Eusocial Polygamy

Sunday, May 21st, 2017 12:08 am
flwyd: (rose red sky blue)
[personal profile] flwyd
The Wikipedia article on Eusociality notes that E. O. Wilson has claimed that humans are eusocial, but his arguments have been refuted by a large number of evolutionary biologists, who note that humans do not have division of reproductive labor.

Human colonies certainly don't have a single queen and a separate cast of infertile workers. But I can't help but wonder if the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, polygynous Muslims, and other historic polygamous cultures meet a reasonable version of this criterion since they free up many worker or soldier males without fathering duties.

Date: 2017-05-22 07:40 pm (UTC)
siderea: (Default)
From: [personal profile] siderea
Humans don't have biological division of reproductive labor, but by gum we are hell-bent on developing it technologically. What does it say about our species that the moment you give the females conscious control over their fertility, the birth rate drops like a rock and large numbers of women – myself among them – elect to be, effectively, infertile workers?

It – and other psychological phenomena – makes me think that while human morphology doesn't support the eusociality hypothesis, human psychology is way, way, WAY out in front on that. I have been thinking for a long time that we may be witnessing the evolution of true bee-style eusociality emerge in humans. Let's check back in a few hundred thousand years to see if women with my sort of personality are born without functional reproductive systems. :)

ETA: to throw in a little data, because I think a lot of people don't know this: apparently about 15% of women in the US never have children. Some of those wanted to have children but couldn't, due to infertility or lack of opportunity; but it's also clear some women have children despite taking pains not to.
Edited Date: 2017-05-22 07:52 pm (UTC)
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