Sneakers And Dashers

There are three basic male reproductive strategies: holding enough territory for one female; holding enough territory for many females; and holding no territory at all, but freeloading on the other two. This third strategy is generally called “sneak”, and comes in two variants: the “female-mimic” sneak, who infiltrates harems by pretending to be harmless, and the “dasher” sneak, who goes for quick in and even quicker out before the bull male catches him. Some Californian lizards are even colour-coded for method, with blue, orange and yellow throats respectively. Their strategies are so stable – each working well against one of the other two but not both – that they keep them for life and transmit them to their sons. Human beings do a certain amount of strategy transmission by example, of course, but are not always wedded to a given strategy for life. Even so, the equilibrium phenomenon holds good for us: there must logically be a mixture of strategies. All men cannot hold harems, neither can they all freeload on others’ partners; while a population of monogamists is possible but extremely vulnerable to the first male who decides to collect a harem. The only check on the harem-holder is the sneak, because the more the former expands, the more fun there is for the latter. All three, therefore, will always be with us.

Posted on April 26, 2009 at 16:10 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink
In: AGAINST NATURE, "Love" Contra Social Stability

Leave a Reply