Male Chimpanzees Prefer Mating with Old Females

Male Chimpanzees Prefer Mating with Old Females Cross-cultural studies indicate that women's sexual attractiveness generally peaks before motherhood and declines with age (1) . Cues of female youth are thought to be attractive because humans maintain long-term pair bonds, making reproductive value (i.e. future reproductive potential) particularly important to males (2, 3) . Menopause is believed to exaggerate this preference for youth by limiting women's future fertility (1, 4) . This theory predicts that in species lacking long-term pair bonds and menopause, males should not exhibit a preference for young mates. We tested this prediction by studying male preferences in our closest living relative, the chimpanzee ( Pan troglodytes ). We show that despite their promiscuous mating system, chimpanzee males, like humans, prefer some females over others. However, in contrast to humans, chimpanzee males prefer older, not younger, females. These data robustly discriminate patterns of male mate choice between humans and chimpanzees. Given that the human lineage evolved from a chimpanzee-like ancestor, they indicate that male preference for youth is a derived human feature, likely adapted from a tendency to form unusually long term mating bonds. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Current Biology Elsevier

Male Chimpanzees Prefer Mating with Old Females

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Publisher
Elsevier
Copyright
Copyright © 2006 Elsevier Ltd
ISSN
0960-9822
D.O.I.
10.1016/j.cub.2006.09.042
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Cross-cultural studies indicate that women's sexual attractiveness generally peaks before motherhood and declines with age (1) . Cues of female youth are thought to be attractive because humans maintain long-term pair bonds, making reproductive value (i.e. future reproductive potential) particularly important to males (2, 3) . Menopause is believed to exaggerate this preference for youth by limiting women's future fertility (1, 4) . This theory predicts that in species lacking long-term pair bonds and menopause, males should not exhibit a preference for young mates. We tested this prediction by studying male preferences in our closest living relative, the chimpanzee ( Pan troglodytes ). We show that despite their promiscuous mating system, chimpanzee males, like humans, prefer some females over others. However, in contrast to humans, chimpanzee males prefer older, not younger, females. These data robustly discriminate patterns of male mate choice between humans and chimpanzees. Given that the human lineage evolved from a chimpanzee-like ancestor, they indicate that male preference for youth is a derived human feature, likely adapted from a tendency to form unusually long term mating bonds.

Journal

Current BiologyElsevier

Published: Nov 21, 2006

References

  • Mountain gorilla reproduction and sexual behavior
    Watts, D.P.
  • Mortality rates among wild chimpanzees
    Hill, K.; Boesch, C.; Goodall, J.; Pusey, A.; Williams, J.; Wrangham, R.
  • Mate choice in male mandrills ( Mandrillus sphinx )
    Setchell, J.M.; Wickings, E.J.
  • Male mate choice in Lemur catta
    Parga, J.A.
  • Vocal and visual attractiveness are related in women
    Collins, S.A.; Missing, C.
  • Demography, female life history, and reproductive profiles among the chimpanzees of Mahale
    Nishida, T.; Corp, N.; Hamai, M.; Hasegawa, T.; Hiraiwa-Hasegawa, M.; Hosaka, K.; Hunt, K.D.; Itoh, N.; Kawanaka, K.; Matsumoto-Oda, A.

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