Male-male relationships in chimpanzees and the evolution of human pair bonds.
The evolution of monogamy has been a central question in biological anthropology. An important avenue of research has been comparisons across "socially monogamous" mammals, but such comparisons are inappropriate for understanding human behavior because humans are not "pair living" and are only sometimes "monogamous." It is the "pair bond" between reproductive partners that is characteristic of humans and has been considered unique to our lineage. I argue that pair bonds have been overlooked in one of our closest living relatives, chimpanzees. These pair bonds are not between mates but between male "friends" who exhibit enduring and emotional social bonds. The presence of such bonds in male-male chimpanzees raises the possibility that pair bonds emerged earlier in our evolutionary history. I suggest pair bonds first arose as "friendships" and only later, in the human lineage, were present between mates. The mechanisms for these bonds were co-opted for male-female bonds in humans.