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Meat! Meat! We must have meat, otherwise we won't develop big brains!

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  • Paula McEwan
    Dear all, esp Stair and Buick Thank you for the articles. Having done some research (!), I have learned that Knight believes that our women hominid ancestors
    Message 1 of 2 , Nov 9, 2005
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      Dear all, esp Stair and Buick

      Thank you for the articles. Having done some research (!), I have learned that Knight believes that our women hominid ancestors had two options: solicit for meat, or do the opposite, and refuse sex for meat. [It is not clear to me why these are the choices]. Presented with this, women chose to go on strike. This must resonate with those who believe that a) going on strike is the first path to revolution and b) you need leaders before you can change society.


      Knight's credibility suffers because if our women 'protohumans' or 'protohominids' (as he calls them but lets call them 'womenids'), are small, weak and hungry, and our hominids are bigger, stronger, and less hungry (cos of not bearing children) - in such a society, it's unlikely that the women made the men do anything at all. Quite the opposite, in fact. So to accept his theory, you've got to believe that women were smarter than men. How did our womenids get so smart, while men stayed dim? In fact, so smart that they realised: a) sex makes you pregnant b) you can't get pregnant if you're menstruating c) meat is necessary. Did they have homo sapiens brains? Not only that, but 20th century knowledge of reproduction and diet.



      Knights asks us to accept that womenids said no sex unless you hominids go out and hunt. Men obeyed. This happened not once, not twice, but a trillion times. It happened over tens of thousands of years. Furthermore, womenid synchronised everything so that men were on the hunt when womenid was not ovulating, and came back when she was. He even draws a calendar, showing two weeks of hunting followed by two weeks of sex. Funny how the hunt took exactly two weeks, for tens of thousands of years. You'd think someone would say, let's move a bit closer to the animals. And the animals must have stayed the same distance away for all that time. And, what if women had got the calendar wrong, and they ended up ovulating when the moon was full? I suppose that particular tribe must have died out in a kind of genocidal suicide.

      Although I can appreciate the attractiveness of the theory to some, who like to see women in a more central role in the development of human society. But what is irritating is that Knight presupposes that hominids are stupider and randier than womenids. I also dislike the emphasis given to hunting in the evolution of human society. It's too Desmond Morris. In most hunter gatherer societies, the staple diet is actually what is foraged and gathered. Meat is just an add-on.



      The other thing is this. In the days of our hominid ancestors, menstruation would be quite a rare event. It certainly didn't happen every month, this is a modern phenomenon (due to our diet, and contraception). Womenids were too busy being pregnant or lactating (which suppresses ovulation) or malnourished (which likewise suppresses ovulation).



      I could come up with some new theories, which cast a better light on our ancestors. For example:



      1. Hominids went out hunting because they were hungry. Those who didn't bring meat back home died (and had no descendants) because they got e-coli from trying to stay alive by eating rotten meat. So only those men who shared the meat lived to reproduce. They had sex with the women who fancied a bit of sex with a man who was alive.



      2. We owe more to women than men in terms of our survival. Women have more incentive to go out and get the food, in any society, because they give birth and nourish the infant. They have themselves and their foetus/infant/child to look after. Man just needs to look out for himself. But, because he is a social animal with a big enough brain to realise he is related to everyone around him, he is looking out for his mother, father, sisters, brothers, and children. Womenid says to hominid, 'oh why don't you go and get some meat' and hominid says 'that's a good idea, ok'. Knight hasn't imagined this, because he can't imagine womenids and homenids co-operating. Must be a left wing disorder?

      3. Hominids and womenids are struck by a huge environmental change. There's a drought, and everyone is killed off apart from a small tribe near a lake. No-one gives a toss about menstruation. Everyone is busy catching fish, cracking open shellfish and eating plants. All those who are allergic to seafish die and that's why I can't face a lobster.

      4. Womenids have sex because they want to! They don't withhold sex, because why should they? They don't know that sex makes babies, they don't know that they can only get pregnant for 2/3 days a month, and they don't know that menstruation makes men go all wobbly (!). Poor Mr Knight, he is kind of lost in the menstrual thing. Our hominid ancestors lived and died. Some made it, and some didn't. We are descended, every one of us in this room, from an aeon of sexual encounters. Are we to believe that we are here today because our female ancestors stopped having sex. ha ha. It's a catholic thing!

      5. Womenids were thin, weak and hungry. Hominids were less so, due to not giving birth. Hominid went out and strangled a squirrel. Womenid said 'That's horrible, go away.'

      6. One man didn't go on the hunt. He stayed behind,and invented the clarinet. Or did a bit of song and dance. We are all descended from that man. The great musician ancestor. Why not?

      I've had my say now, and I'll let other members say their piece. I can't come to meeting, unfortunately, I have little child to look after.















      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • reddeathy
      Lo Paula, ... learned that Knight believes that our women hominid ancestors had two options: solicit for meat, or do the opposite, and refuse sex for meat. [It
      Message 2 of 2 , Nov 11, 2005
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        Lo Paula,
        >
        > Thank you for the articles. Having done some research (!), I have
        learned that Knight believes that our women hominid ancestors had two
        options: solicit for meat, or do the opposite, and refuse sex for
        meat. [It is not clear to me why these are the choices]. Presented
        with this, women chose to go on strike. This must resonate with those
        who believe that a) going on strike is the first path to revolution
        and b) you need leaders before you can change society.

        Those weren't the coices - the choice was that, given they were
        investing so much effort into raising relatively few offspring, how
        to get male hominids who reproductive strategy should be to invest
        little time in having lots of offspring to spend all their time and
        effort on those labour intensive sprogs.
        >
        > Knight's credibility suffers because if our women 'protohumans'
        or 'protohominids' (as he calls them but lets call them 'womenids'),
        are small, weak and hungry, and our hominids are bigger, stronger,
        and less hungry (cos of not bearing children) - in such a society,
        it's unlikely that the women made the men do anything at all.

