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Monogamy May Have Evolved To Prevent Infanticide

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the a-modest-proposal dept.

Science 256

sciencehabit writes "Human males and females have a strong tendency to live together in monogamous pairs, albeit for highly varied periods of time and degrees of fidelity. Just how such behavior arose has been the topic of much debate among researchers. A new study comes to a startling conclusion: Among primates, including perhaps humans, monogamy evolved because it protected infants from being killed by rival males."

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Yes but... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44417619)

Sometimes a bitch just needs to have an abortion.

-1, Flamebait (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44417637)

Article is flamebait.

Re:-1, Flamebait (-1, Flamebait)

Lumpy (12016) | 1 year,30 days | (#44418449)

Because you still believe that the earth is 3000 years old and god demanded monogamy... Even though history proves otherwise?

You flat earthers are so silly.

But that doesn't explain (0)

Black Parrot (19622) | about a year ago | (#44417641)

why it hasn't evolved in lots of other species.

Re:But that doesn't explain (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44417777)

Clearly you didn't read the article. The very study linked in the summary specifically compared 230 primate species, some of which are socially monogamous and some of which are not. And it explains why it *hasn't* evolved among all of the fairly similar species in the study using a model based on the infanticide rate.

There are almost certainly things to be picked apart in the study, but you need to understand the basic premise before you can start on that track.

Re:But that doesn't explain (5, Insightful)

Datoyminaytah (550912) | about a year ago | (#44417795)

Because there's no "design" to evolution. Whatever works, works. And there's not one "right" way to evolve. There's no reason for a feature that evolves in one species to independently evolve in other species (although it's possible.)

Re:But that doesn't explain (3, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | about a year ago | (#44417983)

That is not an answer at all. (And who brought "design" into the discussion? Creationism wouldn't explain it either; why did God grant wings to birds and not to us?)

The study (and the linked article) go far beyond "lots of stuff could have worked and this is the one that must have come up." What is says is that monogamy hasn't evolved in other species because they don't practice infanticide. And why is that? Because big-brained animals take a long time to develop, so the young are defenseless.

Re:But that doesn't explain (1)

socceroos (1374367) | about a year ago | (#44418043)

This whole article seems like it's clutching at straws to me. Correlation does not imply causation.

Re:But that doesn't explain (3, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | about a year ago | (#44418187)

It goes somewhat beyond correlation, in that infanticide consistently precedes monogamy, and when infanticide does not arise neither does monogamy, or so they claim. It's not an airtight argument, nor does it seem very amenable to a controlled experiment to test it.

But the point is, it's not productive to discuss what "could be" explained by evolution, since that is practically everything and anything. You have to stick with the fossil record, DNA, and (where possible) direct experiments.

Re:But that doesn't explain (1)

Lumpy (12016) | 1 year,30 days | (#44418467)

Yeah, when has common sense ever mattered to humanity?

Re:But that doesn't explain (3, Informative)

RatBastard (949) | about a year ago | (#44418161)

No, it did not say that other species practiced infanticide. It said that infanticide was much more detrimental to us (and what had evolved into us) due to the extended period of helplessness during infancy. Infanticide was much too expensive for us than it is for lions and such.

Re:But that doesn't explain (0)

Black Parrot (19622) | about a year ago | (#44418371)

No, it did not say that other species practiced infanticide. It said that infanticide was much more detrimental to us (and what had evolved into us) due to the extended period of helplessness during infancy. Infanticide was much too expensive for us than it is for lions and such.

The more demanding infant seems like all the more reason for an interloping male to kill it. The argument does not seem convincing, to me.

Re:But that doesn't explain (3, Insightful)

Black Parrot (19622) | about a year ago | (#44418353)

What is says is that monogamy hasn't evolved in other species because they don't practice infanticide.

What I was thinking when I posted was of all the nature documentaries where a male adopts a new female into his "harem" and promptly kills her young. A few weeks ago I saw a somewhat unnerving film of a zebra doing that, picking up the foal by the neck with his teeth, and bashing him down onto the ground. I believe lots of other species do it too, and I've seen films of several.

Re:But that doesn't explain (1)

CAIMLAS (41445) | 1 year,30 days | (#44418651)

Not only that, but it's not possible for monogamy to be the result of infanticide (and through extrapolation, "evolved to prevent it"). If anything, it's the opposite: the survivors of infanticide benefited from it, and whatever genes passed down from their father which caused them to commit infanticide would be passed on to them, continuing the trend.

