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Full-Figured Statuette, 35,000 Years Old, Provides New Clues to How Art Evolved. It’s a story based on the new finding of a 35,000 year old “Venus”. The sexually explicit aspects are kind of funny, but we’ve seen technologies such as VHS, DVD and web video streaming being driven by porn in the modern era. Perhaps porn is responsible for a lot more than we think? Something for Geoffrey Miller’s next book….

Update: Slate says in relation to the body form the “Venus”:

Some women in hunter-gathering societies do have abnormally large buttocks, a condition called steatopygia. It’s especially common among the Khoisan in southern Africa and tribes in the Andaman Islands. It is sometimes considered a sign of beauty, and may have inspired some of the more voluptuous ancient figurines. The most famous example of steatopygia was the Hottentot Venus, a Khoikhoi woman whose physical characteristics made her a sideshow sensation in 19th-century Europe.

Look, this is just an excuse to write an article about ancient obesity and bring up steatopygia. The Egyptians likely never knew anyone who looked like Horus.

(Republished from by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Science • Tags: Porn 
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  1. But did they know anyone who looked like his mommy Isis? 
    If we’re talkin’ fertility goddesses, I’ll go with that one.

  2. Some women in hunter-gathering societies do have abnormally large buttocks, a condition called steatopygia. 
    Not to mention some women in your nearest Wal-Mart.

  3. steatopygia isn’t just having a large ass.  
    What’s striking about it is the shape of the overdevelopped body part : it’s characterised by a profile in the shape of an upside down right triangle . The ass projects horizontally from the lower back and then slopes down abruptly towards the tighs. It’s like having some kind of table attached to the lower back. It’s **quite** different from the “booty” that african americans usually like . I find it extremely unattractive even though i don’t usually have a problem with immodest glutei maximi 🙂 It must be some kind of primitive trait that’s been shed in most modern populations ( including black africans ).

  4. Ogun, have you read Peter Frost’s theories on the Black predilection for humongous booty? I read one of his papers about a week ago, and it was an “ahh…it all makes sense now” moment.

  5. So we’ve got prehistoric BBW but where’s the prehistoric lesbian porn?

  6. The Queen of Punt, Eti, apparently had steatopygia. This is a portrayal of her from the Ancient Egyptian temple of Dayr al Bahri: 

  7. I don’t know how reliable ancient Egyptian portrayals are. Most of them were obese and diabetic, not to mention having horrible teeth. Yet all you see of them is slender, pristine pictures. 
    BTW, this refutes the common claim that once upon a time, fat used to be considered ideal, associated as it was with the well-fed elite. The ancient Egyptians, Romans, and Greeks sure didn’t prize portliness. (Those Germans with their weird fetishes, though…) 
    Since the poor have always relied more on carbohydrates than the rich (animal products are more expensive), poor people generally wouldn’t have been skinnier anyway.

  8. agnostic, 
    you’re definitely right about Egyptian portrayals not being very reliable depictions. For example, sometimes the same person is portrayed with a completely different appearance from one picture to the next. Also, there are some impossible ones (assuming that aliens didn’t land on earth at the time :)), like green-skinned people, or people with impossible proportions. 
    as for the fat thing, camille paglia’s idea about the Appolonian aesthetic arising in Ancient egypt comes to mind. She seems to be on to something.. complex, hierarchical civilization seems to be somehow linked to a sleeker feminine ideal. 
    also on that note, i wonder what everyones thoughts on this are:

  9. Poor people are skinny because they don’t get enough carbohydrates. American snack-food obesity is historically rather rare. In American relatively poor people get too many calories, but historically poor people didn’t get enough. 
    Based on my time in Taiwan and what I know about Chinese culture, social disapproval of gluttony and greed, firmly expressed in the context of ceremonious family meals, greatly reduce obesity. Chinese tended to assume that obese people were also objectionable in other ways, though exemptions might be made for very eminent men. People commented on my gut even though I was only about 30 pounds overweight and otherwise very fit.

  10. John, 
    What about all those fat laughing Buddhas? I thought the Chinese associated rolls of fat with happiness and plenty – mirth and girth!! 
    As for the Greeks and the Romans, check out my photos of the Met Museum’s Greek and Roman galleries: 
    The Aphrodite in the style of Praxiteles would equate to a 5’5″, 115 pound girl. In other words, rounded but slim & petite.

  11. Soul searcher, 
    I’ll stop by Frost’s site. It should be interesting.

  12. L says:

    Something for Miller’s next book? He mentions this in The Mating Mind:Museum collections of art from primitive societies routinely label almost every item a fertility god, an ancestral figure, a fetish, or an altarpiece. Until recently, archeologists routinely labeled every Late Paleolithic statue of a naked women as either a “goddess” or a “fertility symbol”. Usually, there is no evidence supporting such an interpretation. It would be equally plausible to call them “Paleolithic pornography”. The importance of church-commissioned art in European art history may have led archeologists to attribute religious content to most prehistoric art. (page 263)

  13. BTW, have you guys seen this article on the benefits of watching Pornography!!

  14. pconroy, 
    This study found that not masturbating actually increases testosterone levels, until the 7th day of abstinence, when testosterone levels start dropping. 
    I’m not sure how to square that with the article you linked.

  15. Ben, 
    I imagine that both studies are compatible. As if you have a certain basal amount of testosterone, some of which gets used to trigger the produce of sperm, and if you were to ejaculate that sperm on a regular basis (say once per week), but then stopped, your testosterone level would temporarily build up a little. 
    However if you were to go from ejaculating once per week to twice per day, I’d imagine that initially your testosterone levels would drop significantly, then in a “feedback loop’ manner, your basal levels of testosterone would rise to be greater than it had been originally, maybe over a period of a few months or so.

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