Conclusion

Sorry for the late post I completely forgot we had to do a conclusion, but anyway…

Finishing my research and paper I found the theory of sexual selection was heavily criticized from its origin due to misunderstandings of its mechanisms (especially mate choice) that stemmed sexism (male biologists didn’t like the suggestion that females chose their mate by judging the males). Due to this sexual selection was never considered as an explanation for behaviors that seemed counterproductive for survival. Behaviors such as sports, art, and large-game hunting (seem during prehistoric times as an altruistic activity as the meat was shared among the tribe) can generally be best described as sexually selected behaviors (hunting is kinda both) as they benefit reproductive efforts more than they benefit survival efforts. What is confusing is that these behaviors begin to appear before sexual maturity and continue even after mating occurs. Why?  There is plenty of correlational evidence that shows happiness is derived by engaging in these activities.  I argue that happiness works to motivate individuals to engage in these behaviors which leads them to become talented enough to draw in a mate. I admit causational studies, which is hard to design and enact for this question, are needed to solidify this argument. Another possible reason for early and continued engagement in these activities could be Zahavi’s concept of “social prestige” where animals engage in actions that seem unnecessary or detrimental in order to earn themselves respect within their group which also brings about the respect of the potential mates in the group.

Doing this research has made me view sexual selection in a new way. We rarely look at how sexual selection affects our own species and the influence it has on our own evolution due to a general dislike of viewing our own species as organisms motivated by either survival or reproduction. I’m very grateful I had the opportunity to do this research and learn about the relationship between sexually selected behaviors, happiness, and the desire for respect.