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Tue May 19, 2015, 02:31 AM

Scientists examine why men even exist

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2015/05/18/scientists-examine-why-men-even-exist/?tid=hybrid_linearcol_1_na


By Rachel Feltman May 18 at 11:11 AM

Sex is a messy, inefficient method of reproducing, but most multicellular organisms have evolved to rely on a partner regardless. It's generally accepted that species accept the inefficiency of sexual reproduction because something about the process gives us an evolutionary boost. A new study used 50 generations of beetles to examine just how important sexual selection -- the act of choosing one potential partner over another -- is to the survival of a species.

[Long-forgotten secrets of whale sex revealed]

From a purely biological standpoint, the existence of the male sex is kind of perplexing: When it's time to create a new generation, the males of a species often contribute nothing but genetic material to the mix.

"Almost all multicellular species on earth reproduce using sex, but its existence isn't easy to explain because sex carries big burdens, the most obvious of which is that only half of your offspring -- daughters -- will actually produce offspring," lead author and UEA professor Matt Gage said in a statement. "Why should any species waste all that effort on sons? We wanted to understand how Darwinian selection can allow this widespread and seemingly wasteful reproductive system to persist, when a system where all individuals produce offspring without sex -- as in all-female asexual populations -- would be a far more effective route to reproduce greater numbers of offspring."


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Reply Scientists examine why men even exist (Original post)
SoCalDem May 2015 OP
Sobax May 2015 #1
daleanime May 2015 #2
Sobax May 2015 #3
AgingAmerican May 2015 #5
daleanime May 2015 #17
Quackers May 2015 #36
AgingAmerican May 2015 #37
Eleanors38 May 2015 #47
Adrahil May 2015 #16
ileus May 2015 #53
Kablooie May 2015 #4
Spitfire of ATJ May 2015 #6
hifiguy May 2015 #27
Spitfire of ATJ May 2015 #32
Jamastiene May 2015 #52
Donald Ian Rankin May 2015 #7
treestar May 2015 #8
Spitfire of ATJ May 2015 #33
joshcryer May 2015 #9
Binkie The Clown May 2015 #10
LittleBlue May 2015 #11
SoCalDem May 2015 #12
LittleBlue May 2015 #13
Nuclear Unicorn May 2015 #14
Glassunion May 2015 #19
leftofcool May 2015 #26
treestar May 2015 #42
Nuclear Unicorn May 2015 #43
treestar May 2015 #44
Nuclear Unicorn May 2015 #50
ileus May 2015 #54
Glassunion May 2015 #15
KittyWampus May 2015 #21
OneBanana_TwoPeels May 2015 #18
A Little Weird May 2015 #20
bettyellen May 2015 #51
MisterP May 2015 #22
jtuck004 May 2015 #23
GummyBearz May 2015 #38
jtuck004 May 2015 #41
Arugula Latte May 2015 #24
muriel_volestrangler May 2015 #25
Eleanors38 May 2015 #48
bluestateguy May 2015 #28
MohRokTah May 2015 #30
bluestateguy May 2015 #31
MohRokTah May 2015 #29
cherokeeprogressive May 2015 #34
sendero May 2015 #35
Eleanors38 May 2015 #46
Baclava May 2015 #39
PasadenaTrudy May 2015 #40
Eleanors38 May 2015 #45
Snow Leopard May 2015 #49
Initech May 2015 #55
Nye Bevan May 2015 #56
Spirochete May 2015 #57

Response to SoCalDem (Original post)

Tue May 19, 2015, 02:46 AM

1. It's not perplexing really

 

The benefits of sexual reproduction over asexual are well known - greater genetic diversity, etc. Contributing genetic material to the mix is actually a pretty big deal.

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Response to Sobax (Reply #1)

Tue May 19, 2015, 03:17 AM

2. Two provide more security....

then one.

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Response to daleanime (Reply #2)

Tue May 19, 2015, 03:33 AM

3. Well, exactly

 

It's silly to even compare humans to asexual plants or microscopic organisms. Human females have one of the longest gestation periods of all species, which makes them extremely vulnerable, and human offspring are dependent on their parents for years. Asexual reproduction just isn't an appropriate method of reproduction for mammals.

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Response to daleanime (Reply #2)

Tue May 19, 2015, 03:40 AM

5. It's a lot of fun too

 

nt

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Response to AgingAmerican (Reply #5)

Tue May 19, 2015, 07:38 AM

17. ........

