Homo sapiens sapiens: What makes us human?

Due November 3 (Rewrite due November 17)
Typed, double-spaced, stapled, and with pages numbered
Length is flexible, but aim for 4-6 pages.




The two sexes faced different adaptive challenges in mating and reproduction during the EEA. In a real sense, the two sexes have competing interests. They have thus evolved different mating strategies and an associated suite of average differences in physical and behavioral traits.

This has practical implications for how men and women interact with--and misunderstand--each other in daily life, including courting and marriage. The tension has sometimes been described as women being from Venus and men from Mars. In short, we can drive each other crazy. Women complain: Why does he do that!! Men complain: Why does she do that!!

Your book describes some of these tension-generating sex differences and we will be discussing others in class. Many sex differences make it difficult for one sex to interpret the other sex's behavior and intentions. Here are a few examples; there are many others. Note that these are conflicts between the sexes' reproductive strategies that you might use to explain the mutual misunderstandings that commonly complicate male and female relationships, which is part 2 of your task.


Most broadly, your task is to explain how the evolutionary battle between the sexes causes (shows up in) everyday tensions between two individuals who are (possibly) in a dating-mating relationship.

  1. Describe two typical tensions, mutual misunderstandings, or disconnects that often arise between a man and a woman, like a grey fog complicating their relationship. (See the heart in the attached powerpoint graphics.) You must select disconnects/mutual misunderstandings that develop because of the sexes' conflicting adaptations.
  2. Describe the particular adaptive conflicts that could explain your two disconnects/mutual misunderstandings. Your two examples may or may not arise from the same conflict between the sexes' reproductive strategies.
  3. What is the most important advice you would give to individuals or couples who are experiencing these particular misunderstandings? It has to be evolutionarily sound. For instance, just telling them to "be honest" is not informed or helpful advice.

Evaluation criteria