The Evolution Of Monogamy Within Mammals

1417 WordsDec 1, 20166 Pages
The evolution of monogamy in mammals has been challenging to understand for ecologists for many years, because in most cases male mammals are thought to have higher fitness through polygamous mating. One of the principles of evolution is that animals want to maximize their reproductive success, so two animals committing to one another kind of seems counter-intuitive. Animals want to pass on their genes to the next generation, and having more offspring means there 's a higher chance of survival. When females have long lactation periods or gestation, they are unable to mate during this time, so it would seem to be advantageous for the male to move on to their next mate. In a biology context, monogamy is when one male mates to one female forming an exclusive bond. Research shows that approximately 3-5% of mammals are considered monogamous compared to about 90% of birds and out of a total of 4,000 mammalian species (Munshi-South). Birds seem to be extremely monogamous because both male and female birds actively participate in the growth of their hatchlings. The equitable division of the labor gives the male bird more of a reason to stick around (Munshi-South). Although most mammals are not monogamous why do some of them exhibit this behavior? We could address this question by looking at different examples of monogamous mammals and what genetic and environmental factors could have influenced this behavior. We can also look at what hormones could be involved in pair-bonding

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