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It was brawn over beauty in human mating competition
Date:5/13/2010

nd arrows, spears, knives -- men have always manufactured weapons.

Other male traits also seem to imply competition. Males have thicker jawbones, which may have come from men hitting each other and the thickest-boned men surviving. Competition may explain why males have more robust skulls and brow ridges than women.

Another argument for male competition focuses on the environment. Puts suggests that species that live in three-dimensional space birds and insects in the air or swimming creatures in the sea tend not to compete for mates using physical competition because it would be very difficult for a male to defend females while fighting other males on all fronts. Species that live on the ground or the sea floor have it easier because there are only two dimensions to defend. Some insects that live in tunnels or burrows exhibit the most intense competition because it is impossible for the other male to get to the females except through the defender.

Male competition is rare among birds, occurring to a greater degree among large terrestrial species. Tree-living primates also show less physical competition. Humans living in a two-dimensional environment would experience substantial physical competition for mates.

According to Puts, humans and chimpanzees create male coalitions that are often strengthened by kinship. Coalitions can help males defend females from other males. However, when external forces are absent, these same males can compete with each other for mates.

These ideas may seem to paint a rather bleak picture of human nature with men duking it out among themselves for most of human evolution.

"Things are different for us now in many ways," said Puts. "It's heartening to think that human behavior is flexible enough that the right social institutions can increase equality and peace."


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Contact: A'ndrea Elyse Messer
aem1@psu.edu
814-865-9481
Penn State
Source:Eurekalert

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