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Sexual Selection and Intelligence

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Charles Darwin

Denis Noble

JP Rushton

Richard Lynn

L:inda Gottfredson

Goodreads

By meLo, 1340 words

Introduction

     Usually within the HBD community, discussions regarding the main mechanism(s) that drove the expressions of particular phenotypes is centered around natural selection or ecological(in the strictest, most traditional sense) factors. Sexual selection is unfairly sidelined, even though sex is the base of all multicellular evolution. The point of this article is to provide a logical argument for Sexual selections tremendous involvement, and to provide examples of how these pressures have shaped neolithic and modern Homo sapiens. I excluded Australoids but for good reason. Even though the population does have sexual selected traits, like blonde and culry hair, they are an incredibly diverse group and with the amount of pocket isolation I don’t think it’s fair without breaking this group into more categories. I kept this paper short, because it’s my first one and I wanted to use this as a “prototype” for future posts. Again all criticism is more than welcome because I myself am still learning about this topic.



     First, it is important to note that traits which evolved from sexual selection are not the same thing as traits that serve reproductive purposes. Reproductive organs are usually the product of sexual selection, but sexual selection does not always act upon genitalia. Sexual selection favors any trait that allows an organism to attract the opposite mate more effectively, competitively or not.


The general trend

Before I explain the respective pressures and phenotypes between subpopulations of the neolithic, it is essential to begin with a summary of the temporal trend that persisted before the aforementioned groups. This begins with a breakdown of definitions and the repair of misconceptions. Human development is extremely complicated, so this explanation will have oversimplifications for the sake of efficiency. Any questions or discussions on the matter are more than welcome. If you don’t know anything about heterochronies I suggest you read this.

    Paedomorphosis=/= Neoteny. Neoteny is a heterochronic process, paedomorphism is a type of heterochrony. One of the largest or most noticeable differences between Homo sapiens and Chimpanzees is the increase in paedomorphic and peramorphic traits of the former. All heterochronic mechanisms affect the developmental outcome of homo sapiens this is mostly to do with developmental trade offs and creates a mosaic pattern of our evolution. Humans have accelerated brain growth which reaches full size before most of the other limbs and organs are finished, even though this is achieved through peramorphic heterochronies it coincides with the deceleration of the body which actually produces a more paedomorphic appearance in the population. This acceleration ends(progenesis) and is subsequently followed by a strong deceleration(neoteny) of the skulls growth (Penin, 2002). Neoteny and acceleration define growth rate, but the actual duration of the growth period is hypermorphic, meaning the duration of Human growth is delayed  or extended so that our legs and brains can continue to grow. Even though the brain is not paedomorphic its still enlarged to retain its childlike plasticity.These processes underlie the “direction” of our evolution, and while a lot of important traits are a result of peramorphic processes, it would be foolish to disregard the obviously paedomorphic traits we exhibit. It doesn’t take long to see how sexual selection can favor peramorphic or paedomorphic traits. Peramorphosis tends to create exaggerated features(think Irish Elk, Peacocks or the human brain) while paedomorphosis tends to appeal to sexual selection by producing “fragile” traits associated with infants of the species, in theory members of the opposite sex should associate these traits with “cuteness” and possibly even better parental skills.


Macro races

    Most don’t realize, but all races have undergone sexual selection. Each race has its own unique combination of peramorphic and paedomorphic traits as well as superficial ones that don’t relate to heterochrony. I will briefly go over each race and describe the varying degrees of pressures and the resulting phenotypes.

Caucasoids

    Caucasoids have the largest concentration of hypermorphic traits. They are the tallest race, and have the most color variation, this heavily implies sexual selection is involved. While height only has a small correlation with IQ, taller specimens will generally have larger brains, because they also have larger bodies. It also been documented that taller individuals tend to be seen as more attractive. Blue eyes are disproportionately present in the scientific community and they are a recessive trait, it’s speculative but very possible that blue eyes coincides with increased intelligence. Peter frost already did most of the work for me, you can read his piece on European sexual selection here. Mate competition becomes the obvious reason for these phenotypic expressions.

