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date: 06 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

In this chapter, we first discuss two methodologies in evolutionary biology that focus on the evolutionary history of a species—adaptationism and phylogenetics. We then define the concept of estrus and discuss its historical origins. Following this, we summarize recent research showing that women have a unique fertile-phase sexuality, and we summarize arguments by Thornhill and Gangestad (2008) suggesting that this unique fertile-phase is associated with estrus. Next, we discuss the nature and function of sexuality outside the fertile phase, after which we examine research on men's responses to women across the cycle. We then address the questions of whether estrus has been shaped in hominin evolution or whether it was shaped during evolutionary periods before the divergence of humans from the ancestors of our close relatives. We conclude the chapter with a summary and set of promising future directions.

Keywords: evolutionary biology, evolutionary psychology, estrus, adaptation, sexuality

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