Sexual selection under parental choice in agropastoral societies

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Evidence from the anthropological record indicates that in most human societies, parents control the mating access to their offspring. Based on these data, a model of sexual selection has been recently proposed, whereby along with female and male choice, parental choice constitutes a significant sexual selection force in our species. This model was found to provide a good account for the mating patterns which are typical of foraging societies. By employing data from the Standard Cross Cultural Sample, the present study aims at examining whether this model can also account for the mating patterns typical of agricultural and pastoral societies. In addition, comparisons between different society types are made and two model-derived hypotheses are tested. First, it is hypothesised that parents have more control over their offspring's mate choices in non-foraging societies. Second, it is hypothesised that male parents exert greater decision making power in agropastoral societies than in hunting and gathering ones. Both hypotheses are supported by the results presented here. The evolutionary implications of these findings are also explored.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-47
Number of pages9
JournalEvolution and Human Behavior
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2010


  • Mating behaviour
  • Mating patterns in Agricultural Societies
  • Mating patterns in Pastoral Societies
  • Parental choice
  • Sexual selection


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