Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Family values: Faithful females who choose good providers key to evolutionary shift to modern family, study finds

Date:
May 28, 2012
Source:
National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS)
Summary:
In early human evolution, when faithful females began to choose good providers as mates, pair-bonding replaced promiscuity, laying the foundation for the emergence of the institution of the modern family, a new study finds.

In early human evolution, when faithful females began to choose good providers as mates, pair-bonding replaced promiscuity, laying the foundation for the emergence of the institution of the modern family, a new study finds.

Related Articles


The study helps answer long-standing questions in evolutionary biology about how the modern family, characterized by intense, social attachments with exclusive mates, emerged following earlier times of promiscuity. In addition to the establishment of stable, long-lasting relationships, the transition to pair-bonding was also characterized by a reduction in male-to-male competition in favor of providing for females and providing close parental involvement.

The study demonstrates mathematically that the most commonly proposed theories for the transition to human pair-bonding are not biologically feasible. However, the study advances a new model showing that the transition to pair-bonding can occur when female choice and faithfulness, among other factors, are included. The result is an increased emphasis on provisioning females over male competition for mating.

The effect is most pronounced in low-ranked males who have a low chance of winning a mate in competition with a high-ranked male. Thus, the low-ranked male attempts to buy mating by providing for the female, which in turn is then reinforced by females who show preference for the low-ranked, "provisioning" male, according to author Sergey Gavrilets, associate director for scientific activities at the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis and a professor at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville.

"Once females begin to show preference for being provisioned, the low-ranked males' investment in female provisioning over male-to-male competition pays-off," Gavrilets explained.

Gavrilets says that the study's results describe a "sexual revolution" initiated by low-ranking males who began providing in order to get matings. "Once the process was underway, it led to a kind of self-domestication, resulting in a group-living species of provisioning males and faithful females," he said.

The study reveals that female choice played a crucial role in human evolution and that future studies should include between-individual variation to help explain social dilemmas and behaviors, according to Gavrilets.

The National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS) brings together researchers from around the world to collaborate across disciplinary boundaries to investigate solutions to basic and applied problems in the life sciences. NIMBioS is sponsored by the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture with additional support from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. S. Gavrilets. Human origins and the transition from promiscuity to pair-bonding. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2012; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1200717109

Cite This Page:

National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS). "Family values: Faithful females who choose good providers key to evolutionary shift to modern family, study finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 May 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120528154941.htm>.
National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS). (2012, May 28). Family values: Faithful females who choose good providers key to evolutionary shift to modern family, study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 25, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120528154941.htm
National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS). "Family values: Faithful females who choose good providers key to evolutionary shift to modern family, study finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120528154941.htm (accessed April 25, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Fossils & Ruins News

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

World's Earliest Jewelry Discovered in Croatia

World's Earliest Jewelry Discovered in Croatia

AFP (Apr. 24, 2015) Nine eagle talons kept in the Natural History Museum of Zagreb for a century are in fact the world&apos;s earliest jewelry, crafted 130,000 years ago by Neanderthals. Duration: 01:09 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cleaners Find Ancient Peru Mummy

Cleaners Find Ancient Peru Mummy

Reuters - News Video Online (Apr. 15, 2015) Cleaners in Peru stumble across an ancient mummy mysteriously dumped near rubbish in the pre-Incan city of Chan Chan. Rough cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
388 Unidentified Pearl Harbor Victims To Be Exhumed, ID'd

388 Unidentified Pearl Harbor Victims To Be Exhumed, ID'd

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2015) The Department of Defense is exhuming the unidentified remains of 388 servicemen who died on board the USS Oklahoma in 1941. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Manuscript by Nazi Code Breaker Alan Turing Sells for $1 Million

Manuscript by Nazi Code Breaker Alan Turing Sells for $1 Million

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Apr. 13, 2015) Alan Turing&apos;s notebook containing the foundations of mathematics and computer science sells at auction for $1,025,000 (USD). Roselle Chen reports. Video provided by Reuters
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:

More Coverage


Female Choice Key to Evolutionary Shift to Modern Family

May 30, 2012 How females chose their mates played a critical role in human evolution by leading to monogamous relationships, which laid the foundation for the institution of the modern ... read more

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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