Human Ethology Bulletin, Volume 32, No 2, 24-35, published June 30, 2017
Cultural variations may have evolved as adaptations to environments. According to the parental investment theory, men tend to more actively seek short-term matings and possess a greater preference for a variety of sex partners than do women. Due to the difficulty of ensuring child survival in more demanding environments paternal care becomes vital. Here it is hypothesized that in harsh environments cultural practices have developed allowing men to have access to multiple partners while simultaneously increasing child survivorship through paternal investment. The results show that the child mortality factors are correlated with the prevalence of polygyny across African countries. It is suggested that in these regions, presumably cultural practices concerning polygyny secure paternal investment in putative children by avoiding out-of-wedlock extra-pair matings while allowing in-wedlock multiple mates. Finally, this paper refines some ambiguity regarding strategic pluralism theory described by Schmitt (2005) concerning the prevalence of polygyny in demanding environments.
Keywords: Polygyny, child survival, parental investment, demanding environments, cultural variations.