Human Evolution From Promiscuity to Monogamy: The Cycle That Repeats Itself

A recent study indicates the evolution from promiscuity to monogamy among humans began in ancient times by the choices of low-ranked men and faithful women. Today humans continue to repeat this cycle, but the variables are slightly different. 

Article written by guest writer Rin Mitchell


What’s the Latest Development?

Researchers say the transition from promiscuity to pair bonding among couples occurred with the faithful woman mating with a man of a lower rank physically, but ranked higher when it came to providing stability. According to the study, it was the driving force behind the rise of monogamous relationships in ancient times. Unlike the chimpanzees that continue to be sexually promiscuous and swing from partner-to-partner, human ancestors evolved from this type of behavior—something that has made researchers often wonder. With humans there are different variations to men and women both physically and economically. Men who were more attractive, tall and stronger could have more mating options; they tended to be more promiscuous. Men who lacked the physical attractiveness and were unable to compete with their alpha and beta male counterparts had to make up for it by using what they could offer a woman—whether it was money, food, etc. The ability to provide was the way to woo the woman of their choice. Women who preferred to be with a man who could provide for them and their children would be faithful to these men, respecting them as breadwinners. These unions also laid the foundation for better child rearing because the low-ranking men were more likely to stick around to help out with raising children—even if they weren't their own. 

What’s the Big Idea? 

The origin of human's tendency towards monogamy is something researchers will need to continue to study because there are so many different variables involved. What leads a man and woman towards monogamous relationships varies from person to person. Going from promiscuity to monogamy is a cycle that happens over and over. Times haven’t changed in regards to how men and women select their potential mates. The only differences in today’s society is that low-ranking men with valuable resources rank high and they know it, so it levels out the playing field among the alpha and beta males—they have the same mating options. On the flip side, women who choose stability over attractiveness are not necessarily going to be faithful. 

'Upstreamism': Your zip code affects your health as much as genetics

Upstreamism advocate Rishi Manchanda calls us to understand health not as a "personal responsibility" but a "common good."

Sponsored by Northwell Health
  • Upstreamism tasks health care professionals to combat unhealthy social and cultural influences that exist outside — or upstream — of medical facilities.
  • Patients from low-income neighborhoods are most at risk of negative health impacts.
  • Thankfully, health care professionals are not alone. Upstreamism is increasingly part of our cultural consciousness.
Keep reading Show less

Elizabeth Warren's plan to forgive student loan debt could lead to an economic boom

A plan to forgive almost a trillion dollars in debt would solve the student loan debt crisis, but can it work?

Photo credit: Drew Angerer / Getty Images
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren has just proposed a bold education reform plan that would forgive billions in student debt.
  • The plan would forgive the debt held by more than 30 million Americans.
  • The debt forgiveness program is one part of a larger program to make higher education more accessible.
Keep reading Show less

Banned books: 10 of the most-challenged books in America

America isn't immune to attempts to remove books from libraries and schools, here are ten frequent targets and why you ought to go check them out.

Nazis burn books on a huge bonfire of 'anti-German' literature in the Opernplatz, Berlin. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
Culture & Religion
  • Even in America, books are frequently challenged and removed from schools and public libraries.
  • Every year, the American Library Association puts on Banned Books Week to draw attention to this fact.
  • Some of the books they include on their list of most frequently challenged are some of the greatest, most beloved, and entertaining books there are.
Keep reading Show less

Supreme Court to hear 3 cases on LGBT workplace discrimination

In most states, LGBTQ Americans have no legal protections against discrimination in the workplace.

(Photo by Andres Pantoja/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • The Supreme Court will decide whether the Civil Rights Act of 1964 also applies to gay and transgender people.
  • The court, which currently has a probable conservative majority, will likely decide on the cases in 2020.
  • Only 21 states and the District of Columbia have passed laws effectively extending the Civil Rights of 1964 to gay and transgender people.
Keep reading Show less