Photo credit: Arthimedes/ Shutterstock
“Almost all multicellular species on earth reproduce using sex, but its existence isn’t easy to explain because sex carries big burdens, the most obvious of which is that only half of your offspring—daughters—will actually produce offspring. Why should any species waste all that effort on sons?” lead researcher Professor Matt Gage, from UEA’s School of Biological Sciences, said in a statement.
“We wanted to understand how Darwinian selection can allow this widespread and seemingly wasteful reproductive system to persist, when a system where all individuals produce offspring without sex—as in all-female asexual populations—would be a far more effective route to reproduce greater numbers of offspring,” he added.
Men are great and everything, but from an evolutionary perspective, it has never been entirely clear why they exist. Scientists have long noted that reproduction between males and females is far less efficient than all-female asexual reproduction. But a new study of the Tribolium flour beetle puts forth a theory about why the world needs its dudes. Researchers who studied the lab-controlled procreation of the flour beetle found that sexual selection, the process in which males compete for females, helps the species become fitter and more resilient. In other words, beetle populations with a high percentage of males—and therefore stronger sexual selection rates— spawned the healthiest offspring. Researchers specifically studied Tribolium beetles because the males do not contribute anything to the rearing of offspring. Moral of the story? Even deadbeat dads can serve a purpose.
Such a question can be tested on this particular beetle (a pest in many a flour bag) because aside from their genes, the males don’t help raise offspring, reports NBC News. In the lab, the scientists controlled the beetle’s environments such that the only difference between populations was the strength of sexual selection, which ranged from intense—with 90 males competing for 10 females—to no sexual selection at all, where females were limited to one monogamous partner and thus males didn’t have to compete. Seven years (and 50 generations) later, the beetles that resulted from the strongest sexual selection were in the best health and were the least likely to go extinct when inbred.
I don’t understand why the debate – the answer is simple enough for anyone to understand and read about.
The clearest evidence that monogamy is God’s ideal is from Christ’s teaching on marriage in Matthew 19:3–6. In this passage, He cited the Genesis creation account, in particular Genesis 1:27 and 2:24, saying “the two will become one flesh”, not more than two.
Another important biblical teaching is the parallel of husband and wife with Christ and the Church in Ephesians 5:22–33, which makes sense only with monogamy—Jesus will not have multiple brides.
The 10th Commandment “You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife [singular] … ” (Exodus 20:17) also presupposes the ideal that there is only one wife. Polygamy is expressly forbidden for church elders (1 Timothy 3:2). And this is not just for elders, because Paul also wrote: “each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband” (1 Corinthians 7:2). Paul goes on to explain marital responsibilities in terms that make sense only with one husband to one wife.
The example of godly people is also important. Isaac and Rebekah were monogamous—they are often used as a model in Jewish weddings today. Other examples were Joseph and Asenath, and Moses and Zipporah. And the only survivors of the Flood were four monogamous couples.