Society Bloomed with Gentler Personalities, More Feminine Faces: Technology Boom 50,000 Years Ago Correlated with Less Testosterone

Photograph of "Minnesota Woman" unearthed in Otter Tail County, Minnesota in 1931.

Photograph of “Minnesota Woman” unearthed in Otter Tail County, Minnesota in 1931.

Are AndroGel and Axiron speeding the collapse of civilization?

Via ScienceDaily:

Modern humans appear in the fossil record about 200,000 years ago, but it was only about 50,000 years ago that making art and advanced tools became widespread.

A new study appearing Aug. 1 in the journal Current Anthropology finds that human skulls changed in ways that indicate a lowering of testosterone levels at around the same time that culture was blossoming.

“The modern human behaviors of technological innovation, making art and rapid cultural exchange probably came at the same time that we developed a more cooperative temperament,” said lead author Robert Cieri, a biology graduate student at the University of Utah who began this work as a senior at Duke University.

The study, which is based on measurements of more than 1,400 ancient and modern skulls, makes the argument that human society advanced when people started being nicer to each other, which entails having a little less testosterone in action.

Heavy brows were out, rounder heads were in, and those changes can be traced directly to testosterone levels acting on the skeleton, according to Duke anthropologist Steven Churchill, who supervised Cieri’s work on a senior honors thesis that grew to become this 24-page journal article three years later.

What they can’t tell from the bones is whether these humans had less testosterone in circulation, or fewer receptors for the hormone.

The research team also included Duke animal cognition researchers Brian Hare and Jingzhi Tan, who say this argument is in line with what has been established in non-human species.

In a classic study of Siberian foxes, animals that were less wary and less aggressive toward humans took on a different, more juvenile appearance and behavior after several generations of selective breeding.

“If we’re seeing a process that leads to these changes in other animals, it might help explain who we are and how we got to be this way,” said Hare, who also studies differences between our closest ape relatives — aggressive chimpanzees and mellow, free-loving bonobos.

Those two apes develop differently, Hare said, and they respond to social stress differently. Chimpanzee males experience a strong rise in testosterone during puberty, but bonobos do not. When stressed, the bonobos don’t produce more testosterone, as chimps do, but they do produce more cortisol, the stress hormone.

Their social interactions are profoundly different and, relevant to this finding, their faces are different, too. “It’s very hard to find a brow-ridge in a bonobo,” Hare said.

Cieri compared the brow ridge, facial shape and interior volume of 13 modern human skulls older than 80,000 years, 41 skulls from 10,000 to 38,000 years ago, and a global sample of 1,367 20th century skulls from 30 different ethnic populations.

The trend that emerged was toward a reduction in the brow ridge and a shortening of the upper face, traits which generally reflect a reduction in the action of testosterone.

There are a lot of theories about why, after 150,000 years of existence, humans suddenly leapt forward in technology. Around 50,000 years ago, there is widespread evidence of producing bone and antler tools, heat-treated and flaked flint, projectile weapons, grindstones, fishing and birding equipment and a command of fire. Was this driven by a brain mutation, cooked foods, the advent of language or just population density?

The Duke study argues that living together and cooperating put a premium on agreeableness and lowered aggression and that, in turn, led to changed faces and more cultural exchange.

“If prehistoric people began living closer together and passing down new technologies, they’d have to be tolerant of each other,” Cieri said. “The key to our success is the ability to cooperate and get along and learn from one another.”

Duke University. “Society bloomed with gentler personalities, more feminine faces: Technology boom 50,000 years ago correlated with less testosterone.” ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140801171114.htm (accessed August 7, 2014).

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  • Oginikwe

    Finally, The Neolithic Era of Lilith.

  • Kragnorak

    I love any article that reinforces the stereotype that people that look like Randall Tex Cobb tend to be dumb! On the other hand, this study needs to be counter-balanced by the fact that militant societies work cooperatively together in order to crush their enemies. So much of the technology that civilians use originated in military funding, as being first/strongest drives progress. This article does not explain why matriarchal societies got their asses handed to them over and over in the last 10,000 years by roid-raging genocidal berserkers harnessing superior technology.

    • Oginikwe

      Matriliny is not the same as matriarchy: there is no anthropological evidence of a matriarchy anywhere ever. Cultures have been organized matrilineally where the inheritance of houses and lands descend through the female line (this is common in horticultural societies) but there’s not been place of matriarchy which is rule by women. Even these societies have been egalitarian. Patriarchy OR matriarchy: these are not our only choices.

      We know that societies during the Neolithic Era were peaceful and egalitarian through their art. Serious invasions by the Semites and Kurgans started around 4,000 BC. after a few thousand years of skirmishes. Gradually, hoes and other farming implements in their art are replaced with weaponry. Some cities were wiped out overnight: gone was the Goddess, in came warrior gods like Yahweh. Instead of the phallus and fertility, there was the sword and dominance–might makes right and the most brutal rose to the top. By 1750 B.C. or so, the Goddess was more or less finished. Crete was the last stronghold and by 1100 BC, Minoan Crete was done. Ever after women have been booty, goods, the spoils of war. The term used in the Bible for the Goddess is “the Abomination.”