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Response to AgingAmerican (Reply #5)

Tue May 19, 2015, 09:32 PM

36. And we're sure you have fond memories, but....

Kidding! I'm just kidding.

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Response to Quackers (Reply #36)

Tue May 19, 2015, 09:38 PM

37. Indeed I do!

 

And still making new ones!

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Response to Quackers (Reply #36)

Wed May 20, 2015, 06:02 PM

47. Fondling memories, you say?

 

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Response to Sobax (Reply #1)

Tue May 19, 2015, 07:32 AM

16. Yup.... This is pretty well understood, I think....

 

Sexual reproduction spreads beneficial alleles faster than asexual reproduction, allowing a species to adapt more rapidly. No mystery.

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Response to Sobax (Reply #1)

Thu May 28, 2015, 10:25 PM

53. You're ruining the man hate.

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Response to SoCalDem (Original post)

Tue May 19, 2015, 03:40 AM

4. Males can produce many more offspring than women.

So I don't see why it's a question.
Most societies don't encourage it but of course some had harems where a male could have an inordinate amount of offspring to pollute the gene pool with.

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Response to SoCalDem (Original post)

Tue May 19, 2015, 04:02 AM

6. SOMEONE needs to vote Republican.

 

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Response to Spitfire of ATJ (Reply #6)

Tue May 19, 2015, 08:03 PM

27. And get the lids off of the peanut butter

 

and pickle jars.

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Response to hifiguy (Reply #27)

Tue May 19, 2015, 09:23 PM

32. And shovel the snow.

 

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Response to hifiguy (Reply #27)

Thu May 28, 2015, 10:21 PM

52. These work beautifully.

No weenie required.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=a9_sc_1?rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Aunder+counter+jar+opener&keywords=under+counter+jar+opener&ie=UTF8&qid=1432865774

Now, lifting heavy stuff. Now, THAT is the ticket. When I don't feel like inventing something on the fly to lift a heavy thing, that is when to call a man. Men LOVE lifting heavy stuff to prove their strength, for some reason. At least, in my experience, they seem particularly enthusiastic to help. I've actually had one guy stand there and do the body builder poses to show me how strong he was after he lifted a heavy box. So, not only was he doing something for me, for free, but he was mighty proud of himself afterward too. Men are so easy to please.

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Response to SoCalDem (Original post)

Tue May 19, 2015, 04:04 AM

7. Another question is why are there so many.


It's a straightforward biological theorem that you want to invest an equal amount of energy into your sons and your daughters, because every grandchild will have exactly one father and one mother, so on average they'll pass on the same number of genes (although this is only true on average - there's some fascinating research suggesting that in some species higher-status females have more sons than daughters, and lower-status females the reverse).

But in many species (although less so among monogamous ones like humans) the variance in number of children is significantly higher for a son than a daughter, and so is the competition, so it's not obvious to me why a winning strategy isn't to have fewer, larger sons and more, smaller daughters, so that your sons will outcompete your neighbour's and father a higher proportion of the next generation but one. But I don't know of any species that do this.

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Response to SoCalDem (Original post)

Tue May 19, 2015, 04:06 AM

8. There are 6 billion people

There's no problem with not enough offspring.

True in nature not many men are needed as polygamy was natural - only the attractive men need to procreate.

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Response to treestar (Reply #8)

Tue May 19, 2015, 09:25 PM

33. That's why loin cloths were invented.....

 

To hide what made you less attractive.

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Response to SoCalDem (Original post)

Tue May 19, 2015, 04:12 AM

9. Hardly controversial.

Males of almost all species are largely disposable for the furtherance of the species.

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Response to SoCalDem (Original post)

Tue May 19, 2015, 04:20 AM

10. But without men,

who would go out and hunt the wooly mammoths while the mother stayed home and cooked and cleaned.



Sexist sarcasm aside, carrying a baby before birth, and caring for a newborn limit mobility, and leave the woman in a significantly more vulnerable position for a period of time during the process. Granted, a society of all women could stagger their child-bearing so that some were always available to do the hunting and heavy lifting while others were slowed down by pregnancy.

Equality of the sexes for humans is certainly possible, but that equality can really only exist with intelligent beings. "Lower" animals in a hostile environment would be severely handicapped by being in a "delicate condition" with no non-delicate partner to provide and protect. The queen could not survive without the worker ants, and without the queen the colony cannot survive. A colony of all queens would be anarchy and chaos, not a colony at all.

