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. 

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