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

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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. As a result of sexual selection, both males and females have evolved certain mate preferences, which have led in turn to the evolution of certain more ‘attractive’ human characteristics.

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Current mate choices evolved in the environment of evolutionary adaptation (EEA) and were adaptive for our survival as a species. An example of such bias is the human attraction to more symmetrical faces. Little & Hancock suggested that we are attracted to symmetrical faces because they indicate “averageness”, equating to good genetic health which would have been beneficial for the survival of our offspring. Additionally, it’s suggested that males have developed larger foreheads, as these were attractive to females because it suggests a larger brain capacity equated with intelligence, so would have been able to gather more resources and find ...

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