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Author Topic:   Polyandry, polyamory or polygyny?
AccountInactive
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Message 1 of 20 (512485)
06-18-2009 1:03 PM


If you had to choose only one of these three, which of these "lovestyles" makes the most sense from a biological perspective?

polyandry - love for many men. The woman has more than one husband.
polygyny - love for many women. The man has more than one wife.
polyamory - love for many. Many loves for either gender.


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Message 2 of 20 (512490)
06-18-2009 1:16 PM


Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.
    
Dr Jack
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From: Leicester, England
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Message 3 of 20 (512492)
06-18-2009 1:36 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by AccountInactive
06-18-2009 1:03 PM


Polyamory. The other two have no way of dealing with the equal male:female ratio.
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Perdition
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Message 4 of 20 (512524)
06-18-2009 6:07 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by AccountInactive
06-18-2009 1:03 PM


I agree with Mr Jack, but for different reasons. Just from an equality standpoint, allowing men to fool around with many women, while forcing the women to only fool around with one man just isn't fair.

Though the close ratio of men to women makes the other two unfeasible from a society wide standpoint as well.


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Stagamancer
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Message 5 of 20 (512531)
06-18-2009 7:02 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by AccountInactive
06-18-2009 1:03 PM



If you had to choose only one of these three, which of these "lovestyles" makes the most sense from a biological perspective?
polyandry - love for many men. The woman has more than one husband.
polygyny - love for many women. The man has more than one wife.
polyamory - love for many. Many loves for either gender.

None of the above. I think as humans, we're better suited to serial monogamy. Yes, there are some "enlightened" people out there that can have "open relationships" that are actually stable, but generally speaking, most people love others jealously (i.e. they don't want them fooling around) However, most people also don't love the same person their entire lives.


We have many intuitions in our life and the point is that many of these intuitions are wrong. The question is, are we going to test those intuitions?
-Dan Ariely
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Blue Jay
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Posts: 2843
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Message 6 of 20 (512540)
06-18-2009 7:40 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by AccountInactive
06-18-2009 1:03 PM


Hi, Shinigami.

Welcome to EvC!

From a societal/legal standpoint, I agree with Mr Jack and Perdition.

But, from an evolutionary perspective, you'll need to be a little more specific. For instance, it will change how much it "makes sense" based on whose perspective you're speaking from.

I don't think either polygyny or polyandry makes since for humans, unless we assume unequal mortality rates between the sexes. But, in terms of gross reproductive output, polygyny makes sense biologically from the male's perspective, but polyandry doesn't make sense biologically from a woman's perspective. This is because females are a limiting resource, which means that the only way to increase reproductive output is to increase the number of females.

This means that males can increase their reproductive output by increasing the number of sexual partners, but females can't.

In fact, the competitive nature and "commitment issues" of men, which women are fond of teasing us for, are indications that polygyny has been an important shaping influence on the evolution of human men.

For a woman, it makes more sense to pick a single partner and keep him close, because a dedicated partner can share the burden of child-rearing and improve the child's chance of survival. They seem to have prevailed on us, because they managed to get us to found stable communities and monogamous pair-bonds.

In our social environment, the stability and security afforded by monogamy makes more sense than the one-sided reproductive benefits of allowing men to sow their wild oats. So, monogamy is the way to go.


-Bluejay (a.k.a. Mantis, Thylacosmilus)

Darwin loves you.


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Rrhain
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Message 7 of 20 (512562)
06-19-2009 2:02 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by AccountInactive
06-18-2009 1:03 PM


xShinigamiEyesx writes:

quote:
If you had to choose only one of these three, which of these "lovestyles" makes the most sense from a biological perspective?

Since you can find examples of all of the above throughout the biological landscape, why must there be a choice? Each one can be a successful adaptation.


Rrhain

Thank you for your submission to Science. Your paper was reviewed by a jury of seventh graders so that they could look for balance and to allow them to make up their own minds. We are sorry to say that they found your paper "bogus," specifically describing the section on the laboratory work "boring." We regret that we will be unable to publish your work at this time.
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AccountInactive
Inactive Junior Member


Message 8 of 20 (512565)
06-19-2009 2:47 AM
Reply to: Message 6 by Blue Jay
06-18-2009 7:40 PM


By "biological" standpoint, I mean which could cause our species to evolve the best.

I am agreed that polyandry is probably the least genetically successful of the three, since a woman can only have children from one male at a time. It wouldn't be of much benefit to the men, although it might be to the women if the men were wholly dedicated to her. In this sense, she can only ensure her genes survive.

From a biological standpoint, though, I do have to worry about monogamy. Since our society encourages one male : one female relationships, couldn't this lead to many "bad genes" being passed on as opposed to a system where men have to compete for multiple women?

