The evolution of human mating: David Puts at TEDxPSU

The evolution of human mating: David Puts at TEDxPSU


Translator: Sigal Tifferet
Reviewer: Ivana Korom Hi there. I could be wrong, but I think
this talk may have the distinction of being the one talk in this series
that ends with orgasm. (Laughter) But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
(Laughter) Have you ever thought about the fact that you’re here, alive on this planet because every one
of your ancestors reproduced? Every one, in an unbroken chain, all the way back
to the first life on this planet, over three and a half billion years ago. That’s a lot of reproducing. And for the past billion years, your ancestors reproduced sexually. So sex is a pretty big deal. But you probably knew that. But let’s talk about human mating. Why does human mating
take the forms that it does? Why are we attracted to certain people? Why do we sometimes
form long-term romantic relationships? Why do we sometimes cheat? Now I don’t mean
why consciously do we do these things. I don’t mean
what happens in the brain to cause it. I mean, why did we evolve these feelings
and these behaviors? In other words,
how did the underlying brain structures and brain chemistry contribute
to our ancestors’ reproductive success so that those traits got passed on
into the present generation while others didn’t. Answering evolutionary questions like this
is like being a crime scene investigator, we’re left with the evidence, and we have to try to establish
what happened. So let’s go back
six or seven million years ago to our early ancestors. This is right after
the split between our lineage and the lineage that would eventually
give rise to chimpanzees. Now these were small brained apes,
they walked on two legs, and males probably fought each other
for mating opportunities. We know this because males
fight for mates in all of our closest living relatives,
chimpanzees, orangutans, gorillas. And because males are larger than females
when they fight for mates. And the fossil record indicates that our male ancestors
were larger than females. So males tend to be larger,
more muscular, stronger, more physically aggressive,
when they fight for mates. Our species has all the hallmarks of a species that’s experienced
an evolutionary history of male fighting for mates. For example, men have, on average,
60 percent more muscle mass, and 75 percent more
upper body muscle mass, and those differences in musculature translate into large sex differences
in strength. The average man is stronger
than 99.9% of women. These are data on hand strength,
which is a good predictor of overall upper body strength,
on over 600 men and women. And as you can see,
there’s a large sex difference. And in fact, not one
of almost 400 women had as strong of a hand strength as the average man. So, men can open jars. (Laughter) And move furniture or at least two things
that we’re good for. Who cares, right? The answer is that men care. Men, especially young men,
seem really concerned about figuring out
who’s the toughest or strongest, or the most physically formidable, and sometimes they devise elaborate ways
for determining this. From early development, boys and men are more
physically aggressive than girls and women all over the world, and this aggression
sometimes results in violence. Men have a virtual monopoly
on same-sex homicides. In other words, men are vastly more likely to kill each other
than women are to kill each other. These are data from every society
from every time period in history for which data were available
when the authors compiled them, on proportion of same-sex homicides
that are male killing male. And as you can see,
the percentage is always close to 100%. On average, 95%
of same-sex homicides are committed by males, and importantly,
these don’t include war killings, which would bring the percentages
even closer to 100%. And from what evidence that we have, a dominance among men translates into
mating and reproductive opportunities. So we’re a species that’s experienced
an evolutionary history in which our male ancestors
won mating opportunities through the use or threat of force. In that regard, our apple
has not fallen far from the evolutionary tree. But in other ways, human mating
and reproduction are profoundly different
from what we see in our close relatives, and they’ve changed a lot
since our early ancestors. For example, males in chimpanzees,
orangutans and gorillas, spend time and effort competing for mates, but don’t spend much time
with individual females and don’t provide resources. They don’t provide food
for their offspring. So that’s a big change. Although most human societies
allow polygamous marriage, that is one man married
to more than one woman, even within polygamous societies,
most marriages are monogamous. And in the average
hunter-gatherer society, almost 80% of married women
are monogamous, so that’s different. And, importantly, men provide resources
for their mates and offspring. So how did we get there? Well, in species where males
fight each other for mates, dominant males indicated by the larger,
darker male symbols here, tend to have more mating opportunities,
and hence more offspring. And subordinate males
tend to have fewer mating opportunities and are more likely to fail to reproduce. So this sets up an interesting situation,
because for subordinate males, it would be advantageous
to attempt monogamy rather than winning
lots of mating opportunities. One mate is better than none. The problem is that in general, subordinate males cannot defend females
from dominant males, and besides, females tend to prefer mating
with dominant males for the genetic benefits,
producing stronger, healthier offspring. So what changed all of this
was probably several transitions happening together around the same time. By about two and a half million years ago, we had started to incorporate
more meat into our diet. We know this from various
lines of evidence, including – this is cool – stone tool
cut marks on animal bones dated to 2.5 million years ago. That’s cool. I love this stuff! And then by about 2 million years ago,
brain size really started to increase, and with that came a lengthening
of the juvenile period, so now kids became both
really costly and costly for a long period of time. And this made male provisioning
both possible and necessary. Possible because it’s much easier
to bring back calories, protein, fats, in the form of meat
than trying to do that by transporting plant foods, and necessary because kids became
so energetically costly that individual females
would have had trouble providing resources for themselves
and their offspring. And when we look
at modern hunter-gatherer societies, that’s what we see. These are aggregate data
across several hunter-gatherer societies on net daily calories. Are you bringing in more calories
than you consume, or are you consuming
more than you bring in? And the green bars
are net daily caloric surplus, in other words, bringing in
more than you consume. And the red bars are a deficit, so you’re consuming more
than you bring in. And you’ll notice that men
from about 20 years of age to 60 years of age are operating
at a daily caloric surplus. They bring in,
generally through hunting, more calories than they can consume,
and these calories are distributed. If it’s large game,
it’s generally distributed equally to everybody