I would suspect that monogamy evolved out of necessity and lack of population density, possibly during a period of strong environmental stressors, when females were in short supply. I wouldn't be surprised if polygamy was co-evolved for similar reasons.

Re:But that doesn't explain (5, Insightful)

TsuruchiBrian (2731979) | about a year ago | (#44417899)

Can you explain why you *didn't* get into a car accident in the last month? What was it that you did that nobody else who got into a car accident last month did, to cause you to avoid all the accidents that could have happened?

You could say that Bill was drunk, or Alice was texting, and that's why they got into car accidents, but that doesn't explain how every single person that drove drunk or texted while driving didn't get into an accident.

What kind of explanation were you expecting?

Birds clearly have an advantage by being able to fly. If I said "Flying is not advantageous, because if it was, all organisms would have evolved to be able to fly", would that be convincing to you?

Re:But that doesn't explain (1)

Teancum (67324) | about a year ago | (#44418087)

Can you explain why you *didn't* get into a car accident in the last month?

While I haven't been accident free, I do tend to drive more cautiously and I know of many drivers that aren't nearly so cautious. I've been a passenger in their vehicles, and sadly I've been around long enough to know of a great many people personally who have died due to idiotic things they've done (like being 8x the legal intoxication limit and driving off a bridge for somebody I knew).

Their genes have been pulled from the gene pool, although it could be said that automobiles haven't been driven by humans long enough for natural selection pressures to make model drivers yet. Based on the number of auto accidents each year though, I'd say there is some strong evolutionary pressure happening with that environment. Especially note the age at which most accidents happen (young adults usually less than age 30 with the highest risk for those who are new drivers).

Perhaps it is just that us older folks are more cautious and the younger idiots have been culled by the time they get to my age? A few learn from sad experience by their friends, which just means that their brain actually has an evolutionary advantage too.

Re:But that doesn't explain (1)

TsuruchiBrian (2731979) | 1 year,30 days | (#44418569)

Did you just ignore this sentence?

You could say that Bill was drunk, or Alice was texting, and that's why they got into car accidents, but that doesn't explain how every single person that drove drunk or texted while driving didn't get into an accident.

If you got in a car accident, would anyone swear that this must be a murder because, you were cautious driver? Or would they just accept that being cautious only decreases your odds of being in an accident to some still greater than 0 probability?

Imagine if you were a non-drug user and a virgin. If a doctor informed you that you tested positive for HIV, it might take a bit more evidence in the form of more tests to convince you. It's not impossible to contract HIV in other ways (e.g. blood transfusions, bit by an infected monkey, etc), but avoiding intravenous drugs and unprotected sex are nearly 100% effective ways of preventing HIV contraction, in a way that being a cautious driver does not prevent car accidents.

Re:But that doesn't explain (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | 1 year,30 days | (#44418585)

We'll never evolve to be better drivers, cars are too safe for that (little relationship between poor driving skill and being kicked from the gene pool) and good drivers can be killed due to others' stupidity.

Re:But that doesn't explain (1)

TsuruchiBrian (2731979) | 1 year,30 days | (#44418681)

I would say a good reason to doubt someone had been in a car accident, would be if you had reason to believe that they were never in contact with cars. For example: I would highly doubt the claim that anyone dying prior to the invention of the automobile could have died as a result of a car accident.

Why didn't Benjamin Franklin get into a car accident? "It would have been impossible since cars weren't invented until after his death." seems a perfectly legitimate reason.

Re:But that doesn't explain (4, Insightful)

TapeCutter (624760) | 1 year,30 days | (#44418723)

Young women are attracted to young men who take unnecessary risks in extreme displays of their adult skills. Today it's smoking the wheels of cars, not so long ago it was jumping out of trees onto wild buffalo. Every hero in every action movie does the same thing, no matter what is thrown at the hero he gets up and keeps going, no matter what the hero blows up or how many bullets he shoots no innocent bystander is ever hurt.

Young women are not attracted to 'idiots' that crash and burn, they are attracted to 'heros' who's skills and strength keep them alive and healthy despite the odds. It's not a conscious thing in either sex, "cheating death" is an integral part of the human ritual of finding a suitable mate, it's so deeply ingrained in humans that a males brain chemistry will reward "cheating death" with feelings of elation, pride, and self-satisfaction.

