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Feb 07, 2015 10:52 AM EST

Human Evolutionary Study: Holding Out for 'Mr. or Ms. Perfect' a Reproductive Risk


With evolutionary strategy in mind, researchers at Michigan State University (MSU) have determined settling for "Mr. or Ms. OK" is best for the human race.

According to, the MSU evolutionary researchers published their work in the journal Nature. They said that more primitive times likely caused humans to take the better genetic bet to produce better offspring.

"Primitive humans were likely forced to bet on whether or not they could find a better mate," study co-author Chris Adami, an MSU professor of microbiology and molecular genetics, said in a press release. "They could either choose to mate with the first, potentially inferior, companion and risk inferior offspring, or they could wait for Mr. or Ms. Perfect to come around.

"If they chose to wait, they risk never mating."

For their study, the researchers used computers to simulate potential mating decisions, taking generations upon generations' worth of risk-taking behavior.

"We found that it is really the group size, not the total population size, which matters in the evolution of risk aversion," study co-author Arend Hintze, an MSU research associate, said in the release.

One of the reasons humans today hold out for who they believe is their soul mate is because of a huge population. The phrase "lots of fish in the sea" really does ring true. Primitive humans in smaller populations had to settle in seeking a mate for the good of the group.

"An individual might hold out to find the perfect mate but run the risk of coming up empty and leaving no progeny," Adami said. "Settling early for the sure bet gives you an evolutionary advantage, if living in a small group.

"We do not all evolve to be the same.

"Evolution creates a diversity in our acceptance of risk, so you see some people who are more likely to take bigger risks than others. We see the same phenomenon in our simulations."

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