Kinship & Inheritance among a Hermaphroditic Species

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eldin raigmore
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Kinship & Inheritance among a Hermaphroditic Species

Post by eldin raigmore »

(See this thread.)

Given a species in which one person's father can be another person's mother (for instance, either all adults are hermaphrodites all the time, or they alternate between male and female with no rhythm or in idiosyncratic and unsynchronized rhythms), kinship terms are likely to be different than they are for any human cultures.

Each person will have a sire (or father) and a dam (or mother) who will be different from each other.

A person's offspring may either be those they* have begotten or those they* have conceived and borne.

*(English's only common or epicene (both masculine and feminine) personal pronouns are non-singular. I don't want to use a neuter (neither masculine nor feminine) pronoun like "it", because it connotes inanimacy or non-humanity.)

In "The Left Hand of Darkness" Ursula K. LeGuin suggests that Ego call those Alters whom they have sired "sons" and those Alters whom they have borne "daughters".

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Ego's siblings can either share both parents with Ego (full-siblings) or share just one parent with Ego (half-siblings).


I. If Alter shares both parents with Ego, either
I.A. Ego's sire is Alter's sire and Ego's dam is Alter's dam, or
I.B. Ego's sire is Alter's dam and Ego's dam is Alter's sire.

We might call the first kind (I.A.) "parallel-siblings" and the second kind (I.B.) "cross-siblings", or something.

It is my expectation that since someone of this species cannot distinguish between male siblings and female siblings, they will regard it as more important than we do to distinguish relative age.

So they'd have a term for each of
I.A.1 "older parallel-sibling"
I.A.2 "younger parallel-sibling"
I.B.1 "older cross-sibling"
I.B.2 "younger cross-sibling"

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II. If Alter shares exactly one parent with Ego, then either:
II.A. Ego's sire is Alter's sire (Alter is Ego's sire's son), or
II.B. Ego's sire is Alter's dam (Alter is Ego's sire's daughter), or
II.C. Ego's dam is Alter's sire (Alter is Ego's dam's son), or
II.D. Ego's dam is Alter's dam (Alter is Ego's dam's daughter).

I believe in this species half-siblings will be even more common than they are among humans; it may be that the next time both members of the parental couple are ready to mate, both are male or both are female; or, one may be pregnant while the other is ready to mate.

They may, then, distinguish between older half-siblings and younger half-siblings.
II.A.1. my sire's son older than me
II.A.2. my sire's son younger than me
II.B.1. my sire's daughter older than me
II.B.2. my sire's daughter younger than me
II.C.1. my dam's son older than me
II.C.2. my dam's son younger than me
II.D.1. my dam's daughter older than me
II.D.2. my dam's daughter younger than me

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INHERITANCE:

It makes sense for a person's heir to be their oldest daughter; that is, the heir is the oldest offspring of whom the decedent is the dam.

That might mean that quite often a couple's property would not all go to one heir. If two of their offspring were each other's cross-siblings, each of the offspring might inherit all of their dam's property but none of their sire's property.


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MECHANISMS by which such a kind of hermaphroditism might work:
I haven't got any thoughts yet that I'm sure I like.

But, if they alternate between male and female, what if they're mammals, and only males lactate? What if the process of discharging the lochia continues until the entire uterus and fallopian tubes are "vestigial", and the dam can produce proper milk instead of just colostrum only when they have begun to grow male organs?

I'm not sure that there wouldn't be selective advantage to having their rhythms synch up so that whenever one was male the other was female and vice-versa.

OTOH they could both be fully-functioning potential sires and also both be fully-functioning potential dams at the same time all the time. Which one is sire and which one is dam could be determined when they mate. It might be random as far as they know. They might have no choice in the matter, nor even any knowledge of which way it turned out until it became clear that one of them was pregnant.


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***********************************************************
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So;
What does anyone think?
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Re: Kinship & Inheritance among a Hermaphroditic Species

Post by Keenir »

eldin raigmore wrote:(See this thread.)

Given a species in which one person's father can be another person's mother (for instance, either all adults are hermaphrodites all the time, or they alternate between male and female with no rhythm or in idiosyncratic and unsynchronized rhythms), kinship terms are likely to be different than they are for any human cultures.

Each person will have a sire (or father) and a dam (or mother) who will be different from each other.

