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Darwin was right
Date:4/13/2010

COLUMBIA, Mo. In 1871, Charles Darwin sparked debate that continues today when he proposed that human sex differences evolved based on sexual selection. Sexual selection is Darwin's theory that certain physical, mental or psychological traits evolved because they aid in competition among individuals for access to preferred mates or because they are enhancements of traits that help to attract mates. Now, in a much expanded update of his book, Male, Female: The Evolution of Human Sex Differences, a University of Missouri researcher has compiled research that shows how Darwin's sexual selection is the best explanation of the differences between women and men including from infancy, relationships with friends, mate choices, to brain and cognition. The MU researcher also explains how the expression of these differences can vary across cultures and historical periods.

"Choosing a mate is one of the most important decisions made in one's lifetime and one of Darwin's core components of sexual selection," said David Geary, author and Curators' professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences in the MU College of Arts and Science. "Sex and reproduction complicate our lives in many ways, the most fundamental of which involve the demands of finding a mate. These choices are important because they echo through subsequent generations. The social dynamics that emerge as a result of sexual reproduction usually involve competition with members of the same sex for access to mates or control of the resources that will attract mates."

In his book, Geary documents how sex differences found in humans and many other species can be explained by Darwin's sexual selection. One of these sex differences is the level of parental involvement by males. Male parenting is found in less than 5 percent of mammal species. Because the males in many species do not provide any parental investment, females in many species do not compete for mates. In humans, however, men hav
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Contact: Kelsey Jackson
JacksonKN@missouri.edu
573-882-8353
University of Missouri-Columbia
Source:Eurekalert

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