Welcome to a special feature of the website. This section explores what I argue is one of the greatest outstanding mysteries of our ancient past. This is the discovery of fatherhood.
There must have been a time, thousands – and probably tens of thousands – of years ago when ancient peoples did not understand the connection between sexual intercourse and birth. A gestation period of nine months was just too long for our distant ancestors to have made the link.
At that time, women would have seemed especially mysterious and miraculous, swelling up and giving birth on no apparent rhythm and for no apparent reason.
But then, at some point, the link would have been made and this would surely have been a major intellectual, social, psychological and even political breakthrough, transforming ideas about family structure, kinship, ancestors, community, heredity, the very purpose of sex.
The argument outlined in the document is partly speculative – as it must be, given the time distance – but it does also discuss quite a bit of evidence, anthropological, biological, archaeological and even religious, that supports the idea and dates the discovery to a specific time and place.
Anyone who is interested is free to explore the evidence inside. I am quite prepared for the argument to be shot down, but would be interested to hear from serious readers who have additional evidence that either supports my line of reasoning, or vitiates it. Either way, I hope you enjoy exploring what is a fascinating topic.