SatoshiKanazawa explains Why Children Must Inherit Their Last Names from Their Father, Not Their Mother
Patrilineal inheritance of family names, where children inherit their last names from the father, not from the mother, evolved as a social institution as one of the mechanisms to alleviate paternity uncertainty. Like all mammalian males, human fathers can never be completely certain of their paternity, but, unlike most mammalian males, they are asked to invest very heavily in their offspring. Therein lies the possibility of cuckoldry – unwittingly investing their precious limited resources in the genetic offspring of another man. Males of only a very few species in nature (humans, and many avian species) face the danger of cuckoldry because male parental investment among these species is high. Males of most species in nature don’t care if they are really the genetic fathers of the offspring that their mates produce because their male parental investment is limited to the sperm deposited inside the female during copulation. ... As a result, males of most species in nature do not experience sexual jealousy, only humans and birds do.So the kids are named after the father, as a way of formalizing his investment in them. The mother is already invested. She does not have to change her name, but she usually wants the same surname as her kids, so she adopts a married name.
Males of these few species – human fathers in particular – therefore need to be reasonably convinced that they are indeed the genetic fathers of their putative offspring before they would agree to invest heavily in them. Both nature and social institutions aid in such an effort. There is some evidence to suggest that newborn babies are born looking more like the father, not the mother (because maternity is always certain and mothers don’t need to be convinced), and mothers and maternal relatives often allege paternal resemblance of babies in order to assure their fathers that they are indeed their genetic fathers and thus they should invest in them. (Remember, mothers and maternal relatives don’t really care what the genetic truth is, because they are guaranteed to be equally related to the children whoever the genetic father might be.)
Patrilineal inheritance of family names is another social institution that emerged to convince the fathers of their paternity, by saying (if social institutions have a vocal cord) “The baby’s really yours, because it has your last name!” Russians take it one step further, by giving their children – both their sons and daughters – middle and last names after the father.
I see it slightly differently. It's not a matter of dads convincing themselves that the kids are really theirs.
Marriage is a contract. The man surrenders the fruits of his labour to the woman; and in return the woman the fruits of her labour to the man.
That is: the entire point of marriage is that the children *become his*. The adoption of the father's surname is the recognition of this. Marriage is not about sex, at all, or about domestic comfort. It's about the children of the union.
The man gets a lineage out of the deal. Someone to carry on his name - literally. That's the *whole point*. And it was a big deal, back in the day, back when Achilles fought wars in order to win "eternal fame", to found or to continue a lineage.
The woman gets herself and her offspring fed, clothed, and housed by someone able to work a plough.
These days, the essential part of what a man gets out of marriage is gone. A man can get sex off a prostitute, but only a wife can give him children. But this deal is no longer being honoured.
You are right about the deal not being honored.
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