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Discuss the relationship between sexual selection and human reproductive behaviour (24marks)

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Introduction

´╗┐Discuss the relationship between sexual selection and human reproductive behaviour (24marks) The Darwinian concept of sexual selection involves the notion that any physical trait that enhances reproductive success will be passed down and enhanced over time. Thus humans develop preferences for certain traits. Intra-sexual selection is the competition between males for access to the female. A consequence of such competition is that men have evolved larger, more triangular backs indicating strength, making the individual not only more attractive to the female, but also are more likely to get rid of other male opposition, an example of sexual selection at work. Inter-sexual selection is the choosiness of females when selecting a mate. Females invest more highly in their offspring, and as a consequence seek partners that can provide resources and protect them and their offspring from predators. ...read more.

Middle

There is significant support for this theory of sexual selection. Buss? analysis of lonely-hearts columns across 37 countries found that men seek fertility and attractiveness, whereas women seek resources and protection. Buss? findings are in line with theories of sexual selection, in addition, a strong cross-cultural agreement implies that these preferences were evolved during the EEA, rather than being learned preferences. However there are problems with this study, the use of personal ads in lonely-hearts columns compromises the reliability of the findings, as they may be unrepresentative. This is because it?s possible that these individuals lied or exaggerated their preferences, in order to be in line with cultural norms. It?s therefore not an overly reliable study. This theory could also be used to explain why some young boys are attracted to older women instead of women their own age. ...read more.

Conclusion

However, the evolutionary approach does raise alarming ethical concerns. This is because sexual selection theory justifies male infidelity and dismisses sexual assault and rape to be evolved and adaptive behaviors that were needed for reproductive success. In addition, in can also be viewed that sexual selection theories are very reductive, as they focus solely on human attraction for the purpose of offspring, which means that it doesn?t account for homosexuals (who cannot produce a child biologically related to both parents), as well as couples who choose to have no children or choose to adopt instead. Evolutionary theory does not suggest why these couples would be attracted to each other, as a child is not the end product of the attraction. As well as this, sexual selection theories place much of the emphasis on physical appearance in attraction, when it is clear attraction is also tied to personalities as well. Moreover, evolutionary theories suggests that the traits, which make someone ?attractive?, are universally agreeable, when it?s clear that not everyone finds the same people attractive. ...read more.

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