Negroids

    Unfortunately there isn’t much data on penis size, as a result this description will be lackluster. Which is usually the go to trait that HBDers look for when defining the sexuality of Africans. Things like Breast and buttocks size are ill defined, and studies on them are rifled with misconceptions. What we do know though, is that blacks are around the same height as Europeans but the majority of groups tend to have smaller brain sizes. It is interesting to point out that Africans display more paedomorphic facial features(except for prognathism). This makes a lot of sense, Africans are more r selected than Caucasoids, so it is expected that they display more paedomorphic traits. Because of a lack of data, I can’t make a reasonable assessment on the pressures that could of caused these expressions, however I do not think it would be far fetched to assume that it is also mate competition.

Capoids/Pygmies

    Pygmies, are a result of what Shea 1984 calls “rate hypomorphosis” Essentially it is a truncation of allometric scaling. Pygmies should therefore be one of the least intelligent and most r selected races. Their body and brain size decreased from the ancestral one, and they are almost entirely paedomorphic. More than likely their body size has to do with their adaptation to fewer resources. Capoids can confuse a lot of people. At first I thought they must be intelligent because of their paedomorphosis, but their brains are only a measly 1270cc and according to the Shea and Penin studies(cited earlier) a lot of traits considered to be paedomorphic(flat nose, reduced prognathism) are actually just the result of functional innovations and are independent of developmental growth. Specimen like Homo sapien Idaltu then begin to make more sense. The pressure involved here is more than likely an increased need of childcare(or at least a decrease in aggression) but not necessarily and increased need of Intellectual faculties.


Mongoloids

    Along with pygmies they are the most Paedomorphic race, and one of the most r selected. East asians have proportionally short limbs, very baby like faces, and the largest brains of any race. More than likely this is due to shape retardation following neoteny(deceleration of growth). It is necessary to define why Capoids and Mongoloids share similar facial traits yet do not share the same body proportions or absolute brain size. In this situation it is reasonable to assume that both populations had similar pressures for childcare and decreased aggression the main difference is hypothesized to lie in the varying survival pressures each group faced, I believe the ecological factors in East asia were more cognitively demanding than in Southern Africa, not in the sense that Africa is an easier place to survive but that Eurasia had a higher demand for Neuroplasticity. This is for two main reasons 1) in a novel environment there is more that you are required to learn and 2) The founder effect makes recessive genes easier to be expressed.


In Summary

    Intelligence can arise from a multitude of factors and no factor is completely necessary. Caucasoids seem to have developed their intellect from mate competition and K selection. Negroids are similar but to a lesser degree. Mongoloids seem to have evolved their cranial capacity for primarily docility and cooperation. All are forms of sexual selection, just for different preferences in attraction. Europeans and Africans tend to gravitate to more masculine features while Capoids, and Mongoloids are more for feminine ones.

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23 Comments

  1. RaceRealist says:

    Good stuff. I found myself agreeing with everything until this:

    Africans are more r selected than Caucasoids, so it is expected that they display more paedomorphic traits

    Pygmies should therefore be one of the least intelligent and most r selected races.

    Caucasoids seem to have developed their intellect from mate competition and K selection. Negroids are similar but to a lesser degree

    Along with pygmies they are the most Paedomorphic race, and one of the most r selected.

    Unless you’re only talking about differential reproduction, why use the terms “r” and “K”?

    Like

  2. Phil78 says:

    Pretty nice outline, but i have a few questions/clarifications.

    1. One the topic of pigmentation, Frost’s theory is that they (skin and hair) were selected in women (note that in populations containing blondes, the percentage is higher in women than men) due to appear “cute” as people are usually lighter in youth than in adulthood. So it’s sort of a form of paedomorphism,

    You can even find this British study that found blondes were preferred among men in a bar setting, they viewed them as more “needy” than Brunettes.

    In regardless to IQ, on average, I believe in women at least Blondes only have a 2-3 point advantage.

    If you want a better correlate of intelligence, I would try outbreeding versus inbreeding and how that effects human behaviors and societal factors in development. This seems to be a better correlate than ancestry/traits itself.

    It could be applied to ancient Greece versus modern Greece, Northern Europe as a whole, and the distinction between Northern and Southern Italy.

