Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?
Earth Science

Ancient Skulls Show Civilization Rose As Testosterone Fell 387

An anonymous reader writes Even though modern humans started appearing around 200,000 years ago, it was only about 50,000 years ago that artistry and tool making became popular. New research shows that society bloomed when testosterone levels in humans started dropping. A paper published in the journal Current Anthropology, suggests that a testosterone deficit facilitated the friendliness and cooperation between humans, which lead to modern society. "Whatever the cause, reduced testosterone levels enabled increasingly social people to better learn from and cooperate with each other, allowing the acceleration of cultural and technological innovation that is the hallmark of modern human success," says University of Utah biology graduate student Robert Cieri.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Ancient Skulls Show Civilization Rose As Testosterone Fell

Comments Filter:
  • by roc97007 ( 608802 ) on Sunday August 03, 2014 @12:56PM (#47594159) Journal

    I have trouble with pronouncements like these, because it's so easy to jump to conclusions about correlation and causation.

    It seems like their conclusion might have a Politically Correct component. Could it be instead that civilization caused a general lowering of testosterone, because high testosterone levels were no longer vital to survival?

  • by Mr D from 63 ( 3395377 ) on Sunday August 03, 2014 @01:06PM (#47594227)

    Could it be instead that civilization caused a general lowering of testosterone, because high testosterone levels were no longer vital to survival?

    If you follow evolutionary theory, that's the first conclusion one should reach. To assume otherwise is quite scientifically naive. As humans became more proficient at survival and had more time on their hands, being able to sit still and think for a little while was likely a good thing.

  • by Mr D from 63 ( 3395377 ) on Sunday August 03, 2014 @01:07PM (#47594233)
    Maybe it was the reduction of female testosterone that made men want to breed more?
  • Re:Coincidence (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ColdWetDog ( 752185 ) on Sunday August 03, 2014 @01:17PM (#47594317) Homepage

    I seriously don't understand how they can measure the level of testosterone from 50,000 years ago. Was it recorded with fine detail? Hell, did they know it existed?

    Anyway. The lower testosterone levels could be a coincidence that arose at the same time humans discovered the benefits of empathy, which is essential in group negotiations and community support.

    They didn't. Here is their logic train:

    - They measured facial characteristics, some of these characteristics have been associated with aggression (not testosterone levels).
    - There are studies that link aggression with testosterone.
    - Therefore, early humans had large degrees of aggression and therefore testosterone.
    - Modern human skulls have fewer / less of the linked facial features, therefore our testosterone levels are lower.

    - Therefore early human testosterone levels were higher and further, this was selected for in some way, shape for fashion.

    Total BS. Two speculative leaps and a nice large jump to a conclusion. It is trivial to create other equally valid hypotheses from this data.

  • Makes sense (Score:2, Insightful)

    by TheDarkMaster ( 1292526 ) on Sunday August 03, 2014 @01:20PM (#47594339)
    Subjects with high levels of testosterone behave pretty much like savages animals, I have witnessed such cases. They behave aggressively, always trying to harm other men (domination, "alpha male") and trying to take woman by force, there is no way to have cooperation between this type of people. The chance to have cooperation between this type of people is very small.
  • by Intrepid imaginaut ( 1970940 ) on Sunday August 03, 2014 @02:16PM (#47594637)

    You are aware the majority of the electorate in the US is female, right? So maybe there's a slim possibility that they're voting for something other than the genitals of political candidates, due to not being eight years old anymore?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 03, 2014 @02:20PM (#47594655)

    But that doesn't explain why you're a racist. It's the twenty-first century. Lose the racism. It's just as bad against white people as it is against any other race.

  • by Intrepid imaginaut ( 1970940 ) on Sunday August 03, 2014 @02:52PM (#47594809)

    I'm directly saying that people, men and women, who are mature adults vote in their own best interests rather than pandering to some sort of juvenile playground instinct as feminists would prefer them to. They vote for the person they believe will best represent those interests. Now if you want to talk about why more women don't stand for election, go for it, but that's a different conversation. There is, after all, nothing stopping them.

