Science Proves Swinging Has Evolutionary Advantages (In Mice)

A STUDY into the evolutionary benefits of polygamy among mammals has been recognised as the best published article among scientific fields, in a recent announcement at the UWA (University of Western Austrailia).

Dr. Renee Firman, of the UWA Centre for Evolutionary Biology, just won an award for her study on swinging. Sure, it was a study on polyandry in mice, but I’ve always respected science’s “one thing at a time” mentality.

This is some really fascinating science. Not just because it’s the first time polygamous breeding has been studied in mammals (or any other vertebrate), or because the results clearly demonstrate that polygamy has significant long-term evolutionary benefits. It’s fascinating to me because I’m not used to seeing the “sex” researchers get awards for anything other than boner pills.

If you’re not fluent in Science Geek, the Science Network of Western Australia’s article might be a challenging read; but here’s what the research boils down to:

  • Polygamous females bore sons who had better reproductive success in a competitive environment
  • In subsequent generations, sperm competition resulted in more efficient testicles and stronger swimmers.
  • The reinstatement of polygamy in mice with a history of monogamy increased sperm quality after only eight generations
  • Females mated with both dominant and subordinate males, more frequently with the dominants.

Let’s hear it for postcopulatory sexual selection!


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