      2. I have to bring up the same issue as RR uses with your point on R/k terminology. If you can back yourself up, that’s fine, but in it’s traditional use I find it odd that you would use Paedomorphism in negroids to be explained by R selection when by your article standards and Frost’s point on paedomorphism of light pigment to be related to more K selected settings.

    The same with Capoids. True, they have R selected traits like low life expectancy but that’s confounded by their lifestyle as hunter-gatherers, and their emphasis on cooperation and childcare is fundamentally K selected rather than R.

    (read your comment to RR, I understand now.)

    So, to be clear, Paedomorphism role in sexual selection I do agree with in regards to cooperation versus competition, however in application to macro races I question.

    Something worth noting is that, like Caucasoids but unlike pymgies, Blacks had farming/ pastorlism. Comparing the two, the latter is more competitive hence why you have Nilotic and Aryan nomads being the most peramoprhic of their macro races at least by height.

    Sudanids are a mixed bag as while tall, they have more broad or paedomorphic features (depending on subroup). That even applies with the most Paedomorphic group, being Palaenegrids/Guinesids.

    Another factor here may be historic population density.Compared to Eurasia, Africa was much lower which restricted civilization’s progress and of course.

    My guess is that, given how their morphology vary by ecology, their environment may dictate factors in competition that influence their paedomophic or peramorphic traits.

    Fir instance, Nilotic nomads in desert/grasslands have wider space to compete for given their occupations and population demographics, Sudanids in Grasslands and some forests have wide spaces but lower mobility in their competition, Guinesids in Grasslands and Forests have higher density than Huntergathers but less mobility given both their lifestyle and environment to intensely compete and result in peramorphic traits. In this case it’s easier for empires to dominate, as in the Sahel and central Sahara it was limited to few black tribes to hold monopolies in political power in the middle ages (Soninke, Mandinka, Songhai,) while in the Guinea region Dahomey for instance conquered many Yoruba tribes that weren’t as centralized like Oyo or the Bini people.

    In Other words, Empires “stook out” more in the guinea due to less competition, you even see this alongside and increase emphasis on council rule as you go south.

    For instance, Asante and Dahomey were nearly absolute in their rule yet had some balance by the council. In Yoruba culture it wasn’t uncommon for kings to be over thrown and for new bloodlines to be “elected”, and in Igbo cultures it was mostly decentralized villages headed by a council of elders with either only priests or chiefs that held townships and were partially descended by other more centralized ethnic groups like Igala (Asaba) or Bini (Onitsha and Aboh) while other cultures were very much similar in structure as they overlap into Cameroon. Anything else formed during European trade as “market towns”.

    The stops when you once again have centralized Grassland Blacks called Bamilike of Southern Cameroun and Chadic speakers of somewhat nilotic traits like height.

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    • Phil78 says:

      This also translates in into a gradient of Sudanid to Guinesid.

      That is, Sudanid influence goes as Ashanti-Dahomey-Yoruba-Igbo.

      http://gutenberg.polytechnic.edu.na/4/6/8/4/46848/46848-h/46848-h.htm#Page_426

      The North to south relation work best when you ignore the shore based cultures based on cephalic index (but height still works), as I noticed on modern Guinean cephalic index studies long heaed types were closer to the shore or Swamps.

      Note, I would consider these that a better indicator of ecological adaptation than compeition itself.

      Another example of short farmers and tall pastorlists would be Mesoamericans (stocky) who started in swamps versus Plain Indians.

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    • meLo says:

      “If you want a better correlate of intelligence, I would try outbreeding versus inbreeding and how that effects human behaviors and societal factors in development. This seems to be a better correlate than ancestry/traits itself.”

      Any links you could provide me?

      “I find it odd that you would use Paedomorphism in negroids to be explained by R selection when by your article standards and Frost’s point on paedomorphism of light pigment to be related to more K selected settings.”

      Well it’s important to realize that all humans are K selected. But some humans are more peramorphic or paedomorphic. I’m aware of the model’s lack of practical utility. When I decided to use it as comparison it was based on the fact that most HBDers still subscribe to it and it was a good opportunity to demonstrate the invalidity of Rushton’s application in a light that was different from RRs. if you get too wrapped up in the definitions you will confuse yourself.

