Tuesday, 2 September 2008
The fairer of the species
It is interesting how sexual dimorphism in the class Aves generally results in the male as the more gaudy and extravagant of the sexes. There are famous reversals of this general rule such as the phalaropes and in many species there is no plumage sexual dimorphism, such as Tree Sparrow. Well, I was just thinking-who is the fairer of the human sexes- is it the male or the female? Generally sexual dimorphism represents some kind of different role play. A gaudy extravagant male in a bird species usually means the male spends so much time adorning himself and is so conspicuous to predators that he is of little use to her when it comes to raising her offspring. Sexual selection creates an arms race amongst the males to become the most ridiculous dresser uppers, singers and dancers. This is not helping me work it out????
Humans are strange- it is like they are all the animals rolled into one- we can fly, dive, burrow, walk, run, swim, eat vegetarian, eat meat, eat nearly anything, males and females sing, males and females dance, both hunt, both gather, both farm, humans can work in groups, work alone, they can have 100 partners or have one partner, two wives, ten husbands, no wives- there are few rules. It would be a nightmare trying to write a HBW style summary of human sub-species and distribution, descriptive notes, habitat, food and feeding, breeding, movements and status and conservation. It will be like -everything goes.