Re: Australopithecine birth and midwifery

Glenn Morton (
Sat, 04 Apr 1998 11:37:53 -0600

Hi Bob,

At 07:21 AM 4/4/98 EST, RDehaan237 wrote:
By "social cooperation", I
>gather you mean midwifery? If so, why do you need an evolutionary perspective
>to explain it? If you pose an evolutionary perspective, aren't you obliged to
>provide a genetic basis for the behavior of midwifery (or any other social
>cooperation) which can be modified by mutations, the phenotypes produced
>thereby being selected for their survival or adaptive value? Or are you using
>the term evolution in some undefined sense? It seems to me that any genetic
>basis for midwifery, if it exists, is far too complex to have originated by
>genetic mutations, then selected, and passed on by inheritance, as it must be
>if it is evolutionary in origin. Is there any genealogical data for
>midwifery? Is it inherited; does it run in families?

My my my. We jump from selective pressure to genetics when I never said
anything about genetics. Cultures evolve also and are subject to selective
pressures. The agricultural revolution may have been such a thing. Because
the farmers produced more children and covered more territory, they
displaced hunter-gatherers by having more children and converting hunting
grounds into farms. The hunter-gatherer had a choice either adapt to
farming, or be replaced. There was not a farming gene so I doubt there was a
midwifery one either.

On this topic, does anyone know where I can get mortality records or
statistics for % of deaths in a primitive society without midwifery?


Adam, Apes, and Anthropology: Finding the Soul of Fossil Man


Foundation, Fall and Flood