Over 4,000 dyadic groupings in two large shopping malls were classified by age and sex of individual members as they passed along a well-defined exit path. The observations were carried out at times and places when a demographic cross-section of the city was likely to be seen, and where there were no rigid constraints on the group composition that appeared. The data were subjected to computer analysis, and observed frequencies of specified age-sex dyads were compared by chi-square statistics to expected frequencies based on a binomial distribution. A female mating strategy at ages 21-32 years and two different male strategies at ages 24-32 and 39-50 years were revealed. The observed strategies correlate with the reproductive, marital, and divorce statistics of the locale. The results are discussed in terms of inclusive fitness maximized by a preference for monogamy in females and the practice of serial polygyny by some males. © 1981.
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