      • Kragnorak

        You’re only proving my point by mentioning Crete but you’re wrong about matriarchies. They are not polar opposites in function than patriarchies; just a different set of values. Since you’re posting in Disinfo I have to ask if you’re not familiar with the Saharasia studies? Many egalitarian societies (from your point of view) would probably be defined as matriarchal from other points of view. Take the Algonquins. Women were able to be sachems and war leaders. There were no limits on their place in society UNTIL Europeans arrived and began disrupting culture by only treating the male chiefs as … um, equals is the wrong word….

        If you define matriarchy as an Amazon society like Themyscira then I guess we’re in agreement.

        • Oginikwe

          The Algonquins were egalitarian and not a matriarchy. Crete was not a matriarchy, either. Why? Because there was a queen? By that definition, England is a matriarchy. They are more than a “set of values” when one rules over the other. The definition of patriarchy is “rule by men,” and the definition of a matriarchy is “rule by women”: A matrist society means that women were the focal point not the rulers. The Saharasia studies overlooks the three waves of conquest by the Kurgans and the Semites. Here are the critiques of that work:

          http://www.suppressedhistories.net/saharasia.html

          A work that predates DeMeo’s work is “The Chalice & The Blade” by Riane Eisler.

        • Andrew

          How would you define the values of matriarchies vs. the values of patriarchies?

          • Kragnorak

            I’m not great at definitions and maybe I am straying too much into the matrist societal definitions. But here’s the problem. If you go with the strictest definition then Oginikwe is correct about there being none (as I’ve said). This is problematic to me and makes me agree with those anthropologists that have argued that egalitarian societies are often matriarchal because women get squished in patriarchal societies. And I AM talking about society more than gov’t – there’s no way that England would be considered a matriarchy just because there is a queen. Many of the anthropologists that I agree with are female, which makes me sniff a conspiracy where men created a definition of the words that excludes the possibility of a matriarchy existing.

            Rather than write a list of values, I’ll quote from Doug George-Kanentiio’s “Iroquois Culture & Commentary”:

            “In our society, women are the center of all things. Nature, we believe, has given women the ability to create; therefore it is only natural that women be in positions of power to protect this function….We traced our clans through women; a child born into the world assumed the clan membership of its mother. Our young women were expected to be physically strong….The young women received formal instruction in traditional planting….Since the Iroquois were absolutely dependent upon the crops they grew, whoever controlled this vital activity wielded great power within our communities. It was our belief that since women were the givers of life they naturally regulated the feeding of our people….In all countries, real wealth stems from the control of land and its resources. Our Iroquois philosophers knew this as well as we knew natural law. To us it made sense for women to control the land since they were far more sensitive to the rhythms of the Mother Earth. We did not own the land but were custodians of it. Our women decided any and all issues involving territory, including where a community was to be built and how land was to be used….In our political system, we mandated full equality. Our leaders were selected by a caucus of women before the appointments were subject to popular review….Our traditional governments are composed of an equal number of men and women. The men are chiefs and the women clan-mothers….As leaders, the women closely monitor the actions of the men and retain the right to veto any law they deem inappropriate….Our women not only hold the reigns of political and economic power, they also have the right to determine all issues involving the taking of human life. Declarations of war had to be approved by the women, while treaties of peace were subject to their deliberations.”

            Notice that although women had moral authority, men were not drudges. This is where Oginikwe would argue that this society was “ONLY” egalitarian.

  • emperorreagan

    But the feminization of murica is going to turn us all into Muslims!

    • Oginikwe

      It’ll be okay. Just put on your big girl panties and you’ll be fine. ;^)

      • Andrew

        You mean big girl burqa.

        • Oginikwe

          I bet they all wear bright red thongs under those things . . .

  • Echar Lailoken

    THIS IS OBVIOUSLY A DISTRACTION MANUFACTURED BY THOSE DEVILISH PEOPLE BEHIND THE GAY AGENDA. SCREED SCREED SCREED… YACKITTY SCHMACKITTY… BLAH BLAH BLAH … HEMMING AND HAWING… MOUTH BREATHING FURY… SCREED SCREED SCREED… YACKITTY SCHMACKITTY… BLAH BLAH BLAH… HEMMING AND HAWING… MOUTH BREATHING FURY… SCREED SCREED SCREED… YACKITTY SCHMACKITTY… BLAH BLAH BLAH … HEMMING AND HAWING… MOUTH BREATHING FURY… SCREED SCREED SCREED… YACKITTY SCHMACKITTY… BLAH BLAH BLAH …
    HEMMING AND HAWING… MOUTH BREATHING FURY… SCREED SCREED SCREED… YACKITTY SCHMACKITTY… BLAH BLAH BLAH … HEMMING AND HAWING… MOUTH BREATHING FURY… SCREED SCREED SCREED… YACKITTY SCHMACKITTY… BLAH BLAH BLAH … HEMMING AND HAWING… MOUTH BREATHING FURY…

    GOURD BLESS TRUE ‘MURICANS THE REST WILL BURN IN HELL!

    • Oginikwe

      Yeow!
      Echar, are you okay?

      • Echar Lailoken

        No need to worry, just an impression of a manic facebook/commenting preacher. The 21st century version of a manic street preacher.

  • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

    By this rationale, the most civilized micro culture in the world is a room full of androgynous drag queens. Having been in several such rooms, I’m not sure I agree. J/k. It all makes sense to me. Who had time to concern themselves with appearance prior to the first leaps forward in elementary techs and semi-permanent communities? The ONLY virtues were raw strength, crude cunning, agility and endurance. Only at the advent of cooperative communities and early proto cities would any other genetic traits become desirable or worthwhile.

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