Modern family based on opportunistic females


In early human evolution, key events must occur to stabilize and create a society. When faithful females begin to see the value of and select good providers as mates, pair-bonding replaces promiscuity. This pairing off lays the foundation for the emergence of the modern family.

A new study addresses the long-standing questions in evolutionary biology about how the modern family managed to evolve. Once characterized by promiscuity and multiple partners with no sense of loyalty, how did the modern family based on intense, socially attached mates, ever manage to emerge? And not only that, but prior to the transition, male-to-male competition for the best mates reigned. How did such fierce competition give way to a mutual desire for males to provide for females and become involved with their offspring?

The study demonstrates mathematically that leading theories aren’t mathematically feasible. However, the study does propose a new model showing that the transition to pair-bonding can happen when female choice and fidelity are included. The results produce a theory which includes increased emphasis on provisioning females over male mating competition.

The effect is most notable for low-ranked males who have no chance of winning a mate in competition with high-ranked males. The low-ranked males can instead lure a female with the ability to provide for her. The females in turn began to show a preference for the male who could best provide.

“Once females begin to show preference for being provisioned, the low-ranked males’ investment in female provisioning over male-to-male competition pays-off,” explained Sergey Gavrilets, associate director for scientific activities at the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis.

Source: MedicalNewsToday, National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis


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