Study: Ancient males stayed home while women wandered

It turns out that the males of two bipedal hominid species that roamed the South African savannah more than a million years ago were the stay-at-home types, compared to the wandering females, who went off on their own, leaving the men behind.

This surprising finding may not necessarily be an indication of early human feminist leanings, nor a declaration of female independence — although it might be, said lead researcher Sandi Copeland, visiting assistant professor at the University of Colorado, Denver, who also is affiliated with the Max Plank Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany…

“The pattern we found in the hominids for female — but not male — dispersal actually suggests…[that] perhaps hominid females were fairly independent, like chimpanzee females,” she said. “In that case, maybe they did literally strike out and venture into new territories looking for mates. It’s also possible that the community was more tight-knit, and that females transferred directly into other groups as part of big community meetings.”