Cooperative game theory vs. sexual selection

Roughgarden said that pairings are often better explained by creating a viable team than by finding the highest quality genes. Couples are usually genetically similar, she said, and their differences are often complementary: Both members provide the team with the strengths the other lacks.

"To make an analogy with humans, the number of children a couple can raise to adulthood is more influenced by the income of the family rather than the genetic makeup," Akcay said. "We think that in most species, this is what is going on: Males and females choose each other for ecological benefits rather than superior genetic makeups."

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