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Neurobiologist Robert Sapolsky constructed a reproductive spectrum with opposite poles being tournament species, in which males compete fiercely for reproductive privileges with females, and pair bond arrangements, in which a male and female will bond for life.
These species-particular behavior patterns provide a context for aspects of human reproduction, including dating.
However, one particularity of the human species is that pair bonds are often formed without necessarily having the intention of reproduction.
In modern times, emphasis on the institution of marriage, generally described as a male-female bond, has obscured pair bonds formed by same-sex and transgender couples, and that many heterosexual couples also bond for life without offspring, or that often pairs that do have offspring separate.
While pair-bonds of varying forms were recognized by most societies as acceptable social arrangements, marriage was reserved for heterosexual pairings and had a transactional nature, where wives were in many cases a form of property being exchanged between father and husband, and who would have to serve the function of reproduction.
The numbers for each year typically overlap, as there is always a transitional period between successive years and as necks that are made and serial numbered late in any given year are used on instruments assembled in the early months of the following year.
A new serial-numbering scheme was adopted toward the end of 2009 using the number “10” as a prefix, followed by a space, followed by seven digits.
These people will have dates on a regular basis, and they may or may not be having sexual relations.
This period of courtship is sometimes seen as a precursor to engagement.