Follow LiveScience @livescience, Facebook & Google+. That study showed that monogamy in animals can come down to physiology, which is in turn driven by evolution – ultimately coming down to what suits the selfish needs of selfish genes as they jockey for the chance to proliferate. First, we need to recognize that the factors that promote the origin vs. the maintenance of monogamy might differ (see discussion in Gowaty, 1996). below). Post was not sent - check your email addresses! 21, 919–948. Guarding one mate was their best bet. The results also suggest that other behaviors, such as paternal care, resulted from monogamy. B., and Wolff, J. O. Darwin, C. (1888). Whether you’re a scientist, engineer, teacher, or science advocate, together we can be a united voice for scientific progress. Historically, monogamy was thought to occur primarily in birds, and Lack (1968) initially estimated that more than 90% of birds were monogamous. The authors were able to leap forward in their research compared to previous efforts with the help of gene-based phylogenies, the tree-like genetic maps that researchers use to infer relationships between species and understand in what common ancestor of a species a shift in breeding strategy occurred. The evolution of large brain size in birds is related to social, not genetic, monogamy. It involved two related species of little rodents called voles. Sci. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. The researchers identified 61 transitions necessary to explain the existence of social monogamy among mammals. Spatial dynamics and the evolution of social monogamy in mammals. (2010) found that in frogs, a single ecological factor (breeding pool size) is related to the origin of care. Anthropologists have started to apply phylogenetic approaches to infer when during the history of human cultures changes in the mating system are likely to have occurred, but, as yet, there is no clear answer.". Correlates of genetic monogamy in socially monogamous mammals: insights from Azara's owl monkeys. [The Animal Kingdom's Most Devoted Dads], "In all the species where males provide care, monogamy already evolved in those species," Opie said. Intra-sexual selection in Drosophila. (2013) found that monogamy can influence the evolution of female life histories in mammals. Even allowing cheating or some level of divorce, fewer than 10 percent of mammals engage in monogamous mating. "It's a way for males to try to increase their genes that are passed into the next generation.". Molecular and field analyzes revealed that social and genetic monogamy occur in Ranitomeya imitator, a species that utilizes small pools, but not Ranitomeya variabilis, a species that uses large pools, suggesting that an ecological factor (pool size) led to the co-evolution of bi-parental care and monogamy in R. imitator (Brown et al., 2010). The evolution of paternal care, meanwhile, though it characterizes most socially monogamous species today, was a secondary adaption, the authors suggest. While the study offers insight into the evolution of monogamy, the results are highly dependent on how the researchers classified the various species of primates, said Eduardo Fernandez-Duque, an associate professor of anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, who was not involved in the new study. 151, 367–382. Multiple mating is frequently associated with fitness benefits in both sexes. Benefits include the (relative) certainty of access to the partner's reproductive potential, but the chief disadvantage is that access to other potential partners is strongly diminished, particularly in those cases where males exhibit strong mate … Ecol. Genetic mating system and timing of extra-pair fertilizations in the Kentish plover. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. doi: 10.1111/bij.12193, Wilson, A. Sociobiol. It should be noted that this study does not provide insights into when, and under which circumstances, monogamy evolved in humans.