Sexual relationships weren’t a question of monogamy or harem-like structures but polygynous and polyandrous.Even amongst modern stone-age tribes, such as the ones in the Amazon and South-East Asia, parential lineage isn’t a strict binary; most believe in the concept of multiple fathers contributing to the creation of a child.
It’s an appealing idea in many ways; it provides the gloss of an appeal to nature- it nicely coincides with the macro perception of human sexual interaction and provides justification for promiscuous male behavior and an explanation for hypergamous females. The narrative that men are naturally promiscuous (the better to ensure the survival of their genetic line) while women are naturally monogamous is the result of a cultural fallacy dating back as far as Charles Darwin; scientists and anthropologists of the time tended to use Western cultural morality as the prism through which they viewed natural discoveries – a problem that occasionally crops up today, as a matter of fact.The alpha rules the pack by dint of his strength and furious violence; he gets the greatest amount of food and unlimited sexual access to the females.The betas subsist on the scraps that are left over once the alpha has moved on and are excluded from sex with any of the females on threat of death.What if the dominant man is also a bottom, sexually? ) So how does this tie into the worship of being “alpha”? I’ve touched on the idea of alpha and beta behavior before, but let’s explore it again.Amongst primates that live in social groups (baboons, chimpanzees, gorillas), the largest, strongest of the male apes is the alpha male; the others are betas.The first belief is the modern narrative of sexual behavior in men and women.
The current standard narrative simplified is that sperm is metaphorically cheap while eggs are metaphorically expensive.
However, because of the need for protection as well as supporting the child until it reaches maturity, a woman may choose to pair up with a “beta” for material gain while sneaking off to have sex with the more desirable alpha males.
The woman and the alpha – in this view – gets the best of both worlds; the alpha gets to spread his genes while the woman gets not just superior genetic stock for her offspring but also physical and material support as well.
In the 50 years since the discovery of the ZPA, Sonic hedgehog (Shh) has been identified as the ZPA factor and the basic components of the signaling pathway and many aspects of its regulation have been elucidated.
Although much has also been learned about how it regulates growth, the mechanism by which Shh patterns the limb, how it acts to instruct digit ‘identity’, nevertheless remains an enigma.
In fact, the idea of sexual exclusivity – of humans being concerned with genetic lineage and trying to avoid raising another man’s child – is a relatively recent development, evolutionarily speaking.