Washington, Mar 20 : Men and women are often caught cheating on their spouses. Now, a new research has raised the question whether humans are supposed to be monogamous at the first place.
Out of roughly 5,000 species of mammals (including humans), only 3 percent to 5 percent are known to form lifelong, monogamous bonds, with the loyal superstars including beavers, wolves and some bats.
A cheating hubby who detours for a romantic romp yet returns home in time to tuck in the kids at night would be considered socially monogamous, a term which is used to refer to creatures that pair up to mate and raise offspring but still have flings.
Scientists' explanation for monogamy varies.
Evolutionary psychologists have suggested that men are more likely to have extramarital sex, partially because of the male urge to 'spread genes' by broadcasting sperm.
While some say, that the committed partnership between a man and a woman evolved for the well-being of children.
"The human species has evolved to make commitments between males and females in regards to raising their offspring, so this is a bond," Live Science quoted Jane Lancaster, evolutionary anthropologist at the University of New Mexico, as saying.
"However that bond can fit into all kinds of marriage patterns - polygyny, single parenthood, monogamy," Lancaster added.
The human species is somewhat unique amongst mammals in that fathers do invest in raising children.
"We do know that in humans we do have this pretty strong pair bond, and there's more paternal investment than in most other primates," said Daniel Kruger, a social and evolutionary psychologist at the University of Michigan's School of Public Health.
"We're special in this regard, but at the same time like most mammals, we are a polygynous species," Kruger said.
Whether or not the married or otherwise committed individuals stray for sex depends on the costs and benefits.
"There is plenty of evidence that males have less to lose than females by having extramarital sex. Having less to lose, it's easier for them to do it. Women, however, could lose 'dad's' resources when it comes to raising their kids. For women, the well-being of their children is not improved by promiscuity," Lancaster said. ome scientists view both social and sexual monogamy in humans as a societal structure rather than a natural state.
"I don't think we are a monogamous animal. A really monogamous animal is a goose - which never mates again even if its mate is killed. She added, "Monogamy is invented for order and investment - but not necessarily because it's 'natural,'" said Pepper Schwartz, a professor of sociology at the University of Washington in Seattle.