Abstracts (first author)
Promiscuity and evolution of cooperative neighbourhoods
A striking but unexplained pattern in biology is the widespread promiscuity in socially monogamous species. Although females commonly solicit extra-pair copulations, the adaptive reason has been elusive. We use evolutionary modelling of breeding ecology to show that females benefit because extra-pair paternity incentivizes males to shift focus from a single brood towards the entire neighbourhood, as they are likely to have offspring there. Male-male cooperation towards public goods and dear enemy effects of reduced territorial aggression evolve from selfish interests, and lead to safer and more productive neighbourhoods. Using a set of theoretical simulation models, we predict sex-specific cooperative behaviours at breeding sites where males cooperate more towards public goods than females. The mechanism provides adaptive explanations for the common empirical observations that females solicit extra-pair copulations and that neighbours dominate as extra-pair sires. Derived from ecological mechanisms, these new perspectives point towards the evolution of sociality in birds, mammals, and primates, including humans.