Friday, October 22, 2010

The Formation of the Nuclear Family

Now that we have all the males, females, and children around one large campfire (no one knows when or how our ancestors started using fire but let’s assume that has happened by now) population should be booming, right? One would think so but somewhere along the way our ancestors figured out that it was best for everyone (physically on the mother and emotionally on the youngster who the mom could focus on better) to not be constantly pregnant. That meant fewer children so fewer couplings. That would mean that the men started competing for who got the best females to raise their child. Somewhere along the way the males realized that it was smarter to have one specific female that would bear their children and the females realized it would be helpful if the father raised the male children after a certain age to help them function well in the male area of society. Also, as society progressed status would have developed and it would be beneficial if the best male in the group was protecting her and their young as well as sharing his portion of food with them. (The best hunters got more of their kill than lesser hunters, let’s say). If a man was going to raise a male child he would want to be sure both male and female children are his genetic offspring. (Speaking from an evolutionary stand point: who wants to see another man’s child prosper? That means less for his own kids.) With those facts in mind it makes sense that the nuclear family was created (mom, dad, children) and as people lived longer the grandparents or ill relatives joined the family. Eventually the males would have realized that training animals to help with hunting (horses to ride, dogs to herd) would be a good idea followed by raising animals for food (less hunting needed). At some time in history the villages became towns and people moved away from others to have room to raise animals and farm. The nuclear family moved with and they started new towns and villages. At least that is how the webmaster said it happened. I think it is possible that the males needed to live away from the camp to herd animals or grow lots of plants for food and they needed company and knowledge that their bloodline would continue so women were forced to leave the camp and go live with the male who needed kids. It makes some sense to me and since I’m a writer (not a sociologist) and am writing to give other writers ideas on how to create their species, I thought I’d throw that in. Of course, this is also ignoring emotions as no one knows when they evolved in our ancestors. For all we know our ancestors started out monogamous before they separated from the other apes and other species merely forgot such emotions.

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