Abstract and Keywords
Mothers play an important role in helping their children achieve maximal reproductive success. We explore how mothers across species manipulate birth sex ratios favoring the sex that will be best suited to their environments and how maternal competition affects offspring reproductive success in nonhuman mammals as well as humans. The Trivers-Willard hypothesis, resource competition hypothesis, resource enhancement hypothesis, and maternal dominance hypothesis are considered with respect to maternal birth sex ratio manipulation. Next, the primate literature is reviewed as inspiration for hypotheses on maternal competition for positive offspring outcomes. Nonhuman primates as well as humans are argued to compete for status, breeding opportunities, and allomothers (i.e., caregivers apart from the mother), and these factors have an impact on their reproductive success. Status is passed on from mother to offspring, amplifying the effects of competition for status. Future directions are delineated to fill in gaps in the existing literature.
Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.
If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.