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# Monogamy is not natural — hardly any species practice it

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Monogamy is not natural — hardly any species practice it  [#permalink]

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03 Sep 2017, 04:23
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Monogamy is not natural — hardly any species practice it, except for birds. Social monogamy wherein two creatures mate and work together to meet their needs is especially uncommon among nonavian warm-bloods; only about 5% of the 4,000 mammal species are monogamous. Since mating with one female at a time lowers a male’s chances of producing as many offspring as possible, what good, evolutionarily speaking, can come of monogamy? Why would mammals be monogamous?

One reason, according to a report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), suggests that males stayed with one female to ensure their young were not killed by another male, but survived to reproduce to carry on their genetic lineage. Based on breeding and parenting behaviors of 230 primate species over several generations, the researchers determined that males balanced the need to spread their gene pool against the need to protect their young from being killed. The attacking males needed to kill the young so they could breed with its mother, who would delay conception of another offspring if she were nursing. So the father hung around to protect his genetic line and help raise the young so the mother could reproduce again sooner. “This is the first time that theories for evolution of monogamy have been systematically tested, conclusively showing that infanticide is the driver of monogamy,” trumpeted Christopher Opie, a researcher in anthropology. “This brings to a close the long-running debate about the origin of monogamy in primates.”

Well, not so fast! Another study, published in the journal Science, used a similar analysis, but across a wider sample — about 2,500 mammal species. Those authors, Dieter Lukas and Tim Clutton-Brock, found no correlation between infanticide and monogamy. They suggested that monogamy is about location and supply. “Monogamy develops where females live at low density,” says Lukas. Males cannot fend off rival suitors from more than one female at a time because they’re too spread out. To ensure their young are the ones the female is carrying, they stick with one female. “It’s a consequence of resource defense.” This study notes that in monogamous mammalian species, the females tend to be solitary and intolerant of other females. Unlike those of ungulates, who are rarely monogamous, these mammals’ nutritional needs are greater, and they therefore shoo off competitors for food resources.

As for human monogamy, the PNAS study is more comfortable extrapolating its results. Because humans have big brains, their infants take longer to nurture and are vulnerable for longer. Therefore, human males needed to protect their child-rearing female until breeding was done. So how important were kids in man’s move towards monogamy? It’s a fascinating fight, but ultimately, whether monogamy is natural is less relevant than whether it’s desirable. Human monogamy seems to be both an acquired taste and a social necessity. The question remains whether it’s worth the cost of learning it.

Source: What Drove Man to Monogamy: It Wasn’t Love – Belinda Luscombe – in Time Magazine (July 30, 2013)

Which one of the following can be supported by the information given in the passage?

A. Humans are warm-blooded.
B. Safety of genetic line is essential for evolution.
C. Infanticide is the driver of monogamy in primates.
D. Ungulate females are intolerant of other females.
E. Producing as many offspring as possible will ensure genetic progression.
Spoiler: :: OA
B

Which one of the following best describes the content of the passage?

A. A chronology of the development of different theories of evolution of human monogamy
B. An effort to explore origins of monogamy and questioning human adoption of the practice
C. An argument concerning whether or not monogamy is natural and desirable
D. An attempt to determine which theory best explains the monogamous behavior of humans
E. A discussion of how the human monogamy differs from that of other primates
Spoiler: :: OA
B

All of the following are key aspects of the PNAS study EXCEPT:
A. Nursing mothers delay conception of another offspring.
B. Protecting young from being killed is a necessity for evolution.
C. Male primates balance between spreading their gene pool and protecting their young from being killed.
D. Kids are of utmost importance in making men move towards monogamy.
E. Male parental help allows females to reproduce again sooner.
Spoiler: :: OA
D

It can be inferred from the passage that further research on which one of the following topics will explain origin of human monogamy with greater clarity?

A. formation of social structure and customs
B. whether monogamy is desired
C. effect of monogamy on human evolution
D. how human monogamy differs from monogamy in other species
E. monogamy in areas with low density female population
Spoiler: :: OA
A

Source: Experts Global

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Re: Monogamy is not natural — hardly any species practice it  [#permalink]

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05 Sep 2017, 04:22

1- c. Can anyone please help me with this one? Why is the OA given as B? I am not able to trace it back to the passage.
2- b
3- d
4- a
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Re: Monogamy is not natural — hardly any species practice it  [#permalink]

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06 Sep 2017, 13:54
Hi All,

Requesting someone to please explain on how is the OA for questions 4 as option A?

Thanks,
Somesh.
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Joined: 23 Jul 2015
Posts: 155
Re: Monogamy is not natural — hardly any species practice it  [#permalink]

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07 Sep 2017, 21:29
somesh86 wrote:
Hi All,

Requesting someone to please explain on how is the OA for questions 4 as option A?

Thanks,
Somesh.

my 2 cents

I think the answer lies in the question asked. We are asked about origin of monogamy in humans and not whether its desirable or its effects.

It can be inferred from the passage that further research on which one of the following topics will explain origin of human monogamy with greater clarity?

A. formation of social structure and customs - this will explain the origin
B. whether monogamy is desired OOS
C. effect of monogamy on human evolution OOS
D. how human monogamy differs from monogamy in other speciesThough we know what is monogamy in humans, differences in monogamy won't explain its origin.
E. monogamy in areas with low density female populationOOS
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Re: Monogamy is not natural — hardly any species practice it  [#permalink]

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23 Apr 2018, 19:23
akanksha.setiya wrote:

1- c. Can anyone please help me with this one? Why is the OA given as B? I am not able to trace it back to the passage.
2- b
3- d
4- a

I used POE to solve this

Which one of the following can be supported by the information given in the passage?

A. Humans are warm-blooded. Not Mentioned --OFS
B. Safety of genetic line is essential for evolution. --Answer
C. Infanticide is the driver of monogamy in primates. --at the starting of 3 rd para we see a turn and you can refer to these lines from passage"Those authors, Dieter Lukas and Tim Clutton-Brock, found no correlation between infanticide and monogamy. "
D. Ungulate females are intolerant of other females.-- Opposite
E. Producing as many offspring as possible will ensure genetic progression.-- Not Mentioned

+1 if this helps
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Re: Monogamy is not natural — hardly any species practice it  [#permalink]

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09 Jul 2018, 11:44
Its clear that this is not OG passage as the questions don't test the kind of comprehension and detail tested on the GMAT
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Re: Monogamy is not natural — hardly any species practice it &nbs [#permalink] 09 Jul 2018, 11:44
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# Monogamy is not natural — hardly any species practice it

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