13:27 30 July 2013
A group from the UK and New Zealand has explored the topic of monogamy. The study, which focused on primates, says that monogamy resulted from babies being killed by rival males.
Scientists said that this is why humans became monogamous, in order to look after their children and stop them from being killed by other males.
The team, which was made up of individuals from the University College London, who worked with individuals from Universities in Auckland, Oxford and Manchester, looked at 230 primates.
With regards to mating, they found that female parents would prolong mating in order to rear their young.
In set-ups which are not monogamous, males would attempt to kill babies in order to mate with the mother earlier.
When primates are only with one mate it is more likely that they protect and look after their offspring.
Doctor Kit Opie, of the University College London, who was the study’s lead author, said: “This is the first time that the theories for the evolution of monogamy have been systematically tested, conclusively showing that infanticide is the driver of monogamy.”
Adding: “This brings to a close the long running debate about the origin of monogamy in primates.”
The study is in the journal ‘Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences’.
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