parental investment

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Any contribution that a parent makes towards an individual offspring that increases the offspring's chances of survival and reproduction at the cost of the parent's ability to contribute to other offspring, including producing sex cells and later feeding and guarding the young. According to the US biologist Robert L. Trivers (born 1943), who introduced the term into ethology in 1972, in species in which females provide more parental investment than males, males compete among themselves for female mates, and females are vulnerable to mate desertion. See also sexual selection. PI abbrev.

Subjects: Psychology.

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