L30-Daly_99 - I DEFINING MEN HEAD TO HEAD Men and other...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–3. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Darwinism and the Roots of I I DEFINING MEN HEAD TO HEAD: Men and other animals such as elephant seals often fight over status. Competition for mates helps to explain such risky tactics. Copyright 1999 Scientific American, Inc.
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
H ow long people live varies among times and places, but women almost always live longer. According to current estimates by the United Na- tions, Japan leads the world in life ex- pectancy at birth: 76.9 years for males and 82.9 for females. In the U.S. the corresponding figures are 73.4 and 80.1 years, and in Russia, 58.0 versus 71.5. Of more than 200 countries, men out- live women only in the Maldives and Nepal, where birth rates are exception- ally high and may contribute to mor- tality among women. The typical fe- male advantage was probably as evi- dent in our preagricultural ancestors as it is in modern society. Why do men die younger? There is no single answer. Demographers distin- guish external causes of death (homi- cides, suicides and accidents) from in- ternal causes (disease). In modern coun- tries, males die at higher rates than females from both internal and exter- nal causes, at all ages, and differences between the sexes in external mortality in adolescence and young adulthood are especially striking [ see illustration on page 11 ]. What limited evidence is available indicates that the same is true in foraging societies, which are more like those in which humans evolved. External mortality in young men is largely a consequence of their behavior. They drive more recklessly than wom- en or older men, for example, and they are relatively unconcerned about the hazards of taking street drugs and about invisible threats such as environmental contaminants and sexually transmitted diseases [see “Teenage American Males: Growing up with Risks,” on page 86]. They are also more inclined to choose immediate rewards over larger but later ones and more often experience a close brush with danger as a rewarding thrill. They are more likely than other demo- graphic groups to escalate an alterca- tion to a dangerous level, to kill and to be killed. Why are young men more risk-lov- ing than other people? The ubiquity of these tendencies across cultures implies that they cannot be simply a conse- quence of modern society. The question must instead be addressed like others that concern life history and differenc- es between the sexes, such as why men tend to be a little taller than women and to experience puberty a little later. What needs explaining is how and why these aspects of human nature evolved. Sexual Selection and Sex Differences A major source of differences be- tween females and males is sexual se- lection, the component of Darwinian natural selection that consists of non- random differences in mating success. Over evolutionary time, sexual selec-
Background image of page 2
Image of page 3
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

{[ snackBarMessage ]}

Page1 / 8

L30-Daly_99 - I DEFINING MEN HEAD TO HEAD Men and other...

This preview shows document pages 1 - 3. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online