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Even if testosterone brawls do not look pretty, a woman does want her own man to be exceptional - and able, hunky, testosterone stocked guys do very well for them. That is how the bioeconomic population check works naturally to territorial birds and hierarchical primates: a male represents resources he can control, while females are "disciplined" to choose those with enough chest. If the resources (or able guys) are limited, there are easily fewer females reproducing.

But here is where your imagination limits you. You are describing your view of drivers in a monogamous, patriarchial and patrilinear society. Maybe the Yap society did look like that, but maybe not.

For example if it was not polygamous, patriarchial and patrilinear, then limiting the number of guys does not need to limit the number of married women. If it was matrilinear and patriarchial, the providers in question are the kids uncles and not chosen as sexual partners.

This is why I asked if you had read some study about Yappian society, because otherwise it looks like projection.

Anyway, from the wikipedia article I found The Stone Money of Yap by Cora Lee C. Gillilland from 1975. And though it focuses on the stones rather then the society, it is enough to refute your basic model of population control.

There were several currencies on Yap and (small by later standards) stone money appears to have been exclusive for the chiefs until the 19th century (possibly related to their seats of power). In the early 19th century Palauans appears to have brought stones as tribute to chiefs on Yap. But with European trade focusing on Palau later in the 19th century power shifted to Palau and Yappians who went on European ships to Palau had to pay for the priviledge to cut the stones.

So there does not appear to have ever been any period of lots of young Yappian men taking themselves out of the population by stone trecking.

by fjallstrom on Mon Jun 29th, 2015 at 04:18:56 PM EST
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