For Some Mammals It's One Love, But Reasons Still Unclear

Fewer than 10 percent of all mammal species are monogamous, but the real biological mystery is why monogamy exists at all. That's the subject of two competing studies being published this week.

Animals that leave the most offspring win the race to spread their genes and to perpetuate their lineage. So for most mammals, males have a simple strategy: mate with as many females as possible.

Even so, some mammals are monogamous.

"Monogamy is a problem," says Dieter Lukas, a biologist at Cambridge University. "Why should a male keep to one female?"

Over the years, there have been three main hypotheses. One is that ...read more

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