A person's offspring may either be those they* have begotten or those they* have conceived and borne.
if they follow a form of monogamy, they might have a word like "sibling"...and distinguish it from "bastard/half sibling".

what you lay out below, that might be the result of the sort of everyone-has-at-least-two-spouses arrangement (such as Dr. Phlox had on Enterprise)
I. If Alter shares both parents with Ego, either
I.A. Ego's sire is Alter's sire and Ego's dam is Alter's dam, or
I.B. Ego's sire is Alter's dam and Ego's dam is Alter's sire.

They may, then, distinguish between older half-siblings and younger half-siblings.
II.A.1. my sire's son older than me
II.A.2. my sire's son younger than me
II.B.1. my sire's daughter older than me
II.B.2. my sire's daughter younger than me
II.C.1. my dam's son older than me
II.C.2. my dam's son younger than me
II.D.1. my dam's daughter older than me
II.D.2. my dam's daughter younger than me
if they can change sex, why would they mark a difference between the .1. and .2. in any of those?
What does anyone think?
its an interesting thought experiment, certainly.
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Re: Kinship & Inheritance among a Hermaphroditic Species

Post by eldin raigmore »

Keenir wrote: if they follow a form of monogamy, they might have a word like "sibling"...and distinguish it from "bastard/half sibling".
what you lay out below, that might be the result of the sort of everyone-has-at-least-two-spouses arrangement (such as Dr. Phlox had on Enterprise)
Yes.

Whether or not they follow a form of monogamy might depend in part on how well they can guarantee that they'll always be opposite-sex from each other during mating season.

In Ursula K. LeGuin's story "The Left Hand of Darkness", a population of humans whose bodies random-esque-ly adopt one sex or the other during mating season, are also mostly monogamous. One's body tends to adopt the sex opposite that of one's physically closest associates at the beginning of mating season. So a married couple may not be able to tell, in any given year, which of them will be which sex next year; but they can be pretty sure they'll be each other's opposite sex.
An exception would be if they had to spend the beginning of some mating season apart from each other. Then their bodies would think "if you're not with the one you love, you must love the one you're with". They might then have a 50%-50% chance of turning out to be same-sex, just that one year.

If there were no such quasi-guarantee, monogamy might not be considered such a good idea. Or, maybe, a couple would live together to help each other take care of each other's "daughters" (that is, children-they-conceived-and-bore as opposed to children-they-begot), and mate outside the couple when they happened to be the same sex, or simply mated infertilely when they were the same sex.

Of course all of the above depends on them not usually being both sexes at once. If they are usually both sexes at once, then monogamy is still a practical option.

Keenir wrote:
me wrote:
...
They may, then, distinguish between older half-siblings and younger half-siblings.
II.A.1. my sire's son older than me
II.A.2. my sire's son younger than me
II.B.1. my sire's daughter older than me
II.B.2. my sire's daughter younger than me
II.C.1. my dam's son older than me
II.C.2. my dam's son younger than me
II.D.1. my dam's daughter older than me
II.D.2. my dam's daughter younger than me
if they can change sex, why would they mark a difference between the .1. and .2. in any of those?
I'm not sure I understand your question, but I'll make what I bet is a good guess.
I will guess that you meant 'why distinguish between "my dam's daughter" and "my dam's son"?'.
As I explained in my post, I was making use of LeGuin's characters' re-tasking of the words "daughter" and "son".
In this context, "daughter" means "child whom I conceived and bore" (not "female child"), while "son" means "child whom I begot" (not "male child").

So I could re-write this as:
II.D.1. person older than me borne by my mother (my mother is their mother)
II.D.2. person younger than me borne by my mother (my mother is their mother)
II.C.1. person older than me begotten by my mother (my mother is their father)
II.C.2. person younger than me begotten by my mother (my mother is their father)
II.B.1. person older than me borne by my father (my father is their mother)
II.B.2. person younger than me borne by my father (my father is their mother)
II.A.1. person older than me begotten by my father (my father is their father)
II.A.2. person younger than me begotten by my father (my father is their father)

If you read the thread on the Vreleksa bboard you'll see that you're not the first to be confused by my uses of the terms "daughter" and "son" -- if in fact you were confused.

I guessed that was what you meant because the .1. and .2. have to do only with whether Alter is older than or younger than Ego; sex has nothing to do with the .1. and .2.. If that was the source of your question I guess I've probably answered it, probably to your satisfaction.

If you meant something else by your question; would you mind trying again? Maybe you can make me understand what you're asking.

Keenir wrote:
me wrote:What does anyone think?
its an interesting thought experiment, certainly.
Thanks! Do you have any further thoughts?
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Re: Kinship & Inheritance among a Hermaphroditic Species

Post by CMunk »

Good thought experiment.