      “The same with Capoids. True, they have R selected traits like low life expectancy but that’s confounded by their lifestyle as hunter-gatherers, and their emphasis on cooperation and childcare is fundamentally K selected rather than R.”

      I did not say that Capoids are R selected. It is still disputed whether the facial traits of Capoids is actually due to any developmental change, so i don’t know whether you can say Capoids actually have a higher propensity of cooperation and childcare. Slight prognathism is actually normal. Capoids have less hypermorphosis in the brain than other races which does imply shorter growth durations and subsequently less time to learn, progenesis is a paedomorphic trait.

      “however in application to macro races I question.”

      Yes I realize there is a lot intra-racial variation, I was just categorizing by morphological averages.

      “Compared to Eurasia, Africa was much lower which restricted civilization’s progress and of course.”

      Indeed, Low density population density is proposed to induce paedomorphosis

      “Note, I would consider these that a better indicator of ecological adaptation than compeition itself.”

      I actually wasn’t trying to make a competition/cooperation dichotomy, but it is interesting how it almost appears that way. Both can select for either paedomorphic or peramorphic traits.

      Like

    • Phil78 says:

      HBD chick has a few post on the topic regarding manoralism as well as one anecdote on athens. I did my own research on Italy, but it might take awhile.

      “Well it’s important to realize that all humans are K selected. But some humans are more peramorphic or paedomorphic. I’m aware of the model’s lack of practical utility. When I decided to use it as comparison it was based on the fact that most HBDers still subscribe to it and it was a good opportunity to demonstrate the invalidity of Rushton’s application in a light that was different from RRs. if you get too wrapped up in the definitions you will confuse yourself.”

      Agreed.

      “I did not say that Capoids are R selected.”

      My mistake, you were only talking about scaling expectations-“Pygmies, are a result of what Shea 1984 calls “rate hypomorphosis” Essentially it is a truncation of allometric scaling. Pygmies should therefore be one of the least intelligent and most r selected races. ”

      “It is still disputed whether the facial traits of Capoids is actually due to any developmental change, so i don’t know whether you can say Capoids actually have a higher propensity of cooperation and childcare. Slight prognathism is actually normal. Capoids have less hypermorphosis in the brain than other races which does imply shorter growth durations and subsequently less time to learn, progenesis is a paedomorphic trait.”

      I’m aware of that, it’s just that regardless they are overall ranked as one of the most paedomoprhic by your standards.

      As for Childcare and cooperation, they do seem more concern in those fields if you see RR’s citation of pygmies in one of his R/K refutation pieces and literature on “Akka pygmy dads”. Pygmies and Hadza people avoid conflict interpersonally. Intra-group wise I’m unaware of the habits with Bushmen and Hottentots, but violence isn’t unknown at least between two groups as it is with pygmies.

      I would guess Bushmen and Hottentots are more mobile than pygmies in their natural setting given their locations, thus pygmies are more paedomorphic as i see in observation. Still, I hesitate on downplaying pygmies ferocity as I even read of bantus fearing them as “arrow snipers” as they are hard to detect in the forests due to their size.

      “Yes I realize there is a lot intra-racial variation, I was just categorizing by morphological averages.”

      I have no problem with averages, I was just highlighting intra-racial variation to better understand macro racial mechanisms in place of r/k (which you mentioned is conflicting between research and HBD perceptions)

      “Indeed, Low density population density is proposed to induce paedomorphosis”

      From a resource perspective at least, you would expect peramorphic (forager) traits to be less important than childcare traits.

      “I actually wasn’t trying to make a competition/cooperation dichotomy, but it is interesting how it almost appears that way. Both can select for either paedomorphic or peramorphic traits.”

      True, I guess it depends on “what kind” of selection. Either a forager and nurturer (or possibly further modulated by what body type being more optimal in a certain environment).

      Like

    • meLo says:

      “Pygmies and Hadza people avoid conflict interpersonally.”

      I thought pygmies were different than bushmen? As in they are smaller and less paedomorphic in facial configuration.

      “From a resource perspective at least, you would expect peramorphic (forager) traits to be less important than childcare traits.”

