What Percent of Your Ancestors Are Men? Hint: It's not 50%!

by Eric Disco
Aug 24

In the past it was comforting to me, the thought that ALL of my ancestors managed to reproduce. Successfully!

Obviously, or I wouldn’t have gotten here.

That would mean that in the grand scheme of things, I have a pretty good chance of reproducing. Right?


Consider this: What percent of our ancestors were men? It would seem 50%. Every one of our ancestors had a mother and a father.

But the answer is actually not 50%.

Social Psychologist Roy F. Baumeister writes:

True, about half the people who ever lived were women, but that’s not the question. We’re asking about all the people who ever lived who have a descendent living today. Or, put another way, yes every baby has both a mother and a father, but some of those parents had multiple children.

Recent research using DNA analysis answered this question about two years ago. Today’s human population is descended from twice as many women as men.

I think this difference is the single most underappreciated fact about gender. To get that kind of difference, you had to have something like, throughout the entire history of the human race, maybe 80% of women but only 40% of men reproduced.

For women throughout history, the odds of reproducing have been pretty good. For women, the optimal thing to do is go along with the crowd, be nice, play it safe. The odds are good that men will come along and offer sex and you’ll be able to have babies. All that matters is choosing the best offer. We’re descended from women who played it safe.

For men, the outlook was radically different. If you go along with the crowd and play it safe, the odds are you won’t have any children. Most men who ever lived did not have descendents who are alive today. Their lines were dead ends. Hence it was necessary to take chances, try new things, explore other possibilities.

Sailing off into the unknown may be risky, and you might drown or be killed, then again, if you stay home, you won’t reproduce anyway. We’re most descended from the type of men who made the risky voyage and managed to come back rich. In that case he would finally get a good chance to pass on his genes. We’re descended from men who took chances.

There are implications here that there are fewer men who are successful and more who are unsuccessful than society would have us believe. Think Genghis Khan who had several hundred children.

If there were two men and two women living on an island, statistically both women would reproduce with one guy and not the other. Which guy are you?

Society tries to tell you to be the nice, socially passive guy and eventually it will just happen for you.

Don’t be aggressive. Obey your fear.

Don’t talk to girls you don’t know because it’s inappropriate.

Don’t take risks because it won’t be worth it.

Just keep doing what you’re doing and everything will be alright in the end.

Well, chances are IT WON’T BE ALRIGHT.

As a man you are more likely, in the grand scheme of human history, to fail than succeed when it comes to women.

It won’t just happen. It is up to you to MAKE IT HAPPEN YOURSELF.

If you don’t have the skills to meet women you want, you need to learn.

If you have fear, it’s your job to figure it out and get past it, because there are no free rides on this train.


posted in Initiative and Inhibition

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