Monogamy and Private Land

The most mind blowing thing I learned today. 

Some marriage historians theorize monogamy for women was born with the concept of private property. As soon as men started holding land, a prime concern was passing that property on to their own children. Before  materialistic inheritance (land, heirlooms, fortunes, etc), there wasn’t so much of a need for this social rule. If you look at nomadic populations still around today, many do not practice monogamy for women. Even the opposite sometimes! There have been tribes in all corners of the globe that practice something called ‘particle paternity’ which essentially entails a pregnant woman to copulate with as many different men as possible. The cultural thinking behind this is some essence of each man is instilled into the baby. So, once he or she is born, a nice little cohort of men will share some moral responsibility over it. 

Even I have bought into the well worn story that ‘men are inherently promiscuous in order to spread their seed while women are inherently monogamous to tie down that child rearing partner!’. But that’s really only looking back at 10,000 of our 200,000 years of our Homo sapian evolution! I absolutely love the image of monogamy being born from a 10 thousand year old guy sticking a seed in the ground, calling the patch around it his land, and wondering to himself, what will happen to this bit of dirt when he dies.  


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