Monday, December 25, 2006

Human monogamy is a farce!   posted by Matt @ 12/25/2006 11:27:00 PM

EDIT: I just found a paper (posted here)estimating the rate of human EPC to be between <1%-30% with a median of 3.7%. In other words, 1 in 25 fathers reading this are raising children that are the product of their partners infidelity...

In a previous post (link) the bold claim was made that there is no biological predisposition towards human monogamy, but instead what drives us toward monogamy-like mating system is culture. There seem to be several independent lines of evidence that supports my position.

  1. Anecdotal evidence. How many of us:
    1. Have never had a friend who cheated?
    2. Cheated ourselves?
    3. Know somebody who was actually cuckolded?
  2. Evidence from parsimony-
    1. There are 5,419 mammal species listed in Mammal Species of the World, the definitive resource. Of these, less than 5% are monogamous. Which is more parsimonious- that we ARE or ARE NOT monogamous?
    2. None of the great apes, our closest living related species, are monogamous
  3. Evidence from the literature.
    1. anybody have some good examples of data that defines human genetic mating system?
  4. Evidence from Adaptation and physiology
    1. Sperm competition
    2. Adaptive sperm allocation
It seems quite logical to me that humans are in fact not monogamous,at least not in the strictest (and biologically relevant) sense, but that instead polygyny might more appropriately represent our biology.

Anybody have problems with this?

Update from Razib: Paternity confidence.