Thursday, October 31, 2002

Researchers recently found that women preferred a different type of man depending on the phase of their menstrual cycle: a "stronger" man when fertile and a "gentler" man the rest of the time. The researchers interpreted this as meaning that women wanted a strong man to engender a strong baby, but a gentle man the rest of the time to nurture the child.

This seems a bit too pat to me, as though men were cardboard cutouts only able to be one thing. I propose an alternative interpretation: that when fertile a woman wants a different role from her man--that he be more "take-charge" when her body wants to get pregnant. This seems to explain the evidence about as well, without the problem their interpretation has that the risks of infidelity are at least as high to the children as the purported benefits. ("Not my kid, why should I support it--or you, either?")

The greater the difference between the father and the husband, the more likely the child is to be recognized as not the husbands; but the smaller the difference the smaller the presumed differential "fitness" of the child--so why bother?

The more things change... We've all read of the superstious tribes in which a chief would bury his fingernail and hair clippings at night to keep enemies from using them in spells to cause him harm. Nowdays the equivalent would be for an enemy to drop one of your hairs at a crime scene to finger you as the culprit via DNA testing.