Psychology: History & Systems
Professor Mark Berg
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In chapter 1, the topic of biological sex and sexual selection is discussed. A British biologist Angus Bateman carried out a series of experiments with fruit flies. Bateman's research with fruit flies was inspired by Darwin's theory of sexual selection, which was debated by his theory of natural selection too. Natural selection is known as the process where the frequency of different versions of a heritable trait change over time, due to other traits having greater reproductive success than others. Sexual selection theory can be compared to the peacock tail, proving that many males of several species display characteristics that are showier. Darwin's explanations of these theories put an emphasis on animals and their mating habits. Bateman ran a series of experiments where male and female fruit flies were trapped together in glass containers for three to four days. After a few days passed, Bateman tried to figure out how many offspring were produced, and how many from different mates. He found that each fly had a dominant and recessive gene. This outcome of his fruit fly experiment concluded that there is a greater male variation in reproductive success in comparison to female reproductive success. The theory of sexual selection is interesting in the way that Fine explains it. She concludes that females should be choosy and should mate with the best male so that there will be a greater reproductive success. She says this because often women allow men to take advantage of their "expensive eggs", while men just have "cheap sperm".
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