Just So Story

rollercoasterAutism is a social condition.

Rather, in the way that loud, rhythmic music is a symptom of puberty, the sudden rise in autism is a manifestation of extreme societal change. Both transitions are characterized by a radical hormonal shift.

The autistic person is a normal person time-traveling here from the distant past to the present where his or her gifts are only about to be understood.

Our genetic history is stored like a pocket roadmap of an almost endless roller coaster ride, tracking, among other things, the hormonal fluctuations of our ancestors. A patriarchal past stores a history of high testosterone males and low testosterone females. Further back in time, our genes tell us we lived matrifocal lives with high testosterone females and low testosterone males. Back further still, we were just learning to use language in dance-driven tribal bands where females were revered societal leaders. Unceasing music was the rhythm of their life.

Almost half of these male band members were left handed. Females were far more verbally articulate than men. The males were often relatively tall and lanky. Puberty arrived unusually late. Dancing was the center of their life.

A million or more years of sexual selection with powerful females picking the best male dancers was coming to an end. Males had been selected by the women for neotenous features that included cooperative natures, creativity and the big brains that made them extravagant dancers. Females were revered for all these things plus their management skills. They were marshalling infants to adulthood with no fathers; only brothers helped provide.

The great shift from matrifocal to patrifocal social structure began perhaps 40,000 years ago when language firmly bridged over from mostly the females to both women and men. About 25,000 years ago, the archeological record reveals that the human brain was beginning to grow smaller. Great dancers were not the cat’s pajamas anymore. Men were also picked by females for their gifts with words. Right-handers proliferated. The history hormone roller coaster had finished peaking and was now picking up speed as it headed down.

Perhaps 1,000 generations later, we’ve hit bottom. The roller coaster is starting again up hill. Our future is filled with child-like creators as the autistic begin a much delayed return.

Proceed to author’s FREE book download on this subject (The book is called Evolution, Autism and Social Change). 10 minute introductory video here.

on 09/17/09 in Evolution | 2 Comments | Read More

Comments (2)


  1. abfh says:

    Hi Andrew. One question I’ve pondered on occasion is how modern society’s more fluid gender roles and changing concepts of sex and gender might be related to neurodiversity. Based on my (admittedly unscientific) observations of autistic community forums and other sites, I’ve gotten the impression that autistics tend to perceive sex and gender in ways that differ from the general population. What’s your take on that?

  2. Andrew Lehman says:

    Excellent question, and one I’ve thought about almost only in the context of social structure. There other ways that this question could be approached I haven’t much thought about.

    As regards social structure, a rather arcane detailed discussion appears here http://bit.ly/14ljMX.

    Thank you, abfh

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