Friday, April 24, 2009

Are Humans Monogamous?

An interesting question came up today while I was doing research on my fathers book.

Are humans monogamous?

I would have said yes without giving it much thought. Apparently researchers disagree on this question. Think about people you know who have had children with more than one partner. Are they monogamous? Serially monogamous? Or polygamous?

The answer has implications for how we think about fathers, and how families have been shaped by evolution--and by their environments.

Thanks for your thoughts.


  1. If these figures included here are to be believed, the answer is usually not:

    I guess another consideration would be the extent of sexual dimorphism. As long as males are on average bigger than females, that might be a sign that polygamy is in play. Or is that too simplistic? Carl would know much better than I would.

  2. Thanks for the great references Carl, Alan.