Letter to the Editor

      Raveenthiran [
      • Raveenthiran V.
      The evolutionary saga of circumcision from a religious perspective.
      ] places the introduction of circumcision as a consequence of wars between the early civilisations of Egypt and Asia Minor. However, there is ample evidence to show that circumcision was practised by hunter–gatherer people tens of millennia before these civilisations (and their wars) arose. Palaeolithic European cave art appears to show circumcised penises [
      • Angulo J.C.
      • García-Diez M.
      Male genital representation in Paleolithic art: erection and circumcision before history.
      ], and circumcision is traditionally practised by the hunter–gatherer native Australians [
      • Lockwood D.
      I the Aboriginal.
      ], who until recent times had been isolated from other humans for at least 45,000 years [
      • O'Connell J.F.
      • Allen J.
      Dating the colonization of Sahul (Pleistocene Australia–New Guinea): a review of recent research.
      ]. Circumcision has also been traditionally practised in the Americas, South-East Asia, Polynesia and Melanesia [
      • Tannahill R.
      Sex in history.
      ,
      • Bryk F.
      Circumcision in man and woman. (tr. Felix Berger).
      ]. This worldwide distribution can only be explained by circumcision having been customary before the worldwide radiation of Homo sapiens out of Africa [
      • Cox G.
      • Morris B.J.
      Why circumcision from prehistory to the 21st century.
      ]. This is believed to have taken place ~220,000 years ago [
      • Hershkovitz I.
      • Weber G.W.
      • Quam R.
      • et al.
      The earliest modern humans outside Africa.
      ], making circumcision very ancient indeed.
      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic and Personal

      Subscribe:

      Subscribe to Journal of Pediatric Surgery
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect

      References

        • Raveenthiran V.
        The evolutionary saga of circumcision from a religious perspective.
        J Pediatr Surg. 2018; 53: 1440-1443
        • Angulo J.C.
        • García-Diez M.
        Male genital representation in Paleolithic art: erection and circumcision before history.
        Urology. 2009; 74: 10-14
        • Lockwood D.
        I the Aboriginal.
        Rigby, Adelaide & Sydney1962
        • O'Connell J.F.
        • Allen J.
        Dating the colonization of Sahul (Pleistocene Australia–New Guinea): a review of recent research.
        J Archaeol Sci. 2004; 31: 835-853
        • Tannahill R.
        Sex in history.
        Hamish Hamilton, London1980
        • Bryk F.
        Circumcision in man and woman. (tr. Felix Berger).
        American Ethnological Press, New York1934 ([Facsimile reprint New York: AMS Press, 1974])
        • Cox G.
        • Morris B.J.
        Why circumcision from prehistory to the 21st century.
        in: Bolnick D.A. Surgical guide to circumcision. Springer-Verlag, London2017: 243-259
        • Hershkovitz I.
        • Weber G.W.
        • Quam R.
        • et al.
        The earliest modern humans outside Africa.
        Science. 2018; 359: 456-459
      1. Bible 1 Samuel 18 25–27.

      2. Bible Genesis 17 12–14.

        • Edwardes A.
        The rape of India.
        in: A biography of Robert Clive and a sexual history of the conquest of Hindustan. Julian Press, New York1966
        • Erman A.
        Tirard H.M. Life in ancient Egypt. English edition. Republished 1971 by Dover Publications Inc., Minneola, NY1896
      3. G.A. Larue. Religious traditions and circumcision. Second International Symposium on Circumcision, San Francisco, California, April 30–May 3, 1991. First published in the Truthseeker, July/August 1989, 4–8.

        • David R.
        The Egyptian kingdoms.
        Elsevier, Lausanne1975
        • Lloyd A.B.
        Ancient Egypt, a social history.
        in: Chapter 4 — the late period, 664–323 BC. Cambridge University Press, 1983
        • Gairdner D.
        The fate of the foreskin, a study of circumcision.
        Br Med J. 1949; 2: 1433-1437
        • Osmond T.E.
        Is routine circumcision advisable?.
        J Roy Army Med Corps. 1953; 99: 254
        • de Rachewiltz B.
        Black eros: sexual customs of Africa from prehistory to the present day.
        George Allen & Unwin, London1964
        • Crowley I.P.
        • Kesner K.M.
        Ritual circumcision (Umkhwetha) amongst the Xhosa of the Ciskei.
        Br J Urol. 1990; 66: 318-321
        • Cox G.
        De virginibus puerisque: the function of the human foreskin considered from an evolutionary perspective.
        Med Hypotheses. 1995; 45: 617-621