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Their widely-quoted study does not mention the foreskin.
One of the popularisers of that theory, Jesse Bering, put readers' questions to Gallup for Scientific American (May 30, 2009) about that issue.
So why do some societies insist on such a risky ritual for their men?
There may be an evolutionary explanation, according to Christopher Wilson, of Cornell University in New York, US.
It might also be the case that selection works at a group level, so that societies that enforce mutilation are more stable because of less conflict over paternity, Wilson says.
David Barash, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Washington in Seattle, US, says that the paper makes a convincing case. Journal reference: Evolution and Human Behavior (vol 29 p 149) Evolution & Human Behaviour, May 2008, Vol 29, Issue 3, pp 149-164 Male genital mutilation: an adaptation to sexual conflict Christopher G.
Because circumcision reduces the diameter of the shaft immediately behind the glans and accentuates the coronal ridge, weve speculated that the practice of circumcision may have unwittingly modified the penis in ways that enable it to function as a more effective semen displacement device. My prediction would be that circumcised males ought to experience a lower incidence of being cuckolded.
So, does the foreskin pose a problem for the semen displacement theory?Especially in societies where paternity uncertainty and reproductive conflict are high, the social benefits of MGM as a signal may outweigh its costs.