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Family RelationshipsAn Evolutionary Perspective$
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Catherine A. Salmon and Todd K. Shackelford

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195320510

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195320510.001.0001

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Evolution of Fatherhood

Evolution of Fatherhood

(p.115) 6 Evolution of Fatherhood
Family Relationships

David C. Geary

Oxford University Press

Why is fatherhood found at all in humans? This question is central to our understanding of men and families, because human fathers are a scientific riddle. This is because men's parenting is highly unusual when placed in the context of little, if any, male parenting in at least 95 percent of other mammalian species, including the two species most closely related to humans, that is, chimpanzees and bonobos. This chapter attempts to explain some aspects of this riddle and provides a wider perspective on human fatherhood, its evolution, and its expression in various social and cultural contexts. In the first section, the focus is on the cross-species patterns of male parenting or paternal investment and the implications for understanding the conditions that promote the evolution and proximate expression of this form of parenting. The second consists of an analysis of the evolution and expression of men's parenting.

Keywords:   parenting, cross-species perspectives, paternal investment, human fatherhood

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