On the Integration of Gender Strategies in Mammalian Social Systems
At a time when the nature of the relationship between men and women and of the role of women in modern society is undergoing continuous reevaluation, it is perhaps important to see these issues in whatever light comparative biology can throw on the problem. Without for a moment denying the uniqueness of man and the complexity of our patterns of interpersonal sexuality, we know that our species has undergone a biological evolution in many respects quite as important to our social origins as the vicissitudes of cultural history. A number of recent papers have tended to stress this theme and to balance the heavier weight of studies attributing gender contrasts purely to cultural acquisition on learning. In that this tendency in the literature broadens our perspective as a whole, it is, I believe, much to be welcomed. One way the comparative biologist can assist is by attempting to describe the range of gender relations found in the order of mammals, to which we belong. Such an attempt leads naturally to an endeavor to explain the differing types in terms of their functions within the lifestyle and ecology of the species concerned.
KeywordsHome Range Sexual Selection Parental Investment Paternal Care Subordinate Male
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