in the village or camp. Smaller items can be brought back to individual family,
but this contrasts with what’s going on with women, in their reproductive years, they’re operating
at a daily caloric deficit. Gestation, lactation, carrying babies, are extremely costly energetically and limit one’s ability
to forage efficiently. So male provisioning,
both possible through hunting, and necessary. And this change had profound impacts on human mating and reproduction. In a sense,
it tipped the balance for females. So now it was sometimes worth mating
with a subordinate male, even if he may not possess the best genes, if he provided resources. And this is baboon pornography.
(Laughter) I probably should have warned you
there’d be monkey porn. This is from PlayBaboon Magazine. Alright, I’m going to stop with the jokes. This is a female baboon in estrus,
so her genitals are swollen, and this happens
in a lot of primate species. Females’ appearance
changes over the cycle, and becomes more attractive and this incites male competition
for females during the fertile part of the cycle, with dominant males tending
to monopolize copulations, closer to ovulation. Well. We don’t look like this. And you knew that. But what you might not know is that women’s attractiveness
does change over the cycle. My lab, and others, have shown
that women’s faces, voices, even odors, are more attractive to men
during the fertile part of the cycle. But these changes are extremely subtle. And compared to other primates, the evidence indicates that we’ve evolved
to suppress cues to ovulation. That in a sense,
ovulation is concealed in humans. But think about what impact
this would have. This would mean that dominant males would not be able to monopolize
copulations near ovulation. It would protect the pair bond
from invasion by a dominant male. So that a male in a pair
would have more confidence that he was the father of the offspring. The couple is having sex
throughout the cycle. And this is unique to human mating, we don’t see it in many other primates. We have sex throughout the cycle. And so this would essentially
increase a male’s confidence in paternity, because a dominant
or some other male wouldn’t be able to target the female and bully their way in
at the fertile point in the cycle. And this would have important implications
for parental investment, in particular, males providing resources
for their offspring. Because across species, when males provide resources
for offspring, they target those resources
toward their own biological offspring, and they avoid investing
in the offspring of unrelated males. And so the evolution
of male care for offspring and investing in resources and offspring,
pair bonding, and concealed ovulation, went very much hand-in-hand
over our evolution. We have also evolved
a specialized psychology for forming long-term
romantic relationships with the possibility of investing
in offspring together. We fall in love. All around the world,
people prefer mates who are kind and generous and capable
and willing to care for mates and offspring. In one of the largest
cross-cultural studies of human mate preferences ever conducted, covering 33 countries shown in red here, the single most important mate choice
criterion to both men and women, was mutual love and attraction. But as you also know, people are not always
perfectly faithful to their mates. And in particular,
women sometimes face a tradeoff between good genes and investment. Women sometimes find themselves in relationships with men
who may be caring providers, but may not possess
the best quality genes for offspring making them strong and healthy. And several features
of women’s mating psychology seem to have evolved, in part,
to resolve this trade off. And I mean, recruiting genes,
if you will, from outside of the long-term
relationship. For example,
women have more sexual fantasies about men other
than their long-term partner, during the fertile part of the cycle, and that’s particularly true if the long-term partner
has physical signs of being lower in genetic quality,
like he’s less physically attractive. I think that’s interesting.
(Laughter) That’s why I’m talking about it,
I hope you do too. And women’s mate preferences
similarly change over the cycle so that they prefer more dominant, more masculine males
during the fertile part of the cycle. These are results of a study
that I conducted on women’s preferences for men’s voices. And I used computer software
to manipulate recordings of men’s voices to make them sound
either more masculine or more dominant,
or more subordinate, more feminine. And I had women rate them on how attractive would this man be for a short-term,
purely sexual relationship, and for a long-term
committed relationship? And I also got information
about where women were in their cycles. Were they in the fertile
or non-fertile part of the cycle? These were all women
not taking hormonal contraception. And what I found was that
women preferred a more masculine, dominant-sounding voice, specifically
in the fertile point of the cycle, and only for a sexual relationship
versus a long-term committed relationship. Now, this sounds like science fiction, but it’s science, fact. Because this result has been shown
lots of times across a variety of domains from
women’s preferences for men’s voices, that this result was replicated
by another lab. Women’s preferences
for men’s faces, bodies, odors, and even behavior. Well, I said that we would get to orgasm.
(Laughter) And we’re there. I just want to start by saying I’m for it.
(Laughter) I’m pro-orgasm. I think more people
should have more orgasms. But from a scientific perspective, women’s orgasm is especially fascinating because there’s evidence indicating
that it increases the probability that conception will result
from an act of sex. There’s evidence that it brings sperm up through the female reproductive tract
and toward the egg. And think about what
the implications here could be. If women were more likely
to have orgasms with some men than others, then this could be a mechanism by which they choose, not consciously, to be fertilized
by some males and not others. And wouldn’t you predict
that women would be more likely to have orgasms with males
of high genetic quality? And in fact, a study by my lab published
just a couple of years ago found that women reported more orgasms, earlier timed orgasms, that is,
they were easier to achieve, they achieved them more quickly,
when they were having sex when their mate was more masculine
and more dominant, and what’s interesting
is that this was true only for their orgasms from sexual intercourse, but not from other
partnered sexual behaviors. I’ll let you use your imagination
what those might be. So we’ve seen that thinking
like an evolutionist can enable us to predict things
about ourselves that we did not already know, and would not likely have guessed
for a long time. We didn’t know
that women’s mate preferences changed over the cycle. Until evolutionary thinking
led us to that discovery. So that’s one point that I want to make. But we’ve also seen
how evolutionary thinking can clarify and unite diverse parts
of the human experience, and help us understand
the best and the worst of ourselves, from violence and aggression
and infidelity to men’s care for their children, sexual attraction, sexual pleasure, and even the strength
and fragility of romantic love. Thank you. (Applause)

