More on the Development of Agriculture in Africa

A bit of an explanation of the paper for a layperson here.
Lucas Shoen writes:

Anyway, in your opinion, do (any?) you believe that the agrarian communities in parts of central and western Africa could of been attributed to the higher testosterone levels in modern American blacks (and thus prominence in athletic fields, etc.) Particularly if slaves were descended from these agrarian communities? It’s just something I was thinking up while reading that paper and some of the links that it sent me.

Yes, that is what I am thinking. All modern Negroids or Bantuid types apparently have large size, robust bodies and high testosterone. The Khoisan and Pygmies are hunter gatherers and have small size, child like features, low strength and low testosterone. Hunter gatherers everywhere tend to have low testosterone or lower testosterone than agricultural peoples.
Primitive agriculturalists in New Guinea also evolved high testosterone.
The reason is that in hunter gatherers, there is little competition for males as every female needs a man to survive (to hunt for them). So everyone just grabs a husband or wife at age 18 or 19, and everyone tends to get married. You don’t end up with a chief and his pals who monopolize all the women.
In Africa and New Guinea, you ended up with a system where the chief and his buddies monopolized most to all of the women via harems and a lot of the rest of the guys had little access to women. The chief and his buddies were the biggest, baddest, strongest, most psycho, most sociopathic guys around (high testosterone, large size, and robust body) so they beat out all the weaker guys.
The females mated with these guys en masse as in these type of societies, a female does not really need a man to survive. So the females can be choosy. Choosy females is bad for society since when allowed to choose, females pick big bad psycho type guys (bad boys) probably with large size, robust bodies, high testosterone, high aggression and maybe sociopathic traits.
The reason is that in hunter gatherers, there is little competition for males as every female needs a man to survive (to hunt for them). So everyone just grabs a husband or wife at age 18 or 19, and everyone tends to get married. You don’t end up with a chief and his pals who monopolize all the women.
In Africa and New Guinea, you ended up with a system where the chief and his buddies monopolized most to all of the women via harems and a lot of the rest of the guys had little access to women. The chief and his buddies were the biggest, baddest, strongest, most psycho, most sociopathic guys around (high testosterone, large size, and robust body) so they beat out all the weaker guys.
The females mated with these guys en masse as in these type of societies, a female does not really need a man to survive. So the females can be choosy. Choosy females is bad for society since when allowed to choose, females pick big bad psycho type guys (bad boys) probably with large size, robust bodies, high testosterone, high aggression and maybe sociopathic traits.

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15 thoughts on “More on the Development of Agriculture in Africa”

  1. I agree with many of your points, especially the social stratification bit regarding agricultural communities.
    However, I was always under the impression that meat-eaters were larger and stronger than the grain eaters. There are numerous accounts of Mongol warriors (nomadic, not big farmers) and how physically stronger they were in comparison to the rice-growing Chinese. And in Africa, I’m thinking of the meat eating Masai and how big they are.
    Your take on natural selection in agricultural communities make plenty of sense, I just don’t agree that meat eaters are smaller. I think pygmies and the like are so animal-like and low iq that they’re probably not intelligent enough to hunt and gather efficiently.
    http://www.economist.com/node/10278703
    A neat topic to ponder, for sure. All I know is agriculture=class system, capitalism, etc.etc.

      1. I know, that’s why I think they’re small because they’re too dumb to gather efficiently. I just disagreed with your statement: “Hunter gatherers everywhere tend to have low testosterone or lower testosterone than agricultural peoples.”

    1. The Masai aren’t hunter gatherers. They are herders. Mongols also were herders I believe. Herders aren’t hunter gatherers.
      Hunter gatherers, in general, aren’t big meat eaters. They eat mostly tubers.

  2. Can you explain the history of monogamy and how it developed in agricultural communities? Isn’t monogamy a survival mechanism used by people’s of colder climates, like the ancient Aryans? I was always under the impression that hot climate people fucked willy nilly and since there was no worries to get food, the societies became matriarchies.

  3. They don’t really have bigger thighs. They have bigger asses, along with bigger breasts, bigger penises, etc. The breasts, asses and penises are sexual markers in the male and female. Africans have selected for larger and more prominent sexual markers because this is more attractive. This is a race that has strong selection for external sexual characteristics.

