The evolution of human fatherhood: insights from hormones and behavior
Christopher Kuzawa - Northwestern University, Department of Anthropology, Institute for Policy Research
Most mammalian fathers are not involved with offspring care owing to factors such as low paternity certainty and the competing benefits of increased mating effort. Human fathers are unusual in that they are often highly engaged not only in provisioning but also in providing direct care to offspring. In this talk, Chris Kuzawa will review what is known about paternal care in great apes as background for considering the unique role that fathers play in raising human offspring. He will present his work from Cebu, the Philippines, that has tracked a large cohort of men for more than 10 years of early to middle adulthood. This work has allowed him and his collaborators to clarify the role of testosterone as both a predictor and outcome of life history transitions in this population, including the large declines in the hormone levels that accompany new fatherhood, and the rebounds in the hormone triggered by separation or pairbond dissolution. This work is revealing the dynamic role of hormones as coordinators of human males’ shifting relationship and parenting roles as they age.