Around 25% of primate species (including humans, of course) live in monogamous family groups (compared with only 3% of other mammal species). This compares with monogamy in more than 90% of bird species. Several hypotheses have been proposed to explain the evolution of monogamy, including its role in protecting females and their offspring from unrelated males.
Dr Susanne Shultz is a Royal Society research fellow at Manchester University. Her research focuses on the evolution of behavioural complexity, what makes primate sociality distinct from other mammals and why and how humans have been able to develop large complex societies.
Dr Shultz recently published her work on the evolution of monogamy, which was featured on BBC Radio 4 and reported in the press. This is a controversial area, with alternative hypotheses being published. Dr Shultz will invite a discussion about monogamy in the human race's closest relatives as well as within different human cultures.