Looking back as an old man who had the luck to survive the motorbike ritual (among others), young men really do behave like peacocks, the things they unconsciously do to attract a mate are even more dangerous to the individual than that ridiculous tail is to the peacock. At the end of the day it does make our societies (if not our species) better suited to the civilizations we invented. We are continually evolving and are in a feedback loop with the environment we have created for ourselves, not unlike the termite and it's air-conditioned fungus farm.

Re:But that doesn't explain (1)

Lumpy (12016) | 1 year,30 days | (#44418477)

"Can you explain why you *didn't* get into a car accident in the last month?"

Yes, I drive carefully and safer than the other morons on the road. My Probability of getting in an accident is mitigated lower by my own actions.

Re:But that doesn't explain (1)

TsuruchiBrian (2731979) | 1 year,30 days | (#44418741)

Lots of other people drive recklessly and don't get into car accidents either.

My point was that monogamy may have evolved in humans because it prevented evolutionary incentive against infanticide, even if it didn't evolve that way in lots of other species.

Just like how one reckless driver may be killed in an accident *because* he was reckless, even if the vast majority of reckless drivers do not get into accidents.

Re:But that doesn't explain (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,30 days | (#44418485)

"Can you explain why you *didn't* get into a car accident in the last month?"

Yeah, I take the subway.

Re:But that doesn't explain (3, Insightful)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | about a year ago | (#44418183)

why it hasn't evolved in lots of other species.

IANAA (I am not an Anthropologist) but I'm going to take a stab in the dark and hypothesise that it is because human offspring require a much bigger commitment of time, energy and resources before they can fend for themselves, than the offspring of pretty much any other species on the planet. Mind you monogamy is not exactly some sort of genetic trait we have evolved. Here in the west it is largely a cultural phenomenon that the christian church has popularised. There are plenty of cultures around the world where even fairly low status males can have more than one wife and there are also cultures where wives can have multiple husbands. So it is probably more accurate to say that humans evolved to be highly social and to engage in highly structured very long term bonding to form monogamous or polygamous families, partly to minimise infanticide and to maximise the odds of their very time and resource expensive offspring reaching adulthood.

Oh Please (-1, Troll)

The Cat (19816) | about a year ago | (#44417679)

What a fragrant load.

Humans are not brought into heat by the absence of young, and killing offspring is directly opposed to the core of evolutionary theory, which rewards the widest possible range of mates to guarantee diverse genetic combinations and the maximum chances for survival and spread of strong genes.

It's getting to the point where all you have to do is add "evolved" as the verb in any half-assed guess, and the neckbeards shout "amen!"

Science is a fucking religion.

Re:Oh Please (5, Insightful)

khallow (566160) | about a year ago | (#44417717)

and killing offspring is directly opposed to the core of evolutionary theory

Unless those offspring are in direct competition for food and reproductive access with your offspring. Then it makes a lot of sense evolution-wise.

Re:Oh Please (1, Troll)

The Cat (19816) | about a year ago | (#44417885)

How does monogamy change who is in competition with whom? There is no evolutionary mechanism to enforce monogamy. From a purely genetic standpoint there is no benefit to monogamy for a strong male.

Articles like this are just freeze dried beef pasta boiled up in 100 gallon vats and thrown to the neckbeards who gobble it up while slathering vaseline and yanking each other off.

Shit isn't even pretending to be science any more. It's just some asshole in a lab coat leading a revivial in a Kentucky tent.

Re:Oh Please (5, Insightful)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | about a year ago | (#44418005)

How does monogamy change who is in competition with whom? There is no evolutionary mechanism to enforce monogamy. From a purely genetic standpoint there is no benefit to monogamy for a strong male.

Articles like this are just freeze dried beef pasta boiled up in 100 gallon vats and thrown to the neckbeards who gobble it up while slathering vaseline and yanking each other off.

Shit isn't even pretending to be science any more. It's just some asshole in a lab coat leading a revivial in a Kentucky tent.

The argument is that your statement about a strong male being better off without monogamy seems right but isn't, because if strong males fail to stick around and ensure the children they conceived survive to reach adulthood and carry on the cycle, it won't happen, and their "strong" genes will be wiped from the face of the earth.
 

