A team from London, Manchester, Oxford and Auckland studied the mating habits of monkeys and discovered that mothers will delay mating when nurturing young children. They also studied how in non-monogamous communities, rival males would try to kill children to encourage the female to want to mate sooner.

However, in societies where primates choose a mate and stay with them, the males are more likely to care for their offspring and want to protect them, and this leads to more intelligent, well nurtured children.

The scientists say it offers "conclusive proof" that protecting young children is the main reason for monogamy in humans. For their study, the team from University College London worked with researchers from universities in Manchester, Oxford and Auckland to gather data across 230 primate species.


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