Apparently, according to an article in Current Biology,
Polyandry [a girl gets married to a bunch of guys at once] can regulate the frequency of a sex-ratio-distorting meiotic driver This can prevent extinction in populations and potentially species Reduced extinction risk may help explain why polyandry is so widespread in nature
I hold no brief for fruit flies, whose behaviour the authors purport to explain, but in humans, polyandry is almost always a result of extreme hardship.
I am told that, in former times, polyandry sometimes happened in the Far North in Canada. Due to famine, girl babies mysteriously found their way through a hole in the pack ice.
Whodathunkit? … and 15 years later …
Most human cultures think marriage should be Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.
But very, very few human cultures have EVER thought that marriage should be Adam, Louie, Luigi, Sig, Syed, and … (organ music) Here comes the bride, here comes the bride!! … one little Eve for all of them.
Try selling that in the locker room … so long as you do not share a health insurer with me.
Most guys still want their own Eve, in the end.
Anyway, here’s the official stuff:
Current Biology, 25 February 2010 | Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Ltd All rights reserved. | 10.1016/j.cub.2010.01.050
Polyandry Prevents Extinction
Tom A.R. Price,Greg D.D. Hurst,Nina Wedell
Polyandry can regulate the frequency of a sex-ratio-distorting meiotic driver
This can prevent extinction in populations and potentially species
Reduced extinction risk may help explain why polyandry is so widespread in nature
Females of most animal species are polyandrous, with individual females usually mating with more than one male [1, 2,1, 2]. However, the ubiquity of polyandry remains enigmatic [3, 4,3, 4] because of the potentially high costs to females of multiple mating [5, 6,5, 6]. Current theory to account for the high prevalence of polyandry largely focuses on its benefits to individual females [7, 8,7, 8]. There are also higher-level explanations for the high incidence of polyandry—polyandrous clades may speciate more rapidly . Here we test the hypothesis that polyandry may also reduce population extinction risk. We demonstrate that mating with multiple males protects populations of the fruit fly Drosophila pseudoobscuraagainst extinction caused by a “selfish” sex-ratio-distorting element. Thus, the frequency of female multiple mating in nature may be associated not only with individual benefits to females of this behavior but also with increased persistence over time of polyandrous species and populations. Furthermore, we show that female remating behavior can determine the frequency of sex-ratio distorters in populations. This may also be true for many other selfish genetic elements in natural populations.
To commenter below: I did not close the comments, and don’t know who did. I am still learning the system. So maybe nobody did. What I am looking at now says that comments are open. There was a serious effort in Canada a couple of years ago to legalize polygamous marriage, but it did not fly. Me, I say, we have ‘nough problems already. I wonder how many people can afford to be sued in the divorce court by two spouses at once.
Also: I can’t imagine why anyone thinks I am a Marxist. Marxists certainly don’t, and you’d think they would know their own. One of my most important values in life is that a Canadian’s home is her castle, and the prospect of a landlord or government official standing in my living room and bawling out diktats is a precise definition of “unspeakable outrage.”
Thanks much for your kind congrats re our Canuck hockey win. We invented hockey. I mean, in the sense of – “Okay, whatever you say, but see you on the ice!” In my view, a lot of people today could use a bit of that, and we’d be happy to lend it to them.