See you next Thursday, February 7th for another
Science on Tap
Bring a friend or friends, make a night of it!
Of Valentines and Lupercalia: The Evolution of Human Sexuality
Steven Gangestad, PhD
It’s broadly thought that humans evolved to engage in biparental care, facilitated by pair-bonding. Put simplistically, reproduction, and hence sex, in this view came to be associated with attachment to and “love” for partners. Yet even if so, humans evolved, in the past 5 million years from ancestors (similar to chimpanzees or other close relatives) that did not engage in biparental care or form close pair-bonds. How, in more precise terms, are we to understand the evolutionary transition that took place? What has changed, and what has maintained features shared by distant ancestors (and hence, close relatives)? This talk will concern a piece of this question. Specifically, the talk will present the thesis, and supporting data, that major modifications exist in both the extent and nature of women’s sexual interests outside of the fertile phase (outside of a several day period preceding ovulation). Women’s sexual interests during the fertile phase, by contrast, may possess features shared by distant ancestors. Outstanding questions for future research will also be discussed.