Did Testosterone Prevent Early Art?


(image via Wikimedia Commons)

A new study has come out that suggests that one of the key developments in mankind’s history of art was a general drop in testosterone levels  50,000 years ago.

The study, published by Current Anthropology, examined 1400 human skulls from around the world and determined  that the size and shapes of the skulls indicates a general drop off of testosterone levels among mankind at a certain period. This time period also happens to represent the birth of a new age of civilized culture – growth in cities, trade, and many cultural innovations, including the making of works of art.

Think the connection sounds a little spurious?

The study’s lead author Robert Cieri, of the University of Utah, stated to The Guardian: “The modern human behaviors of technological innovation, making art and rapid cultural exchange probably came at the same time that we developed a more cooperative temperament.”

Could is be possible that we owe many of the beautiful works of art, music, language, and culture to mankind collectively outgrowing our patterns of aggression and dominance? Possibly! It does seem to makes sense that art would flourish more readily in societies where cooperation and social good were at a premium.

It’s an interesting theory, at least.

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