Natural Selection and Social Theory: Selected Papers of Robert L. Trivers

By Robert Trivers | Go to book overview

Parental Investment and Sexual Selection
ROBERT L. TRIVERS

Charles Darwin's (1871) treatment of the topic of sexual selection was sometimes confused because he lacked a general framework within which to relate the variables he perceived to be important: sex-linked inheritance, sex ratio at conception, differential mortality, parental care, and the form of the breeding system (monogamy, polygyny, polyandry, or promiscuity). This confusion permitted others to attempt to show that Darwin's terminology was imprecise, that he misinterpreted the function of some structures, and that the influence of sexual selection was greatly overrated. Huxley (1938), for example, dismisses the importance of female choice without evidence or theoretical argument, and he doubts the prevalence of adaptations in males that decrease their chances of surviving but are selected because they lead to high reproductive success. Some important advances, however, have been achieved since Darwin's work. The genetics of sex has now been clarified, and Fisher (1958) has produced a model to explain sex ratios at conception, a model recently extended to include special mechanisms that operate under inbreeding (Hamilton 1967). Data from the laboratory and the field have confirmed that females are capable of very subtle choices (for example, Petit & Ehrman 1969), and Bateman (1948) has suggested a general basis for female choice and male-male competition, and he has produced precise data on one species to support his argument.

This paper presents a general framework within which to consider sexual selection. In it I attempt to define and interrelate the key variables. No attempt is made to review the large, scattered literature relevant to sexual selection. Instead, arguments are presented on how one might expect natural selection to act on the sexes, and some data are presented to support these arguments.


Variance in Reproductive Success

Darwin defined sexual selection as (1) competition within one sex for members of the opposite sex and (2) differential choice by members of one sex for members of the opposite sex, and he pointed out that this usually meant

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Natural Selection and Social Theory: Selected Papers of Robert L. Trivers
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Preface vii
  • Contents *
  • Natural Selection and Social Theory *
  • 1 - Reciprocal Altruism 3
  • The Evolution of Reciprocal Altruism *
  • List of Literature *
  • Postscript *
  • 2 - Parental Investment and Reproductive Success 56
  • Parental Investment and Sexual Selection 65
  • Notes *
  • References 104
  • Postscript *
  • 3 - The Trivers-Willard Effect 111
  • Natural Selection of Parental Ability to Vary the Sex Ratio of Offspring 115
  • References and Notes *
  • Postscript *
  • 4 - Parent–offspring Conflict 123
  • Parent–offspring Conflict *
  • Notes *
  • References *
  • Postscript *
  • 5 - Haplodiploidy and the Social Insects 154
  • Haplodiploidy and the Evolution of the Social Insects - The Unusual Traits of the Social Insects Are Uniquely Explained by Hamilton's Kinship Theory *
  • References and Notes *
  • Postscript 206
  • 6 - Size and Reproductive Success in a Lizard 207
  • Sexual Selection and Resource-Accruing Abilities in Anolis Garmani *
  • Literature Cited *
  • Postscript *
  • 7 - Selecting Good Genes for Daughters 241
  • Asymmetry in the Evolution of Female Mating Preferences *
  • References *
  • Postscript *
  • 8 - Self-Deception in Service of Deceit 255
  • The Crash of Flight 90 - Doomed by Self-Deception? *
  • Postscript *
  • The Elements of a Scientific Theory of Self-Deception *
  • References *
  • Postscript 293
  • 9 - Genomic Imprinting 294
  • Genetic Conflicts in Genomic Imprinting *
  • Note 306
  • References *
  • Postscript 308
  • 10 - Fluctuating Asymmetry and the 2nd: 4th Digit Ratio in Children 309
  • The 2nd: 4th Digit Ratio and Asymmetry of Hand Performance in Jamaican Children 316
  • Notes *
  • References *
  • Postscript 328
  • References 329
  • Index 335
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