Since the beginning of life in the sea, adaptation has taught animals to establish relationships with other beings.
No one on the planet wants to be forever alone, and all animals surround themselves with more or less complex social structures, to increase the chances of survival.
In addition, these relationships are further complicated by sexual reproduction, which implies the need to form couples and take care of the offspring, and this makes it both more possible and more necessary to develop social intelligence.
The human mind has created relationships even beyond the real world, seeking to communicate with superior beings who can help us explain the thousands of questions posed by our enormous brains.
It is these relationships that have enabled mankind to colonise the entire earth.
Some animals have developed mating strategies in which stable relationships play no part. Here in Patagonia, Argentina, sex is a rather more violent affair. In the majority of cases, life is more risky for the males, because they either succeed or fail, whereas almost all the females mate. That is why evolution has made the males bigger and more aggressive.
This male elephant seal weighs 2,500 kilos. He is capable of copulating with one hundred females in a single season, whether they want to or not. He will not be able to eat, and barely sleep, because other males will constantly try to rape one of his females. And that means he will have to fight.
If the warning doesn’t work and the invader persists, he will have to show him precisely why he is the king of the beach. For the females, a short rest before continuing.
This is called “polygyny” and for the females the evident sexual conflict is a guarantee of both the quantity and quality of descendents. A biological pact which benefits both sides.
It is the female who must choose the best genes, because her eggs are few, limited and valuable, and what’s more it is they who will have to look after the young. For a male, the cost of an error is insignificant, his sperm can easily be replaced.
Almost all animals have one mating season a year, but there are two species for which this is not true: rats and humans. Human females are always sexually active, and childhood is long, so the couple needs to be a stable unit. And that is of enormous biological importance because it is vital for the survival of the young.
For the majority of mammals, the adaptive success of the males is based on mating with many females, then giving little or no help in raising the young. So, the females are often left to look after the children alone.
In humans, generations live in close contact for many years, and the brain development of the child is based on psychological, social and emotional stimuli from his or her peers.
The Himbas are a matriarchal culture in Namibia. Though they are nomads, their strong culture goes with them wherever they go.
Often, the man and wife must invest considerable efforts in obtaining the elements necessary for daily survival, such as this cradle of birch, which the father is making for the new member of the clan. For this reason, it is important they all remain together as long as possible. That is the key to human progress - the family.
Cultural defence of the family may also have developed as a way of safeguarding its important biological function, to successfully raise a new generation.
This is the Ivory Coast, along the Atlantic coast of Africa. Here, the culture of the Dan will illustrate what man’s next step was in his search for sacred relationships with supernatural beings.
Above the couple, the family, the clan and the tribe, the protective spirits, whose origins lie in dreams and nature herself, provide spiritual peace and strength to accept certain sacrifices of life which without them would be inexplicable.
In the end, human beings seek self-awareness by building bridges with those who went before.
FULL DOCUMENTARY: Relationship & Animal Mating
PART 1: Relationship & Animal Mating. Aggressive Male
PART 2: Relationship & Animal Mating. Sexual Conflict
PART 3: Relationship & Animal Mating. Nomadic Tribes
PART 4: Relationship & Animal Mating. Supernatural Beings