  • by ganjadude ( 952775 ) on Sunday August 03, 2014 @03:03PM (#47594875) Homepage
    yet for some reason those are the ones that get all the coverage. Try going to a feminism blog and reading for yourself. I had someone try and equate telling a woman she has nice eyes to rape just earlier today. apparently chivalry is dead, and it was killed by women
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 03, 2014 @03:53PM (#47595079)

    This is part of the extreme hostility toward men in the U.S. culture.

    I know, right? I mean when will the US ever get a male president?

    Textbook example of "apex fallacy".

  • by a_mari_usque_ad_mare ( 1996182 ) on Sunday August 03, 2014 @04:19PM (#47595197)

    ... If they continue to use a term as poisoned as "feminist" then you might look to question their actual motive and intent.

    This is the problem right here: the term feminist has been poisoned intentionally. Its similar to the right-wing hit job on 'liberal'; the only way to defeat an idea that most people already accept is to reframe and demonize that idea as something objectionable.

    You could find me a billion links to nutty, anti-male websites if you like. It doesn't matter. If you think it does matter than I allow me to discredit all right-wing politics by giving you a link to the American Nazi Party, or to discredit any idea of treating animals humanely by linking to PETA.

    Feminism is the belief that women are just as capable and deserving of respect as men. Unless you believe women deserve less respect or fewer opportunities, simply for being female, congratulations, you are a feminist. Being anti-male, wanting to feminize men or de-feminize women, denying basic biological differences, or whatever other stupid idea you have been taught feminists believe, these are categorically not feminism.

    Feminism is basically a social criticism that in many spheres of our society an elite group of men has taken control for their own benefit, to the exclusion of others. Keep in mind that women only gained the right to vote last century, as late as 1970 in France, and that people are still alive who remember women not being able work after marriage, legalized martial rape, and a whole bunch of other obviously misogynist practices, and its not a huge stretch to imagine that our society might still not be 100% perfect, or that social groups who were severely discriminated against in living memory still are.

    Even if you are 100% self-interested, you should recognize that as women have gained more freedom over the last 50 year so have men, particularly in areas of child care and parental leave. Freedom and rights are not zero sum. The fact is that the same 'boys club' attitude that is bad for women is also bad for the vast majority of men.

    I'll leave you with a Germaine Greer quote (paraphrasing):

    Aspiring to equality with men is a terrible mistake, since men live and work in a frighteningly unfree and tyrannical society, one built on confederacies and conspiracies, on initiation and blooding rituals, on shared antisocial behaviour, on ostracisms and punishments, practical jokes, clannishness and discrimination.

  • by Intrepid imaginaut ( 1970940 ) on Sunday August 03, 2014 @05:17PM (#47595405)

    Perhaps because that is not practical.

    Or perhaps because only something as demented as feminism could come up with such a lunatic idea in the first place.

    The human species cannot continue to exist without women. Men, on the other hand, could be replaced with a sperm bank. Long before the sperm bank is depleted, female scientists should be able to perfect human ova-fusion [], which is already working in mice.

    I am not saying men should be exterminated. I am just saying that there are no significant technical barriers.

    Completely unneccessary. Assuming a world where feminists (not women mind you, women tend to like men quite a lot) reign supreme, why not just keep a minimum breeding stock of boys and off them after they hit age 20? After all that's what leading feminists Mary Daly and Sally Miller Gearhart wanted, reduce the population of men to 10% or so, frothing nazis that they were.

    Happily however the general population is starting to go very sour indeed on feminism, and I would hope to see the final end of the religion within my lifetime.

  • by DivineKnight ( 3763507 ) on Sunday August 03, 2014 @05:54PM (#47595579)

    "I am not saying men should be exterminated. I am just saying that there are no significant technical barriers."

    Lol, let me get this want to remove the male half of a species, then permanently weld the female half of the species to technology from now until the end of time, and you think this is not a significant technological barrier? That's a bold statement, let's check in with our Russian judges, and see what score they give your mental 11 / 10, impressive.