If the man was capable of taking care of the women and had the resources to do so, wouldn't this be beneficial?

The only downfall I can think of is the lack of genetic variety, which only monogamy provides.

As for polyamory, I think most people are too jealous to do it. And if you're in it for "love", it is inevitable that if someone had to choose only one person, they would do so.

Edited by xShinigamiEyesx, : No reason given.


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AustinG
Member (Idle past 3274 days)
Posts: 36
Joined: 04-06-2009


Message 9 of 20 (519276)
08-12-2009 9:36 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by AccountInactive
06-19-2009 2:47 AM


From what I learned from an Anthopology course I took, men produce millions of sperm and therefor their best mating strategy is too mate with the most women as possible. Women on the other hand have only so many eggs, so they must choose the mate(s) that are the healthiest/most supportive.

Also I would say that Humans are serial monogomists.

Edited by AustinG, : No reason given.


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AnswersInGenitals
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Posts: 509
Joined: 07-20-2006


Message 10 of 20 (519449)
08-13-2009 6:36 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by AccountInactive
06-18-2009 1:03 PM


He's got ants in his pants.
I am agreed that polyandry is probably the least genetically successful of the three...

Yes, this would explain why those highly polyandrous species of insects, such as ants, wasps, and bees that have one reproductive female serviced by hundreds of males have been so unsuccessful, are so rarely sighted, and are on the verge of extinction. Rrhain's response in Message 7 should have closed this topic.


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AnswersInGenitals
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Posts: 509
Joined: 07-20-2006


Message 11 of 20 (519451)
08-13-2009 6:45 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by AustinG
08-12-2009 9:36 PM


Anthopology?
From what I learned from an Anthopology course I took, men produce millions of sperm and therefor their best mating strategy is too mate with the most women as possible.

I'm not sure I follow the logic here. Is a man's best strategy to pass one of his sperm cells to each of 100 million women (every day)? And is a woman's best strategy therefore to have a different mate every month, at least until she gets pregnant?


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caffeine
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Joined: 10-22-2008
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Message 12 of 20 (519488)
08-14-2009 6:07 AM
Reply to: Message 11 by AnswersInGenitals
08-13-2009 6:45 PM


Re: Anthopology?
I'm not sure I follow the logic here. Is a man's best strategy to pass one of his sperm cells to each of 100 million women (every day)? And is a woman's best strategy therefore to have a different mate every month, at least until she gets pregnant?

It's all a matter of ecology. It might be best for a woman to stick with one male with decent-looking genes if the success of her offspring will be more likely with his protection and support. If she's working her way through several different males, they're less likely to spend time and resources caring for children that might not be their own. Of course, it could still be to the woman's advantage to mate with a particularly genetically fit male on the side, provided she can keep this secret from her mate.

For men, generally speaking, there's less cost in sleeping around. Sperm are replaced quickly, and it doesn't take a great deal of investment to spread them around. If they mate with somebody paricularly unfit and put no effort into caring for the offspring, nothing is lost, while you could always be lucky and the child is very reproductively successful. A woman has nine months of pregnancy for each child, though, and will have to care for it long after that if it's going to survive and be successful. As a result, she needs to be more discriminating about mates.


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AustinG
Member (Idle past 3274 days)
Posts: 36
Joined: 04-06-2009


Message 13 of 20 (519528)
08-14-2009 1:41 PM
Reply to: Message 12 by caffeine
08-14-2009 6:07 AM


Re: Anthopology?
Thanks elaborating on my point caffeine
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AnswersInGenitals
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Posts: 509
Joined: 07-20-2006


Message 14 of 20 (519555)
08-14-2009 7:38 PM
Reply to: Message 12 by caffeine
08-14-2009 6:07 AM


Re: Anthopology?
As I pointed out in message 10, there are a great many very successful species that have been around a lot longer than humans and that are also very diligent in raising their children, e. g., ants, wasps, bees, elephants and many, many others but in which the females (or female, i. e., the queen in the case of ants, bees, etc.) are polyandrous - mate with many males. In many of these species, the females simply don't rely on the male to provide any help in child rearing - they are helped by other females in the herd, hive, or whatever the social group is called.

The point is that monogamy is just one of a broad suite of strategies in play for various species that invest heavily in the rearing of juveniles.


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Coyote
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Posts: 6117
Joined: 01-12-2008


Message 15 of 20 (519559)
08-14-2009 8:42 PM
Reply to: Message 14 by AnswersInGenitals
08-14-2009 7:38 PM


Re: Anthopology?
There have been some good comments in this thread, including many based on anthropology. I've studied a good bit of that, but I think the answer lies at a much more basic level.

Were I to try to spread those sperms around, as might be optimum, my wife would kill me--hence, there is no survival value to that strategy no matter what the anthropologists say!


Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.
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