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Innate Gender Preferences in Toys 25 Million Years Old?

orthogonal (588627) writes | more than 8 years ago

Toys 2

Some 25 million years ago, humans and vervet monkeys diverged from a common ancestor. In very rough terms, perhaps one and a quarter million human generations, or five million vervet generations, have been brought forth upon the Earth since that common ancestor lived. Of cour

Some 25 million years ago, humans and vervet monkeys diverged from a common ancestor. In very rough terms, perhaps one and a quarter million human generations, or five million vervet generations, have been brought forth upon the Earth since that common ancestor lived. Of course, many differences have evolved between humans and vervets in those 25 million years: among other things, human parents choose toys for their children; vervet parents do not.

But after all that time and genetic change, and despite studies attributing human children's toy preferences to adult stereotypes, a new study by Dr. Gerianne Alexander finds that vervet males, like human boys, prefer toy trucks and balls, while vervet females and human girls prefer dolls and toy cooking pots. What's more, the vervets play with the toys much as human children do: males roll trucks on the ground, females inspect dolls (apparently) for genitalia. Previously on Slashdot: Harvard president Larry Summers and his daughter's "baby truck", Gender and gaming.

[Submitted and, of course, rejected.]

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More interesting than many previous articles here. (1)

djh101010 (656795) | more than 8 years ago | (#14220709)

Maybe it's because I've got two kids, one of each, and have seen this first-hand, but to me that's a very interesting article (with a good write-up on your part). And I'm not sure I buy the theory some folks have that it's all about training - our son is a year old, and knew what to do with a ball immediately. Doesn't cuddle toy animals as if they were babies. Our daughter, on the other hand, is indifferent to many typical "boy's toys", and instead has always been the nurturing, feed-the-dolly type person.

Some of it is training, sure, but the difference in how they choose to play with a new toy, when not given any clues, is dramatic.

Hmm (1)

leoPetr (926753) | more than 8 years ago | (#14248270)

Curious, though inspecting genitals is not necessarily the same thing as "nurture". Sexual dimorphism is not unusual in primates, but whether one magnifies, skews, builds upon, keeps constant, or diminishes it with cultural factors is a different matter.

*finally gets around to closing the tab*
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