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Response to SoCalDem (Original post)

Tue May 19, 2015, 04:37 AM

11. The answer seems obvious

 

The way we are as people represents millions of years of evolution. If a biological advantage were conferred by having more girls than boys or vice versa, we would have evolved to reproduce in that ratio. Even numbers gives natural selection its forward momentum, a womb representing the bottleneck we need for evolution.

edit: lol the article basically said the same thing. Not sure why they needed beetles to understand that

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Response to LittleBlue (Reply #11)

Tue May 19, 2015, 04:57 AM

12. The beetle lobby

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Response to SoCalDem (Reply #12)

Tue May 19, 2015, 05:04 AM

13. ...

 



Ok that's enough, time for bed

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Response to SoCalDem (Original post)

Tue May 19, 2015, 06:48 AM

14. Because you can't use a vibrator to fix your car.

It seems kinda obvious, really.

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Response to Nuclear Unicorn (Reply #14)

Tue May 19, 2015, 07:54 AM

19. I'm just gonna leave this here...

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Response to Nuclear Unicorn (Reply #14)

Tue May 19, 2015, 08:00 PM

26. Good point!

And as a woman, I am not too proud to say there is no way in hell I would touch my own car, mechanically that it.

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Response to Nuclear Unicorn (Reply #14)

Wed May 20, 2015, 09:07 AM

42. That seemed funny until I realized that

women can fix cars. Yes we are that smart.

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Response to treestar (Reply #42)

Wed May 20, 2015, 09:46 AM

43. Just because we can doesn't mean I want to.

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Response to Nuclear Unicorn (Reply #43)

Wed May 20, 2015, 05:54 PM

44. I don't either

But I did meet one female mechanic once.

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Response to treestar (Reply #44)

Wed May 20, 2015, 06:18 PM

50. I moved out to the country when I got married. The women out here do so much on their own --

plumbing, electrical, car maintenance, etc. they make me feel like a feminist failure.

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Response to Nuclear Unicorn (Reply #14)

Thu May 28, 2015, 10:28 PM

54. We had a lady in the hospital that kept hearing a strange intermittent sound.

After a few weeks she took her car to the garage (because her husband was a doctor) to check it out. Turned out to be a vibrator rolling around under the seat. It would turn on and off as it rolled around.

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Response to SoCalDem (Original post)

Tue May 19, 2015, 07:21 AM

15. It's amazing how close this article mimicked our wedding vows.

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Response to Glassunion (Reply #15)

Tue May 19, 2015, 08:32 AM

21. I did actually laugh out loud.

 

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Response to SoCalDem (Original post)

Tue May 19, 2015, 07:46 AM

18. Re: Scientists examine why men even exist

"Why should any species waste all that effort on sons? We wanted to understand how Darwinian selection can allow this widespread and seemingly wasteful reproductive system to persist, when a system where all individuals produce offspring without sex -- as in all-female asexual populations -- would be a far more effective route to reproduce greater numbers of offspring."


Because said species are not asexual? If all lionnesses, for example, were to break off from lions and go do their own thing, the species would become extinct very quickly. They can't just wake up one morning and declare "ok ladies, from now on, we're officially an all-female asexual population!"

Or are they talking about just human beings here? Even if so, the vast majority of the world doesn't have the technology, much less a means to pay for it. Or am I missing something here?

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Response to OneBanana_TwoPeels (Reply #18)

Tue May 19, 2015, 08:27 AM

20. The question is about evolution

It isn't asking why species don't suddenly change to exclude males but is asking why sexual reproduction is the norm instead of asexual reproduction among complex organisms. Why did natural selection take us down that path? I'm not sure the beetle study really answered that question but it once again shows that sex selection improves genetic diversity.

Nobody wants to get rid of the men. It's really hard for me to even imagine a world without men. It would be a much more boring place.

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Response to A Little Weird (Reply #20)

Wed May 20, 2015, 06:53 PM

51. But a lot of groups of mammals exclude the males most of the time....

 

The moms and young ones have their own larger packs, and just get pregnant when they run into packs of males. Elephants and loads of other species work like that. I was surprised male lions hunt so infrequently, they more often come in and claim a share after the lionesses have made their kill.

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Response to SoCalDem (Original post)

Tue May 19, 2015, 03:07 PM

22. next up, why are kids around? what do a buncha delirious midgets contribute?