    I could touch on the greater science out there which points to the genetic depletion of the overall gene pool of humanity, but I digress, so few people can see the forest for the trees these days, that I'll spare you that lecture. I'll simply state that if one were to head down the proposed path of sperm bank males, the species as a whole would suffer, and, without genetic engineering bordering on Science Fiction levels, would be permanently disabled. I say this, because without heading down that path, we've already screwed ourslves, genetically speaking, the consequences of which have been the arrival of genetic diseases that no one can seem to shake.

    And yes, there is a significant difference between rats / mice and human beings which is why this would cause such a problem. One of those science 'gotchas.' It's addressed in the report I am alluding to, and will let you google if you wish to read it.

  • by Phernost ( 899816 ) on Sunday August 03, 2014 @05:56PM (#47595585)

    Yes, because women could have never developed the necessary sciences ... right?

    I'm pretty sure gendercide isn't the bailiwick of either party, left or right. Plus, the quickest way to get to utopia is to get rid off all the people, both genders. No people, no problems.

  • by epyT-R ( 613989 ) on Sunday August 03, 2014 @05:58PM (#47595597)

    Which is a perfect example why political correctness is such a detriment to the free world. A society that increasingly cannot accept truth eventually succumbs to it, usually violently.

  • by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Sunday August 03, 2014 @06:35PM (#47595737) Homepage

    1. "Improve things"? Really? There are loads of women who would love nothing more than to raise their children instead if having babysitters do it while they work and feel guilty no matter what choice they make. And for those women who feel fine about abandoning their children to "trusted strangers," How is that an improvement?! Desensitized, unloving, unnurturing mothers?? Bad families raise bad children who grow into bad adults. And when they have children (and that's happening now) they have NO idea how to raise them.

    2. Not men as a category? You can't be serious. And why "certain specific men"? And why do feminists in high government leadership positions care nothing about the very REAL anti-woman things going on in other nations and instead make up nonsense about pay gaps and all of that? Study after study shows that the reasons for many gaps and limits on upper-leadership and lack of women in certain jobs (funny, they never talk about how few women do "grunt work" like mechanics, plumbing, elentrcians, HVAC, garbage collection, truck drivers and all...yes there are some, but it's overwhelmingly male) has more to do with lack of interest and/or having other/conflicting interests in life... say for example, being a mother.

    There just aren't fights left to fight for "feminism." And the harm it has done to nearly all areas and aspects they have influenced is amazing. Nothing good has happened since the right to vote has been established. (Please cite examples to the contrary) And please. When have feminists EVER demanded equal responsibility to accompany their equal rights? The draft registration is STILL a sexist law and no one cares and if anyone pushed to require women to register you can bet the feminists would be the first to say "no!"

    When, thanks to feminism, women have the legal right to walk away from the responsibility of motherhood. Do men? Even if they never knew or saw the child? Nope. There is a need for equality, but equality of RESPONSIBILITY is elephant of hypocrisy in the room.

    Nature gives men and women role assignment by gender. Men can't nurse babies without some serious medical modifications. Any and every time "society" thinks it's smarter than nature, and that a political idealism which challenges reality, bad things result. We live in a society where more children have only one parent and either that parent (invariably a woman) is either living on child support and welfare or is working and not taking care of her children. Neglected children cannot POSSIBLY grow up well.

    Is feminism really such a great idea?

  • by Intrepid imaginaut ( 1970940 ) on Sunday August 03, 2014 @07:54PM (#47596027)

    So your problem is that it isn't a scientific theory?

    My problem is that it's truthy sounding nonsense claiming the imprimatur of verifiability using sciency-sounding words, and is being used to persecute large sections of the population.

    Here's a falsifiable statement: do a small group of elite men dominate society for their own interests? This statement is false if no group dominates society, or if a group of elite women do. Given how subjective many of these concepts are, its not as neatly falsifiable than Newton's laws, for example. Life is complicated. I find it interesting that this theory is basically what people are espousing when talking about inequality and the 1%, its just that the connection to gender isn't as obvious if you are a male. Few would deny that most of the money is in male hands.

