British women behave in much the same way.
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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Thu, 28 Jan 99 13:29:14 -0800
Subject: British women behave in much the same way.
Forwarded-by: Nev Dull <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Modern man still has primitive sexual instincts
By Mark Egan ANAHEIM, Calif., Jan 22 (Reuters) - Humans may have built
skyscrapers and visited the moon, but when it comes to sex and fidelity
people have not progressed far from when they lived in huts and thought the
world flat, scientists said on Friday.
Science has long held that one key element separating man from his ape
lineage is that human females promise fidelity to one male, with that mate
in return providing for the family of which he is thus assured of paternity.
But researchers speaking at a meeting of the American Association for
the Advancement of Science said in many tribal societies the so-called
"paternity bargain" did not exist, while in modern society it might be just
Paul Valentine of the University of East London told the meeting about
a tribe in the Amazon basin called the Curripaco, who live in small
villages on the border of Venezuela and Columbia and believe that multiple
men can father one child.
The tribe's women do not have sex before they want to have a child, but
once they start they take several partners in the belief that sperm from
many men is needed to contribute to the growth of the baby.
"From their perspective, biological paternity is negotiated," Valentine
told the meeting with the animated excitement of an anthropologist.
"Paternity depends on the kind of political alliances between villages and
Once pregnant, the woman and her family choose the desired father while
the other "secondary fathers" are forgotten.
Another quirk to this remote society, Valentine said, was that when a
woman took two brothers as her lovers they would share the responsibility
Stephen Beckerman of Pennsylvania State University told the meeting there
was an advantage to the concept of multiple fathers. "The secondary father
acts as a sort of life insurance policy guaranteeing that your child will
be taken care of if you die," he said.
Writer Robin Baker, formerly of the University of Manchester, presented
his paper "Sperm Wars," looking at a more modern society's approach to
the same issues. He said his study showed modern women were just as likely
to cheat on their long-term partners as their counterparts in the Amazon.
His almost decade-long study of women in England found that 10 percent
of children had a biological father who was not their mother's partner
at the time of conception. And he claimed one in every 25 children were
conceived in "sperm warfare," where conception took place while the mother
contained the sperm of more than one man.
"Women everywhere are responding to the same legacy of their primate
evolution," Baker said. "Whether they act on it or not depends on their
local and personal situation."
Baker claimed the majority of women would cheat on their long-term
partners at least once in their reproductive lifetime, with infidelity
more likely during ovulation.
"Over a reproductive life the majority of women have had sex with two
men within a short period of time," he said.
So how does the modern British woman in his study compare to the
Curripaco tribe of South America?
"British women behave in much the same way, but perhaps they don't sleep
around quite as often or quite as openly," Baker said.
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© 1999 Peter Langston