Analysis of Selection Pressures for a Typical Agropastoral Society

On the basis of the evidence discussed above, I will move on to discuss the sexual selection pressures exercised on men and women living in agropastoral societies.


In the agropastoral context, perhaps the strongest sexual selection pressure exercised on sexually mature men is parental choice as they have to appeal to parents and particularly to male parents as spouses for their daughters. Moreover, strong sexual selection forces would be exercised on older men to appeal as in-laws to parents and particularly to male parents, who look to make alliances with desirable families. In this setting, where families are likely to control considerable wealth, and where one’s property need to be protected, marital alliances are of high importance, so this pressure is expected to be considerable.

A strong, but most likely less strong, sexual selection force exercised on men is female choice. Parents have a strong influence in deciding with whom their children will get married, but once the marriage is arranged, their strength declines, so this force is exercised predominantly within the context of marriage. Moreover, as women have an influence on their parents, selection pressures are exercised on men to be chosen as mates. That is, a woman who desires a man having qualities she prefers can influence her parents to arrange a marriage with him. In this case, these traits are selected through female choice.

Strong intrasexual selection forces are also exercised on men, as fights between and within the group for access to resources, one being women, are frequent. Sexual coercion forces would also be exercised on men, as there is space to force sex to women.

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