Each month at Bushwakker, a faculty member from the University of Regina presents a talk on some aspect of science. The talks start at 7 p.m., although people generally congregate earlier for food, drink and conversation.
Tonight’s presentation is by biology prof Chris Somers. The title is Sperm is Cheap: Mating Systems in Animals and Parallels in Humans.
I wouldn’t want to speculate too much on what Somers will be discussing, but it presumably has something to do with the different biological constraints that males and females operate under. It’s not that these constraints predetermine every aspect of our behaviour, but they certainly do influence it.
As part of their biological make-up, males produce millions of sperm a day — each one capable of impregnating an egg from a female and producing off-spring. Females, conversely, have much more limited reproductive capacity. In human terms, they ovulate once a month, and if they become pregnant they’re rendered infertile until they give birth, and even for some time afterwards if they’re breast-feeding. So the stakes for females are typically higher than for males.
We live in the year 2012. But all these biological drivers were set in motion millions of years ago. And I imagine Somers will be discussing how they continue impact on our behaviour.
And now for a slightly more humourous take on the whole situation here’s a link to a classic scene from Woody Allen’s 1972 comedy Everything You Wanted to Know About Sex (But Were Afraid to Ask).