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In females, relative youth and physical attractiveness (which males valued more compared to females) demonstrated cues for fertility and high reproductive capacity.Buss stated the specific age preference of around 25 years implied that fertility was a stronger ultimate cause of mate preference than reproductive value as data suggested that fertility peaks in females around mid-twenties.Male chimpanzees tend to prefer older females than younger and it is suggested that specific cues of female mate value are very different to humans.Buss attributed the young age preference for females to the cues that youth has.These differences may be sexual, financial or social in nature. Socially, a society with a difference in wealth distribution between older and younger people may affect the dynamics of the relationship.Although the "cougar" theme, in which older women date much younger men, is often portrayed in the media as a widespread and established facet of modern Western culture, at least one academic study has found the concept to be a "myth".The theory predicts that preferred mate choices have evolved to focus on reproductive potential and reproductive investment of members of the opposite sex.

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This is somewhat different to our close evolutionary relatives: chimpanzees.The rational choice model suggests that people look for partners who can provide for them in their life (bread-winners); as men traditionally earn more as they get older, women will therefore prefer older men.One of the concerns of relationships with age disparities in some cultures is a perceived difference between people of different age ranges.These age preferences were confirmed in marriage records with males marrying females younger than them and vice versa.This study used 21,245 participants between 18 and 65 years of age who were not involved in a close relationship.

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