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Animal vs Human sexual selection model. How is it different?

Everyone sixth grader knows about sexual selection, the form of natural selection that occurs when members of one sex choose mates of the other sex based on a range of factors and member characteristics. These include access to important resources (like food and shelter) and expressions of good genes (like vibrant colors). Over time, preferred traits become more prevalent–or “selected” for—in a population, as members who evince those traits are more likely to reproduce and pass along those traits.

Basic sexual selection, sorted and settled. The question is: Who gets to choose? Studies on animals and evolution have demonstrated that the sex that invests more in fetal care tends to have more influence in mating choice. Females, then, often have more control in mating. (Only in a small group of animals, including sea horses, do males have more mating choice.) Surprisingly, this paradigm does not apply to humans, perhaps because men use social capital and physical force to stop competitors from pursuing females they are interested in. This hypothesis is supported by the presence of secondary sex traits in males and females; researchers hold that female body shape and vocal pitch are heavily shaped by male attention.

In other words, in evolutionary terms, human males have found certain traits in females particularly appealing, and over time, females have “adopted” this characteristic in order to be selected by males and pass down their genes. Male secondary gender characteristics, on the other hand, are not necessarily shaped by matting selection, but rather by same-sex competition. Indeed, research reveals that a deep voice and beard serve more to threaten other males than to appeal to women.

Overall, all of us (and our pets!) are the product of natural selection. Therefore, every trait that we have exists for an evolutionary reason. Sometimes, our survival selection (chances to survive ) might contradict sexual selection (attraction to other sex). For example, a bird’s fur might be so colorful that it allows predators to find them more easily. However, sexual selection allows you to pass down the genes. So, over time there will be a balance between them too.

David Pets, Human Sexual Selection chrome-extension://efaidnbmnnnibpcajpcglclefindmkaj/viewer.html?

  • Angie Lee, writer

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