Read Mystery Dance: On the Evolution of Human Sexuality by Lynn Margulis Free Online
Book Title: Mystery Dance: On the Evolution of Human Sexuality|
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 751 KB
City - Country: No data
The author of the book: Lynn Margulis
Edition: Touchstone Books
Date of issue: September 1st 1992
ISBN 13: 9780671792268
Loaded: 1759 times
Reader ratings: 5.8
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This book held my interest so much that I read it in two sessions, something I don't do as much as I did in youth. However, as a family member pointed out, the title has all the fun things: evolution, human, sexuality, mystery, dance. Mystery Dance is written by Lynn Margulis and Dorion Sagan. Dorion is the son of Lynn Margulis and Carl Sagan, a mother and son collaboration.
Before I review this book, I have to say how I found Margulis and this book. I had been interested in a debate about neo-Darwinism's selfish gene between Denis Noble, Chair of Physiology at Oxford, and Richard Dawkins. The crux of the debate--to me--is the amount of causal emphasis of the evolutionary process at the gene or phenotype level. Margulis' contribution to this debate is her theory of symbiogenesis. Symbiogenesis, basically, suggests that the cells of living reproductive organisms developed and merged as a product of symbiotic relationships between separate organisms. A fascinating theory that can be seen throughout the Mystery Dance.
Even though Mystery Dance was very enjoyable, I am only giving it four stars. The style was a little...well irritating. I think the authors were trying to write in a style that mimicked the chaotic and multidimensional topic. They try to wrap in human language and words into this style. There is a whole chapter that discusses the mammalian mental mapping. It hypothesizes how the mammalian mental map developed through an extended nocturnal phase when mammals were primarily auditory, and how this contributed to human language. It was fascinating; however, this was too much of a tangent away from human sexual evolution for me.
The Mystery Dance was still a great book with insightful and enjoyable analysis.
The female of the human species has developed--unique in the animal kingdom--traits to hide ovulation: permanent development of ovulation characteristics like breasts, the loss of oestrus, and even cognitive tendencies like wearing cosmetics and high heels. Given the soft-wiring of the human brain and the significant amount of time and energy required to raise human children, the need for male help in child rearing is obvious. Do these ovulation hiding traits indicate a need to override the pre-homosapien male's interest only during ovulation--to maintain interest throughout child rearing?
Another unique trait analyzed is the strong characteristics of pre and post copulation competition in humans. Physical and behavioural traits for copulation usually focus on weeding out males before copulation or competition after copulation with multi-male partners? Other primates have pre or post copulation tendencies. Humans have very strong traits for BOTH pre and post copulation competition. The Mystery Dance analyzes the potential reasons for this.
Humans and mammals have also retained the R-complex forebrain from our synapsid (lizard) ancestors. Why have we retained this and what does it mean for human behaviour and sexuality? The R-complex has been mapped through studies to have a connection to the characteristics of racism, war, and rape. These are evolutionary cheaters. A group of a mammal species with weaker DNA traits will define the other (xenophobia), cull out the stronger DNA males, and force reproduction. Like most parasitic characteristics, they hold a lower tendency and have been culled through evolution, but the question is why they still remain and what they says about civilization.
An enjoyable book. A little strange in style with much conjecture and little citation. However, it is still a must read!
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Read information about the authorLynn Margulis (1938-2011) was a Professor of Geosciences at the University of Massachusetts, a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences.
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