100 thoughts on “The evolution of human mating: David Puts at TEDxPSU

  1. These male perspectives of human reproductive strategies compared to primate ones, always completely omit Bonobos.
    Among a lot of other things.
    " All of this has been validated by Science even though I'm not citing a single source "

  2. Basically, what he explained is Evolutionary Psychology, which is part of Evolution in General. But I can't see any triggered feminists here. And the irony is that this is shown in the increasingly Feminist TedX

  3. I could physically feel people getting angry while watching this.
    The more offended you get , you are truly unenlightened. Self control, of ones actions and emotions is very important. Ask yourself why you are mad, then remove your subjective view points (if your able) and realize how insignificant your feelings are compared to basic truth. It does not factor in.

  4. from about 9:30 onwards he says that women evolved ovulation concealment abilities. What prevented a counter selection of alpha-male genes for detecting these cues and propagating themselves ?

  5. We are not in prehistoric times. Fighting and screwing anything that walk to pro-create doesn't apply today.

  6. That chap is a genetic alpha male and he knows it. This research just confirms what he wants to hear. I reckon it's slightly biased and part of this stuff is hogwash!

  7. "Any society that negates the role of the father in the voluntarily marriage contract from decent civilization buliding men and replaces it with a involuntary centralized welfare state will not remain civilized for long."

  8. Scientific evidence that was right this whole time about men only marrying virgins or staying single. The religious texts got it right too.

  9. Wait, if we made to reproduce, if that's bulit into our system, then why do homosexuals exist. It don't make sense. I'm more curious then anything else.

  10. What you focus on you develop believe me Society teach women to focus on things that eventually develop Society teaches men to focus on things that they mentally developed in eventually materialize we've manifested this social structure and mental and emotional as well

  11. So if you are a male,you should make yourself more attracted and resourceful,and if you couldn't,at least more masculine and dominant.

