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In August 2010, Michael Dunn of the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff completed and released the results of a study on age disparity in dating.
However, human males tend to have more parental investment compared to mammal males (although females still tend to have more parental investment).
Thus, both sexes will have to compete and be selective in mate choices.
Females demonstrate a complementary pattern, being willing to accept considerably older males (on average 8 years older) and were also willing to accept males slightly younger than themselves (on average 5 years younger).
This is somewhat different to our close evolutionary relatives: chimpanzees.
Age-disparity relationships have been documented for most of recorded history and have been regarded with a wide range of attitudes dependant on sociocultural norms and legal systems. Relationships with age disparity of all kinds have been observed with both men and women as the older or younger partner.
In various cultures, older men and younger women often seek one another for sexual or marital relationships.
As well as asking participants a number of questions on mate selection criteria, they also had to provide the oldest and youngest partner they would accept.
It was found that for all ages males were willing to accept females that are slightly older than they are (on average 4.5 years older), but they accept females considerably younger than their own age (on average 10 years younger).
An overarching evolutionary theory which can provide an explanation for the above mechanisms and strategies adopted by individuals which leads to age disparity in relationships is called Life History theory, Life History theory posits that individuals have to divide energy and resources between activities (as energy and resources devoted to one task cannot be used for another task) and this is shaped by natural selection.