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Psychol Bull. 2009 Sep;135(5):794-821. doi: 10.1037/a0016845.

Beyond the pleistocene: using phylogeny and constraint to inform the evolutionary psychology of human mating.

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Department of Psychology, Texas A&M University, 4235 TAMU, College Station, TX 77843-4235, USA.


Evolutionary psychologists explore the adaptive function of traits and behaviors that characterize modern Homo sapiens. However, evolutionary psychologists have yet to incorporate the phylogenetic relationship between modern Homo sapiens and humans' hominid and pongid relatives (both living and extinct) into their theorizing. By considering the specific timing of evolutionary events and the role of evolutionary constraint, researchers using the phylogenetic approach can generate new predictions regarding mating phenomena and derive new explanations for existing evolutionary psychological findings. Especially useful is the concept of the adaptive workaround-an adaptation that manages the maladaptive elements of a pre-existing evolutionary constraint. The current review organizes 7 features of human mating into their phylogenetic context and presents evidence that 2 adaptive workarounds played a critical role as Homo sapiens's mating psychology evolved. These adaptive workarounds function in part to mute or refocus the effects of older, previously evolved adaptations and highlight the layered nature of humans' mating psychology.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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