In “Ancient Hominid Males Stayed Home While Females Roamed, Study Finds (ScienceDaily, 2011), we learn,
The team, which studied teeth from a group of extinct Australopithecus africanus and Paranthropus robustus individuals from two adjacent cave systems in South Africa, found more than half of the female teeth were from outside the local area, said CU-Boulder adjunct professor and lead study author Sandi Copeland. In contrast, only about 10 percent of the male hominid teeth were from elsewhere, suggesting they likely grew up and died in the same area.
If these results are replicated, early human culture encouraged the idea that women should go live with their husbands instead of staying with their folks. Let’s give that one time to sink in. It’s novel …
One researcher cautions,
“It is difficult enough to work out relations between the sexes today, so the challenges in investigating the ways that male and female hominids used the landscape and formed social groups over a million years ago are considerable, to say the least,” said CU-Boulder’s Sponheimer. “Disembodied skulls and teeth are notoriously poor communicators, so the real difficulty with a study like this is finding new ways to make these old bones speak.”
But, in this case, the message, if any, would seem to be that early humans were like most societies.
File under: Well, what did we expect, anyway?