Re:Oh Please (1, Insightful)

Pseudonym Authority (1591027) | about a year ago | (#44418045)

Tip: humans are social animals. The survival of the species and close group is just as important for the strong male to spread his genes as his own survival is. Your knowledge on the subject seems cursory at best, though I suspect that you are trolling.

Re:Oh Please (3, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | 1 year,30 days | (#44418491)

" From a purely genetic standpoint there is no benefit to monogamy for a strong male."

From a genetic standpoint Monogomy is a disadvantage for a strong male. A strong male should be humping everything in sight to spread his genetics far and wide.

That is how it works in nature. A male lion has a pride of females for this exact reason.

Re:Oh Please (5, Interesting)

cheesybagel (670288) | about a year ago | (#44417967)

Here is a quote from Euripedes a writer from Ancient Greece where they had polygamy:

A second wife is hateful to the children of the first; A viper is not more hateful.

Re:Oh Please (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44417739)

You don't know very much about evolution or science.

Re:Oh Please (2)

onix (990980) | about a year ago | (#44417767)

What a myopic view. You have a lot to learn about evolution, and even more so about dogma and religion. "Science" an esteemed science journal would unlikely stoop to sensationalize. Where do you get your bias -- FOX?

Re:Oh Please (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44418303)

You sound like lots ofvfun at a party

Re:Oh Please (3, Interesting)

ericloewe (2129490) | about a year ago | (#44417769)

No, science is not religion, in the way you're implying it is. Science works by creating theories (either from educated guesses or observations, often both) and testing them.

If it can't be tested, it's not science*.

*Of course, one thing is not being capable of measuring something - the fact that light is affected by gravity took a while to test, for instance. That doesn't make it impossible to test.

Re:Oh Please (0)

Zordak (123132) | about a year ago | (#44418309)

If it can't be tested, it's not science*.

You mean like evolution (beyond minor intraspecies variations), or all of cosmology and astronomy, or climate theories? The best we can do for any of these is back into a theory based on the scraps of evidence we can gather, and then "test" the theory with computer models, which is not the same thing as testing. We just don't live long enough to observe them on any kind of useful scale, and in many cases, we don't have the means to do any kind of controlled experiment (unless the U.S. government has a top-secret stellar nursery lying around somewhere). That doesn't mean that we should stop trying to understand our universe as best we can. But it does mean that we should take some things we think we know with a grain of salt.

Re:Oh Please (2)

Yaztromo (655250) | about a year ago | (#44418375)

Science works by creating theories (either from educated guesses or observations, often both) and testing them.

If it can't be tested, it's not science*.

Sorry to seem pedantic, but science works by creating hypothesis and testing them, not theories.

Theories need to be supported by a vast body of evidence, and should provide both an explanation and the ability to make falsifiable predictions. They start out as hypothesis, however once experimentation and observation bear out the hypothesis, and sufficient data is accrued to show that all the expected data fits the hypothesis, and that predictions made by the hypothesis continue to be valid, then the framework derived from the hypothesis can be called a theory.

The point being, once something in science is considered a theory, you're long past the creation and testing stages (although there is nothing wrong with continuing to validate new data against existing theories; and obviously once new data is available some theories become either no longer valid, or only valid for certain systems of constraints). What you were talking about above are hypothesis, and the difference is critical to make in this world of vast scientific illiteracy.

Yaz

Re:Oh Please (4, Informative)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | about a year ago | (#44417781)

and killing offspring is directly opposed to the core of evolutionary theory, which rewards the widest possible range of mates to guarantee diverse genetic combinations and the maximum chances for survival and spread of strong genes.

This may come as a complete surprise to you, but there do exist plenty of creatures out there that do kill the offspring and still haven't become extinct and there do exist plenty of creatures out there that do not kill their offspring and only mate with one or very few partners and still haven't managed to become extinct. Hell, there exists atleast one specific one that doesn't mate at all and produces only perfect clones of themselves, and still haven't become extinct. The point is, you cannot just lump different survival-strategies together like that and deny the existence or even the possibility for anything other than your one chosen one; what works for one type of a creature may not work for another, and the nature has the tendency of throwing all sorts of types of stuff on the wall and seeing what sticks.