Funnily enough, it isn't even much more complex than our system. In stead of having terms for fixed genders (sister, brother) you then have terms for who is the sire and who is the dam. You have just moved the distinction elsewhere.

They could have a medical solution to the monogamy problem. Something they could eat to increase the chance of turning into either gender. This could be used for prevension as well as for conception.
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Re: Kinship & Inheritance among a Hermaphroditic Species

Post by eldin raigmore »

CMunk wrote:Good thought experiment.
Thanks!

CMunk wrote:Funnily enough, it isn't even much more complex than our system. In stead of having terms for fixed genders (sister, brother) you then have terms for who is the sire and who is the dam. You have just moved the distinction elsewhere.
At least from one point-of-view, I agree.

I thought a person would consider theirself closer to others with the same dam than others sired by their dam or others borne by their sire; and even moreso than others with the same sire. Among full siblings that would only mean they'd feel more related to parallel-siblings than to cross-siblings. But if co-parents lived together and raised children together, they might feel closer to cross-siblings than to half-siblings; maybe, even, those with the same dam.

CMunk wrote:They could have a medical solution to the monogamy problem. Something they could eat to increase the chance of turning into either gender. This could be used for prevension as well as for conception.
Yes; I imagine if such a thing were discovered it might become popular (just as natural abortifacients were popular before the Scientific Revolution). OTOH there might also be significant social pressure against using it; depending on time and place and class, and possibly religion. For instance, in LeGuin's novel, people who usually changed into one particular sex rather than the other were called "perverts", whether they did it on purpose or not.

I thank all commenters so far for your comments.

What about the inheritance angle? Has anyone anything to say about that?

Does anyone have a conculture of such hermaphrodites whose conlang has kinship terms? Have you worked them out? What can you post about them for us to read?
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Re: Kinship & Inheritance among a Hermaphroditic Species

Post by eldin raigmore »

I had another thought.

LeGuin retasked "daughter" to mean "child whom I bore", and "son" to mean "child whom I begot".

We could re-task "sister" and "brother", too.

"Sister" could mean "daughter" of my mother.
"Brother" could mean "son" of my mother or "daughter" of my father, or "son" of my father other than my full sister.

A "full sister" or "sister-german" could be any "sister" who was also your father's "son".
A "half sister" could be any "sister" who was not your father's "son".

A "full brother" or "brother-german" could be any "son" of your mother who was also a "daughter" of your father.
A "half-brother" could be any other "brother"; your mother's "son" who is not your father's "daughter", your father's "daughter" who is not your mother's "son", or your father's "son" who is not your mother's "daughter".

I. If Alter shares both parents with Ego, either
I.A. Ego's sire is Alter's sire and Ego's dam is Alter's dam (they are each other's "full-sister"),
I.B. Ego's sire is Alter's dam and Ego's dam is Alter's sire (they are each other's "full-brother").

(Earlier I wrote that I.A would be parallel-siblings; now I'm calling them full-sisters.)
(Earlier I wrote that I.B would be cross-siblings; now I'm calling them full-brothers.)

II. If Alter shares exactly one parent with Ego, then either:
II.A. Ego's sire is Alter's sire (they are each other's "half-brother"), or
II.B. Ego's sire is Alter's dam (they are each other's "half-brother"), or
II.C. Ego's dam is Alter's sire (they are each other's "half-brother"), or
II.D. Ego's dam is Alter's dam (they are each other's "half-sister").

In order of closeness of the relationships, these might be considered:
I.A > {I.B, II.D} > {II.C, II.B} > II.A .

That is:
Full-sisters are closest;
Half-sisters and full-brothers are next closest;
Two kinds of half-brother are next closest, where the shared parent is the mother of one person but the father of the other;
And half-siblings whose only shared parent is the father of both of them are the most distantly related siblings.

Or there might be no such ranking


Well, that's really how to apply certain English kin-terms to the situations of a hermaphroditic species.
Some other language could use other terms.
In particular if they have their own conlang they would use other terms; up to twelve of them, as mentioned previously, if they distinguish between older siblings and younger siblings.

And I'm not yet proposing anything about cousins.
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Re: Kinship & Inheritance among a Hermaphroditic Species

Post by Lambuzhao »

What a topic!

