The Domesticated Penis challenges long-held assumptions that, in the development of Homo sapiens, form follows function alone. In this fascinating exploration, Loretta A. Cormier and Sharyn R. Jones explain the critical contribution that conscious female selection made to the attributes of the modern male form.Synthesizing a wealth of robust scholarship from the fields of archaeology, cultural anthropology, evolutionary theory, and primatology, the authors successfully dismantle the orthodox view that each part of the human anatomy has followed a vector of development, along which only changes and mutations that increased functional utility were retained and extended. Their research animates our understanding of human morphology with insights about how choices early females made shaped the countenance of males.In crisp and droll prose, Cormier's and Jones's rigorous scholarship incorporates engaging examples and lore about the male member in a variety of foraging, agrarian, and contemporary cultures. By detailing how female selection in mating led directly to a matrix of anatomical attributes in the male, their findings illuminate how the male member also acquired a matrix of attributes of the imagination and mythical powers-powers to be assuaged, channeled, or deployed for building productive societies.These analyses offer a highly persuasive alternative to moribund biological and behavioral assumptions about prehistoric alpha males as well as the distortions such assumptions give rise to in contemporary popular culture. In this anthropological tour de force, Cormier and Jones transcend reductive gender stereotypes and restore to our concepts of evolutional biomechanics an invigorating new balance and nuance.
Loretta A. Cormier is an associate professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, USA. She specializes in cultural anthropology, primatology, languages, and medical anthropology, and is the author of The Ten-Thousand Year Fever: Rethinking Human and Wild Primate Malaria and Kinship with Monkeys: The Guaja Foragers of Eastern Amazonia.Sharyn R. Jones is an associate professor of anthropology at Northern Kentucky University, USA. She specializes in archaeology, ethnoarchaeology, human ecology, and gender studies. Her work has ranged from the study of Fijian cannibalism to the analysis of bones from the recently discovered Amelia Earhart site in Micronesia. She is the author of Food and Gender in Fiji: Ethnoarchaeological Explorations and coeditor of Behaviour Behind Bones: The Zooarchaeology of Ritual, Religion, Status, and Identity.