One of the main claims made in the chapter three of ‘the lure of noma‘ is about the connection between the seclusion of girls and the rise of religion. To establish a reason for the seclusion we were inclined to emphasise the supernatural aspect of the puberty rites and the females’ increased susceptibility to mental illness.
A recently published article in the online journal Molecular Psychiatry (Bangasser, D. A., et al., 15 June 2010) | doi:10.1038/mp.2010.66) implies that given their observations from the experiments on rats, the reserachers could assume a link between the neuropeptide, CRF and the increased susceptibility of females to the stressors.
This is a kind of a boost to the hypothesis about the adolescent girls and their higher susceptibility to mental disorders as discussed in the book. The book argued that in the pre-historic times, this situation shouldn’t have been any different. Even though it is known that the females are twice as more susceptible than the males to psychological disorders, it is not easy to establish that the situations had been the same over the ages. We can not completely rule out the lack of adaptation over the last forty or so thousand years of human history since the Great Leap Forward’. However, if the increased susceptibility arises from a biological cause, which is also found in the animal kingdom, we can be more confident as to the retrospective validity of our argument. It is not disputed that the problem of establishing the nature of the said pre-historic disorders and understanding the exact nature of these ancient stressors still exist.
Link to the abstract of the paper:http://www.nature.com/mp/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/mp201066a.html
(In a future article, I plan to povide more anthropological information arising from my research to further support the cultural aspect of the hypothesis)