I'm scooping up brains of mine that have leaked onto the floor from attempting to wrap my head around it. OMG [o.O]

Don't hermaphrodites also have the potential for self-fertilization?
What about offspring of parthenogenesis?
Is that possible here, or only cross-fertilization of different individuals?
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Re: Kinship & Inheritance among a Hermaphroditic Species

Post by eldin raigmore »

Lambuzhao wrote:Don't hermaphrodites also have the potential for self-fertilization?
What about offspring of parthenogenesis?
Is that possible here, or only cross-fertilization of different individuals?
Well, there are several different kinds of RL hermaphroditism.
So self-fertilization and parthenogenesis are in fact possible.
The selective pressures that make it evolutionarily profitable for individual specimens to be simultaneously capable of both begetting and conceiving in any given mating, also would be pressures, if increased, toward being able to produce offspring without mating at all.

But up 'til now we've been assuming on this thread that, for this (these?) conspecies and their concultures, it either dosen't happen or is so rare that it has little cultural effect.
We have been assuming, up 'til now, that every individual specimen has both one-and-only-one mother and one-and-only-one father, who are not the same as one another.
It's just that we've been allowing anyone's mother to also be someone else's father and vice-versa.

Other folks on this board have conspecies that can reproduce parthenogenetically; some self-cloning, some self-fertilizing, some certain other biological mechanisms that for this thread's non-biological purposes would amount to being equivalent to either self-cloning or self-fertilizing.
If you want to discuss such things on this thread, feel welcome. Remember here we're talking about sociological and psychological kinship, about inheritance of property and titles and intangible assets and debts and obligations and so on, and about how language and culture handle them; purely-biological or purely-genetic or purely-physiological "details" are considered "too subtle to bother with" on this thread (though they would be entirely and enthusiastically welcome and appropriate on several other threads that have already been started).

Also, other folks on this board have conspecies in which individuals normally change sex once and only once. Some conspecies consist of specimens which normally begin adulthood male but become female at a certain point and remain female for the rest of their lives. Some conspecies consist of specimens which normally begin adulthood female but become male at a certain point and remain male for the rest of their lives.

This thread hasn't spent much time on such conspecies, but I believe if you have something to say about them, we'd all like to see it.

In such a conspecies there would not be two individuals who shared both parents such that each one's mother was the other one's father. That is, full cross-siblings would not exist; if two individuals were full siblings they'd have to be parallel siblings.
Also, if two individuals shared just one parent, who was the mother of one of them but the father of the other, they'd have to have been born in a certain order. If young adults are male and older adults are female, the one who was sired by the common parent would always be older than the one who was conceived and born by the common parent: while, if young adults are female and older adults are male, the one who was sired by the common parent would always be younger than the one who was conceived and born by the common parent.
So some of the distinctions we were discussing wouldn't really exist in such a species; and the kinship complications wouldn't be as much fun!

However, IMO, if we accept the full complexity we've been discussing so far, the various types of uncles and aunts and nieces and nephews and first-cousins are, at least at the moment, beyond my abilities. We've only been able to discuss full-siblings and half-siblings, and parallel-siblings and cross-siblings.

Maybe if we simplified, by assuming all members of the species change sex exactly once, and all in the same direction, the full-sibling and half-sibling relationships might be simplified enough that we could also classify the first-cousins?

Let's start by assuming all young adults start male, and the older and wiser and bigger and stronger adults turn female eventually -- say when there aren't many other females around, and not many other males older or bigger or sronger, but are several younger, smaller males. And assume females stay females from then on.

Then here are the kinds of siblings:
1. EGO and ALTER have the same mother and the same father, and ALTER is older than EGO.
2. EGO and ALTER have the same mother and the same father, and ALTER is younger than EGO.
3. EGO and ALTER have the same mother but different fathers, and ALTER is older than EGO.
4. EGO and ALTER have the same mother but different fathers, and ALTER is younger than EGO.
5. EGO and ALTER have the same father but different mothers, and ALTER is older than EGO.
6. EGO and ALTER have the same father but different mothers, and ALTER is younger than EGO.
7. EGO's mother is ALTER's father, and ALTER is older than EGO.
8. EGO's father is ALTER's mother, and ALTER is younger than EGO.

In 1 and 2, EGO and ALTER share both parents; in 3 thru 8 they share only one parent.

