Comparing Monogamous & Polygamous Men, Part 1: Race, Ancestry, Character Traits, & Physical CharacteristicsJames Dunphy
Part 1 of 2 (Part 2 here)
Ancestral mating patterns reconstructed from DNA reveal that “the pair-bond is a ubiquitous feature most commonly observed in the form of serial monogamy.” In other words, having one spouse is the norm for humans.
An undercurrent of polygamy has coexisted with the monogamal norm, however. This undercurrent seems to flare up at the beginning of technological ages such as, for example, the dawn of agriculture. It seems to be flaring up again at the beginning of the Information Age. The function seems to help those better adapted to the new environment outbreed those who are less adapted to it.
The most common form of modern polygamy in white countries is what I call “segmented polygamy.” This is a de facto form of polygamy in which women take turns being the wife of a high-status man. These segments in time may overlap if he impregnates a mistress or engages in mixed dalliances.
All women aim for marriage to last indefinitely when starting out. Hence, they want men to be monogamous. Not all monogamist men are better than polygamist men, though. For example, the brainy, Right-leaning polygamist Elon Musk is more interesting than Left-leaning footballer David Beckham. Musk can tell you about travelling in outer space, restoring free speech to Twitter, and building super-fast underground tunnels . . . but he may also drone on about electric cars without door handles and Shiba Ibnu-themed cryptocurrency. Okay, Musk isn’t perfect, but he’s a lot more interesting than the (imperfectly) monogamous Beckham, who opposed Brexit and can tell you a million ways to kick a soccer ball.
Because monogamists can be dull and boring and polygamists can be interesting, it’s best to affirm monogamy in the abstract rather than promote every monogamist over every polygamist. It’s still useful for women to be able to tell monogamists apart from polygamists, however, especially before starting a relationship. They will either become the center of a monogamist’s family photo or one branch of a polygamist’s complicated family tree. This is a guide to help them choose between each fate.
Ancient Ancestors of Whites, the Most Monogamous?
The ancestors of white men have passed more male lines than the ancestors of men in other races, though East Asians come close to them. Many believe this means they were more monogamous because it implies fewer men were breeding polygamously, but it could also mean some male lines were more privileged than others because this would also boost the “effective” population, as shown in the graph below. Thus, it is a clue to greater monogamy, but not definite proof, but I say this as an amateur trying to be cautious and not as a professional scientist.
The highest-ever ratio of men passing on their genes relative to women can be found among the Stone Age ancestors of whites. These groups are many, including Ancient North Eurasians (ANEs), Basal Eurasians, Western Hunter Gatherers (WHGs), Scandinavian Hunter Gatherers (SHGs), and Eastern Hunter Gatherers (EHGs).
According to a review of Kevin MacDonald’s Individualism and the Western Liberal Tradition, Prof. MacDonald thinks SHGs, and then EHGs and WHGs were the most monogamous. Because the proportion of men passing on lines doesn’t vary much between 50,000 and 10,000 years ago, then their previous incarnations as ANEs and so on would have been similarly monogamous when examined collectively.
Basal Eurasians are what is called a ghost population because their existence is inferred from DNA, and no skeleton made up purely of their DNA has been found. Mesolithic Middle Eastern people are about half descended from them. The effective reproductive rate for the Mesolithic descendants of Middle Eastern people is about half what it was among Mesolithic ancestors of whites, meaning half as many men in the long run passed on genes. This suggests they were either more polygamous or assigned greater favoritism to some families. Early European Farmers, a group which MacDonald believes was more polygamous than European Hunter Gatherers, get about 44% of their DNA from Basal Eurasians. Overall, Basal Eurasian ancestry is highest among Iranians and Qataris, groups among whom polygamy and arranged marriages are still legal. It’s next highest among Ashkenazi Jews at about 38%, then Southern Europeans at around 30%, and finally Northern Europeans at around 15%.
MacDonald suggests that arranged marriage correlates with polygamy. I can’t find any studies on it. The best I can do is point out that the modern holdouts of both polygamy and arranged marriage are mostly Muslims in the Middle East, so a correlation seems plausible.
MacDonald suggests that romance is positively associated with monogamy and negatively associated with polygamy. The theme of Romeo and Juliet is romance contra the lovers’ families’ wishes. Whites seem to be the most romance-oriented race. MacDonald claims their evolutionary history in cold climates is responsible for this, but many parts of North America and Asia are similarly cold, yet there is no Inuit or Mongolian equivalent of Romeo and Juliet. Whites’ greater romantic tendencies probably have more to do with post-Paleolithic Europe having higher population density, which facilitated greater competition between individuals for mates. Moreover, Europe, and particularly northern Europe, has the least amount of sunshine of all regions of the world, so perhaps this added stressor on gathering resources necessitated strong ties such as one finds in romantic bonds.
With the advent of agriculture, the ratio of male-to-female transmission of genes decreases drastically among all races, and then eases up, but never returns to the pre-agricultural levels. The story of the Garden of Eden may be a reference to this. It concerns one man and one woman who live in monogamy. God permits them to eat from the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden, but forbids them from eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (perhaps, an agricultural tree). When they eat from the latter, God deports them from the Garden, meaning they must live elsewhere and work the soil as farmers do. Fast forward to King Solomon’s reign: Solomon has 700 wives, some of whom lead him to idolatry. Because much what we deem to be “good” today is common among monogamists, and much of what we deem to be “bad” is common among polygamists, knowledge of good and evil might have been knowledge of monogamy and polygamy. To suggest this is to suggest the opposite of what Marx and Engels hypothesized: that primitive human societies were more polygamous than modern ones.
