Coevolution of parental investment and sexually selected traits drives sex-role divergence
Fromhage, Lutz; Jennions, Michael D. (2016). Coevolution of parental investment and sexually selected traits drives sex-role divergence. Nature Communications, 7 (0), 12517. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms12517
Published inNature Communications
© the Authors, 2016. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Sex-role evolution theory attempts to explain the origin and direction of male-female differences. A fundamental question is why anisogamy, the difference in gamete size that defines the sexes, has repeatedly led to large differences in subsequent parental care. Here we construct models to confirm predictions that individuals benefit less from caring when they face stronger sexual selection and/or lower certainty of parentage. However, we overturn the widely cited claim that a negative feedback between the operational sex ratio and the opportunity cost of care selects for egalitarian sex roles. We further argue that our model does not predict any effect of the adult sex ratio (ASR) that is independent of the source of ASR variation. Finally, to increase realism and unify earlier models, we allow for co-evolution between parental investment and investment in sexually selected traits. Our model confirms that small initial differences in parental investment tend to increase due to positive evolutionary feedback, formally supporting long-standing, but unsubstantiated, verbal arguments. © The Author(s) 2016. ...