Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Hostname: page-component-848d4c4894-75dct Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-05-23T19:50:20.351Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

11 - Infanticide and the evolution of male–female bonds in animals

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 November 2009

Carel P. van Schaik
Affiliation:
Duke University, North Carolina
Charles H. Janson
Affiliation:
State University of New York, Stony Brook
Get access

Summary

Introduction

Sexual selection theory suggests that divergent reproductive interests of the sexes impede the evolution of enduring social bonds between males and females. Males are more likely to increase reproductive success by acquiring multiple mates whereas females enhance fitness more by discriminative choice of individual mate(s) (Darwin 1871; Trivers 1972). Consequently, insofar as postcopulatory bonds limit a male's sexual access to additional fertile females and are irrelevant to antecedent female mate choice, such bonds should be relatively rare. The mostly polygynous mammals, for example, fulfill this expectation: male mating effort generally exceeds paternal effort, and affiliative interactions between the sexes center on the period of copulation or female fertility (Clutton-Brock 1989b).

And yet, males and non-fertile or anestrous females maintain stable relationships with one another in some species. The same theoretical framework that predicts the rarity of persistent heterosexual bonds also highlights a primary context for their evolution: when a male restricts his mating to a single female, a postcopulatory relationship with her is not only less costly to him, but may also offer fitness advantages to both parties. The proposed benefit to the female is the extensive parental care she receives from a male that is now certain of paternity. Thus durable male–female relationships were originally viewed as part of a coevolved suite of behaviors including monogamy, biparental care, and, in gregarious animals, “nuclear families” of parents and offspring (Morris 1967; Wittenberger & Tilson 1980; Gubernick 1994). The primarily monogamous, biparental birds have long served as vivid examples of this system (Lack 1968).

Type
Chapter
Information
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2000

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×