      I think it depends on what kind resources.

      “Either a forager and nurturer (or possibly further modulated by what body type being more optimal in a certain environment).”

      Exactly!

      Like

    • Phil78 says:

      “I thought pygmies were different than bushmen? As in they are smaller and less paedomorphic in facial configuration.”

      I was just mentioned capoid groups who interpersonal behavior I had knowledge of.

      In that regard, I rank Hadza and Bushmen “less” paedomorphic than pygmies because while they have stouter faces, their bodies are larger and (at least bushmen) have more “rigid” or angular faces.

      “I think it depends on what kind resources.”

      Ah, should’ve been more specific as I was in my next comment.

      “ ‘Either a forager and nurturer (or possibly further modulated by what body type being more optimal in a certain environment).’

      Exactly!”

      Glad we are on the same page.

      Like

  3. John Doe says:

    “Most don’t realize, but all races have undergone sexual selection.”
    I wonder how much of it is due to ‘true’ sexual selection and ‘other’ selection; I could see quite a bit of sexual selection happening, but definitely not the majority of differences being from it simply due to assertative mating existing.

    Really off topic but somewhat related: what do you guys think of that 80/20 meme of 80% of the women sexually selecting for the top 20% of the men? Seems pretty off when you take into account some recent studies have shown assertative mating for humans too.

    Like

    • RaceRealist says:

      Pareto’s Principle applies in a lot of places but I’ve not seen good data on something like this. I’ve seen Okcupid data which suggests this but I like something more empirical.

      Like

    • John Doe says:

      “I’ve seen Okcupid data which suggests this but I like something more empirical.”
      What did the data suggest? I’m assuming it probably showed 80% of females going for 20% of males. But this makes me wonder, DID they date or GO FOR? Big difference.

      Like

  4. RaceRealist says:

    I like the logic you used in this piece. I didn’t know what pedo and paramorphosis was before I read this. Interesting stuff. It’s kinda like ancestral and derived traits.

    I hope to see more good stuff like this from you in the future

    Like

    • meLo says:

      Ill write a post on the physiological nature of g sometime in the future, it should contain novel concepts and mechanisms, but not real soon, I need to gather all of my sources and thoughts on the subject.

      Like

    • RaceRealist says:

      That’ll be a never-ending conversation. I’ll probably get mine out before yours but I’m nowhere near done. Physiology is complicated. And my forte.

      Like

    • meLo says:

      Which is why I find it strange that you haven’t seen anything on it before

      Like

    • RaceRealist says:

      What, the ‘physiological nature of ‘g’?’

      Like

    • RaceRealist says:

      Oh I have. I’ve just never seen a physiologist talk about it and when I finally got a good understanding of physiology, I laughed at all of the ‘g is physiological’ claims.

      Like

    • meLo says:

      Still doesn’t make sense. I figured you would’ve at least seen something about synaptic plasticity, maybe it’s because most supposed physiological connections on intelligence are made using MRI.

      Like

    • RaceRealist says:

      I figured you would’ve at least seen something about synaptic plasticity, maybe it’s because most supposed physiological connections on on intelligence are made using MRI.

      I don’t find it compelling to be honest. Yea the so-called physiological connections do use MRI, which could skew readings as I brought up in the past.

      A quote from Ken Richardson’s book Genes, Brains, and Human Potential: The Science and Ideology of Intelligence (pg. 192-193):

      As mentioned in chapter 1, the experience of having a scan, lying in a claustrophobic cylindrical enclosure, is far from natural conditions. A survey in 2007 indicated that 43 percent of participants found the experience upsetting, with 33 percent reporting side effects like headaches. Children in particular are likely to be restless. As Michael Rutter and Andrew Pickles warn, “motion artifacts … can lead to quite misleading conclusions about the interconnectivity across brain regions.” 28

      Moreover, when the participant is confined in the cylinder, it is difficult to present him or her with realistic cognitive tasks and evoke meaningful responses. For example, speech, which involves muscle movements, distorts readings. In other words, fMRIs can be quite accurate as indices of categorical disease or trauma states. But they need to be applied more carefully for describing normal variation.

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