Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Evolution Of Human Sex Roles More Complex Than Described By Universal Theory

Date:
April 27, 2009
Source:
Cell Press
Summary:
A new study challenges long-standing expectations that men are promiscuous and women tend to be more particular when it comes to choosing a mate. The research suggests that human mating strategies are not likely to conform to a single universal pattern and provides important insights that may impact future investigations of human mating behaviors.

A new study challenges long-standing expectations that men are promiscuous and women tend to be more particular when it comes to choosing a mate. The research suggests that human mating strategies are not likely to conform to a single universal pattern and provides important insights that may impact future investigations of human mating behaviors.

Related Articles


In 1948, Angus J. Bateman's performed some now famous studies in fruit flies that showed that males exhibit greater variance in mating success (the number of sexual partners) and in reproductive success (the number of offspring) when compared to females. In addition, Bateman demonstrated that there was a stronger relationship between reproductive success and mating success in males than females.

Bateman concluded that, because a single egg is more costly to produce than a single sperm, the number of offspring produced by a female fruit fly was mainly limited by her ability to produce eggs, while a male's reproductive success was limited by the number of females he inseminated. These studies supported the conventional assumption that male animals are competitive and promiscuous while female animals are non-competitive and choosy.

"The conventional view of promiscuous, undiscriminating males and coy, choosy females has also been applied to our own species," says lead study author Dr. Gillian R. Brown from the School of Psychology at the University of St. Andrews. "We sought to make a comprehensive review of sexual selection theory and examine data on mating behavior and reproductive success in current human populations in order to further our understanding of human sex roles."

Dr. Brown and colleagues examined the general universal applicability of Bateman's principles. To test one of Bateman's assumptions, they collated data on the variance in male and female reproductive success in 18 human populations. While male reproductive success varied more than female reproductive success overall, huge variability was found between populations; for instance, in monogamous societies, variances in male and female reproductive success were very similar.

The researchers also examined factors that might explain variations across human populations that are not in keeping with the prediction of universal sex roles. "Recent advances in evolutionary theory suggest that factors such as sex-biased mortality, sex-ratio, population density and variation in mate quality, are likely to impact mating behavior in humans," concludes Dr. Brown. "The insights gained from this new perspective will have important implications for how we conceive of male and female sexual behavior."

Researchers include Gillian R. Brown, University of St Andrews, U.K.; Kevin N. Laland, University of St Andrews, U.K.; and Monique Borgerhoff Mulder, University of California at Davis, CA.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cell Press. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Brown et al. Bateman's principles and human sex roles. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, April 2009

Cite This Page:

Cell Press. "Evolution Of Human Sex Roles More Complex Than Described By Universal Theory." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 April 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090424122618.htm>.
Cell Press. (2009, April 27). Evolution Of Human Sex Roles More Complex Than Described By Universal Theory. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 28, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090424122618.htm
Cell Press. "Evolution Of Human Sex Roles More Complex Than Described By Universal Theory." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090424122618.htm (accessed January 28, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

City Divided: A Look at Model Schools in the TDSB

City Divided: A Look at Model Schools in the TDSB

The Toronto Star (Jan. 27, 2015) Model schools are rethinking how they engage with the community to help enhance the lives of the students and their parents. Video provided by The Toronto Star
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Saves Pennies For 65 Years

Man Saves Pennies For 65 Years

Rooftop Comedy (Jan. 26, 2015) A man in Texas saved every penny he found for 65 years, and this week he finally cashed them in. Bank tellers at Prosperity Bank in Slaton, Texas were shocked when Ira Keys arrived at their bank with over 500 pounds of loose pennies stored in coffee cans. After more than an hour of sorting and counting, it turned out the 81 year-old was in possession of 81,600 pennies, or $816. And he&apos;s got more at home! Video provided by Rooftop Comedy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Technology Is Ruining Snow Days For Students

How Technology Is Ruining Snow Days For Students

Newsy (Jan. 25, 2015) More schools are using online classes to keep from losing time to snow days, but it only works if students have Internet access at home. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Weird Things Couples Do When They Lose Their Phone

Weird Things Couples Do When They Lose Their Phone

BuzzFeed (Jan. 24, 2015) Did you back it up? Do you even know how to do that? Video provided by BuzzFeed
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins