Biologically speaking, nuptial gifts are contributions – other than genetic materials – provided by a donor to a recipient during courtship. These materials are often designed to improve the fitness of the recipient, but can also be of little value or even no value (Lewis et al. 2014). In modern human mating, nuptial gifts exist most notably in the form of engagement and wedding rings.
Several species of insects, birds, and mammals are known to give or exchange a diverse range of gifts during courtship or copulation including, but not limited to: nongametic organic materials, food items, and apparently worthless tokens (LeBas and Hockham 2005). In human mating, nuptial giving has existed for most of recorded history (Cronk and Dunham 2007). Modern human courtship often involves men offering prenuptial and nuptial gifts which are of high cost to provide, but of little or no tangible benefit to the...