Polygamy Vs Monogamy

Recently, South African president married his fifth wife. The debate was on about polygamy. Meanwhile some researcher dig out this practice. Polygamy has existed in India since the Vedic period and is still practiced in the 21st century.While the Hindu Marriage
Act of 1955 prohibits polygamy for Hindus and other non-Muslims in India, it is still practiced by Muslims. The emergence of social monogamy is a mystery. The Babylonian King Hammurabi prescribed it in his ancient law code around 1790 BC, though the practice probably stretches back thousands of years further. Some researchers provide the fact that many populations around the world practise some form of polygamy is a clear indication that social monogamy is not inevitable and therefore needs explaining. They concluded that men and women will tend to form socially monogamous pairs when land is scarce and its cultivation intense, as men would risk diluting their property by dividing it among too many heirs (Ref :Laura Fortunato of University College London)
In fact, for their study, the researchers modelled the behaviour of populations incorporating monogamous and polygynous men over two generations. They made the as-
sumption that women in early agrarian cultures did not provide much in the way of material resources. Monogamy wonout over polygamy, in terms of reliably passing resources to the most genetically related family members, so long as property remained precious, women mostly faithful and men shrewd – that is, they transferred property exclusively to the children of faithful wives, it found. The researchers suggested that the advent and spread of agriculture about 10,000 years ago played an integral role in the emergence of monogamy, since until then owning specific land was largely pointless. “I think the evidence must come from archaeology and changes in marriage systems”, said Ms. Fortunato whose findings have been published in the Journal of Evolution Biology.


About Dilawar

Graduate Student at National Center for Biological Sciences, Bangalore.
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