  4. Brilliant.
    It is of no consequence that these biological similarities should become well known. Already we know the Human Genome Project is already mapping out a great deal of our genetic structure, but this is something that could shed light on behavioral differences between groups, which isn’t widely studied.
    The only contradiction I’ve found would be some agricultural civilizations with presumably low testosterone (Alps, Chinese) would mean that agriculture doesn’t necessitate high testosterone, and thus the forerunners of such civilization would not have had such a high IQ.
    Regardless, thank you for piecing together a part of a unique puzzle.

  5. Hi, this is interesting but I believe that there is a flaw in this theory. The flaw is that hunting is not scrictly necessary for survival in a hunetr gatherer environment. Tropical hunter gatherer typically get the majority of the calories they need from tubers or wild grains. That is, from the gathering part of the work. Gathering also includes the collection of small animals so variety shouldn’t be problem. It isn’t very obvious to me that a woman needs a man for survival. It seems that she should not.

    1. Tubers, roots, wild grains and legumes, nuts. The Kitavan hunter gatherers for instance get almost all their calories from coconut, potato-like tubers, fruit.

    2. Well, at any rate, in a hunter gatherer society, a woman just grabs a man or vice versa at age 18 or 19 and marries. Everyone just gets married. In primitive agricultural systems, you tended to develop the chief and his buddies system whereby a few guys at the top grab most of the women for themselves as harems and a lot of guys get little or nothing. You do not tend to see this in hunter gatherer societies. So in primitive agricultural societies, women do not necessary grab a guy at age 18 but instead they might just shine on marriage and decide to become part of a harem.

        1. The idea is due to the environment. Because beta-omega males aren’t necessary for the groups survival, the Alpha tends to take control over the resources of the tribe, including the women.

  6. This is not true of much of West Africa north of Cameroon where men actually did a large part of the staple farming , although in some cultures women traditionally grew a supplementary crop e.g.: among Nigerian Igbo men grew the native yam, and women the (traditionally supplementary cocoyam. Among the Nigerian Yoruba all farming (and much craft work) was done my men (but much petty trading by women, and long and medium distance trading by men. There was a fair diversity of systems in the both the forest and Sahel regions of West Africa. This area was ascribed to what some early scholars like Hermann Baumann called the “higher hoe culture” and Stephen K. Sanderson calls “intensive horticulture”, intermediate in cultural complexity between primitive hoe cultures/horticulture and advanced plough cultures where men tended to have a larger role in farming than in some less advance horticulture. Some Polynesian cultures are described as similar.
    The real female farming zone was in central Africa and the there situation there is more complex than some scholars describe paint it. Men often had important subsistance roles though they varied by ethnic group and location(See the work of the ethno linguist Jan Vansina on early Central African cultures, such as his book, “Paths in the Rainforests” which tries to reconstruct early subsistence), usually clearing the land for planting(clearing is more frequent in places with longer fallow periods), planting seeds/yams, and building and maintaining field fences (also houses and most other structures). They also hunted and fished, which supplied most of the protein. They were usually responsible for tending the oil palm whose oil and palm-wine (and sometime other products) were part of the general diet.
    Jane Guyer’s work on the precolonial farming systems of various Central and some and West African tribes showed sex roles were fairly complex often with several tasks performed by each sex, and the roles of men in farming usually greater in earlier times.
    See:
    “Female Farming in Anthropology and African History” by Jane Guyer
    From:
    “Sexual Revolutions: Gender and Labor at the Dawn of Agriculture”
    http://books.google.com/books?id=ooQYMFyAr1oC&pg=PA142&lpg=PA142&dq=jane+guyer+beti+men+millet&source=bl&ots=Z0_T9SGPje&sig=3Y8hcU6Y5p2eV92sdETG4Uy4l7I&hl=en&sa=X&ei=uJ3-T5bhC8br0gGfrKH2Bg&ved=0CDMQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=jane%20guyer%20beti%20men%20millet&f=false
    “The ancient staple crops of millet and Yams for instance have given way to maize and cassava production. …
    Speaking of central African cultures and the Beti tribe in particular:
    “Guyer cites ethnographic accounts of the yam and millet crop system, which she characterizes as interdigitating male/female, individual/group tasks. In the case of millet, for example, men cut back tree branches, and women stack the branches. Men place the seeds in the ground, and women cover them with soil. Men fence the fields, and women tend the growing crop…”
    “…Despite the attraction Boserup’s model holds for many, ignoring historical forces and the heterogeneity of gender constructs oversimplifies the dynamism and variability inherent in labor patterns. Wholesale adoption of Boserup’s model for prehistoric systems seems especially tenuous,….”.

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