In the context of sexual reproduction, natural selection is generally thought of as a pre-copulation mechanism. We are drawn to features of the human body that tell us our partner is healthy and will provide us a fighting opportunity to carry on our genetic lineage. But a new article appearing in the February issue of Current Directions in Psychological Science suggests that the human male has evolved mechanisms to pass on his genes during post-copulation as well, a phenomenon dubbed "sperm competition. In their article, Todd Shackelford and Aaron Getz at Florida Atlantic University describe sperm competition as "the inevitable consequence of males competing for fertilizations. For a monogamous species, sperm competition may seem unlikely.
Some Fuss Over Sperm Competition | Psychology Today
Performed the experiments: SL. The authors confirm that all data underlying the findings are fully available without restriction. In species where females mate with multiple males, the sperm from these males must compete to fertilise available ova. Sexual selection from sperm competition is expected to favor opposing adaptations in males that function either in the avoidance of sperm competition by guarding females from rival males or in the engagement in sperm competition by increased expenditure on the ejaculate. The extent to which males may adjust the relative use of these opposing tactics has been relatively neglected. Where males can successfully avoid sperm competition from rivals, one might expect a decrease in their expenditure on tactics for the engagement in sperm competition and vice versa. In this study, we examine the relationship between mate guarding and ejaculate quality using humans as an empirical model.