    And you see this is where feminism falls down, extrapolating from the "personal is the political" mantra of the 70s feminists point to a few rich people as evidence that all men have oppressed all women forever, despite these few wealthy people never having acted to improve the situation or welfare of men as a class. Your mythical boys club doesn't exist. As for most of the money being in the hands of men, most of the spending power is in the hands of those poor oppressed women []. But hey what's a few nuances to the blunt instrument that is feminism.

    I note you haven't disputed the veracity of the description of patriarchy theory given above, nor the effects it has had when applied to real life. The Swedish model is a good one, feminists decided that criminalising the clients of sex workers was the way to go because patriarchy, right, except the end result was fewer and more violent clients. Which a five year old could have told you would be the outcome - criminalise clients and the clients will mostly be criminals. Well done feminists, leaving yet another trail of bodies and broken lives behind you, except this time it's women.

    Now we can continue this two step as long as you like but the bottom line is that feminism is by its own outcomes based on a particularly hateful central premise. You're waving at the wealthy one percent while I'm talking about police departments being trained to arrest the man in all circumstances, even when he's the victim of domestic violence, which is about half the time.

    I mean is this thing turned on or what.

    As for what feminism actually does, I'll trust my own judgement on that thanks.

    Of course, facts aren't much use to a feminist.

    The fact that you mentioned 'bra burners' is interesting as it is actually a myth []. I referenced it as an example in one of my posts but I don't literally think it is something that happened.

    Jon Katz seems to feel otherwise but it's hardly a pivotal issue.

  • by epyT-R ( 613989 ) on Sunday August 03, 2014 @09:33PM (#47596303)

    No, I never said that men did everything, nor did I imply it.

    I have no issue with coexisting. I do have issue with groups using government to provide privileges to them at my financial/social expense based on the very attributes they claim I use to judge them. I have no issue with equality of opportunity either, but feminists need to realize that if they want equal seating at the trough, they need to be willing to help when it's time to fill it, and when it's time to clean it. No shortcuts or incentives that aren't also offered to everyone else. Her body, her right, her choice? Fine by me, but that also means her responsibility. No using the baby to rope daddy in for an easy meal ticket (or just to stick it to him), at least, not without a signed contract/marriage license. When I bring this up, white knights and most women fly into defensive shitstorms, but the reality is that if women want equality in the eyes of men, they have to give up the expectation of chattel privilege and we need to strip the lobbied-for favoritism out. Affirmative action law and policies must die.

    The last 40 years of feminism have made women the most privileged class in western society. Everything is now modeled, shaped, spindled, folded, and mutilated to benefit and cater to them. Thus, nowadays, when women put on melodramas about some guy looking at them in a hallway, or asking them to coffee at work, and then claim they have to set up buddy systems or demand 'safe spaces' as a result, it's really hard for me to take them seriously. It would be a laughable joke if it wasn't also so toxic to men, and western society's long term prospects. Women today just abuse the system to gain leverage in whatever spaces they're in because they know they can get away with it, and it sullies the reputation of those few women who really were assaulted or discriminated against.

  • by dave420 ( 699308 ) on Monday August 04, 2014 @04:54AM (#47597873)
    It's actually a derogatory term for working-class white people from the south. I don't know why you are getting upset about this epithet when you are so quick to condemn women. Or are some forms of rampant discrimination OK but others are fine? It must be strange to live in your head.
  • by dave420 ( 699308 ) on Monday August 04, 2014 @05:00AM (#47597883)
    Actual feminism is as much about hatred as the civil rights movement was in the 60s. You are confusing some very vocal idiots with the rest of the movement. "Feminist" is what you call someone when they think men and women should be treated equally. That's it. It's got "fem" in the name because currently women are getting the raw deal at the moment. If women were in disproportionately in control, men had lower wages, were denied opportunities, etc. then it would be called "masculism" and the end goal would be the same - equality between the sexes.

Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it is too dark to read.