The various kinds of uncle-aunt are pretty easy:
  • ALTER is EGO's mother's 1
  • ALTER is EGO's mother's 2
  • ALTER is EGO's mother's 3
  • ALTER is EGO's mother's 4
  • ALTER is EGO's mother's 5
  • ALTER is EGO's mother's 6
  • ALTER is EGO's mother's 7
  • ALTER is EGO's mother's 8
  • ALTER is EGO's father's 1
  • ALTER is EGO's father's 2
  • ALTER is EGO's father's 3
  • ALTER is EGO's father's 4
  • ALTER is EGO's father's 5
  • ALTER is EGO's father's 6
  • ALTER is EGO's father's 7
  • ALTER is EGO's father's 8
The niece-nephew list isn't hard to think of but is a little more complicated to write out, at least in English:
  • EGO's 1 is ALTER's mother
  • EGO's 1 is ALTER's father
  • EGO's 2 is ALTER's mother
  • EGO's 2 is ALTER's father
  • EGO's 3 is ALTER's mother
  • EGO's 3 is ALTER's father
  • EGO's 4 is ALTER's mother
  • EGO's 4 is ALTER's father
  • EGO's 5 is ALTER's mother
  • EGO's 5 is ALTER's father
  • EGO's 6 is ALTER's mother
  • EGO's 6 is ALTER's father
  • EGO's 7 is ALTER's mother
  • EGO's 7 is ALTER's father
  • EGO's 8 is ALTER's mother
  • EGO's 8 is ALTER's father
The first-cousin list could probably be generated according to this template:
EGO's {mother, father}'s {1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8} is ALTER's {mother, father}.
That would generate 32 relationships.

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In real life (not letting anyone's father also be anyone's mother, and disallowing incest), if we ignore all relative-age-distinctions, the complexity of the first-cousin relationship arises when two individuals are related in more than one way.

For instance, suppose Odysseus marries Penelope, and they have a son, namely Telemachus.
Suppose Odysseus also marries Circe, and they have a son, whose name I don't know so I'll call him Bob.
Suppose Odysseus then dies.
Suppose Telemachus marries Circe, and they have a son, whose name I don't know so I'll call him Telecirc.
Suppose Bob marries Penelope, and they have a son,, whose name I don't know so I'll call him Bobalope.

Then Telecirc and Bobalope would each be the other's half-uncle AND half-nephew AND half-cousin. (Did I get that right)?

Much more commonly; suppose Miss Alice Smith marries Mister Bob Jones to become Mrs. Alice S. Jones.
Suppose her younger brother, Chuck Smith, marries Bob's younger sister, Miss Dora Jones, making her Mrs. Dora J. Smith.
Suppose Alice and Bob have a child, Xerxes.
Suppose Chuck and Dora have a childe, Yorick.
Then Xerxes and Yorick are double cousins to each other.

It's also possible that the two Robinson brothers, Jack and Kevin, each marry one of the Brown sisters, Linda and Miriam, respectively. Not really an uncommon occurrence. Then Jack's-and-Linda's children would be double-cousins to Kevin's-and-Miriam's children. (And vice-versa).

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The first-cousin relationships, in a hermaphroditic species, could also be complicated, or rather, elaborated, by similar considerations; whatever analogues apply to a hermaphroditic species.

Would you like to give it a try?
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Re: Kinship & Inheritance among a Hermaphroditic Species

Post by eldin raigmore »

BTW on another thread Thakowsaizmu brought up the point that in most RL Earth-prime species *here* in which there's a huge sexual dimorphism of size, it's the males that are smaller than the females.

So, she says, if in some conculture one sex is sentient and the other is not, it's a lot likelier that the females would be the sentient sex and the males would be the non-sentient sex.

But *here* on Earth-prime, there are RL species in which the young adults are females and the older adults are males.
Lobsters, for example; at least those on the Atlantic coast of North America.

Among such a species, wouldn't the females, being young, be less experienced, more naive, more instinct-driven or impulsive or more hormone-driven, than the males, who would all have lived longer as females than the females have, and also lived some time as males? The difference wouldn't be between sentience and non-sentience; rather it would be that between a late-adolescent and an early-middle-age adult.

Among a species, like clownfish, in which the older adults are females and the younger adults are males, it would be the other way around.
(The biggest -- usually the oldest -- clownfish in a particular anemone is female. The others are male. If the female dies, the biggest male clownfish in that anemone becomes female.)

As we humans are well aware, the evolution of intelligence does not free a species's specimens from the influence of their wild ancestors' behavioral patterns. The younger a particular sentient is, the harder it is for their intellect to combat these inborn behaviors.

Also, young sentients tend to be idealistic compared to their elders. This is the only sensible way for them to be, of course. Only the elders have the experience necessary to handle things on a case-by-case basis; the youngsters must rely on general principles.

