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The Reasons of Infanticide in Primates - Term Paper Example

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The author of the following term paper "The Reasons of Infanticide in Primates" analyzes infanticide as the strange phenomenon observed among various mammal species. The behavior which is common among primates is a subject of intense controversy among social biology scholars…
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The Reasons of Infanticide in Primates
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Download file to see previous pages Despite being a common behavior, its motivation and significance among the species where it occurs remain unclear. Though several hypotheses have been suggested to explain infanticide behavior, two opposing theories; the Sexual Selection and the Social Pathology Theory are the most popular in scholarly circles. This paper argues in favor of the sexual selection theory as the most appropriate explanation for infanticide behavior.
As an explanation for infanticide, the sexual selection theory purports that infanticide is a male reproductive strategy as a result of reproductive rivalry among male species. The killing of an unweaned offspring by the male is assumed to confer a reproductive advantage to the male aggressor given that; the infant was not sired by the male aggressor or when there is an almost zero probability that the offspring were sired by the male (Helmer and Van Schaik 27). The sexual selection theory also confers a reproductive advantage to the male if the killing of the unweaned offspring would shorten the mother’s birth interval of the next offspring in the sense that the female would be fertilized earlier that if the offspring had not been killed (Helmer and Van Schaik 27). Lastly, infanticide is also assumed to be a reproductive strategy by males on condition that it would increase the male aggressor’s probability of siring the next offspring compared to the present one (Helmer and Van Schaik 27).
Conversely, the social pathology theory holds a contrary opinion to the sexual selection hypothesis. Proponents of the social pathology hypothesis hold that infanticide is a behavior resulting from increased aggression by the males. The male aggression behavior is believed to result from increased social pressure due brought by unnatural habitats like in overpopulation, deforestation, and destruction of natural habitats by fires among other factors (Borries et al 901). ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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