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Response to SoCalDem (Original post)

Tue May 19, 2015, 03:40 PM

23. "the males of a species often contribute nothing but genetic material to the mix" < With that logic

 

we could replace women with bread machines.

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Response to jtuck004 (Reply #23)

Tue May 19, 2015, 09:44 PM

38. Don't forget a roomba for the bread crumbs

 

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Response to GummyBearz (Reply #38)

Tue May 19, 2015, 09:58 PM

41. Sadly, I think vacuuming would be a thing of the past in man world. Which might

 

last long enough for all the trash to pile up.

I appreciate the way it is, with all the complexities.

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Response to SoCalDem (Original post)

Tue May 19, 2015, 03:49 PM

24. Cuz Gawd done made Adam! It sez so in mah Bible!

 

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Response to SoCalDem (Original post)

Tue May 19, 2015, 07:56 PM

25. In typical plants, reproduction is sexual, but not selective, and the individuals are hermaphroditic

and that allows all of them to put equal investment into producing the next generation. Gendered individuals are by no means the inevitable successful strategy.

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Response to muriel_volestrangler (Reply #25)

Wed May 20, 2015, 06:08 PM

48. At least vegetables don't pretend they got taste.

 

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Response to SoCalDem (Original post)

Tue May 19, 2015, 08:06 PM

28. All worker bees are female

The male bees are drones; their function is to fuck the queen. After they serve that purpose they are pushed out of the hive and left to die.

I guess that is fair. The worker bees take all the risks and do all the work. The drones get to get laid, but then they are disposed of.

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Response to bluestateguy (Reply #28)

Tue May 19, 2015, 08:14 PM

30. Most male insects in the Hymenoptera order, such as honey bees, DIE after the sexual act.

 

With honeybees, the hive pushes out drones that have not mate at the end of the summer because there is no need to feed them through the winter.

But males will die immediately after the sex act because their sex organs are pulled out during the act.

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Response to MohRokTah (Reply #30)

Tue May 19, 2015, 08:21 PM

31. Talk about high stakes

nt

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Response to SoCalDem (Original post)

Tue May 19, 2015, 08:12 PM

29. Insects of the Hymenoptera Order have it figured out.

 

Insects in the Hymenoptera only produce "males" via an unfertilized egg, thus the male is a haploid rather than diploid organism. This means that every sperm cell produced by these males carries exactly the same genetic information.

In essence, every male insect in Hymenoptera order is, in effect, nothing mpore than a genetic delivery system for the female that laid their unfertilized eggs.

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Response to SoCalDem (Original post)

Tue May 19, 2015, 09:28 PM

34. What. A. Fucking. Waste. How about examining a cure for cancer? AIDS? A way to sequester CO2?

 

Are these idiots part of the 97% I keep hearing about?

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Response to SoCalDem (Original post)

Tue May 19, 2015, 09:28 PM

35. What?

"the most obvious of which is that only half of your offspring -- daughters -- will actually produce offspring"


WTF? Those offspring will carry half the DNA of the male. That is the point. the fact that the female bears the offspring is irrelevant to whose DNA created it.

I find this comment idiotic and not worthy of a scientist.

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Response to sendero (Reply #35)

Wed May 20, 2015, 06:00 PM

46. SCIENCE!

 

Sounds like basic deer management: Population gets too big, females must be harvested; population is low, take the big bucks. Surviving buck have more to do the wild thing with.

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Response to SoCalDem (Original post)

Tue May 19, 2015, 09:47 PM

39. What a silly study

We've moved past the caveman sperm era!

I lost two cars and two houses to my ex-wives

I still won!

hahahahahahaha

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Response to SoCalDem (Original post)

Tue May 19, 2015, 09:52 PM

40. I wonder this daily n/t

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Response to SoCalDem (Original post)

Wed May 20, 2015, 05:57 PM

45. Somebody has to burn the BBQ.

 

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Response to SoCalDem (Original post)

Wed May 20, 2015, 06:10 PM

49. to piss

 

feminists off, obviously.

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Response to SoCalDem (Original post)

Thu May 28, 2015, 10:44 PM

55. But existing is all I do! /Fry

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Response to SoCalDem (Original post)

Thu May 28, 2015, 10:47 PM

56. Duh.... take the garbage out, kill spiders in the bathtub,

unscrew tight pickle jar caps, ........ need I go on?

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Response to SoCalDem (Original post)

Thu May 28, 2015, 10:51 PM

57. To kill large spiders? n/t

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