by Molly Lambert
Because science (like everything) is so deeply ingrained with sexism dating back well beyond Darwin, there are a million studies about how promiscuity benefits male animals. Now some smart people have realized that females also benefit from being sluts.
In various species, males provide parental care and females mate with multiple males. For example, recent empirical studies show that extra-pair copulation frequently occurs in monogamous birds in which a “social” father provides intensive care for its “social” offspring. Can such pseudo-monogamy benefit through the Darwinian theory of evolution?
Lots of other species have cuckolding females, like starlings.
Beetle sex. Dirty, huh?
Antelopes are one species where the females pursue the males.
Indeed, they have now shown that aggressive female topis compete with one another for a limited supply of sperm from the most desirable members of the opposite sex, even attacking their fellow mating pairs. Meanwhile, resistant males grow choosier about their mating partners, deliberately selecting the least mated females and launching counterattacks against aggressive females with whom they’ve already mated.
The bottom-line of the findings, according to Bro-Jørgensen: “We should not regard coyness as the only natural female sex role just as we should not expect that it is always the natural male sex role to mindlessly accept any mating partner,” he said. “Nature favors a broader range of sex roles.”
The idea that only males would engage in “risky” sexual behaviors is outdated. Clearly (JAMIE LYNN) that is not the case. Even for bloodthirsty cannibalistic jumping spiders.
A study recently published in Ethology found that despite the inherent risk of sexual cannibalism, virgin females were attracted to bigger males when losing their virginity before opting for the safer smaller male as a longer term mate choice.
I could not make this shit up.
Large males are more cannibalistic towards smaller females than vice versa. Consequently, virgin females prefer larger males as mates, in spite of the increased risk of cannibalism, but once the females have mated they change tact and prefer smaller males. In contrast, males make the same choice regardless of whether they are virgins or not and prefer larger females as mates overall.
Gobies are more emotionally evolved than many humans males, they realize being a nice dude and a good dad is the way to a female goby’s heart.
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Molly Lambert is the senior editor of This Recording. She lives in Echo Park.
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