Describe and Evaluate Sexual Selection

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Describe and evaluate sexual selection (8+16 marks) Sexual selection is based upon the idea that men want to pass on their genes to future offspring, and women want to pick a man with the best possible genes for their child, therefore arguing that our preferences and reproductive habits are innate and therefore due to nature. The theory was first proposed y Darwin who said that two processes took place, the first being intrasexual selection; this is where members of one sex compete with each other for access to members of the opposite sex, the winners are able to mate and pass on their genes. This means that the ‘winning trait’ will be passed on to their offspring. The other process is called intersexual selection, where the preference of one sex dictates the area in which the other sex must compete for their attention. This may be economic. In terms of short term mating preferences, Buss found that men would seek sex a lot earlier in a relationship, this is because over a period of one year, a man could spread his genes to countless numbers of women, yet a woman would only be able to have one child in the same time, so women become a lot more ‘picky’ in selecting their men. Buss and Schmitt found that short-term men tend to lower their standards and show a decrease in attraction to the woman after sex because they’d rather find someone else to spread their genes to. Buss found that in the long term, sexual selection should favour high levels of choosiness in both sexes. Women look for investment and protection, whereas males are attracted to women who show good signs of fertility. Buss studied over 10,000 people from 37 cultures, and found that women look for good finance and men look for physical attraction. Men look for younger women, and both sexes look for intelligence. Penton and Voak, who found that female mate choices vary across their
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