Greater Polygyny Selects for Greater Risk-Taking
When men can have multiple female partners, male mating competition increases, leading to riskier behavioral strategies.
Most mammalian species are polygynyous, where a male can simultaneously have several female mates (Reichard and Boesch 2003). In polygynyous species, male reproductive success is more highly skewed than female reproductive success, both because of high-status males with multiple mates, and because fewer potential partners are available to lower status males. The greater intensity of intrasexual selection increases male risk-taking in the competition for resources and status.
Sexual Selection and Polygyny
Sexual selection helps explain sex differences in psychology and behavior, including greater male tendencies for risk-taking, competitiveness, and sensitivity to social hierarchy (Cronin 1991). Males compete more intensely for female sexual partners in most animal species because females usually invest more in offspring...
- Betzig, L. (1986). Despotism and differential reproduction: A Darwinian view of history. Hawthorne: Aldine de Gruyter.Google Scholar
- Cronin, H. (1991). The ant and the peacock: Altruism and sexual selection from Darwin to today. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Reichard, U., & Boesch, C. (Eds.). (2003). Monogamy: Mating strategies and partnerships in birds, humans, and other mammals. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar