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Critically consider evolutionary explanations of sex differences in parental investment. (24marks)

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Introduction

Critically consider evolutionary explanations of sex differences in parental investment. (24marks) Parental investment was defined by Triver (1972) as "any investment by the parent in an individual offspring that increases the offspring's chances of survival (and hence reproductive success) at the cost of parents ability to invest in other offspring." (alive or yet to be born).There are many ways in which parents invest in there offspring, including the supply of resources for example food, energy, and time getting food, time spent looking after the young and risks taken in protecting them. There are different levels of parental investment seen in females and males, one being the theory of Trivers (1972) ...read more.

Middle

This is a large difference in the reproductive success of the sexes, making random mating all the more costly for human females. Especially as the costs of childcare in human females are very high now. However parental investment has changed partially in the Western society as most investment is shared between males and females. For example helping out more at home, so changing nappies and feeding the babies. In conclusion to the previous theory about females investing more that males by Trivers (1972) this might not be true as men might not put in the physical in the pregnancy but they may be on the same level emotionally. Trivers continues to suggest that even though he thinks females invest more, men still do invest, but they do later on, making up for the physical after the birth so forming the attachment with the offspring after. ...read more.

Conclusion

Another parental investment is Paternal investment, human males can easily withdraw from parental investment in a way females cannot. Most male species can afford to devote a very little amount of parental investment because they use a large part of their reproductive effort on courtship and mating. This makes the female think that choosing a suitable partner is essential as this will mean a greater investment in their offspring, they feel there is more to lose if they do not achieve this. Trivers assumption about females giving greater potential investment can be then challenged by Anderson et al (1999). Anderson claimed that men nay invest in step-children in order to convince the mother they are "good providers" thus promoting future mating possibilities. ...read more.

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