Social Competition and Selection in Males and Females

Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2013 Oct 28;368(1631):20130074. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2013.0074. Print 2013.

Abstract

During the latter half of the last century, evidence of reproductive competition between males and male selection by females led to the development of a stereotypical view of sex differences that characterized males as competitive and aggressive, and females as passive and choosy, which is currently being revised. Here, we compare social competition and its consequences for selection in males and females and argue that similar selection processes operate in both sexes and that contrasts between the sexes are quantitative rather than qualitative. We suggest that classifications of selection based on distinction between the form of competition or the components of fitness that are involved introduce unnecessary complexities and that the most useful approach in understanding the evolution and distribution of differences and similarities between the sexes is to compare the operation of selection in males and females in different reproductive systems.

Keywords: dominance status; mating systems; sex roles; sexual selection; social competition; social selection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Competitive Behavior*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Selection, Genetic*
  • Sex Characteristics*
  • Social Dominance*