Re:Oh Please (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44417789)

Evolutionary theory rewards a whole range of behaviors, some of which are in direct opposition to one another. Having as many surviving relations as possible is good for my genetic line. But given scarce resources, so is having as few as competitors as possible. Which is exactly what this study addresses -- the situation where infanticide becomes significant enough to drive social changes.

Re:Oh Please (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44417791)

Have you ever stopped to think why male humans are attracted to female features which indicate fertility and whether or not she is pregnant?

Re:Oh Please (1)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | about a year ago | (#44417801)

It's gotten to the point where anyone who uses the word "neckbeard" can be assumed to have a neckbeard.

Re:Oh Please (0)

The Cat (19816) | about a year ago | (#44417905)

It's gotten to the point where the word "neckbeard" generates a firehose of butthurt.

Fucking crybabies.

Re:Oh Please (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44418171)

Suck my rusty iron cock, niggerfaggot.

Re:Oh Please (2, Funny)

aztektum (170569) | 1 year,30 days | (#44418579)

Oh, anonymous person on the Internet is such a big tough man. Catch a whiff of that musky manliness. But only a whiff! For should you inhale too deeply, the raw might of their being may overwhelm your soul!

Listen, everyone! You should accept how this person chooses to address YOU. The Cat has obviously shown his superior intellect and grasp of reality. Do not let the display of raw emotion intimidate you. Instead, be in awe of such power unleashed.

This stunning specimen of human perfection deserves... NAY, DEMANDS ... your respect and attention. And you will give it to them. For they are... The Cat.

Re:Oh Please (2)

sribe (304414) | about a year ago | (#44417829)

Humans are not brought into heat by the absence of young, and killing offspring is directly opposed to the core of evolutionary theory, which rewards the widest possible range of mates to guarantee diverse genetic combinations and the maximum chances for survival and spread of strong genes.

Male squirrels will gnaw the nuts off their male offspring if the mother neglects to defend them constantly. Last I checked squirrels seemed to be enjoying reasonable reproductive success ;-)

Re:Oh Please (1)

Columcille (88542) | about a year ago | (#44417877)

Are you saying that scientists have an evolutionary predisposition to promote evolution?

Re:Oh Please (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about a year ago | (#44417887)

Repeat after me (and Darwin): survival of the fittest. Competition within a species is one of the quickest ways to make its genepool more competitive.

Re:Oh Please (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44417895)

While I agree with some of your sentiment you must also know that not every evolutionary trait that rises in every organism is to the pure benefit of maximizing survival. Even so, given the relatively short lifespan of prehistoric humans and the advanced age one needs to be at in order to reproduce it wouldn't leave much time to create a lot of diversity and build a society that is needed to help survival for the masses.
 
But yes, neckbeards are smelly lemmings.
 
And yes, science has a lot of hero worship and blind acceptance to the point that well established scientists could lead many astray if they wanted to. And the mythology behind some scientists? Jesus fucking Christ, it's outrageous. You'd swear that Tesla could walk on water from some of the memes that bear his name.

Re:Oh Please (2)

LionKimbro (200000) | about a year ago | (#44418197)

I think that it is "Evolutionary Psychology" that is the religion -- not science.

If you said, "Evolutionary Psychology is ritualized Nuttery, like Economics," then I would be in complete agreement with you.

Re:Oh Please (1)

dasunt (249686) | about a year ago | (#44418201)

Humans are not brought into heat by the absence of young

You may want to read about nursing and the absence of ovulation. You also should follow that up with how long nursing goes on in hunter-gatherer societies.

Not to mention that nursing is a heavy calorie drain. Even if ovulation does occur when a mother is nursing, nursing a year old child is a heavy calorie drain - calories that can contribute to a new male's child instead. There's also the time element - killing another male's child increases the time a female can spend on the male's child.

killing offspring is directly opposed to the core of evolutionary theory

I don't think you understand the core of evolutionary theory if you think that males who don't kill their rival's children (and thus increase their own child's reproductive success) aren't going to outbreed those who do.

Now that I think about it, this would also support infanticide even committed by females. Imagine a band of hominids. In this band there's a few breeding pairs, as well as males too young to get mates, and females that are currently uncommitted. If the uncommitted female can successfully breed with a "cheating" male already in a breeding pair, that will reduce the time and resources given to that male's breeding partner. Plus there's always the chance of the uncommitted female permanently stealing away the male. But if that female cannot protect her own offspring, the incentive to cheat will be less. So if a female can kill her male partner's children by another female, there's an incentive there.

