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Primate infanticide mainly takes place when male primates take control of groups comprising of their female colleagues, installs one of them as an alpha who then orders the killing of all the young male primates who have not yet weaned.
Those in favor of the pathological behavior ideology share the opinion that primate infanticide comes about because of population pressure (Borries et al, 1999). Their perception is based on the fact that primate infanticide is not a normal make up, but is likely to take place whenever there is an excessive population of primates within a given locality. To corroborate their perception, such scholars argue that primate infanticide habitually takes place when a specific set of primates reside within a region with insufficient resources, such as food.
The highlighted information notwithstanding, conclusive evidence has recently pointed out that primate infanticide is basically a male reproductive strategy. This is because females who lose their male offspring early are prospective to resume sexual activity earlier compared to those who keep their offspring (Borries et al, 1999). Consequently, they are set to bear their next infants sooner than the females with surviving infants. Additionally, further research has pointed out the fact that in most instances males who have borne children with the females have not been related to the killed infant. It is similarly important to note that further research has pointed out to the fact that the infanticidal males are normally new immigrants who were either sexually immature or did not copulate with the female group member earlier. Similarly, the male members have gone ahead to remain as members of the group for a substantial duration.
The information discussed above on the sexual selection hypothesis may have been conclusive in the past, for there was no
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In this paper, some of the reasons for infanticide in primates will be presented and I will argue that the ‘sexual selection hypothesis’ presents the most logical argument for this happening. Before introducing infanticide and the possible reasons for it, it is worth taking a look at the social structure of non-human primates.
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