Discrepancies in wealth can bring out men's worst evolved traits, including violence, poor treatment of women, and polygamy, for example by much-married South African President Jacob Zuma.
Even for a head of state, South African President Jacob Zuma has an awfully colorful sex life. In April, the 70-year-old married his sixth wife, Bongi Ngema, in a traditional Zulu ceremony. But, unlike serial monogamists, Zuma remains married to three other wives.
His second wife, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, a respected minister in Zuma's government, divorced him in 1998. And his third wife, Kate Matsho-Zuma, committed suicide in 2000. By his wives, fiancées (yes, there are likely to be more weddings), and at least four other women, Zuma has allegedly sired at least 20 children.
All that marrying doesn't slow down Zuma's extra-marital activity, either. He was acquitted of the 2005 rape of an acquaintance he knew was HIV positive. The judge accepted his defense that the sex was consensual, and evidence suggests this was no isolated affair.
I am not an expert in South African politics, or even politics in general, yet I am fascinated by the private marital (and non-marital) relations of this head-of-state. And he's not alone: the leaders of Qatar, Swaziland, Sudan, Chad, and Saudi Arabia are also polygamous. As an evolutionary biologist, I've learned that our evolutionary past interacts with our current circumstances to influence the relationships and domestic arrangements we forge. Zuma is, in many ways, the product of an environment that reinforces some of our worst evolved traits.