Early Humans-How Much Raping Did They Do?

How much of a role did rape play in human evolution? Men are larger and have much more upper body strength than women, so without laws or religion it seems like it would have been common. Is rape natural??

Did we descend from a bunch of rapists? Could we have inherited a ‘rape gene’?? Or is what a prominent Republican said true, that the ‘juices don’t flow’, so raped women can’t conceive???


I don’t see how anyone could know the answer to that. You can’t determine that from bones, fossils or mummies.

True. But what if we compared humans to other animals that have the same size and strength differences between the sexes. Do they have consentual sex, or do the males just rape the females?

What is the opinion of anthropologists on this?

Considering that the general Republican opinion that rape is verboten except for cases of rape or incest (although I seem to recall Bush I say that if his wife were raped and got pregnant he’d want her to keep the baby), if this were IMHO I’d say that that “prominent Republican” is an idiot. But this isn’t IMHO…

sorry, that should read:

opinion that abortion is verboten

Judging by the rest of the animal kingdom, there was probably a way that human females were “in heat” and were more receptive to the male’s advances. Hell, even now, there’s only a few days a month where the fiancee is actually in the mood (and it’s obvious). I don’t think rape would have been a good way to reproduce. The reason for the upper body difference is that men were the hunter/gatherers, right?

Of course I’m not a scientist or expert or anything, just using my logical sense. I’d like to see what real knowledgeable people thought.

There are relatively few animals, sexually dimorphic or not, in which rape is a common tactic by males.

In both Gorillas and Orangs, males are much larger than females, even more so than humans. While rape is apparently the norm among Orangs, I believe it is not found in Gorillas.

Rape is a common breeding tactic in some species of ducks, but is not found in many species of birds where the sexual size discrepancy is much larger.

Sexual size dimorphism has much more to do with competition between males, than with the ability to dominate females for mating. In most species, females have too many options for rejecting an unsuitable mate.

Regarding the statement that “raped women can’t conceive,” this is simply pig-ignorant when applied to humans. However, in many animals females do have the ability to internally short-circuit fertilization by unacceptbale sperm, even if an unsuitable male has managed to copulate either by force or deception.

Very good replies, guys.

Maybe I don’t fully understand how evolution works, but I don’t see why rape wouldn’t be common in gorillas, too. Let’s say one large gorilla has some sort of a mutation causing him to rape female gorillas. If he does, then he would have many more offspring than the non-raping gorillas. Half of the baby gorillas will be males, and some percentage of those will inherit the rapist mutation.

When they mature, they will go out and rape, and produce MORE gorilla rapists. Soon, almost all gorillas would be rapists. Right?

Then why is rape not more common? How is it that some animals rape while others don’t??

Simply put, gorilla have estrus cycles. When females are in heat they are receptive to males and are fertile, whereas when not receptive to males, they cannot conceive.

Ergo, sex while not receptive (ie rape) does not result in a pregnancy.

I suspect that the entire concept of rape is a recent construct. In the few primitive societies that were around in the 19th and early 20th centuries, it is not so much rape as raiding that accounted for much of the breeding. The way it often worked was this. A mature man collected as many females as he could and the young men went on raiding parties of nearby settlements. They often got killed, but often they successfully defeated the settlement they attacked. Then they killed the men and often the children, but they always brought back the women as mates. Forcibly, if they didn’t come voluntarily. It wasn’t called rape and it wasn’t to them, but to us it looks like kidnapping and rape. For the yound men it was probably their best chance at reproducing. Better than hanging around doing nothing. This goes a long way to explain the behavior of a lot of young men today. And why women often are attracted to that kind of young man. I am not saying it is all in our genes, only that the tendency is there. Notice how these wild young men almost always settle into a staid middle age.

You ignore the fact that gorillas are highly social animals. They live in groups consisting of one adult male, several females, and immature offspring. The adult male gains nothing by raping females when they are not in estrus, not fertiel, and not receptive. And females will generally receptive to the lead male when they are in estrus. An outside male that attempts to mate will either be driven off by the leader, or defeat the leader and take over his place.

Orangs, on the other hand, are solitary. That’s why a male can get away with raping a lone female if he comes across one. She will not be defended by a mate.

Humans obviously are highly social. Among human ancestors, rape - as a normal strategy - may have been selected against primarily through mate defense by other males, or by social groups in general.

In many other animals it may simply not be physically possible for a male to rape an unreceptive female, either because he cannot grasp her firmly enough, or because she is physically able to prevent copulation even if overpowered.

I think Colibri nailed it down–the Gorillas have no OPPORTUNITY to rape.

All of the females are already tied up in harems protected by a strong male. So if he tries to rape one, he’s gonna have to go through the other male to do it.

No access = rape is not an option.

Our society has just gotten huge enough that you now have unattached females running around, away from protective mates. (sorry, didn’t mean for that to sound as sexist as it did…)

Just to prove that I’ve been paying attention, there is perhaps a nugget of truth in that Republican’s statement. Apparently women are more likely to concieve if they orgasm. See ShibbOleth and others (I can’t get the image of the cervix dipping down like a chicken’s head :slight_smile: ).

Another thought is that a chap running around raping every girl he sees is not as likely to hang around and help provide for the children. Therefore, whilst he has more offspring, they might have a lower chance of survival.

Of course, the bracketed sentence should have contained “rid of”.