Just had a rather odd thought that may or may not be relevant to the principles I’ve been exploring.  I’m wondering if estrogen levels in procreating males and females influence the number of children in families.

There are r and K strategies for guiding progeny to maturity.  In an r strategy, you have as many children as possible to compensate for an inability to control an environment often hostile to progeny achieving maturity.  In the K strategy, parents conclude that by paying close attention to fewer progeny, adulthood for the offspring can be more predictably achieved.

A high-estrogen male would likely be more inclined to pay close attention to his children than a low-estrogen male.  That attention would more likely translate into a K strategy whereby the child is ushered into adulthood with much attention.  Plummeting birth rates in Europe and developed countries might be directly related to changing male hormone levels, elevating estrogen.  Twentieth century high fat diets may be partly responsible for drops in birth rates.

High fat diets granted to emerging middle classes in developing countries may be leading to a diminution in population explosion as males become more solicitous of their children.

Studies with animal populations could be conducted by adjusting male estrogen levels and observing variations in family size over time.  It’s not clear to me what the results would be if the mother’s estrogen levels were changed.  Do high-estrogen females have larger families than low-estrogen females?  It might have to do with social structure.

When female choice is engaged in matrifocal social structures with high-testosterone females, we would hypothesize that in Classic Matrifocal TE (high testosterone, high-estrogen) females there would be smaller families than in Te (high testosterone, low estrogen) Contemporary Matrifocal females.  In a patrifocal society where males are doing more of the choosing, we’d expect that TE Conventional Patrifocal males would have smaller families than Te Warrior Patrifocal males.

F te/M TE        Conventional Patrifocal (small families)
F tE/M Te        Warrior Patrifocal (large families)
F Te/M tE        Contemporary Matrifocal (large families)
F TE/M te        Classic Matrifocal (small families)

Which doesn’t exactly work.  Contemporary matrifocal (think Sweden) clearly has small families.  We’d also expect Classic Matrifocal to have large families.  So, there seems to be a complementary opposite thing happening again.

F te/M TE        Conventional Patrifocal (small families)
F tE/M Te        Warrior Patrifocal (large families)
F Te/M tE        Contemporary Matrifocal (small families)
F TE/M te         Classic Matrifocal (large families)
.
So, though it feels right to say that it is male estrogen levels that decide family size regardless of social structure, we could just as easily say that it is female estrogen levels that decide family size, only high female estrogen makes for a big family.  High female estrogen levels translate into large families (low-estrogen females, small families) as high male estrogen levels suggest small families (low-estrogen males, large families).

A place to go to find refuting evidence would be Conventional Patrifocal Asian societies.  Were large families in Asia once the convention?  If both very large and very small families have both been the case among Conventional Patrifocal, then this piece of the puzzle may require more thought and observations.

There is a possible pattern here.  Studies would have to be conducted to back it up.


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