I read a book "The Descent of Man" from Charles Darwin. What is the reason for the following statement?

"It would be no advantage and some loss of power if both sexes were mutually to search for each other."

I know that in most species it is the male having an active role in the search of a partner to mate, but Darwin provided no fact in supporting the quoted statement about the disadvantage of mutual search.

Mr. Darwin died 139 years ago, so his books became a public domain (70 years after his death). Here is a link to a pdf file:

The Descent of Man - Charles Darwin

There it is page number 273, in the pdf file page number 322, in the lower half.

EDIT: The explanation provided on Wikipedia, that I just found, is the Batemans principle. It says that the females are "more valuable", because of greater time and energy they put into producing offspring, compared to that of the males. Hence, the males compete for the females.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ I’m not sure what exactly Darwin was getting at, but the answer to why males perform the search (generally speaking) seems to me to be the same as to why there isn’t mutual searching. $\endgroup$
    – canadianer
    Nov 11, 2021 at 1:59


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.