Re:Oh Please (1)

Austerity Empowers (669817) | 1 year,30 days | (#44418547)

Well reading TFA criticism was given that human monogamy is primarily socially imposed, and that we are not monogamous on the whole. On the other hand, we can think of some reasons why that might be, the strongest one comes to mind that practicing infanticide amongst humans tends to result in you being removed from the gene donor pool. Perhaps we need monogamy least because we have another mechanism to protect our young? Speculation, of course, they didn't study this.

Killing enemy sires offspring is not at all opposed to the core of evolution, particularly if there is competition for mates. It's why some species have evolved males who are almost useless for practical activities outside of killing each other, ex. the Lion.

NO (-1, Flamebait)

guantamanera (751262) | about a year ago | (#44417703)

primates tend to be in bands and they all protect each other. Mogamy happen because it takes a long time to rise the offspring, and it needs the support of both the female and male, and Love was one of the reward mechanism. See Helen Fisher's talk http://www.ted.com/talks/helen_fisher_studies_the_brain_in_love.html [ted.com]

Re:NO (5, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year ago | (#44417827)

Just because someone else has a different hypothesis doesn't mean this one is wrong.

Re:NO (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44417831)

What you're saying isn't necessary false, but it also isn't in opposition to the claims of this study, other than you're implying causation -- this study specifically addresses your point and argues only that, while long-term support certainly benefits from monogamy, it may not be the *cause* of monogamy.

It must be true (1)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | about a year ago | (#44417875)

That "just so" story gets me in the feels, therefore it isn't evo-psych STEMlord oppression.

Re:NO (4, Insightful)

oodaloop (1229816) | about a year ago | (#44417889)

primates tend to be in bands

Except for the ones that aren't, like orangutans, a close relative of ours.

Mogamy happen because it takes a long time to rise the offspring, and it needs the support of both the female and male

That's one pressure. TFS mentions another. There can be more than one reason, and there usually are.

Re:NO (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44418355)

primates tend to be in bands and they all protect each other. Mogamy happen because it takes a long time to rise the offspring, and it needs the support of both the female and male, and Love was one of the reward mechanism.
See Helen Fisher's talk
http://www.ted.com/talks/helen_fisher_studies_the_brain_in_love.html [ted.com]

Why do you assume all primates are the same socially?

They're not [arstechnica.com]

startingly obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44417729)

Males who abandoned their offspring tended not to see their genes spread further. Seems quite obvious. What's actually puzzling is that so many species thrive *without* monogamy.

Re:startingly obvious (1, Interesting)

Nutria (679911) | about a year ago | (#44418137)

Males who abandoned their offspring tended not to see their genes spread further.

African-Americans seem to be (population-wise, though not monetarily) surviving quite well in their current environment [rollingout.com] .

Re:startingly obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44418373)

surviving quite well

Quite well [naacp.org] ?

Notice how the "Contributing Factors" section of that NAACP "fact sheet" fails to consider the 59% "Multiple Babies’ Daddies" aspect?

Self inflicted ignorance right there.

Re:startingly obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44418141)

How many of those species produce offspring that are self-reliant at an early age? Even before societal norms made it common for parents to support their children until the age of 18, the 12-14 or so years that it takes a human child to become self-reliant is far longer than other species.

Re:startingly obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,30 days | (#44418511)

"What's actually puzzling is that so many species thrive *without* monogamy."

This is the single most retarded statement ever.

Think of the Children (3, Funny)

BenSchuarmer (922752) | about a year ago | (#44417753)

Been there, done that.

Re:Think of the Children (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44417925)

Faggots don't evolve

Re:Think of the Children (2)

Livius (318358) | about a year ago | (#44418311)

No *individual* ever evolves.

Re:Think of the Children (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,30 days | (#44418523)

You mom said you evolved, and are huge faggot.
She wishes you would be a top once in a while and stop squealing so much when your "friends" are over. She is getting really tired of untying you.

Re:Think of the Children (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44418123)

Speaking of thinking of the children, what's the evolutionary advantage of pedophilia?

Re:Think of the Children (1)

Gavrielkay (1819320) | about a year ago | (#44418419)

Well, it's quite possible that it's merely an aberration that has no benefit. Alternatively, I suppose you could hypothesize that it stems from any benefit derived from having a youthful parent to your offspring but taken too far.

