Kin-selected cooperation without lifetime monogamy: human insights and animal implications.

Bibliographic Collection: 
Publication Type: Journal Article
Authors: Kramer, Karen L; Russell, Andrew F
Year of Publication: 2014
Journal: Trends Ecol Evol
Volume: 29
Issue: 11
Pagination: 600-6
Date Published: 2014 Nov
Publication Language: eng
ISSN: 1872-8383
Keywords: Animals, Biological Evolution, Cooperative Behavior, Hominidae, Humans, Pair Bond, Phylogeny, Sexual Behavior, Sexual Behavior, Animal, Social Behavior

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.

DOI: 10.1016/j.tree.2014.09.001
Alternate Journal: Trends Ecol. Evol. (Amst.)