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Upcoming Royal Society meeting: Sexual selection in extinct animals Huh?


Extinct animals? Pos-Darwinista writes to draw our attention to

Theo Murphy International scientific meeting organised by Dr Rob Knell, Dr Dave Hone and Professor Doug Emlen

[May 9-10 2018] Sexual selection is potentially an important driver of macroevolutionary processes like speciation and extinction, but this has rarely been tested using the fossil record. This meeting will bring biologists and palaeontologists together to discuss sexual selection’s role in macroevolution, how to detect it in extinct animals and how to measure its influence on the history of life across geological time.

One thing about studying sexual selection in extinct animals, we may never be able to find out if we are wrong.

Sexual selection was Darwin’s other Really Big Theory of how evolution happens, a theory whose biggest achievement seems to be turning much pop science writing into mere pop social science. (Why he lies you! Why he doesn’t! Ask Neanderthal man!)

The schedule of talks and speaker biographies are available below. Speaker abstracts will be available closer to the meeting date. Recorded audio of the presentation will be available on this page after the meeting has taken place. More.

Sexual selection?

Similarly, another study revealed many secrets of the convoluted sex lives of crickets, including the fact that “dominant males had fewer mates than subordinate males, but they had similar numbers of offspring.”

Recently, a key sexual selection theory, Bateman’s theory that promiscuity benefits males but not females, was subjected to replication studies (repeating the experiment to see if it works out) and it didn’t replicate.

Pop science knows that sex matters. It matters because Darwin said so.

How it actually functions in different life forms or functioned in the case of extinct life forms hardly matters.

So now what? Boffins playing it safe?

Or are they moving beyond the comfort zone of “everybody knows” pop science? Transcript will help.

Readers will recall the largely flubbed effort to have a serious discussion about Darwinian approaches to evolution last fall.

See also: Royal Society: What has the Modern Evolutionary Synthesis missed?

The second advent of the Royal Society’s evolution rethink last November?


Can sex explain evolution?


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