  12. A comprehensive explanation of the evolution of human mating can be found in Jeremy Griffith's book FREEDOM: THE END OF THE HUMAN CONDITION.

  13. The speaker has stated that the women choose to live with the betas due to their financial support. In this day and age women are independent financially so there is no more necessity of betas for procreation and assistance. This theory also indicates that financially independent society should tend to create a polygamous society with alpha males at the center eliminating the betas to perish which is a natures order. The symptoms of such society can be viewed in present times.

  14. They mate like animals choosing alpha male so they go extinct like animals. Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Steve Job, etc are 'alpha' males?

  15. patriarchy plays such a big role here, and the family social organization to invisibilize "women´s" work (called romantic love) to capitalize and exploit womens reproductive work and care on gender prejudices and socialization. so, gaslighting women into slavery for capital.

  16. If aggression is selected for as a "desirable quality" in the male animal, then the horrors of warfare could be rapidly & completely eliminated from human existence simply by women CHOOSING to never breed with aggressive men. So the only real question here, is whether we are basically unevolved apes, still operating at the jungle level of evolution, or whether we really are what we'd like to believe we are (civilized, highly intelligent, moral & spiritual beings) capable of choosing peace, kindness, and gentleness, over a back-brain attraction to those who hurt, maim and kill.

  17. An interesting talk with lots of strong research but it's unfortunate that he doesn't explain that the study cited on food production – Kaplan et al (2000) – did not take into account the many days in which male hunters returned with nothing. that the same time our brains started to grow and adolescence appears is also the same time that we are likely to have begun cooking our food, releasing more nutrients for less effort. Not to say male provision of calories is not important, but the reality is much more equal.

  18. He said all of this but left out Natural Feminine Hypergamy….. The ordering principal of all human societies.

  19. "Mutual Love and Attraction" LOL did this SIMP really look into hypergamy, and the Divorce and Custody numbers? LOVE….LOLlolo

  20. This video is more about the degradation of human race, it well explain why modern generation are more selfish, less talented, less happy, with less and less reasons to live. This is not how things are, this is how things are historically forced to be. General stupidity is the modern plague.. Selfishm is loneliness. If I watch all the lonely hearts of this age my heart go sad, but not so much compared to how much people is "alone in couple", of course for economical and practical reasons, and how many childrens are orphan, even with their parents alive.. If I think what love means today, how is abused when talking about pets the world the food, and how is feared in relationship. A really sad and alarming talk.

  21. "The average man is stronger than 99.9% of women. So men can open pickle jars." Lol. Opening jars is really handy in the jungle 100,000 years ago.

  22. When the Creator created people and gave them a language "Word" ” Slovo” and then knowledge which is called "VEDA" (which means "Science" in primitive English) a lot happened. About 1,000 years ago there was a breaking point in the development of human-kind. The Parasites came to power and became Gods on earth. hey stole the science "VEDA" and mixed our tongues. "Faith" in the Creator has been replaced with "Beliefs" in religions. Leaders “Knieža” who have been elected from the people like our leaders across the world, have been replaced by the blood lines "Kings" and so on. To find out the truth, you must find the language from which science "VEDA" was recorded into and then subsequently translated into “Sanskrit” afterwards. There is one language where the word "VEDA" doesn't need to be translated and is used like the root word for other words related to the word "VEDA". That is the key

  23. In the marriage contract, insert a clause that progeny outside the pair bond will not be provided resources.

  24. There is ONE TRUE CONSTANT in the "Evolution of Human Mating" > women demanding payment for services rendered.

  25. How did male and female reproductive systems evolve at the same time?
    Eighty years difference and we wouldn’t be here!

  26. This is amazing in 2014 our brains were getting bigger driven by meat.

    Its 2019 and we have Donald Trump, Brexit and women fantasize over Boy Bands more than ever.
    What does the data say about that?

  27. I think human beings have evolved into conscious intelligent beings and although every part of this is true it also means that we don't need this bad parts left off by our biological evolution and make a conscious decision whether to act on these impulses or not and hopefully in the future we will have evolved to a point where hatred, jealousy and other mammal instincts will be dead

  28. But now we have big brains that have lead to social and legal biases, what does the future hold? I suspect we wont blow our society up, we’ll just end up either with a population with genes unable to reproduce, or constraints that make reproduction so undesirable we just fade out of existence. The past is interesting, the future is more challenging.

  29. What a humungus assumption that a male ape could change into a human male and a female ape could change into a female human. There really is not a shred of evidence for this to happen.Apes have always been apes and humans have always been humans.Common sense tells you this

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *