The evolutionary relevance of foreskin conditions
Why have these hindrances not been deselected?
THE PECKING ORDER THEORY
At first, I believed in the goodness of mother nature, and thought
she would never inflict such an irrelevant problem on man; I believed
phimosis must be due to cultural developments and taboos on natural
cleaning and grooming processes (eg. a mother licking a baby) -
a civilisation`s illness, probably the first.
However then I learnt that animals frequently suffer phimosis
and persistant frenulum. (Dogs, pigs and bulls are often reported).
And so I developed a theory which is as simple as it could be true:
- Restrictive foreskins are an essential part of the survival of
many mammalian species, in that they helped to simplify and establish
the pecking order.
I believe studies on which animals suffer phimosis and frenulum
breve would open up the right ideas and the correct questions.
I speculate that phimosis and frenulum breve mainly exist among
those mammals whose mating patterns revolve round the stomping ground
(the place where bulls fight to be the alpha male) - (and the dance
floor). This speculation proposes that not only those who were weaker
in character and physique, but also the males who were anatomically
inhibited, would have less motivation to challenge and compete.
This would simplify the mating games, and help establish status,
roles and ordering in the group hierarchy.
Guy Cox must be complimented for being first to ask this question in 1995 when he wrote: "De
Virginibus Puerisque : THE FUNCTION OF THE HUMAN FORESKIN CONSIDERED
FROM AN EVOLUTIONARY PERSPECTIVE"(62)
"Abstract - The functional significance of the human male foreskin
is considered in evolutionary terms. It is postulated that there is
a lifetime's reproductive advantage in delaying the first coitus, and
hence of first childbirth, for some years after puberty, until parents
are better established as providers. Phimosis and preputial adhesions
are common in human males because they have selective advantage, tending
to impede and therefore delay the onset of sexual activity."
" ... the physical symptoms of virginity ... "
"Far from reducing reproductive rates, these barriers to first
intercourse must confer overall benefits on the species. This can be
explained as a consequence of the well-known fact that humans take
a disproportionately long time to reach maturity. Children are dependent
on their parents for around one quarter of their lifespan, whereas
10% or less is typical in other mammals. Even in the most primitive
societies, adolescents are not in a position to offer their offspring
an adequate chance of success until they have established themselves,
which will not happen until some years after physical puberty. ...
If they had children before this point was reached, the added drain
on their resources would probably prevent their ever reaching
this point, affecting the survival chances of both their first, and
all subsequent, offspring."
Phimosis and preputial adhesions, rare defects in other mammals, have
become common because of the selective value of postponing childbearing
for some years after physical puberty."
Firstly among animals, phimosis and persistant frenulum are widely
reported. So on this point Guy Cox is clearly wrong.
More importantly: If phimosis did confer an advantage to
every young pair, then the lack of a foreskin would have been totally
deselected ... i.e. every young male would have phimosis. Therefore
I feel we are looking for a social or collective advantage, rather
than an individual one.
a Second Practical Evolution Theory