Word of Mouth
8:40 am
Wed July 18, 2012

The laws of attraction based on bad data?

Angus Batemen’s mid-twentieth century study into the breeding habits of fruit flies concluded that females are a limiting factor in reproduction – in other words, they are choosy about mates – while males are sexually indiscriminate. Sound familiar?  Batmen’s paper on sexual selection has been cited nearly two-thousand times since its original publication. His ideas have trickled into popular portrayals and jokes about   prudish, commitment-centric women and indiscriminate, sex-hungry men. The study that’s guided decades of subsequent research and scientific thinking has not been repeated, until now. Joining us is Patricia Gowaty evolutionary biologist at UCLA. She and her colleagues repeated Batemen’s classic study and discovered no evidence of sexual selection in fruit flies…so what does that mean? 

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