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Parental Investment Theory: What Is Parental Investment in Anthropology?

A parent who invests in one of their children at the detriment of their other children’s future well-being was first characterised by Robert Trivers (either current siblings or future ones). Investing time, energy, or resources in the well-being of one’s children is a sort of parental investment in evolutionary and psychological terms. Biparental care (male and female) or solely females (exclusive maternal care)

Parents can contribute financially to their children’s education (exclusive paternal care). When a kid is born, it is possible to give prenatal (such as the safeguarding of eggs and the incubation of chicks in birds) and postnatal (such as neonatal treatment) care (e.g. food provisioning and protection of offspring).

When it comes to choosing mates, parents who put more effort into raising their children are more likely to exercise greater discretion when it comes to mating, according to Robert Trivers’ Parental Investment Theory, developed in 1972. For centuries, this theory has been used to explain why there are variations between the sexes in sexual selection and choice in both animals and humans.


Charles Darwin wrote On the Origin of Species in 1859.
As a result of this, natural selection and other hypotheses, such as sexual selection, were introduced to the globe. To explain why women are “coy” and males “ardent” and vie for women’s attention, first-time evolution has been employed. On the basis of the sexy son idea and parental investment, Ronald Fisher defined the modern concept of parental investment in this 1930 book. As the production of female gametes is more expensive than male gametes, he reasoned

Parental Investment Theory

While female reproductive success was restricted by their ability to generate an ovum, male reproductive success was limited by their ability to find a suitable partner.  In 1972, Trivers proposed the parental investment theory, which explains how parental investment influences sexual behaviour.. Males with more parental investment are likely to be more choosy in their mating choices, while those with less parental investment tend to compete intrasexually.

Adolescent and Children’s Services

Parental investment and life history theory are strongly linked. Parents’ investments in their children were originally described in The Genetical Theory of Natural Selection, published in 1930, before Fisher’s work on natural selection’s genetic theory of natural selection. Clutton-Brock expanded on the idea of parental investment by include any extra costs associated with parental fitness. For this reason it is doubtful that males in a polygynandrous or polyandrous system can tell their offspring apart from those of a competing sire. When men are able to gain access to a female during mating season, it is an excellent predictor of paternity for them to feed their young.  Red lip blennies in males demonstrate the same indiscriminate attention that females receive from their parents.

A Mother Spider Stands Up for Her Young in the Basement

Nuptial gifts, which certain insects receive from their fathers, are a form of parental investment. During mating, the male of the ornate moth gives the female spermatophore, which contains nutrients, sperm, and anti-toxin compounds. Up to 10 percent of the male body mass is all that a father can give as financial support.

For many animals, including humans, it is typical for them to not be able to support themselves for a long time after birth. Therefore, men in these species place a greater value on their children than male parents in precocial animals do on their own children.

Parents’ Interest in Anthropology Is Defined as

As defined by Life History Theory, parental investment (PI) is when a parent allocates resources (such as time or energy) to their offspring that incurs a cost on the parent.

It’s All About the Art of Homemaking, Territoriality, and Parenting

You can find Janice Moore and Michael D. Breed’s Animal Behavior (Second Edition) in 2016.
From giving gametes and young to building nests and guarding their territories, parents invest in their children in various ways. When it comes to parental investment, there is a strong correlation between how much a parent spends in their children and their patterns of sexual selection in Chapter 11.

Parental Investment Theory

Conditions such as the certainty of motherhood or paternity, the cost of delivery, and the cost of missed opportunities with other partners all have an impact on how uniparental and biparental care is delivered. This includes both single parents and couples. Parental discord and infanticide are not uncommon. Male-male competitiveness or insufficient financial resources are typically at blame.

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Sibling rivalry can lead to fights for the attention of parents. A multitude of factors might lead to aggressive behaviour, which necessitates further investigation. As a result, nesting and territorial defence are the primary topics of this chapter.

What Is It About Women and Raising Children That Makes Them More Responsible?

Why is it that women tend to be more nurturing?

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Investing in being attractive, and so marrying sooner, may be at odds with the ability to provide healthcare successfully, according to academics. To maintain equilibrium, evolution prefers a more-caring male over a less-caring female.

Marriage and Parental Care in a Socially Monogamous Society

Paternal involvement in mammalian social monogamy is considerably rarer, occurring in about 3% to 9% of species (Kleiman, 1977; Lukas and Clutton-Brock, 2013). (Wright, 1990; Pleck, 1997). The lack of a simple cooperative system of biparental care may be caused by sexual tension.

Parental Investment Theory

Both parents get the benefits of their collaborative efforts in raising children, however parents who invest may face an opportunity cost or have their survival prospects decline if they choose to invest more.

Sexual Selection as a Means of Parental Investment

Occasionally, the term “separate mechanism” is used to describe sexual selection while addressing natural selection. This is a regular occurrence in animals where the sexes are highly segregated and individuals compete to attract members of the other sex.

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Sexual selection is similar to natural selection in that the individual’s immediate survival is not at stake, but the potential to have more or fewer offspring. Sexual selection frequently favours secondary sexual features, such as the flashy plumage of some birds, as an example.


Darwin was intrigued by the peacock’s tail. Asked himself, “How could natural selection alone have resulted in that gigantic tail, which threatens the bird’s existence?” Evolutionary theory suggests that the females’ preference for male partners who displayed power and vigour may have resulted in this tail. The tail of the male peacock has long been seen as a symbol of sexual selection.

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