Sexual Dimorphism: Small To Non-Existent In Humans, Due To Weaponry!

So many things to write about! I intended to consider sexual harassment, gender discrimination and that sex abuse which hides the more sinister pleasure sheer violence provides with. But then I realized I had to address natural gender differences first. We’ll get to the gender violence and subjugation, soon, but not now.

Species are more or less sexually dimorphic, that is, with more or less sex differences imputable to genetic expression. In some species females dominate in mass, or other ways (hyenas, some raptors, spiders, insects, etc.)  

In most primates mostly closely related to us, the sexual differences are significant: males are much bigger and ferocious It makes sense: females have to be numerous, to reproduce the species, and they can be numerous, if they have small mass. The males are in charge of defense, attack, and high quality meat procurement. To accomplish all this fighting, killing and threat thereof, they better big, nasty, and with great canines: the males themselves are a bit like nuclear bombs, weapons of assured destruction. This is clear with our homologues, baboons (not our closest relatives, but the closest in ancestral way of life).

In some parts of Africa, chimpanzees are known as “lion-killers”. Chimps don’t have just the fangs, but they know how to fight: they tear off the fragile stuff first. Chimp women can’t argue with them! However, a human female, much weaker than a chimp female, can kill a male chimp (and the male chimp knows this, in the wild! As a child, in the wild, I saw once a huge male chimp shake an entire tree, as if he had gone completely mad, in the hope of scaring me; when I came close to observe the lunacy, he fled, although he could have probably pulverized me in two seconds; but he knew human children were off limits)

Here is an imaginative proof: Gibbons, although not very distant relative can have no sexual dimorphism. Although gibbons defend their territory, males and females do it equally. Gibbons live in trees to a much greater extent than other relatives, so violence is less of a factor in the survival of the species (whereas chimpanzees not only fight man, but also lions and leopards; bonobos are much nicer than chimps, but their way of life is closer to gibbons than to chimpanzees: there are no lions where they live (south of the Congo river). Humans live in the exact opposite environment to gibbons: instead of swinging from branch to branch, as gibbons do, 30 meters above the deck, the genus Homo evolved in the most dangerous environment, the savannah-park, confronting giant monsters, most of whom it has exterminated since (in the latest news, when humans colonized the Caribbean, they eliminated the giant ground sloths there; in toto, humans eliminated no less than 19 genera of giant ground sloths in the Americas!).

Human species have small gender differences. Why? The reason for sexual dimorphism I just sketched is that females have to be as small as possible, so there will be more of them to reproduce, and the males with big bodies, high ferocity, will protect them by acting as live weapons for the group (many insects have such an organization, say soldier ants). However, humans have used weapons for at least three million years: stones. Moreover, humans are better at throwing stones than baboons, because of their anatomy (paleolithically speaking, the arms which enable us to hang from branches are also those which enable us to throw arms much further; arms arm our arms!).

Hence the main reason for much bigger males disappeared, long ago, when humans learned to throw stones. A human female armed with a stone axe is more dangerous than an even a much larger human male without a stone. The stone makes the difference, not the fangs. Let me pound on this: male baboons have been observed biting female baboons. One bite. The long, enormous baboon male canines can easily go through a rib cage, and, thus kill. With just one bite.

One may ponder why female raptors have roughly the same deadly talons and beaks as males, and similar masses (sometimes the females are a bit heavier). Why aren’t they smaller, to maximize the number of raptors, following the reasoning I proffered for primates? Simply because they would then have to kill different, smaller prey, and thus live totally differently, hence in different environments. Whereas primates live in the same environment, but, thanks to their omnivorous character, they can specialize: the males go after the meat, the violence, the killing. Females can concentrate more on the vegetarian aspect, and share the meat. (DNA stool studies have shown orangutans and gorillas eat meat; for chimps, that has always been known.)

The sexual dimorphism has been evaluated at roughly 10% in humans, on some objective measurements of some physiology. Mentally, it’s a fact that women, although severely hindered by sexism, have been capable of the highest performance: one of the most performing physicists, historically speaking, was a woman, Émilie du Châtelet. Her work on energy was a breakthrough rolling over Isaac Newton himself!

Thus we can assume that most of the observed difference between men and women in the mental realm is caused by sexism.

And then the question becomes: what are the causal relationships between sexism, sexualism, violence, will to power. And the non-optimal society? They involve the evolutionary metaphysics of the genus Homo.

Patrice Ayme’


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6 Responses to “Sexual Dimorphism: Small To Non-Existent In Humans, Due To Weaponry!”

  1. Pravin Nema Says:

    Patrice, I find these thoughts in my hostel in Phnom Penh, on our way to Vietnam. I have not commented to you before, but I now just had to say how much I adore reading every posting I receive. Its one of the highlights of my day to look what topic you’ve considered for the day.

    Keep up the excellent work to keep us non-philosopher types on the path to knowledge.

    Greetings from SE Asia!

    Pravin Nema

    On 14 November 2017 at 06:59, Patrice Ayme’s Thoughts wrote:

    > Patrice Ayme posted: “So many things to write about! I intended to > consider sexual harassment, gender discrimination and that sex abuse which > hides the more sinister pleasure sheer violence provides with. But then I > realized I had to address natural gender differences first. W” >

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Thanks Pravin! Nice to have greetings from SE Asia! I noticed recently that I am read even in Russia and People Republic of China (it didn’t use to be the case). Your kind compliments are much appreciated, greetings from North America! ;-). Some people told me they had problem commenting (one has to register with WordPress, I am afraid!!!), glad I can go through to you at least!
      We humans are all philosophers, whether we know it, or not!

  2. pshakkottai Says:

    Hi Patrice: In Hinduism, warrior goddesses protect villages and carry a trident to punish evildoers. Of course you know the first goddess was Earth mother= BHUDEVI = CYBEHE = GAIA. So also goddesses representing the motherland. India has had no sexism in old times.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Same indeed in the Middle Earth. Great Mother/Cybele was the ultimate divinity. Virgin Mary,later, a pale copy, had to be installed because Christianism won’t have taken hold otherwise.
      The turn to sexism in Abrahamism millennia later indicates a turn to much more war. BTW Egypt had important female pharaohs, way back, not just Cleopatra…

  3. Gmax Says:

    Its’not clear that this drive to sexual equally will succeed. Studies show things have gone backwards since Anita Hill. JUDGES ARE BIASED, an article in the New Yorker said it explicitly this week, so outrageous sex discrimination cases never go to juries!!!!!!

    So good luck with the monkey business comparison, but ain’t working. Women can dance, for men, as I do, but they can’t become bosses, even when qualified, as I am

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Yes, judges are biased. After serial harasser C Thomas was made Supreme, no wonder. Since 1991 (Thomas), numbers on sexism have not moved. That New Yorker article was somewhat strange, as if different people had written different parts… Anyway, I have the full sex harassment essay still to write in the future. Hint: it has to do with power even more than “sex”.

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