Could a Majority Aspergers Society Survive?
Aspergers is categorized as a dysfunction, but why would a society comprised of all aspies (affectionate term for Aspergers) be dysfunctional? There is nothing inherently dysfunctional about an individual with Aspergers. A society comprised of all aspies would be different socially and culturally than one comprised mostly of NTs (neurotypical or normal person) but not impossible or even improbable. Strength is not a problem in Aspergers they are no more or less strong than the general population. They are no more prone to psychological problems that aren’t caused by stress. Some researchers believe that many of the disabling aspects of Aspergers are brought on by stress. This stress is caused by living in and around NTs. People with Aspergers experience many more stress related illnesses because they are constantly told to be and act normal.
The only thing that may limit an Asperger society is their sex drive which seems to be less intense than NTs. This could be the reason NTs outnumber those with Aspergers from 100-500 percent depending on hich study you read. A low sex drive does not equate to “No” sex drive. If we look at the sex drive issue in an evolutionary sense Asperger man’s decreased sex drive would result in fewer children and a lower population density than other hominid groups. This fits in with the overall speculative model for this possible human ancestor. Unlike his Homo sapien cousin Asperger’s man does not hunt in large cooperative groups. Instead he is a solitary hunter. This means that the Asperger groups would be protein poor compared to other human groups leading to lower population sizes. I think a suggestion for further study should revolve around family size in Asperger diagnosed families. Are the families smaller than average and a secondary study might look at infant mortality rates.
What Would a Society Comprised of a Majority of People with Aspergers Look Like?
Hunters and gatherers tend to group in family units and extended family units. I see an aspie society as small 4-10 people where NT groups would have been 6-30 people possibly larger ( if I am remembering freshman anthropology). So political units in these hunting and gathering groups are merely extended families. We really don’t see much tribalism until the development of higher level social structures such as horticulturalists and agriculturalists. Aspies are social but they are social in a different way and tend to make small very tight groups of friends rather than the large social groupings that many NTs maintain. So an aspie culture is very possible on the hunting and gathering level of subsistence. In fact Aspie social groupings could be quite different from the extended family structure we see in NT hunter and gatherer societies. It is possible that instead of family groups aspies instead grouped into interest societies. Here I would also like to see a study of the relative strength of Asperger relationships between family members and those people the Asperger individual has deemed as friends. I would also like to see a study of the general age that an Aspeger individual leaves home. If these suggest that individuals with Aspergers form stronger bonds with non-family members and that these individuals become estranged from family more often it could lend credence to the idea that an Asperger society would be one revolving around common interests rather than common DNA. This could point to an evolutionary strength in Asperger populations. Where NT societies may be more (for lack of a better word) inbred, an Asperger population may seek outsiders to form cooperative groups. Interbreeding would not be as great a problem for the more outgoing NT society. They might breed with a greater number of individual in and outside their hunting and gathering group. These societies would remain genetically diverse in such a situation. An aspie society would not function in the same manner and the formation of interest societies over family centered societies would be a solution to inbreeding.
Genetic Evidence for the Evolution of Asperger’s Man
If Aspergers doesn’t have a simple single genetic component and these differences are more spread out over the genome say in two or more places it would explain why some people have more or less of these characteristics along the autism spectrum. It would bolster the idea that Aspergers represented a distinct genome inclusion separate from traditional Homo sapiens. These genetic markers would have been added to the human genome through interbreeding with ancient populations of people who expressed the Asperger genes. The simple explanation is that NT and Asperger populations interbred at some point in the past.
If Asperger’s man was a separate evolutionary sequence then these are two things I expect to find relating to Aspergers.
1. Higher incidents of Aspergers in populations coming out of Central Asia, along European mountain ranges, within historically marginalized cultures such as among Jews, Romani gypsys, and the Basque. Also in areas that were traditionally considered harsh environments like parts of Scotland beyond Hadrian’s wall. I also would see spikes in parts of Asia that correspond to these same criteria.
2. We would likely see less Aspergers in Africa or in populations that have not traditionally intermixed with European and Asian populations.
Imagine Humans are Like Dogs. (not a perfect analogy)
Neanderthals are pitbulls they use their increased musculature to hunt large game and subsist almost entirely on meat.
Early modern humans are a social dog such as a spaniel they also hunt in large packs and subsist on both meat and vegetable matter. They are more emotive and outgoing.
Asperger’s man (Homo Aspergerensis) is like a herding dog. He lives and hunts in a much more dense or confusing environment. He has developed traits that help in this but are less useful as a cooperative hunter. He does his job alone or in small groups.
These three branches interbreed to create a mongrel race which is the ancestor of Both Asians and Western Europeans.
Like dogs the mongrel exhibits a variety of traits from each group. Some of these traits are dominate and some recessive so we don’t often see all traits in the same person at once. This creates a spectrum of traits that may be hard to define. Just like a mutt dog you can look at it and see traits but can’t always place which breed the dog is descended from.
What is the Future for Asperger’s Man?
Neanderthals evolved to hunt large game, early modern humans evolved in African savannahs and along coastlines in more open country both developed genetic traits that are specific to those environments. Humans living in open range and along coastlines would have required more in the way of social interactions and social hunting and gathering practices. Animals are much harder to stalk and hunt in open environments and there are larger animals living in these environments. To take these animals requires strong social interaction. In fact hunting in open areas and on coastal plains would have required a massive amount of team effort.
I believe Asperger’s man evolved in more restricted terrain which favored very small groups and individual hunters. The aspie as a product of mountains and deep forests would have been a more solitary hunter who used methods of stalking prey that required much more concentration and detail orientation. Things aspies are good at. Reading tracks and being able to see distinct patterns left by an animal fleeing through a forested terrain, or even differentiating animals from the cover they are hiding in would have been their strength.
Some people believe that Neanderthal alone was the origin for Autism and Asperger traits in modern populations. I happen to think that there were two distinct hominids contributing DNA to ancient man, Neanderthal and the unknown group I call Asperger’s man. In either case these articles look at how groups of people who exhibit Aspergers would have lived and worked differently from early modern humans.
NTs will always outnumber people with Asperger Syndrome. However the future is a place where Asperger traits are not only welcome but may be cultivated for positive gain. Humans that can concentrate on problems for long periods of time and can differentiate patterns from vast amounts of information are the perfect vanguard of our information heavy age. We may even see the rise of Asperger’s man once again as he successfully out competes the NT along the intricate webs of knowledge that hold our society together.