Grandmothering life histories and human pair bonding.

Bibliographic Collection: 
APE, CARTA-Inspired Publication
Publication Type: Journal Article
Authors: Coxworth, James E; Kim, Peter S; McQueen, John S; Hawkes, Kristen
Year of Publication: 2015
Journal: Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A
Volume: 112
Issue: 38
Number: 38
Pagination: 11806-11
Date Published: 2015 Sep 22
Publication Language: eng
ISBN Number: 0027-8424
ISSN: 1091-6490
Accession Number: 26351687
Keywords: Animals, Computer Simulation, Demography, Female, Grandparents, Humans, Life Cycle Stages, Male, Pair Bond, Pan troglodytes, Sex Ratio, Sexual Behavior, Animal

The evolution of distinctively human life history and social organization is generally attributed to paternal provisioning based on pair bonds. Here we develop an alternative argument that connects the evolution of human pair bonds to the male-biased mating sex ratios that accompanied the evolution of human life history. We simulate an agent-based model of the grandmother hypothesis, compare simulated sex ratios to data on great apes and human hunter-gatherers, and note associations between a preponderance of males and mate guarding across taxa. Then we explore a recent model that highlights the importance of mating sex ratios for differences between birds and mammals and conclude that lessons for human evolution cannot ignore mammalian reproductive constraints. In contradiction to our claim that male-biased sex ratios are characteristically human, female-biased ratios are reported in some populations. We consider the likelihood that fertile men are undercounted and conclude that the mate-guarding hypothesis for human pair bonds gains strength from explicit links with our grandmothering life history.

DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1599993112
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Alternate Journal: Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.