Sexual Selection - Essay Plan

  • Created by: ml4689
  • Created on: 05-06-16 15:59

Discuss the relationship between sexual selection and human reproductive behaviour

It is debated whether evolutionary explanations of sexual selection accurately explain human reproductive behaviour.

Evolutionary explanations

Suggesting evolutionary explanations do explain human reproductive behaviour, women are primarily responsible for inter-sexual selection (mate selection) as they must carefully select a partner who is most likely to protect and provide for their offspring until it reaches sexual maturity. This causes men to compete with other men (intra-sexual selection) to be selected by numerous high status, fertile women. Trivers explains this due to differences in the level of investment in child-rearing made by men and women (Parental Investment Theory; PIT). A woman has limited reproductive opportunities (one ovum per month) and invests more than the man (as she must care for the offspring during pregnancy and childhood. Therefore, she uses inter-sexual selection to pass on her “selfish genes” (Dawkins) by selecting the most attractive male – one who can provide (with financial status) and protect (muscular). Whereas a man has numerous reproductive possibilities (millions of sperm per day) and invests less in childcare. Therefore, he can be less selective, ensuring that he passes on his genes by competing to procreate with as many partners as possible. Adding to PIT, Internal Fertilisation Theory (IFT) argues that a woman is biologically motivated to take care of a child because she can be sure that it shares her genes. However, her male partner cannot be sure that the child is his, making


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