Re:Think of the Children (1, Interesting)

wisnoskij (1206448) | 1 year,30 days | (#44418495)

The younger, the heather (particularly in the past), the better offspring.

The age of consent has been raised over the years to be far far past when the child bearing age starts.

Evolution did not create paedophilia, changing morals and laws (imposed by Western Christianity) created paedophilia.

Incorrect assumption (1)

otuz (85014) | about a year ago | (#44417785)

If anything humans are polygamous. A third cheat and the reason the other two thirds don't is because of social, financial and other consequences or just aren't attractive enough to get someone to cheat with.

Re:Incorrect assumption (1)

glwtta (532858) | about a year ago | (#44417855)

What you typically see in humans - monogamy with some-to-a-fair-amount-of cheating - is still much closer to monogamy than to polygamy, not to mention the promiscuity you see with most animals.

Re:Incorrect assumption (1)

InvalidError (771317) | 1 year,30 days | (#44418563)

His point was that monogamy in humans has several strong non-genetic factors heavily favoring it. I can certainly imagine the non-genetic factors easily overriding whatever genetic predispositions we may have either way.

If polygamy carried no political, religious, social, financial, legal, health, etc. consequences or humans lacked the foresight/intelligence/education to consider them like animals do, it would likely be far more common - just look at how "loose" soldiers often got with women in conquered territories before armies and international treaties got into that... guys certainly don't seem particularly monogamous when risks seem practically zero.

While "only a third" of humans ADMIT cheating, there likely are many more who actually do and even more who would like to but either cannot or dare not.

Re:Incorrect assumption (1)

cryptizard (2629853) | about a year ago | (#44417897)

Someone sounds bitter...

Re:Incorrect assumption (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44418061)

The human behavior is mostly monogamous. 'Cheating' is common in mostly monogamous species. Their is a primary mate that holds the attention, but a member of the species with the opportunity to cheat with little to lose will do so. Effectively, the monogomous mate represents child rearing that the male is heavily invested in, and the cheating is 'blind firing' genetic material in case it makes it through.

Re:Incorrect assumption (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44418367)

Women cheat just as much as men. Your argument still holds--it makes just as much sense for the female to cheat as it does the male, namely the opportunity to mix your genes with someone else's--you just need to excise some of the sexism.

Monogamy Means More Babies (1)

shawnhcorey (1315781) | about a year ago | (#44417799)

It takes a female chimpanzee 4 to 5 years to teach her offspring enough to survive. During that time, she does not come into heat. Humans, on the other hand, can have babies about once a year. A single female could not raise them all on her own without some help. Today, we call that helper a husband and father. Monogamy means more babies.

Re:Monogamy Means More Babies (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44417947)

It takes a female chimpanzee 4 to 5 years to teach her offspring enough to survive. During that time, she does not come into heat. Humans, on the other hand, can have babies about once a year. A single female could not raise them all on her own without some help. Today, we call that helper a husband and father. Monogamy means more babies.

That's not what they said about Welfare Queens.

Re:Monogamy Means More Babies (0)

Teancum (67324) | about a year ago | (#44418147)

That's not what they said about Welfare Queens.

Which gives us cities like Detroit. How is that working out?

Re:Monogamy Means More Babies (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,30 days | (#44418507)

Detroit and Africa, one common factor

Re:Monogamy Means More Babies (2)

Lumpy (12016) | 1 year,30 days | (#44418555)

It's used as a warning to others, so far Canada hasn't tried to invade us. That means it's working!

Re:Monogamy Means More Babies (1)

Lumpy (12016) | 1 year,30 days | (#44418539)

"Humans, on the other hand, can have babies about once a year"
No, they can have a baby every 10.5 months. There are MANY that pooped out 6-8 kids that are all less than 1 year apart from the previous.

Re:Monogamy Means More Babies (4, Informative)

vux984 (928602) | about a year ago | (#44418287)

Humans, on the other hand, can have babies about once a year.

Women who nurse exclusively on average do not get their periods for 14-15 months after childbirth. Some get it right away, some go 2-3 years, but 13-16 months is the average, if they are nursing.

Current fortune at bottom of page (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44417813)

The current fortune is perfect for this thread:

"A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices." -- William James

Just beautiful.

Sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44417865)

And infidelity has evolved to ensure that you will have many adult males willing to defend your own offsprings.

