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  • Cited by 78
  • Edited by Ulrich H. Reichard, Max-Planck-Institut für Evolutionäre Anthropologie, Germany, Christophe Boesch, Max-Planck-Institut für Evolutionäre Anthropologie, Germany
Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
July 2014
Print publication year:
Online ISBN:

Book description

Why do males of some species live with a single mate when they are capable of fertilizing more than one female's eggs? Why do some females pair only with one male, and not with several partners? Why do birds usually live in pairs and feed chicks together whilst mammals often live in larger groups with females rearing their young without male help? These questions form the central theme of this book. Social monogamy is a complex, multi-faceted phenomenon that does not always correspond with reproductive monogamy, so a paired male may not necessarily be raising his own offspring. Exploring the variables influencing and maintaining the fascinating diversity of social, sexual and reproductive monogamous partnerships in birds, mammals and humans, this book provides clues to the biological roots of monogamy for students and researchers in behavioural ecology, evolutionary anthropology, primatology, zoology and ornithology.


'This book provides an up-to-date and important contribution on monogamy in birds, humans and other mammals … this is an excellent and very informative book which will be of use to anyone interested in mating systems and mating strategies. It highlights the many as yet unresolved questions concerning the evolution of monogamy and should stimulate new avenues of research.'

Source: Primate Eye

'All in all it is a very impressive collection of studies.'

David J. Chivers Source: Folia Primatologica

'… this volume is both interesting and provocative. Everyone interested in social systems in vertebrates and the theoretical issues that are still unsettled will want a copy of this book.'

Source: Primates

' … this is a useful book and it makes a welcome addition to the literature.'

Source: Ethology

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