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a201-11f-14-MatingFemalesAndMales - Introduction to...

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Introduction to Biological Anthropology: Notes 14 Mating: Primate females and males Copyright Bruce Owen 2011 - We want to understand the reasons behind - the lifestyles of our non-human primate relatives - their physical traits, both the ways they are similar to ours and how they are different - their behavior, both how it is similar to ours and how it is different - that is, we want to understand the evolutionary pressures that led various primates to become the way they are - if we develop tools to understand how natural selection has shaped non-human primates, then - we can use those tools to understand the evolution of our own ancestors - and infer things about our ancestors that are not directly preserved in the fossil record - like aspects of their behavior - their cognitive (thinking) abilities - the size and organization of the groups they lived in - Reminder of a key concept: reproductive success - what drives evolution is variation in reproductive success - reproductive success : the number of offspring that an individual has that are fertile and survive to reproductive age - reproductive success is the net result of an individual’s success at: - surviving - being healthy enough to be able to mate and have offspring - successfully competing for mates - caring for offspring so they make it to reproductive age - parental care is important in some species, and less so in others - plus anything else that affects the number of surviving offspring - so to explain traits (physical and behavioral) of non-human primates… - we must understand how they affect reproductive success - by improving (or reducing) - the individual’s chances of survival - overall health - success in mating - survival of offspring, etc. - mating and parenting behavior must have a big effect on reproductive success - so mating and parenting behavior should be particularly easy to explain in terms of costs and benefits to reproductive success - Evolution can affect only heritable traits - that is, physical traits and heritable behaviors or general tendencies - NOT specific, learned behaviors - since learned behavior is not inherited by the offspring, explanations based on reproductive success don’t apply to behaviors that are learned - so we use evolutionary reasoning to explain only
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Intro to Biological Anthro F 2011 / Owen: Mating: Primates females and males p. 2 - general, heritable, inborn tendencies - including the ability to learn - but not the specific things that are learned by individuals - But first, a word about explaining behavior - Many species have behaviors typical of most individuals of the species - dogs act like dogs; cats act like cats - some animals live in large groups, other species are solitary - some defend a defined territory, others don’t - and many, many others - so these behaviors must be to some degree heritable, that is, at least partially determined by genes - so we should be able to understand the evolution of behaviors in the same way as we
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a201-11f-14-MatingFemalesAndMales - Introduction to...

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