to generalized polygyny finds cladistic support. The few primate species with a multiharem structure belong to taxonomic groups in which the majority of species have a multimale-multifemale composition and a promiscuous mating system. This suggests that the clade's common ancestor had the latter type of mating system (Barton 1999). Third, primate behavioral ecology is compatible with the transition from sexual promiscuity to generalized polygyny, but hardly so with a direct transition to generalized monogamy. The multiharem composition appears to be an adaptation to a low food density that cannot support large aggregations, an hypothesis that finds support in the observation that savanna baboons, which typically form large multimale-multifemale groups, may sometimes subdivide into polygynous units in harsher ecological conditions (Barton 1999). Fourth, as pointed out earlier, a majority of human societies combine monogamy with polygyny, a fact that strongly suggests that the ancestral hominid pattern was generalized polygyny. This leads us to the second step, the transition from generalized polygyny to generalized monogamy.

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