Saturday, July 20, 2002

CHIMPANZEES' PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS ENHANCE CHANCES WITH OPPOSITE SEX

Men, Women from Same Planet When Looking for Mate
Fri Jul 19, 2:25 PM ET
By Melissa Schorr

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Are men programmed by evolution to be roving-eyed Casanovas, while women have evolved to be faithful Penelopes? In fact, a team of California psychologists argues that there is scant evidence that men and women have evolved vastly different mating styles....

The new report, published in the journal Current Directions in Psychological Science, cites previous research finding that primates who rely on short-term mating strategies have physical characteristics meant to enhance their chances with the opposite sex--characteristics not found in humans.

For example, chimpanzees, who frequently partake in short-term couplings, have more than twice the ratio of testicle size to body size than humans do. Researchers theorize this is a result of needing to produce a higher volume of sperm to beat out competitors. Chimps also produce substances that block competitors' sperm, unlike humans.

"In terms of reproduction, we don't see these mechanisms in humans," Miller noted. "There's no biology we can point to that says there is evidence for short-term mating, and there's a lot that suggests not." ...

SOURCE: Current Directions in Psychological Science 2002;11:88-93.