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Publishers WeeklyA decade after they published The Myth of Monogamy: Fidelity and Infidelity in Animals and People, husband-and-wife evolutionary scientists Barash and Lipton make a strong case for the benefits and joys of monogamy even for people, like themselves, "who take biology seriously." Until quite recently, they report, "three-quarters of all human societies were polygamous," and the advent of DNA testing shows that birds have a similarly wandering eye: "sometimes 30 or 40 percent of nestlings ... are not genetically related." While promiscuity seems built into our genes, there is a longer legacy of serial monogamy ("the likelihood... is that only a few well-positioned males succeeded in polygamy") and genetic payoff for two-parent households (feeding, warming, and protecting the young) than numbers might suggest. Humans especially benefit from reciprocity and "monogamy is the ultimate friendship," with the biggest payoff, not just in reproduction but "physically, intellectually, emotionally economically, socially ... in a word, biologically." Everything from infant-mother attachment to neuroplasticity to "mirror neurons" to hormones form the biological framework for adult love. With wit and intelligence, Barash and Lipton provide a rational, scientific look at the seemingly irrational business of falling and staying in love.
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