Marlene Zuk: What we learn from insects’ sex lives
Given that my PhD was in the sex lives of insects, I found this TED presentation from evolutionary biologist Marlene Zuk just brilliant. Not least because she is insect sex royalty – the Hamilton Zuk hypothesis anyone? Join me for a drink some time and I’ll explain.
“I think sex in insects is more interesting than sex in people”, Zuk boldly claims. “And the wild variety that we see make us challenge some of our own assumptions about what it means to be male and female.”
From virgin birth in aphids to the massive sperm of fruit flies, Zuk provides a brilliant tour of the weird, wonderful and downright kinky ways in which different insects get it on.
“It is not a lesson in the sense of us imitating them, or of them setting an example for us to follow,” Zuk chuckles, but insects break a lot of rules about the different roles of the sexes, challenging the “1950s sitcom” rules that we assume are prevalent in nature.
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