        They're not necessarilly hungry, just those who got meat would have
        been more likely to see their offspring survive - anjd their
        offspring would have grown up more intelligent and better adapted
        than otherwise (i.e. the meat eaters would breed out the veggies).

        >Quite the opposite, in fact. So to accept his theory, you've got to
        believe that women were smarter than men. How did our womenids get so
        smart, while men stayed dim? In fact, so smart that they realised: a)
        sex makes you pregnant b) you can't get pregnant if you're
        menstruating c) meat is necessary. Did they have homo sapiens brains?
        Not only that, but 20th century knowledge of reproduction and diet.

        Again, they don't need to realise that, simply that those - that for
        whatever reason - found that strategy found it to be reproductively
        successful and thus outbred them as didn't - evolution is blind and
        stupid.
        >
        > Knights asks us to accept that womenids said no sex unless you
        hominids go out and hunt. Men obeyed. This happened not once, not
        twice, but a trillion times. It happened over tens of thousands of
        years. Furthermore, womenid synchronised everything so that men were
        on the hunt when womenid was not ovulating, and came back when she
        was. He even draws a calendar, showing two weeks of hunting followed
        by two weeks of sex. Funny how the hunt took exactly two weeks, for
        tens of thousands of years. You'd think someone would say, let's move
        a bit closer to the animals. And the animals must have stayed the
        same distance away for all that time. And, what if women had got the
        calendar wrong, and they ended up ovulating when the moon was full? I
        suppose that particular tribe must have died out in a kind of
        genocidal suicide.

        The tribe probably did move _ ISTR charts showing camp movement of
        hominid tribes - but the women would have been slowed down by
        pregnancy and child carrying and so it would have been more efficient
        to send relatively light hunters off on expiditions.

        > Although I can appreciate the attractiveness of the theory to some,
        who like to see women in a more central role in the development of
        human society. But what is irritating is that Knight presupposes that
        hominids are stupider and randier than womenids. I also dislike the
        emphasis given to hunting in the evolution of human society. It's too
        Desmond Morris. In most hunter gatherer societies, the staple diet is
        actually what is foraged and gathered. Meat is just an add-on.

        Knight concurrs meat is the add on - but a vital add on (he IFRC goes
        on at length how much foraging supplied essential food stuffs for
        hominids - but to get brains you need meat).

        Knight is trying to answer questions about why our preproductive
        habits are so at varience with our primate cousins (and most social
        mammalian species).

        If we simply see it as an early class struggle the femals - perhaps
        backed up by their brothers - were negotiating the sex contract, the
        ones who got the best deal thrived, the rest receded into the night.

        Thank you Chucky Darwin.

        Bill M.
        >
        >
        > The other thing is this. In the days of our hominid ancestors,
        menstruation would be quite a rare event. It certainly didn't happen
        every month, this is a modern phenomenon (due to our diet, and
        contraception). Womenids were too busy being pregnant or lactating
        (which suppresses ovulation) or malnourished (which likewise
        suppresses ovulation).
        >
        >
        >
        > I could come up with some new theories, which cast a better light
        on our ancestors. For example:
        >
        >
        >
        > 1. Hominids went out hunting because they were hungry. Those who
        didn't bring meat back home died (and had no descendants) because
        they got e-coli from trying to stay alive by eating rotten meat. So
        only those men who shared the meat lived to reproduce. They had sex
        with the women who fancied a bit of sex with a man who was alive.
        >
        >
        >
        > 2. We owe more to women than men in terms of our survival. Women
        have more incentive to go out and get the food, in any society,
        because they give birth and nourish the infant. They have themselves
        and their foetus/infant/child to look after. Man just needs to look
        out for himself. But, because he is a social animal with a big enough
        brain to realise he is related to everyone around him, he is looking
        out for his mother, father, sisters, brothers, and children. Womenid
        says to hominid, 'oh why don't you go and get some meat' and hominid
        says 'that's a good idea, ok'. Knight hasn't imagined this, because
        he can't imagine womenids and homenids co-operating. Must be a left
        wing disorder?
        >
        > 3. Hominids and womenids are struck by a huge environmental change.
        There's a drought, and everyone is killed off apart from a small
        tribe near a lake. No-one gives a toss about menstruation. Everyone
        is busy catching fish, cracking open shellfish and eating plants. All
        those who are allergic to seafish die and that's why I can't face a
        lobster.
        >
        > 4. Womenids have sex because they want to! They don't withhold sex,
        because why should they? They don't know that sex makes babies, they
        don't know that they can only get pregnant for 2/3 days a month, and
        they don't know that menstruation makes men go all wobbly (!). Poor
        Mr Knight, he is kind of lost in the menstrual thing. Our hominid
        ancestors lived and died. Some made it, and some didn't. We are
        descended, every one of us in this room, from an aeon of sexual
        encounters. Are we to believe that we are here today because our
        female ancestors stopped having sex. ha ha. It's a catholic thing!
        >
        > 5. Womenids were thin, weak and hungry. Hominids were less so, due
        to not giving birth. Hominid went out and strangled a squirrel.
        Womenid said 'That's horrible, go away.'
        >
        > 6. One man didn't go on the hunt. He stayed behind,and invented the
        clarinet. Or did a bit of song and dance. We are all descended from
        that man. The great musician ancestor. Why not?
        >
        > I've had my say now, and I'll let other members say their piece. I
        can't come to meeting, unfortunately, I have little child to look
        after.
        >
        >
        >
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        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >
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