• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Sexual Selection

Extracts from this document...


Sexual Selection * Darwin noticed that there were certain features that he could not explain by Natural Selection * Such as differences in size, body form, colouration and behaviour between males and female of the same species - why are females often smaller and less colourful than males? o Infact, in some species, the male seems at a real disadvantage in that he would show up to predators by being brightly coloured, he might have huge antlers that mean he can hardly lift his head, or he may have a huge tail that would get caught in the undergrowth o Why would it make evolutionary sense to have such features that are only going to get you eaten??? Differences in the appearance etc. between males and females of the same species are referred to as SEXUAL DIMORPHISM Humans are sexually dimorphic to a certain extent with females being generally smaller, less muscular and without features such as facial hair Sexual Selection (as opposed to Natural Selection) was Darwin's solution to this problem: * He suggested that the differences must be due to an advantage they give in passing genes into the ...read more.


and does not have parasites (is healthy). The fact that he is capable of all this also suggests that he has good genes, so will be a good choice to share her genes with 2. Good Taste School (Fisher, 1930's) * Fisher suggested that the preference may have started with 'good taste' - where the female was choosing the best mate and best genes * However, this then underwent a 'runaway process', where the original reason for admiring the feature was 'forgotten' and the features became a 'fashion accessory' * Females blindly chose males with more and more exaggerated versions of the feature, until it ceased to indicate it's original meaning * For the male, the biological expense of producing and maintaining the feature becomes such a disadvantage this it outweighs the advantages of attracting more mates * However, the feature is still necessary to attract females (who will want to pass it onto THEIR sons, in order to get genes into the NEXT generation) and so will continue It has further been suggested that females look for slight handicaps in males as a sign of 'strength' - if a male can survive even with this huge tail, then he may have really excellent capabilities in all other aspects. ...read more.


has to defend the females), but the male needs only small testis and to make a small amount of sperm per ejaculate - as he has no other competition. Gorillas are an example of this * Animals where males and females have access to each other freely require large testis and produce large amounts of sperm - chimpanzees are examples * In orang-utans, one male has to fight continually to secure his females and there is always the chance that another male may gain access. Testis size is smaller than in chimps but larger than in gorillas * In humans, the male testis is similar in proportionate size to that of the orang-utan, but they produce more sperm o This suggests that humans have evolved for one male to compete to possess a small group of females o However, other males may still possibly access the females, either willingly or by force - so it is still necessary to ensure that enough sperm are produced to increase the 'owner's' chance of fathering any children - especially seeing as it is he who is going to be providing resources and care for it ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Social Psychology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

3 star(s)

Shows knowledge and understanding of the topic. Evaluation is evident although more research to assist with evaluation at more depth is suggested. 3*

Marked by teacher Stephanie Duckworth 16/07/2013

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Social Psychology essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    The effect of the Level of Processing on the amount of information recalled

    4 star(s)

    Participants were also told about how confidentiality was maintained, they were asked not to write their name on the answer sheet, as their results were anonymous. In addition, they were also told they could contact the experimenter if they wished to know the results of the study, or if they wished for their data to be destroyed.

  2. Marked by a teacher

    What are ideal types? How useful are they in helping us to understand contemporary ...

    An obvious criticism of the historians approach is that it "implies a process of empathic reproduction that cannot be communicated or validated" (Ringer, F., 1997, pg9). As I will explain later, this is a problem that Weber never fully managed to shed.

  1. Peer reviewed

    free will and determinism

    4 star(s)

    The notion of free will implies that someone is mentally doing the 'willing'. There is speculation on how the mental states interact with physical states. There are two defined groups each with their own theory. Materialists believe only the physical state exists whilst Dualists believe there are in fact separate physical and mental states.

  2. Controversial issues in psychology.

    The confederates had been asked to give the incorrect response. The subject sat in the next to last seat so that all but one had given their obviously incorrect answer before s/he gave hers/his. Even though the correct answer was always obvious, the average subject conformed to the group response

  1. Discuss the Free will vs. Determinism debate

    Bandura provides the social learning approach of reciprocal determinism which is similar to that of soft determinism. This suggests that humans make the environment what it is therefore choosing their behaviour by our capability to make individual choices, which affects what we imitate.

  2. Critically Evaluate the Contribution of Experiments in helping to Understand what goes on in ...

    Since it is important to locate and recognise the limitations of the experimental approach, I will provide caveats to the evidence given throughout, and subsequently consider whether the insights gleaned are at a true group-level. In doing this I will compare the experimental approach with the 'group psychodynamic paradigm'.

  1. Obedience & Conformity: The Situation In Abu Ghraib

    This feeling of being authority figures instrument, with little or no sense of personal responsibility, can be promoted in many ways. One approach is by increasing the psychological distance between ones own actions and their end result. (Susan Nolen-Hoeksema et al., 2009)

  2. Free essay

    ESSAY PLAN - Discuss the relationship between sexual selection and human reproductive behaviour

    It could be argued that a woman's best strategy may be to be mildly promiscuous and mate with the man with the best genes but remain with the man who can care and provide. This is supported by Baker and Bellis, 1995, who suggested the world wide rate for misattributed fatherhood was 9%.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work