Back in ‘06, researchers noticed what might have been a major contributor to the demise of the Neanderthals: they failed to divide labor between the genders.
Among their human contemporaries, men hunted while women gathered food and tended the home fires. But Neanderthals, to their demise, enjoyed the ultimate in gender equality. Males and females hunted together, which was risky and punishing business (original research here).
Imagine the survival advantage conferred on human children by the division of labor. They were reared by two different types of minds, each with its own way of seeing the world, caring for the clan, and tending to needs. Mothers could provide consistent nurturance and sustenance, while fathers kept the dangerous business of hunting away from home.
Division of labor turns out to have been pretty handy for us. That’s why I was intrigued by this research. It seems that men who perform traditionally female household chores, such as cooking and cleaning, have less sex than those who stick to traditionally male tasks like mowing the lawn and fixing the roof (original research here).
If I’m reading all this correctly, and I’m pretty sure I am, then I must immediately stop helping around the house. My thoughtless actions could kill us all, just like the poor Neanderthals. So today I will tell Iron Wife, “Woman, I’ll be on the couch until the grass needs cuttin’.”
I’ll let you know how it goes.