What is the evolutionary significance of the female hymen? How does it aid in the survival of the human race?
This is a wonderful question. You will find "one" answer on page 68 of the classic book, The Naked Ape (1967) by Desmond Morris. But, do not turn first to page 68, on the journey from pp. 1-67 you will learn much about the evolutionary significance of structures-functions in the primate called Homo sapiens.misogynisticfeminist said:What is the evolutionary significance of the female hymen? How does it aid in the survival of the human race?
Another related feature, and one that appears to be unique to our speices, is the retention of the hymen or maidenhead in the female. In lower mammals it occurs as an embryonic stage in the development of the urogenital system, but as part of the naked ape’s neoteny it is retained. Its persistence means that the first copulation in the life of the female will meet with some difficulty. When evolution has gone to such lengths to render her as sexually responsive as possible, it is at first sight, strange that she should also be equipped with what amounts to an anti-copulatory device. But the situation is not as contradictory as it may appear. By making the first copulation attempt difficult and even painful, the hymen ensures that it will not be indulged in lightly. Clearly, during the adolescent phase, there is going to be a period of sexual experimentation, of ‘playing the field’ in search of a suitable partner. Young males at this time will have no good reason for stopping short of full copulation. If a pair-bond does not form, they have not committed themselves in any way and can move on until they find a suitable mate. But if young females were to go so far without pair-formation, they might very well find themselves pregnant and heading straight towards a parental situation with no partner to accompany them. By putting a partial brake on this trend in the female, the hymen demands that she shall have already developed a deep emotional involvement before taking the final step, an involvement strong enough to take the initial physical discomfort in its stride.
You are much too harsh--Dr. Morris has a Ph.D. in animal behavior from Oxford University and his major adviser was famed Dutch ethologist Niko Tinbergen. Dr. Morris was also Curator of Mammals at the London Zoo.arildno said:Again, a blah-blah argument from that perverter of biology, Desmond Morris. He is just silly and presents personal fantasies as scientific hypotheses.
As to OP--I think it a valid, and open, scientific question.To others
Well, E. O. Wilson would certainly get a good laugh from this statement. So, your "silly biologist criterion" thus links D. Morris with E. O. Wilson--thus how silly for E. O. Wilson to have been awarded two Pulitzer Prises and position as distinqiushed Professor at Harvard University mostly for his philosophy that links socio-biology to human nature. I find all your hand waving about silly biologists as providing nothing of value to this thread. If you have a logical argument about the OP, please do present it.arildno said:In general, socio-biology is even less of a science than psychiatry.
OK, an hypothesis for sure, but please explain how "partial" closure protects reproductive organs of female against bacteria, fungi, etc. that have size much, much smaller than the hymen opening ? It just does not follow. Your hypothesis only makes sense if the hymen in humans was completely closed (e.g., imperforate) as found for example in whales, but the facts are the exact opposite, such condition is very rare in humans. Please understand, I have no time for or interest in name calling on this thread topic (e.g. silly this or that Ph.D. level biologist)--yet I find it fascinating that my recent search of > 3000 peer reviewed journals in science and not a single paper on the topic of evolutionary significance of hymen in mammals ! Why is this not a topic of interest ?arildno said:I have already mentioned one possible explanation of the evolutionary advantage of the hymen ....A hygienic function..
Have no fear!selfAdjoint said:Well arildno, you finally got around to my hypothesis (your #2). I wasn't going to post it for fear of getting into a flame war with you over ideology.
In fact, of course human males have no inner need to stay around and help raise the kids, and giving them an ego/property right does tend to enhance that behavior, whatever one thinks of patriarchal cultures.
Do you have the reference to the publication where this was statistically shown ? --I would like to see the form of the questionnaire that was used to reach this scientific conclusion. Clearly, if such a finding has been published, then Morris's hypothesis has been falsified--if so, I really do not understand the above statement that the hypothesis of Morris can never be falsified--seems to me you have knowledge of the study that has done so.arildno said:b) That he cannot possibly talk about real humans, since that would imply that actual women abstained from sex out of fear from the pain of hymen rupture (which is not the case)