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Darwin-L Message Log 8:63 (April 1994)

Academic Discussion on the History and Theory of the Historical Sciences

This is one message from the Archives of Darwin-L (1993–1997), a professional discussion group on the history and theory of the historical sciences.

Note: Additional publications on evolution and the historical sciences by the Darwin-L list owner are available on SSRN.


<8:63>From LANGDON@GANDLF.UINDY.EDU  Mon Apr 18 09:27:47 1994

Date: Mon, 18 Apr 1994 09:27:47 -0500
From: "JOHN LANGDON"  <LANGDON@GANDLF.UINDY.EDU>
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu, langdon@gandlf.uindy.edu
Subject: Re: mating

> This prediction, of course, rests on the supposition that "fertility" or
> "reproductive value" are the single overwhelming criteria for the human
> male, which seems rather doubious. Anyhow, did anybody in fact observe
> that "males looking for a one night stand" prefer older females than those
> who are "looking for wives?"

Very dubious. What other factors would consistently skew this prediction
concerning age and maturity? I can think of several, including males who are
not certain (or not honest about) which strategy they are playing. Then there
are males who are not playing a reproductive strategy at all-- just out for
pleasure. I personally think this explains far more sexual activity than
reproductive strategy does; but since it is not evolved, adaptationists are
blind to it.

> In this context it is not contrary that a male chimp  rejects an adolescent
> female's solicitation.  While she may be higher reproductive value,
> adolescents are less fertile compared to a mature and tested female.

This was my point.

> Chimps, however, exibit harem behaviour, not "one night stand" behaviour.

Your statement contradicts received wisdom. Are you referring to the
recruitment of females into a chimp band or to consortships? Chimp males are
consistently described as competitive and promiscuous within the band, seeking
sex only from estrus females. Consortships are alternative strategies, but
still not harem behavior.

Regards, John

JOHN H. LANGDON                email   LANGDON@GANDLF.UINDY.EDU
DEPARTMENT OF BIOLOGY          FAX  (317) 788-3569
UNIVERSITY OF INDIANAPOLIS     PHONE (317) 788-3447
INDIANAPOLIS, IN 46227

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