Negroes are promiscuous (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44417927)

Interestinly, Negroes, like the othe lower apes, are very promiscuous. They will rut and breed with anything. They are lazy and shiftless, and like the cuckoo, deposit its brood in another's nest, which is to say, the state. "Git dat green" say the Negro. "Git dat green". Fat negro women, with their bulbous buttocks make a career of squeezing out little monkey children as fast as they can say "Git dat green". They are the proverbial welfare queens with a dozen pups by a dozen different men.

It's simple (4, Funny)

cyber-vandal (148830) | about a year ago | (#44417973)

Monogamy evolved because it makes great furniture.

tired of evolutionary bs (3, Insightful)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about a year ago | (#44417999)

I believe evolution happens, both historically and currently, and on scales both grand and small.

But I'm tired of so-called scientists making news stories out of un-testable speculations about how something or another could have been a factor in our evolutionary past.

That kind of speculation is for late-night living-room talk, not scientific journals.

Re:tired of evolutionary bs (0)

CannonballHead (842625) | about a year ago | (#44418337)

I'm one of those wacky "intellectually challenged" Bible people you may have heard about ;)

But I can actually agree with you here... because reason and intent is something that is awfully hard to prove without, uh, well, something that has reason and intent. As I understand it, unless you go for theistic evolution, evolution is entirely a natural process and evolution does not occur with some future reason or intent in "mind." It can't. It has no mind, reason, or intent.

So to say that something evolved to prevent something? I could see trying to argue that it was, at least, a side-effect, perhaps even a primary effect, but to give a purely natural process an intent of *prevention* ...

Re:tired of evolutionary bs (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,30 days | (#44418533)

The devil is in the details.. or in this case, in the wording. The evolutionary explanation would be something along the lines of "the genes of strong males who stick with their mate and protect their offspring have an evolutionary advantage as more of those children live to have offspring compared to offspring whom are left to rely on the protection of a sole parent", and that ignores the part where rival mates kill offspring in other to make the female "available" and thus in a way, monogamy 'prevents' infanticide.

Re:tired of evolutionary bs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44418343)

Sounds like a scientist's Friday night to me. Amiriteorwhat?

Re:tired of evolutionary bs (4, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | 1 year,30 days | (#44418713)

But I'm tired of so-called scientists making news stories out of un-testable speculations about how something or another could have been a factor in our evolutionary past.

Good thing that's not this story then, where the entire point of the paper was to test various hypothesis about monogamy. Seriously, at least RTFA.

Monogamy is for the poor and women. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44418013)

Family takes a lot of resources. Poor man could afford only one female and women had no choice to begin with. Rich man could afford more women and they certainly did.

Compared with Chicago Today (1)

BoRegardless (721219) | about a year ago | (#44418153)

It makes sense in a strange way.

O'rly? (2)

silverdr (779097) | about a year ago | (#44418159)

"Human males and females have a strong tendency to live together in monogamous pairs"

As much as they have a strong tendency towards not being able to afford harems.

Anything but "startling". (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44418301)

This is the most obvious explanation, and is so much a common sense that I'm surprised it wasn't "prooved" already since forever.

Unoriginal (1)

Livius (318358) | about a year ago | (#44418357)

This is merely another variation on the very old theme of humans needed more co-operation than their ancestors.

"Be sexually faithful or your children die" is a harsh bargain, but such are the stakes in evolutionary biology.

Stupid headline asserts supernatural intention (1)

julian67 (1022593) | about a year ago | (#44418403)

The headline of horribly stupid because it identifies and ascribes intention and foresight to a process where those qualities are by definition absent. It's the village idiot's view of evolution and is as useful as thinking that the sun decides to rise each morning in order to warm the earth.

Monogamy didn't evolve to do X or Y or to prevent Z. It's one of many traits that allowed its carriers' offspring to endure.

Re:Stupid headline asserts supernatural intention (1)

julian67 (1022593) | about a year ago | (#44418423)

And I wrote of instead of is. This is because I sleep around, have 9 children by 4 different mothers, and am exhausted to the point of dementia.

Mormons (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,30 days | (#44418593)

I always suspected Mormons were a less-evolved form of humans. Good to see we finally have proof.

That's silly (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,30 days | (#44418679)

What about all the parents that want to kill their own kids?

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