeiffer JE (1982) The Creative Explosion. Harper & Row: New York pp. 161-2)

"The results of all these investigations show that we may suppose positive feelings in certain monkeys and apes in those instances when they indicate preference for rhythmical and symmetrical patterns to more irregular ones and for the combination of the same or clearly different colors to very similar ones." (Menzel ed. (Rensch) 1973: 114, Precultural Primate Behavior)

"To reduce these ideas to a very brief statement, I can say that for a long time before the evolutionary emergence of articulate vocal language, the early hominids probably communicated propositionally by means of hand and arm gestures, supplemented both by other nonverbal signs and by primate vocal calls not yet deserving of the term 'speech'. This proposal may seem at first hearing to be a case of creating a theory to fit some startling new experimental facts. However, the idea that articulate speech was preceded by a long phase of gestural language is quite old; by the eighteenth century, this idea had been considerably elaborated by Condillac and others. In the nineteenth century, the gestural hypothesis for the origin of language was favored by Alfred Russel Wallace and by Edward B. Tylor, one of the major figures in the formative period of scientific anthropology, and in the early twentieth century was further supported by Wilhelm Wundt, a comparably impressive figure in the history of psychology." (Menzel ed. (Hewes) 1973: 126, Precultural Primate Behavior)

"He ended his display by jumping up and pounding with his feet on an empty 44 gallon drum at the observation area. When Humphrey had moved away, the infant left his mother, ran a short distance with much stamping with his feet on the ground, and then paused near the drum. After a moment he walked up to it, again paused, and then hit it gently twice with the knuckle of one hand. (Menzel ed. (Van Lawick-Goodall) 1973: 164, Precultural Primate Behavior) [how similar this is to learning dance]

"Androgens have a general anabolic effect. They reduce nitrogen excretion in many species. They promote growth of muscle. The uptake of glucose and glycogen synthesis in muscle is androgen-dependent. Men who have the genes for pattern baldness do not lose their head hair unless they have circulating androgens. Androgens increase sweat secretion rates. (Wagner and Hughes 1974). Carnivores in general have relatively large adrenal glands in terms of body weight; herbivores in general have thyroid glands relatively large in terms of body weight. The adrenals in adult women are about 70 percent larger relative to body weight than in adult female chimpanzees (Crile and Quiring 1940). Later studies of chimpanzees and rhesus monkeys confirm the relatively great size of the human adrenal glands (Bourne and Golarz de Bourne 1972; Bourne 1975; Graham 1970). Since there is no significant storage of androgens in the primate body, a fresh supply must be synthesized as it is used. The production rate of testosterone in nonpregnant adult human females is 0.29-0.35 mg/day and that of androstenedione 3.3-3.7 mg/day, the production of androgens by the adrenals being twice that of the ovaries (Reid, Ryan, and Benirschke 1972). Mean values of androgen excretion in the urine of normal women are 40 to 47 IU/day, or approximately two-thirds the amount excreted by males. Means of two adult female chimpanzees were 3.1 and 3.7 IU/day and those for ten adult female rhesus macaques ranged from 1.2 to 2.6 IU/day (Dorfman 1948: 501-502, 516). If we let 1 IU represent the biological activity of 0.1 mg. of adrosterone, the values in mg/kg/day are 0.7 for adult female chimpanzees and 8 for women. In a review of the literature, Graham (1970:203) noted that in chimpanzees male and female daily output of androgens was many times lower than the values obtained for man and close to values obtained for rhesus monkeys. Probably as a result of natural selection for endurance bipedal running, men and women have greater larger thyroid glands, and significantly larger adrenal glands and consequently greater hormone output than do rhesus monkeys and chimpanzees. (Spuhler, J.N. (1979) Continuities and Discontinuities in Anthropoid-Hominid Behavior Evolution: Bipedal Locomotion and Sexual Receptivity In Evolutionary Biology and Human Social Behavior. N. Chagnon & W. Irons, eds. Pp. 458)

But such paedomorphic trend could be explained if we could somehow show that it was part and parcel of the overall process of female choice for hunting skills. In fact, this is easier than it seems, because there are good reasons for believing that it would have been young, rather than mature, male hominids who first began to hunt. Experiments in which a colony of monkeys living near a beach were fed first with potatoes and then with rice left on the sand showed that it was a young member of the group who first discovered how to wash the food (as it happens, a female) and that the readiness to adopt this practice varied directly with age, younger individuals being more ready to take it up than older one. In the second place, it seems likely that younger, unmated males, probably associating in loose "all-male groups." would have been much better placed to undertake what must have been cooperative hunts than were older males encumbered with females and young who could not be left unguarded while their "owner" ran off chasing game. If hominid females with a taste for meat were prepared to reward younger, meat-giving hunters with matings, the reproductive success of such younger males would rise relative to that of older ones. This in itself could favor paedomorphosis by way of selection for youth, but it would also have set the scene for the other inevitable consequence of a meat-eating economy, in which greatly increased male parental investment could enable the gradual evolution of more retarded, paedomorphic infants. If we now ask what possible adaptive advantage such a general trend of paedomorphosis could have for human beings, the answer is obvious. It is simple that one, universal feature of paedomorphosis among vertebrates generally is that more immature forms tend to have larger brains relative to the rest of the body than more mature ones. Selection of young hunters by females would thereby have enabled selection for larger brains to come about as an inevitable, bu t unintended consequence." (Badcock, C. (1991) Evolution and Individual Behavior: An Introduction to Human Sociobiology Oxford: Blackwell.pp. 186-7)


Essays

Databases

Related Links

Contact