Hypotheses on the benefits of the practice of partible paternity are tested using demographic data for Ache foragers of Paraguay. Partible paternity refers to the institution of multiple males considered to contribute to the conception of a single offspring. Analyses focus on patterns of primary and secondary co-fatherhood among men, genealogical relationships between co-fathers, and relation between band co-residence and co-fatherhood. Results indicate that men who had more secondary fatherhood also had more primary fatherhood; cofathers are more closely related, on average, than men who are not co-fathers; and co-fathers were also more likely to reside together than men who were not co-fathers, even after controlling for relatedness. Results are most consistent with women choosing co-fathers of offspring in ways that maximize likelihood and amount of investment (multiple investors hypothesis) and men competing for more mates with at least partially affiliative outcomes (mate competition and male alliance hypotheses).
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