We believe that the current reason for monogamous relationships must be because of the emphasis put on caring for young. Caring for young must have proved advantageous to mammals, thus monogamy must have been helpful for increasing the survival rate for offspring.
In the article published by Opie, Atkinson, Dunbar, and Shultz the cause of social monogamy is stated to be high rates of male infanticide. They have found that high rates of infanticide consistently precede monogamy in primates.
On the contrary, Lukas and Clutton-Brock believe the cause for social monogamy is caused by female behavior. They determined that there were not consistent patterns of male behavior from species to species that could lead to social monogamy. Females, however, do consistently exhibit behavior that could lead to social monogamy.
I think Opie, Atkinson, Dunbar, and Shultz have a more convincing scientific argument. They went very in-depth with their research. I find that their test results are more convincing than Lukas and Clutton-Brock’s. Opie, Atkinson, Dunbar, and Shultz use data that is less based pure observation. Lukas and Clutton-Brock’s data seems like it has a higher chance of bias and error, though they account for all other theories, they do not address any possible sources of error. Opie, Atkinson, Dunbar, and Shultz have a well detailed process that could be reproduced.
These articles did change my understanding of monogamy. I had been confusing the reason why social monogamy had been perpetuated with the reason for it to be started. Social monogamy could not just start out of nowhere, there had to be a reason for behavior to change. Not very much was surprising to me, but I was a bit surprised by how convincing the male infanticide argument was.