If there is any great wisdom from the distant past, as perennialist traditionalists such as René Guénon suppose, then it certainly isn’t greater intelligence, as mankind improved in this regard up to the Enlightenment. Instead, it must have to do with how Stone Age men had a better chance of passing on their genes. Men’s moral instincts must have been skewed differently, and perhaps in a better manner.
It is possible that the same psychology which led whites’ ancestors to distribute marriage more evenly motivates whites to structure their societies to have greater economic equality, as measured by Gini Coefficients. In other words, equality may have as much to do with biology as ideology. Whites may have greater genetic potential for economic equality given the same socio-technological conditions because of their evolutionary history.
Polygamy, Sociosexuality, and Race
Sociosexuality facilitates polygamy. The two main components of sociosexuality are extroversion and psychopathy:
Extroversion entails being outgoing, sensation-seeking, group-oriented, energetic, assertive, and exuding interpersonal warmth. Extroverts feel energized around others. Women universally rate interactions with extroverted men as better on average. Extroversion correlates with testosterone, income, and number of children sired.
Psychopathy has evolved partly to help males to attract females by telling them what they want to hear but also by increasing thrill-seeking behavior and pursuit of rewards, including sex. Women rate psychopathic men higher not only for their mannerisms but their looks, suggesting psychopathy is part of a bundle of traits that make men appealing to women.
Sociosexuality helps a man to pass on his genes in a polygamous society because he can count on his charm to pass on his genes to multiple women, and thus to a greater extent. As we saw in Figure 1, Blacks, Hispanics, and Amerindians had a lower ratio of men passing on genes through their evolutionary history, suggesting they may have been more polygamous. Unsurprisingly, Figure 2 below reveals they are also more psychopathic. According to F. Roger Devlin,
Psychologist Richard Lynn found twelve studies measuring racial differences in scores. He presents the racial averages as fractions of a standard deviation above or below the white average defined as zero.
Blacks, Hispanics, and Amerindians are more psychopathic than whites, while Asians are a little less psychopathic than whites, yet their ancestors passed on slightly fewer male lines. This means the correlation between psychopathy and polygamy isn’t one for one, because we’d expect them to be more psychopathic if it were.
Morphological Characteristics of Monogamists and Polygamists
According to one study from 2021, women can predict whether a wants an affair or a long-term relationship to some degree, but men can’t predict the same in women. The reason is that before the days of state-mandated child support payments, a man could afford to impregnate as many women as possible without bearing any responsibility (if he could travel far enough away from her angry kinsmen). Thus, by impregnating as many women as possible, he would only increase his individual chances of passing on his genes. A woman can only have one child at a time, however, and she can’t play that game of sowing her wild oats. She must focus on raising her child, for whom she’ll need extra resources until the child is old enough to fend for himself. Thus, women need to focus more on quality of life for children, and they benefit from picking a monogamous man who will devote all his resources to them and not divide them among many women, or skip town to shirk the responsibility of raising the child.
In any case, let’s compare the two faces by their physical characteristics. Monogamous men (see the two photos on the left in Figure 3) have wider foreheads, narrower faces, narrower jaws, and narrower mouths with fuller lips, and more arched eyebrows and deeper-set eyes, as evidenced by greater shadow between their eyes and eyebrows/nose bridge. Their face has more of a V-shape, too. Their gaze is calmer, kinder, and more interested in the observer.
One thing to note is that deep-set eyes reflect a heavy brow ridge. Brow ridges evolved to become less pronounced through the Paleolithic up until the present era. A heavy brow ridge is thus an archaic trait. It’s interesting that monogamous men seem to have an archaic trait.
Sociosexual men, as seen in the two photos on the right, have wider faces, wider jaws, and wider mouths with thinner lips. They also have larger and/or narrower foreheads. Consequently, their face has more of an ovular shape. Their eyebrows are less arched, more upturned, and they have shallower-set eyes. They appear to be fatter, which may contribute to the appearance of shallower eyes. The bottom right one looks uninterested in and unimpressed with the observer. The top right morph looks like he is energetic, but gets bored easily and likes to shift quickly from activity to activity. The look on his face reminds one of the “feels good, man” version of Pepe the Frog (see the top image). In nature, frogs are either very polygamous or very monogamous. It appears as though Pepe is from a polygamous species, not just because of his looks but because he often cuckolds Wojak.
In the second part of this essay, I will show case studies of monogamy and polygamy, and we’ll see how well these facial averages predict traits in people.
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I don’t think it makes a whole lot of sense to talk about monogamous or polygamous people as much as it does to talk about people in a position to be monogamous or polygamous. If most men were in the position of strength required to access to a harem, they would do that. If they were in a position of weakness where they could maybe access some sex but not command fidelity and exclusivity, most would put up with that.
“δυνατὰ δὲ οἱ προύχοντες πράσσουσι καὶ οἱ ἀσθενεῖς ξυγχωροῦσιν.”
“The strong do what they can, and the weak suffer what they must.” – Thucydides
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