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Monogamy

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Chief Makwira and his wives, Malawi, 1903. Older men had first priority. Younger men could gain access to women only through war or adultery.  Credit: Wikimedia Commons
In my last column, I reviewed the findings of Butovskaya et al. (2015) on testosterone and polygyny in two East African peoples: - Testosterone levels were higher in the polygynous Datoga than in the monogamous Hadza. This difference is innate. - Datoga men were more aggressive than Hadza men on all measures used (physical aggression,... Read More
Hadza men are smaller, less robust, and less aggressive than the more polygynous Datoga. Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Humans differ in paternal investment—the degree to which fathers help mothers care for their offspring. They differ in this way between individuals, between populations, and between stages of cultural evolution. During the earliest stage, when all humans were hunter-gatherers, men invested more in their offspring with increasing distance from the equator. Longer, colder winters made... Read More
Squamous cervix cells covered with rod-shaped bacteria, Gardnerella vaginalis(source) Bacterial vaginosis is a common disease among reproductive-aged women: Its incidence correlates with the number of lifetime sex partners, and this correlation holds true even when one controls for a series of socioeconomic variables: poverty, smoking, body mass index, douching frequency, education, and oral contraceptive use... Read More
Extraversion is part of the male toolkit for mating success. It is especially useful in societies where a high incidence of polygyny means too many men must compete for too few women. As a single man, I would spend close to $3,000 a year on dating. And that didn’t include things like buying a sportier-looking... Read More
Demon of lust. Chartres Cathedral. To create larger and more complex societies, humans had to restrain impulses that were hitherto considered normal. Michelle Langley has written an interesting critique of modern sexual behavior, especially with regard to women, In Women’s Infidelity, she argues that: Evolutionary psychologists have long assumed that women are hardwired for monogamy.... Read More
I have argued that sexual selection has varied within our species in both intensity and direction (men selecting women or women selecting men) (Frost, 2006; Frost, 2008). In particular, it seems to have varied along a north-south gradient with men being more strongly selected in the tropical zone and women in the temperate and arctic... Read More
The human mind seems to use facial color to determine whether a person is male or female. A man has a relatively dark facial color that contrasts poorly with his lip and eye color. Conversely, a woman has a relatively light facial color that contrasts sharply with her lip and eye color (Russell, 2003; Russell,... Read More
When Pedersen wrote the above almost two decades ago, he did not exactly fear the new marriage market of too many men chasing too few women. In fact, his prognosis was largely upbeat. There would be “lower divorce rates”, “greater marital stability”, “enhanced marital satisfaction for women”, “greater commitment by males to procurement of economic... Read More
Except for frontier areas, single women used to outnumbered single men on the American marriage market. This situation has reversed since the late 1970s and early 1980s because of falling male mortality and the rising numbers of older men divorcing and remarrying (Pedersen, 1991). Similar reversals have occurred throughout the Western world. In this new... Read More
Beginning in the late 1970s and early 1980s, a reversal took place throughout the Western world in the ratio of single men to single women among people of reproductive age. This sex ratio slipped from male scarcity to parity and then to a relative excess of males, due to a decline in male mortality and... Read More
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