So, in either kind of age-related one-time-sex-change species, there might be a sexual dimorphism of behavior -- and maybe intellect -- that was really an age-dimorphism.
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Re: Kinship & Inheritance among a Hermaphroditic Species

Post by Salmoneus »

Don't see what that has to do with inheritance.

But anyway, Thak's assumptions are very wrong. For one thing, I'm not at all sure that it's true that females tend to be the larger sex. It's certainly on average true for invertebrates; but the opposite is usually true for mammals, and birds and reptiles seem split between the two patterns (apparently birds of prey are more likely to have larger females but their prey are more likely to have larger males).

More importantly, though, there's no reason to think that size correlates with intelligence. Indeed, there's more reason to think the opposite - that the bigger sex may not need to develop as much intelligence, due to having the advantages of size. Also the advantages of often not doing as much - think of lions, for instance. The females have to go out and kill things utilising complicated social co-operation, predictions of the behaviour of prey species and so forth. The big males lie around a lot, eat the food they're given, have sex as much as possible, and now and then have a fight with another male. If only one sex were to become intelligent, I'm guessing it would be the lionesses...
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Re: Kinship & Inheritance among a Hermaphroditic Species

Post by eldin raigmore »

Salmoneus wrote:Thak's assumptions are very wrong. For one thing, I'm not at all sure that it's true that females tend to be the larger sex.
She was talking about species where one sex lives as if parasitic on the other. In such species it seems the female is likelier to be the free-living one and hence the larger one.

Salmoneus wrote:It's certainly on average true for invertebrates; but the opposite is usually true for mammals, and birds and reptiles seem split between the two patterns (apparently birds of prey are more likely to have larger females but their prey are more likely to have larger males).
That's true. It's not exactly a contradiction of Thakowsaizmu's ideas, though, because you're talking about species where both sexes are free-living, and she wasn't.

Salmoneus wrote:More importantly, though, there's no reason to think that size correlates with intelligence. Indeed, there's more reason to think the opposite - that the bigger sex may not need to develop as much intelligence, due to having the advantages of size. Also the advantages of often not doing as much - think of lions, for instance. The females have to go out and kill things utilising complicated social co-operation, predictions of the behaviour of prey species and so forth. The big males lie around a lot, eat the food they're given, have sex as much as possible, and now and then have a fight with another male. If only one sex were to become intelligent, I'm guessing it would be the lionesses...
Good points.

Salmoneus wrote:Don't see what that has to do with inheritance.
It has to do with kinship.
In this thread, in spite of my reference to an idea inspired by what Thako said in another thread, we are talking about species in which one individual's mother can also be some other individual's father.

There are real-life species in which specimens begin their adulthood as females but, at some point, change to male and remain male the rest of their lives. Lobsters are one such IIANM.
There are also other real-life species in which specimens begin their adulthood as males but, at some point, change to female and remain female the rest of their lives. Clownfish are one such IIANM.

In a species of either of those kinds, one individual's mother could be another individual's father.

Note I haven't suggested that one sex be sapient and the other not; rather, one sex would just be younger than the other.

This could, and IMO probably would, affect kinship.

It could, and IMO probably would, also affect inheritance.

If young adults always start adulthood male and switch to female after a while, when a female dies she would probably want her property to pass to a female offspring, if there were any.
It could be that the biology makes it so that an offspring doesn't turn female while his mother is still alive. (Possibly excepting special circumstances that would mean they'd lost touch with each other.) If so, the decedent bequestor would probably want her property to go to her biggest or strongest or oldest son.
We might ask whether she would consider offspring she had sired in her youth, or only offspring she had given birth to in later life. The former would all be older than any of the latter. My guess is that she would consider all her living offspring, both begotten and borne.

If young adults always start adulthood female and switch to male after a while, when a male dies he would probably want his property to pass to a male offspring, if there were any.
It could be that the biology makes it so that an offspring doesn't turn male while her father is still alive. (Possibly excepting special circumstances that would mean they'd lost touch with each other.) If so, the decedent bequestor would probably want his property to go to his biggest or strongest or oldest daughter.
We might ask whether he would consider offspring he had borne in his youth, or only offspring he had sired in later life. The former would all be older than any of the latter. My guess is that he would consider all his living offspring, both begotten and borne.

If there were a species in which only one sex was sentient, then I can't see why or how any non-sentient could bequeath anything, and I also think the sentient sex would always want to bequeath only to a sentient offspring.

Inheritance in such a species could be interestingly different, and perhaps interestingly complex.
But it's not the subject of this thread; here, the topic is, kinship and inheritance in an intelligent species in which one individual's mother could also be another individual's father.
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