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Status and reproduction in humans: New evidence for the validity of evolutionary explanations

September 19, 2005

Men holding high positions within a hierarchical organisation have more offspring than those in other positions within the same organisation. This unexpected result, published this week in Ethology, has been found on the basis of a contemporary sample of male university employees.

Although a positive relationship between male status and offspring count has been predicted by evolutionary theory and found in animal species and "traditional" human societies, in modern societies, most studies found no or even a negative relationship.

The present results of a positive relationship between status and offspring count within a subsample of modern society indicate that status may be a more important dimension for subsamples than for representative samples of entire societies. Thus, evolutionary forces may still be at work in modern societies, a finding that may not only be of relevance for biologists, but also for economists and management as it might explain the striving for high and prestigious positions in men.
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Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

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