Discussion Board

Topic: anachronism

From: Dr William Harwood
Location: Canada
Date: 07/27/2009

In Darwin's Children, page 377, in a scene set 20,000 years in the past, you refer to a tribal chief who had "the most sons and daughters in this band." Since there is no clarifying passage, the impression is created that the chief was aware of his status as a biological father almost 15,000 years before any human learned of the connection between recreation and procreation. (The pseudoscience of sociobiology pretends that non-human species have such knowledge.)
But don't take my word on the matter. Check with any paleoanthropologist.

Re: anachronism

From: Greg Bear
Date: 07/28/2009

He could smell his children and know they were his. Lions do this as well, and baboons--and kill offspring not related to them.

Re: anachronism

From: Dr William Harwood
Location: Canada
Date: 07/28/2009

I have written elsewhere that a new alpha male that takes over a pride/herd/pack etc kills existing cubs for the purpose of obtaining the mother's prompt submission, not because they have any concept of fatherhood, a concept even humans did not have before 3500 BCE. Clearly we must agree to disagree.

Re: anachronism

From: patrick
Location:
Date: 07/28/2009

Yeah, what he said. That's a biological trait, to know one's own - by sight, smell, touch...taste. 'Mentating' on it is perhaps a different thing. But knowledge is often sub-conscious.

Re: anachronism

From: Greg Bear
Date: 07/29/2009

A decent explanation, as well.

Re: anachronism

From: patrick
Location:
Date: 08/11/2009

Actually, to me, a new alpha male killing existing cubs is ensuring they're not his. That is, clean house, and make your own. I can see that other factor being satisfied, too. And likely others are. Such things are often a complexity.

Diplomacy ?

From: Rainbow Starchild
Location: London, England
Date: 08/13/2009

The fact is just that, a fact. If he had fathered the most offspring, then the statement is true. Whether or not he knew this is a different case. Also for ease of finding the passage (I had to search) it's on p294 of my hardback copy ISBN 0-00-225732-7. But I'm sure if anyone looks at any edition they can find it at the beginning of Part 2, Chapter 32. Why don't we just enjoy the story and leave our nitpicking for episodes of Star Trek or something ? :-)

Diplomacy ?

From: Greg Bear
Date: 08/18/2009

I nitpick, therefore I am? (To paraphrase Descartes!)

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