Why don't humans have a mating season like other animals?

05 July 2009



Why don’t humans have a mating season like other animals?


Kat - They do!

Chris - Maybe you do. I don't know.

Kat - It's called Friday night!

Chris - Very regular mating. It's three times a week!

Kat - Many animals do have a mating season. Dogs coming to season will. If you have foxes in your back garden, you'll very much know that foxes do have a mating season and are really annoying and very prominent about it.

But humans don't really and there's been quite a lot of discussion on The Naked Scientists forum as to why this might be, but it's mainly, I think because humans have evolved not to need one and many animals do have a mating season because their food resources or the temperature where they live changes throughout the year.

So, you want your babies to be born at the optimum conditions where they're going to survive, where there's lots of food to nourish the mother during her pregnancy, when there's a nice warm temperature for the babies to be born in and they're not going to freeze, and you know, when it's not obviously really wet or really horrible.

But with humans because for a long time, we've lived in habitats like caves, we've been able to stabilize our temperatures through clothing. We've been able to sort of, farm, and all that kind of stuff.

Probably, we've just evolved not to need a mating season and we have very regular ovulation that's hidden most of the time. It depends on the papers you read whether you believe that or not.

So there's no real need for us to have a mating season and I did read an interesting paper. I think that the weights of babies generally born, change throughout the year depending on whether your mother was pregnant during the harvest season or not whether your mother had more food during the pregnancies so there may be a hangover from that, but certainly in the modern world, there's no real need for a mating season for humans.


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