This book is fairly short and is mostly about sexual selection and sexual antagonism. While other EP lit. uses animal examples, this book is literally full of them. Lots of interesting comparisons with all kinds of birds, for instance. On the continuum of biology — psychology of EP lit., this one is definitely closer to biology.
One annoying thing about it is that it doesnt use citations in the text. The ref list has the sources, but there are no numbers or the like in the text. This makes looking up references annoying.
Certain insects have had an important historical role in helping us appre
ciate the rarity of monogamy. Thus, some time ago, environmentalists had
great hope for a novel technique that promised to eradicate insect pests. The
idea was to release large numbers of sterilized males, which would mate
with females, who would therefore fail to reproduce. Eventually, no more
pests … and no more pesticides, to .boot. But the success of this procedure
n,ever extended beyond one species, the screw-worm fly.
This is what happened. During the 1930s, E. F. Knipling, a forward
looking entomologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, may have
sensed that “natural” (that is, noninsecticidal) means of controlling
unwanted insects would be superior to the widespread use of poisons. In any
event, he began exploring a promising technique: Introduce sterilized male .
screw-worms into nature, whereupon they would mate with wild female
screw-worms, whose offspring would fail to materialize. It worked, becom
ing for a time one of the great success stories of post-Rachel Carson envi
ronmentalism. By the 1960s, male screw-worms were being exposed to
radioactive cobalt by the vatful, after which insect eunuchs were airdropped
over a vast region along the Mexican-U.S. border . This technique succeeded
in eliminating the screw-worm scourge. However , such an outcome has
never been replicated. As it turns out, Knipling’s choice of a target species
was fortunate (or scientifically inspired): Female screw-worms–despite
their name-are strictly monogamous. By contrast, we now know that for
nearly all insects, one screw is not enough: Females commonly mate with
more than one male, so even when they are inundated with a blizzard of
sterile males, it only takes a small number of intact ones for reproduction to
go merrily along. And so the “sterile-male technique,” for all its environ
mental, nonpesticide appeal, has gone nowhere.
See more here: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sterile_insect_technique
This is a great way for rich countries to help poor countries without using alot of money on developmental aid that doesnt work.
Sperm competition was actually first documented by none other than
Charles Darwin, although he did not identify it as such. Indeed, Darwin
seems to have carefully refrained from pursuing the matter , perhaps because
the question of females mating with more than one male was more than
Darwin’s social climate could bear . Thus, in The Descent of Man and Selec
tion in Relation to Sex (1871), Darwin described a female domestic goose
who produced a mixed brood consisting of some goslings fathered -by a
domestic goose who was her social partner as well as others evidently
fathered by a Chinese goose … this second male being not only not her
mate, but also not even of the same species!
Humans are not the only species to have ”sex with animals”. :)
It is said that exceptions prove the rule. When it comes to the connection
among maleness, low parental investment, and sexual eagerness, there
are in fact some interesting apparent exceptions. These are cases of
“reversed sex roles/’ in which females are comparatively aggressive, often
larger, brightly colored, and more sexually demanding if not promiscuous,
while the males are coy, drab, and sexually reticent. Among certain insects,
for example, the males produce not only sperm but also a large mass of
gelatinous, proteinaceous glop, which the female devours after mating; in
doing so, she gains substantial calories, more, in some cases, than she ex
pends in making eggs. And sure enough, in these speCies (including some
katydids and butterflies), females court the males. This makes sense, since
here it is the males, not the females, who make a large metabolic investment.
And in such cases, males, not females, are likely to say “no.” The key for
our purposes-and apparently for these animals as well-is that male
female patterns of sexual behavior are reversed precisely when male-female
patterns of parental investment are reversed. (It is not known, incidentally,
what gave rise to such sex-role switching in the first place.)
Exceptions prove the rule becus exceptions are exceptions to what exactly? The rule.
This frase is however confusingly used now a days. An exception to a supposedly exception free rule does ofc not prove it. It disproves it.
The suggestion has been made that multiple mating by females may be
tactic of nonhuman primates as well, designed to deprive other females of
sperm from their sexual partner . After all, even though sperm are cheap,
they are not infinitely replaceable, and even the “studliest” of males may
have difficulty producing a constant and undiminished supply . It is even
possible that something akin to female-female competition for male sex
ual attention explains an interesting womanly mystery: menstrual syn
chrony . It is a well-known fact that when women live together-in dor
mitories, sororities, rooming houses-their menstrual cycles tend to
become synchronized. Young women typically begin the academic year
with their periods randomly distributed throughout the calendar , but by
finals in May or June, nearly everyone in the same domicile is reaching for
tampons on the same days.
Minus points for calling things well known that are actually doubtful.
IPCs are pretty much evenly divided throughout a woman’s reproduc
tive cycle, if anything somewhat more frequent during the postovulation
phase, when fertility is substantially reduced. By contrast, Baker and Bel
lis report that EPCs are actually more frequent when women are most fer
tile ! According to the two researchers, “at some time in their lives the
majority of males in western societies place their sperm in competition
with sperm from another male and the majority of females contain live
sperm from two or more different males .” They estimate that in Great
Britain 4 to 12 percent of children are conceived by “sperm that has pre
vailed in competition with sperm from another male. ” This is consistent
with standard estimates of “paternal discrepancy” among human beings
generally: about 10 percent, which, if accurate, is enough to bespeak gen
uine sperm competition.
These 10% estimates are wildly off the mark. See: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Misattributed_paternity#Incidence
Gilding, M. (2009). “Paternity Uncertainty and Evolutionary Psychology: How a Seemingly Capricious Occurrence Fails to Follow Laws of Greater Generality”. Sociology 43: 140–691. doi:10.1177/0038038508099102. edit