Reality Blind - Vol. 1

for the creation of the tail could have been used for other survival/reproductive needs, 2) the tail makes it more likely to be spotted by a predator, 3) if spotted, the bulky tail makes escape from a predator less likely. All three of these negative fitness hits must be outweighed by the female peahen's preference for males with larger, more ornate tails. Sexual competition , in this example and in many cases in nature, has been a stronger force than natural selection . TaaL: Sometimes it takes a stranger (or alien) to point out something so obvious that no one sees it. Sexual signaling and status-seeking are ubiquitous in human society, and both of your genders perform continuous, conspicuous signaling. At its extreme, men with hair implants, elevator shoes, feigned confidence and leased sports cars compete for surgically augmented women wearing clothing and makeup to enhance their sex appeal. Those who are deemed by a culture as “beautiful” are afforded societal advantages and opportunities denied to others. Indeed, the pursuit of desirability accounts for a good portion of the goods and services you humans count towards your economic growth. I wonder if you can imagine how your thinking would change if you no longer were subject to the deep-brain dictates of sexual selection? In a eusocial species like yours, sexual selection doesn’t operate only at mating time, but is a cons tant “on switch” in a person’s life: be it their social rank, a male’s attractiveness to females, or a female’s attractiveness to males. (I’ve always thought John Lennon’s “Imagine” should have an additional verse about imagining the absence of sexual selection**.) While its evolutionary function and history are clear, it’s also clear that to the extent this behavioral preoccupation intrudes into your large-scale physical-world decisions, it is a species-level form of insanity. On my home world, we have bi rdlike creatures which have taken “high cost signaling” to its logical extreme; the females carry large stones when flying so they can barely get off the ground even while flapping powerfully; the ones making it to their breeding islands with the biggest stones are then considered most desirable by the males. The males, for their part, are not only strikingly colored, but do insane aerobatic dances which culminate in spectacular suicides, plunging down for thousands of feet and splattering colorfully against the rocks on their preferred nesting ledge. The chosen females then drop their rocks and roll around in the remains of what they consider the most impressive male from which to become pregnant. We find their mating season to be a good time to stay indoors, and a good reminder of where the gene’s agenda naturally leads.


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