13 Apr 2016

STIs and monogamy

From Jesse Mulligan, 1–4pm, 1:12 pm on 13 April 2016

Enjoying a long and happy marriage? Well, you can thank sexually transmitted infections for that.

A new study out of Canada suggests monogamous societies may have evolved to combat the spread of STIs. Researchers at Waterloo University used computer models to simulate the spread of diseases in different kinds of ancient societies. They found that in small groups of hunter-gatherers, the hazard of STIs is manageable, even when people are sleeping around. But when people started living in bigger agricultural settlements, polygamy STIs quickly became endemic in the population. One of the lead authors in the study is Chris Bauch, professor of Applied Mathematics at the University of Waterloo