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Horm Behav. 2009 Nov;56(5):491-7. doi: 10.1016/j.yhbeh.2009.07.013. Epub 2009 Aug 5.

Variation in testosterone levels and male reproductive effort: insight from a polygynous human population.

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1
Université Montpellier II, France; CNRS, Institut des Sciences de l'Evolution, place Eugène Bataillon, CC 065, 34095 Montpellier cedex 5, France. alexandra.alvergne@univ-montp2.fr

Abstract

Recent evidence suggests that, in humans, variations in testosterone (T) levels between men reflect their differential allocation in mating versus parenting efforts. However, most studies have been conducted in urbanized, monogamous populations, making generalizations from them questionable. This study addresses the question of whether indicators of male reproductive effort are associated with variations in salivary T levels in a polygynous population of agriculturists in rural Senegal. We first show that pair-bonding and/or transition to fatherhood is associated with T profiles: married fathers (N=53) have lower morning and afternoon T levels than unmarried non-fathers (N=28). Second, among fathers, individual differences in parenting effort, as well as variations in mating effort, predict morning T levels. Indeed, men highly investing in parental care show lower morning T levels. Moreover, among men under 50, polygynous men show higher morning T levels than monogamous men. Taken together with previous results in monogamous settings, these findings suggest that the endocrine regulation of reproductive effort is probably a general feature of human populations.

PMID:
19664637
DOI:
10.1016/j.yhbeh.2009.07.013
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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