Gender & Sexuality

The Primate Diaries

Category archives for Gender & Sexuality

Eye of the Beholder

As a species we are consumed by love. Ask yourself, how many cultural productions (films, stories, songs, dances, arts) do not have love, the loss of love or the absence of love as their central theme? Would you be satisfied with what was left over? That fact that love has so much power over us…

Republican Losers Have Lower Testosterone

In a new understanding of the term power grab, researchers have shown that the supporters of a political candidate literally have their power taken from them after they lose an election. In a new study by Steven J. Stanton and colleagues in the open-access journal PLoS ONE, researchers asked 163 Republican and Democratic voters (57…

Female chimpanzee with her infant requests meat after a successful hunt. Image: David Bygott / Tree of Life Web Project Owen Lovejoy’s recent paper about Ardipithecus ramidus and human origins (see my detailed critique here) bases its argument on the male provisioning observed in chimpanzees. However, what went unacknowledged in his theory was the inherent…

Grand evolutionary dramas about human origins capture our imagination and the stories provide context as to how we view ourselves. They are the scientific version of creation myths. However, unlike Adam and Eve being fashioned in the garden or humanity being vomited up by the giant Mbombo (as the Bakuba people of Congo believed), scientific…

Classical literature has judged Helen of Troy harshly. Because she chose Paris after having children with Menelaus, her chroniclers condemn her for the destruction of a great society. In Homer’s Odyssey the bard writes: Helen would never have yielded herself to a man from a foreign country, if she had known that the sons of…

The Potent Fear of Male Menopause

Three products that profit on male insecurities (Enzyte, Viagra and Tiger Penis Wine) Note: the third image is from a campaign to encourage people to stop, not an actual ad. In my earlier posts I explored why women experience menopause and discussed the Grandmother Hypothesis as a leading explanation. There is accumulating evidence that suggests…

There may need to be a significant revision in the recent description of one of humanity’s oldest ancestors. Ardipithecus ramidus (or “Ardi” for short), the 4.4 million year old hominid fossil discovery, has been a godsend to paleoanthropologists (pun intended). But one of the key researchers has made what could be a serious error in…

In my earlier post I discussed the “Grandmother Hypothesis” as an explanation for human reproductive senescence, or menopause. A problem arises in understanding why women forgo one-third (and sometimes as much as one-half) of their reproductive lives, a condition unique in the natural world. Could this just be a neutral mutation, an artifact of longer…

Domestic Violence Through a Child’s Eyes

“Babul” performed by Shubha Mudgal is a gorgeously produced music video that emphasizes the heartbreak of female domestic violence as seen through the eyes of a child. According to Amnesty International: In this video about female domestic abuse, a child walks through a party in which all the adult couples seem happy as they socialize.…

Why Do Women Experience Menopause?

Whether they’re referred to as hot flashes, power surges or personal summers, the experience of menopause is not fun. But could it be the result of human evolution? One of the most fascinating areas of research in evolutionary studies is the question of reproductive senescence. Why do women go through menopause? Chimpanzees and bonobos, our…