Outline and evaluate sex differences in parental investment

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The most evident sex difference is that males can opt out of parental investment in a way that females can’t. Through expending a large effort on courtship and mating, males in most species can afford to devote little in parental care. While a man can father an unlimited amount of children in his lifetime, a woman can only mother a limited amount.

Human females need to invest more in response to adaptive pressure. To compensate for skull size increasing in babies, children are born relatively immature at 9 months. Females are therefore required to make a large investment pre-natal and post-natal. This is because females are required to care for the child during pregnancy for 9 months, followed by years of care in infancy. Men on the other hand only need to donate their semen, making random mating far too costly for females. Evolutionists explain this difference due to females being certain of being the mothers due to internal fertilisation, whereas men do not have the same degree of certainty about the child’s paternity.

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 This is made more difficult in more promiscuous mating arrangements where there is a risk of cuckoldry, as they cannot be certain of the fidelity they try to ensure that care is not misdirected towards non relatives. A man whose mate is unfaithful risks offspring not his own, a woman whose mate was unfaithful risks a diversion of resources.

Buss suggested that sexual jealousy may have evolved as a solution to this problem. Men are more jealous of the sexual act itself, while women are jealous of the shift in emotional focus and the loss of resources and investment ...

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