Infanticide in the Animal Kingdom, Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

After all, it remains within the female's best interest to mate with a newly dominant male, even if he has killer her infant. Ultimately, this is because the female, having lost her offspring, needs to remain reproductively competitive and to mate with a male. Additionally, if she mates with a non-dominant male, who has not killed her offspring, she runs the risk of the dominant male repeating his actions. Accordingly, she is obligated to mate with the dominant male in order to decrease the risk that her infant will be killed again. It may also be the case that the mothers who are victims of infanticide are physically incapable of preventing the guilty males from mating with them because of the differences in size between the sexes.

In human societies, however, we see less infanticide perpetrated by males relative to our population. There are many reasons for this: there are many mating males within human populations -- paternal confusion; there are individual males and females, as well as groups of both which combat infanticide with social penalties; mothers also often avoid unfamiliar males; and the increasing fact that sexual activity is not singularly associated with reproduction. Humans are an exceptionally social species; so the severely negative consequences of infanticide among human populations usually outweigh any potential reproductive advantages. Furthermore, resources are generally widely available; so we should primarily expect to see infanticide in instances where the number of offspring is strongly limited by the ability to provide for them. This is why abortion is the most common form of infanticide, and it is freely chosen by females often without the male's involvement. So among humans, infanticide does little to increase the male's reproductive value, but may, in fact, increase the female's by allowing her to reproduce later in life.

Works Cited

Janson, Charles H. And Carel P. Van Schaik. Infanticide by Males…

Sources Used in Document:

Works Cited

Janson, Charles H. And Carel P. Van Schaik. Infanticide by Males and Its Implications. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2000.

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