1.20 The Great Ancestor disappearing. Beginning male dominance

Disappearance of the Great Ancestor Figure, appearance of many mythical totem gods.

The AMHs in their home continent Africa survived the Toba disaster mainly in the southern coastal region. Perhaps the oyster beds have played an important role in survival, because their whereabouts are characterized by enormous shell middens.
We speculate that this population really started to show the ‘modern’ features that led to the Early People’s extinction.

Think what must have been the effect of a six years volcanic winter on these people.
They have not noticed anything of the Toba explosion. Only their world darkened and also during the day it became only dim light. Woman started to sing and dance, to awaken the Great Ancestor from his sleep so that she/he/it could restore the world for her/his children. They continued to dance/sing even when the night had fallen much earlier than usual. The next day the world was possibly even darker and now the men joined their choir with their stronger voices. Day after day they kept on going, until the men gave it up: even on the drums and flutes the Great Ancestor did not respond. He had apparently let his children down and retired somewhere high in the air and did not interfere anymore with his world. The Great Ancestor had turned away from her / his children and they ignored Her / Him / It from now on.

Tthey turned to the elements that offered salvation in need, such as the sea, the Great Mother of their oyster beds, the Great Mother of the prey, the Great Mother of their food plants. And to the Sun, which gradually showed itself stronger and which they encouraged with their dancing / singing.

However, the Great Ancestor, Creator of their (word)world, was not gone for good. He sat too deep in their inborn religious disposition. But He no longer interfered with them, that was clear, and that is why they no longer interfered with Him. But the later monotheist patriarchs would rediscover Him.

It may be assumed that the women had become more ‘no nonsense’: their children and men needed food they had to provide it, anyhow.
The women struggled to collect food in the twilight during the day and wood for their cooking fires. For the men it was no way to go hunting.
The state of emergency brought a different, harder mentality. Their attitude of accepting their destiny, trusting that the Great Ancestor would abandon his children, were lost forever. Because of the warfare with other groups, the men also became harder.

Gerelateerde afbeeldingoyster bed (Wikimedia)

For the coastal population the oyster and mussel banks and other sea food offered a solution, the enormous shell middens provide the archaeological evidence for this.

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor oyster bed south africa

Oyster Bay Travel (Eastern Cape province in South Africa), that shows also other seafood.

As mentioned, the genome shows a bottleneck in all species around 73,000 years ago. But most species in Africa survived the disaster, except for the Early People – we mean the contemporaries of the European Neanderthal people.

The post-Toba mussel bank people started to show different behavior. The paleos (we mentioned Hensilwood and d’Erricio), find in the post-Toba layers of the South African coastal caves and rock shelters new assemblages and fish spears and other tools from bone, ivory and antler, shell beads, engravings on ochre lumps. Especially microliths, very small stone fragments intended to be fixed in handles of bone or wood.

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor blombos cave

They don’t find shell middens, however! Of course not. Dr. Hensilwood points to the fact that today the sea level is much higher than at that time, and that the flood line was then tens of kilometers away. On the map this flood line is visible as a gray-blue strip.

Beginning of male dominance

Another speculation is that the coastal inhabitants defended their dwindling oyster beds against the hungry women of inland living groups. Hungry relatives initially moved in with the oyster bed groups, but it was soon understood  there can only one group survive with one oyster bed. The women chased their husbands on the wives of more groups to drive them away. The inland groups were angry about this unheard-of behavior: no group ever considered themselves the owners of a food source, and groups in need were always welcome to a group that was doing better. But this natural disaster broke through all norms: only the strongest group survives.

It meant war. And war makes men important. The five-million-year-old balance between the sexes shifted to the male sex.

In INTRODUCTION I have already depicted human nature as a three-stage rocket. Also the noble GHs are subject to three conflicting impulses and that it is the circumstances that decide which drive is the strongest at that moment. The Toba Winter brought the first situation of overpopulation stress, the ‘chimpanzee-situation’ of stage two.

For now we want to suggest the possibility that it was the musselbank people who were not only the ancestors of our ‘modern’ cultural achievements such as bow and arrow, spear-thrower and rock art, but also of warfare and male domination.

War makes men important – statement by Marvin Harris in Our Kind (1989). The war with the inland groups was purely a survival battle. For the first time men discovered that their gender was as important for surviving as that of the women. Until now, the men did what the women wanted from them. Among the musselbank people, this ancient balance between the sexes got biased.

Male dominance … is this only because of the survival behavior that the mussel bank people had to have during the Tobawinter: the women who chased their men off against women from other groups who were driven by hunger on their mussel beds? We are now thinking of the Kwakiutl of Vancouver Island (Canada) of 70,000 years later.

Still being GHs, the Kwakiutls lived on the northwest coast, in a 3000 km long narrow strip from California in the south to halfway Alaska.
On the left is the Atlantic Ocean and on the right the coastal mountains of British Columbia and the Cascade Mountains. The coastal strip, rarely more than 150 km wide, is a paradise. The Japanese wave stream softens the humid westerly winds while in the winter the high mountains stop the cold winds from the interior. In this temperate climate zone, spruce, pine and cedar trees that can grow to 70 to 80 m grow in dense forests, while deer, elk and bear live at the edges and mountain goats and sheep on the slopes.
The sea was an even more important source of food for the Indians: whales, seals, porpoises, sea lions, sea otters, halibut and sturgeon. In addition, schools of pegs and smelt, and the eulachon that even dried are still so greasy that they are used as candle with a candle spit.
But the rivers were the most abundant. Six times a year, salmon swim upstream to spawn. With tons together, they could be caught and dried on long racks. That meant a week’s hard work, but it provided so much food that it could feed large groups. Here we meet the phenomenon paradize.

An abundance of food. So large groups. Groups that split more frequently.   So this vast paradise soon became full of more than a hundred tribes. Overpopulation! War between the bands.
War makes men important, so also male dominance.
Even without horticulture or other means of food growing, the people of America’s northwest coast became ‘wild tribes’.

So we postulate, in short, that male dominance occurred for the first time in post-Toba mussel populations. Around 68.000 years ago was the largest concentration of musselbank people on the east coast of South Africa (on the map Sisubu cave and Border cave, the ‘shore district’.). The researchers state that this entire culture disappeared 65,000 years ago and that after some thousands of years that region was populated by AMHs with a more primitive culture!
They also discovered that Africa was at the time prey to desertification. The researchers conclude that the musselbank people must have been emigrated to the north. That they have populated the Arab peninsula (then green) via Bab el Mandeb. And later further migrated, partly to the east and the Far East, and to Europe.

Genetically this musselbank humans are “The 7 Daughters of Eva” from Bryan Sykes: his theory that we are all descended from only seven primal mothers, the seven DNA variants that can be traced back to the DNA of peoples who entered Europe between 40,000 and 50,000 years ago.

They brought with them the real Post-Toba modern-human behavior: bow and arrow and other hunting weapons, possibly even the first dogs  microliths (the most refined stone techniques), skin paintings, petroglyphs … and male dominance.

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Used abbreviations

GHs: gatherers/hunters (the phase from 2 million years ago to 10.000 years ago)

AGRs: agriculturers (the phase from 10.000 years ago till now)

NT(s)Neanderthal people

MSA(s): Middle Stone Age people (African NTs)

AMH(s): Anatomical Modern Humans (H sapiens people), like we are

(m)ya: (million) years ago

ANBOs: Ancestor Bonobos (ape-men), our earliest human ancestors

Paleos: all scientists that are important for our story.