Hybrid Vigor

August 4, 2009 | 4 Comments

Category: Autism, Causes of Autism, Society

On page 575 of the May 1 issue of Science there is an article, “Africans’ Deep Genetic roots Reveal Their Evolutionary Story.” Examining the blood of 3,194 Africans from 113 populations, researchers looked for patterns in inheritance. “In many cases, the team found that ethnic, cultural, and linguistic differences reflected real genetic differences…” For example, the three hunter gatherer click language cultures (Sandawe, Hadza and Khoisan) were all genetically connected.

They ran comparisons to 98 African Americans. “…71% of their DNA from ancestors who came from all over western Africa, 8% from other parts of Africa, and 13% from Europeans.”

A premise of my work is that there are several causes of autism that are related to changes in a mother’s sexual hormone levels as this relates to changes in testosterone and estrogen levels over the course of our recent (3,000 generations) evolution. We’ve transformed from a matrifocal, aboriginal, high-testosterone/high-estrogen female, low-testosterone/low-estrogen male to the reverse, a high-testosterone/high-estrogen male, low-testosterone/low-estrogen female. Various environmental and social effects propel our children backward hundreds, sometimes thousands, of generations. When sent too far back, their world becomes again one characterized by primary process (one time, one place, no negatives) that in modern times manifests as autism because there are no longer the ancient aboriginal social conventions that serve to bind individuals together within a group. This might be constant rhythm, constant touch, low-fat diets, nonstop dance, gestural language.

In Darwin’s 1859 On The Origin of Species, he described the result of mating two lineages of pigeons separated by 2,000 years of separate breeding. In Europe and China the birds were bred for different traits, and the two populations showed few of the features they displayed when last aligned. When the birds were mated by Darwin’s contemporaries, Darwin observed a proliferation of features in the hybrids that looked like the 2,000-year-old progenitor, the roc pigeon. There had been a slip backward of hundreds of generations to an ancestor last held in common by the parents.

Breeders of horses, dogs and other domestic species find that with careful interbreeding of disparate lineages, hybrid vigor can be encouraged by the carrying forward of useful characteristics of common ancestors into the present day.

Consider the following. Humans mating with other humans separated by two thousand generations or more since last connected are encouraging the emergence of features in their children that were extremely useful back when spoken language was brand new, or perhaps still mostly gesture. I would estimate that the children of these marriages would be left-handed a far higher percentage of the time, right-handedness hypothetically emerging with spoken language and hemispheric differentiation.

Some individuals would have difficulty adjusting to contemporary child rearing practices, tending to withdraw and to be lost in primary process. Hybrids may not easily integrate into a domestic context. Other individuals offer an astonishing array of useful features that seem to seamlessly align themselves with us moderns. There are those that are a combination of the two.

We are more than our genetics. What our parents provided is but part of the package. Also there is what we learned while in the womb, epigenetic understandings. Then there are the decisions we made while growing older. Genetics, environment and personal decisions combine to make us what we are and what we become. Nevertheless, how our parents’ contributions combine have a powerful effect upon what comes after.

Barack Obama is a hybrid child, a left-hander, a charmer and a deft performer. How much of Obama’s skill set comes from characteristics vital to our ancient forebears? In a matrifocal society, these are features that are deeply respected and particularly useful in procreation. Why are some children provided a set of skills that fit perfectly for our times while others have so much difficulty adjusting?

I don’t know. But it does seem reasonable to me that we explore the conditions that might feel most familiar to those emerging among us now and revealing features characteristic of long ago. A place to begin looking is where our matrifocal, aboriginal peoples are still alive today. Some of those people are still speaking in click languages, on the continent where we were born.

Perhaps the oldest peoples of the world can offer us insight into contemporary conditions and diseases that we are wrestling to understand.


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This entry was posted on Tuesday, August 4th, 2009 at 6:55 am and is filed under Autism, Causes of Autism, Society. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
4 Comments so far

  1. Mark on August 4, 2009 6:46 pm

    Very interesting article!

    I’m curious about the following information..

    “We’ve transformed from a matrifocal, aboriginal, high-testosterone/high-estrogen female, low-testosterone/low-estrogen male to the reverse, a high-testosterone/high-estrogen male, low-testosterone/low-estrogen female.”

    Are you saying that, in the past, human males had lower levels of testosterone?

    Do you discuss this further anywhere else on your site?

    Thank you!

  2. Andrew on August 5, 2009 6:44 am

    There’s places scattered through the site that discuss this aspect, but “Introduction to the Theory of Waves” probably goes into the most detail. Click on http://www.neoteny.org/2009/02/06/introduction-to-the-theory-of-waves.

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