Male reproductive strategies in new world primates

Human Nature 7 (2):105-123 (1996)
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Patterns of three variables of reproductive strategies in male New World primates are examined: (i) how males obtain access to potential mates; (ii) how males obtain actual mating opportunities; and (iii) how males affect infant survival and female reproductive success. Male opportunities to associate with females, whether by remaining in their natal groups, dispersing and forming new groups, or dispersing and taking over or joining established groups, are strongly influenced by local population densities and correlate with female reproductive rates and the extent of female reproductive seasonality and synchrony. Differences in male mating success are affected by female accessibility, whether male-male and male-female relationships are hierarchical or egalitarian, and whether female reproduction is seasonally restricted. Patterns of male behavior toward infants, characterized as active assistance, overt interference, or benign tolerance, appear to co-vary with differences in the degree to which males can affect female reproductive rates.These qualitative analyses suggest that the reproductive strategies of male New World primates can be classified along a continuum ranging from conservative to daring depending on whether female reproductive rates are relatively slow or fast and whether reproduction is strongly or weakly linked to seasonal ecological variables. Males adopt the conservative strategy of staying in their natal groups, forfeiting exclusive mating opportunities, and treating infants with tolerance when female reproduction is constrained by ecological factors. Conversely, males adopt the more daring strategy of dispersing and competing when potential payoffs through their ability to affect female reproduction are high



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The Woman That Never Evolved.Sarah Blaffer Hrdy - 1981 - Harvard University Press.

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