Kin-selected cooperation without lifetime monogamy: human insights and animal implications.
Recent phylogenetic analyses suggest that monogamy precedes the evolution of cooperative breeding involving non-breeding helpers. The rationale: only through monogamy can helper-recipient relatedness coefficients match those of parent-offspring. Given that humans are cooperative breeders, these studies imply a monogamy bottleneck during hominin evolution. However, evidence from multiple sources is not compelling. In reconciliation, we propose that selection against cooperative breeding under alternative mating patterns will be mitigated by: (i) kin discrimination, (ii) reduced birth-intervals, and (iii) constraints on independent breeding, particularly for premature and post-fertile individuals. We suggest that such alternatives require consideration to derive a complete picture of the selection pressures acting on the evolution of cooperative breeding in humans and other animals.